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5 Ordinary People Who Tried Something New and Made Money, Paid Off Debt, and Secured Their Futures


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We’re all creatures of habit. We’re all set in our ways. Especially because we’re living through a time of great change and uncertainty, it’s only natural for us to stick to our same old routines. It’s comforting, like a familiar old blanket.

But sometimes it’s worth thinking outside the box and trying something new. Sometimes it’s really worth it — and it could be really good for your bank account.

Today we’ll look at five ordinary people who went online and tried something different. Here’s how it worked out well for each of them:

1. The Business Student Who Earned $600 Taking Surveys

The first time Sarah Houston tried an online rewards site called InboxDollars, it didn’t do much for her. She just didn’t take to it.

“I didn’t get in the habit,” she said. “I wasn’t logging on, so I never got a check from them. I didn’t bother to learn how to get the maximum benefit out of it.”

A few years later, she was looking for side gigs to make extra cash. She tried the site again, and this time it took. She’s become an InboxDollars whiz, logging on to take surveys in the morning, then again while she’s watching TV at night.  

“It sounds like a lot of work,” said Houston, a 26-year-old nanny and business student at Virginia Commonwealth University. “But once you’re in a routine, it’s a mindless, easy way to earn extra money.”

When The Penny Hoarder spoke with her in September 2018, she had earned $600 on the site in three years, and she had the screenshots to prove it.

InboxDollars also pays you to watch short video clips online. All you have to do is answer a few quick questions about them afterward. And unlike other sites, it pays you in cash.

It takes about one minute to sign up, and you’ll immediately get a $5 bonus to get you started.

2. The Single Mom Who Secured Life Insurance in 10 Minutes

Getting a life insurance policy typically takes hours of time, tons of paperwork — and it isn’t always affordable, either. But companies like Bestow are changing the game.

If you have kids, you’ve probably worried about what would happen to them if something bad happened to you. That’s how it was for single mom Rebekah Pearsall.

“Since my son doesn’t have a biological father in his life, I wanted to make sure he was secure if something were to ever happen to me,” said Pearsall, a dental assistant and office manager in Virginia, when The Penny Hoarder talked to her in late 2018.

Even so, Pearsall kept putting it off. It felt like a big task she never had time to accomplish. She assumed finding the right policy would take hours, if not days — researching, studying fine print, pulling policy quotes and scheduling doctor’s appointments

But the truth is, your application can take minutes — and you could leave your family up to $1 million with Bestow. Rates start at just $8 a month. The peace of mind knowing your family is taken care of is priceless.

If you’re under the age of 54 and want to get a fast life insurance quote without a medical exam or even getting up from the couch, get a free quote from Bestow.

3. This Guy Hated Banks — Until He Switched to This Account

Cole Sartell, 26, doesn’t have fond memories of his former bank. “It was like balancing on a trapeze,” he recalled in early 2018.

Between the minimum balances and the required monthly debit card transactions, he felt like he was on a high wire each month, trying not to fall into a pit of fees.

Then the South Dakota native came across an online account with Aspiration. He made the switch and never looked back. Here are some of the benefits of the Aspiration account:

  • You get up to 10 percent cash back whenever you use the debit card.
  • Aspiration will reimburse ATM fees from anywhere in the world within a few days.
  • You earn up to 14 times the average interest on the money you set aside to save.
  • There are no minimum balances required, no hidden fees, and no monthly service fees.
  • Aspiration donates 10 percent of its earnings to charity.

It takes just five minutes to sign up.

4. The San Francisco Woman Who Saved $12K in Credit Card Interest

When you think about how much debt you have, you might feel anxious. But the truth is, while you’re stressing out, your credit card company is getting rich off those high interest rates. But a website called Fiona could help you pay off that bill as soon as tomorrow.

The Penny Hoarder chatted with one San Francisco resident, Katherine, who had been struggling to keep up with her $12,000 in credit card debt. She was paying her credit card company $154 in interest per month

By refinancing with a 5 percent-interest, seven-year personal loan, she saved $12,000 in interest. If she’d kept on the same road, she would have paid something like $14,000 in interest alone over 25 years — yikes!

Fiona won’t make you stand in line or call a bank. And if you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free to check online. It takes just two minutes, and it could save you thousands of dollars. Totally worth it.

All that credit card debt — and the anxiety that comes with it — could be gone by tomorrow.

5. The Single Dad Who Won a $5K Scratch-Off Jackpot

Hitting a big jackpot could solve a lot of your problems, right? It’s tempting to buy those scratch-off tickets from the gas station. But that’s not really the best use of your money.

Instead, try scratching for free using an app called Lucktastic. Each day, it releases a new assortment of digital scratch-off tickets. Lucktastic says instant wins range from $1 to $2,500.

You can also earn tokens that you can exchange for free gift cards to retailers including Amazon, Walmart, Sephora and more. 

Back in July 2018, The Penny Hoarder talked to single dad Oneil Campbell, from Boston, who was shocked when he won a $5,000 Lucktastic prize.

Campbell, who works in property maintenance, knew exactly how he’d spend his winnings. It’s a big chunk of the down payment he’s using to buy a home for himself and his 4-year-old daughter. 

“I didn’t see that one coming,” he said with a laugh. “I really didn’t. This is something good that happened to me at the right time — when I can really use it.”The app is supported by advertising, which allows it to keep the payouts high and the games free. It’s not guaranteed money, but at least Lucktastic is free to play. And hey, somebody’s gotta win.

Woman’s World has partnered with The Penny Hoarder to bring you expert money saving tips like these.

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