Normally I’m a pretty active person, but last year I spent too much time sitting on my butt in front of a computer. Luckily I’m not overweight yet, but I know if I don’t exercise more, I will be. I don’t have enough money to pay for expensive medical bills that I might incur if I’m overweight, and frankly, I still want to have the freedom to go out and climb mountains and explore nature uninhibited.

It’s time for me to get my butt in gear, but it’s hard. Maybe I’d be more successful if there were some money on the line — something else that I’m in short supply of. In fact, some research suggests that a financial incentive could be just the thing to help people succeed in their fitness goals.

That’s why I was so excited when I found out about these money-making apps that pay you to reach your goals:

  1. Charity Miles
  2. Pact
  3. HealthyWage

But watch out! Some of them provide a dual financial incentive: If you don’t reach your goals, you have to pay them back.

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1. Charity Miles

This free app is so awesome. It will donate money to a charity based on how much you work out.

It’s really simple to use, too. Just choose a charity to donate money to at the start of each workout. You can select from over 40 options. A brief ad will pop up saying that such-and-such company is sponsoring your workout. Then, you get moving. When you’re done, hit “finish,” and you’re all set.

Charity Miles works with corporate sponsors who donate 25 cents for each mile you run or walk, and 10 cents for each mile you bike. I’ve just started using the app, and so far, I’ve donated $1.25 to She’s the First, a charity that provides scholarships and other forms of support to send girls in low-income countries to school.

2. Pact

What if you could make a pact with a community to reach your health and fitness goals? If you were successful, they’d pay you a reward, but if you didn’t follow through, you’d actually owe them.

That’s exactly what Pact lets you do. You can choose from three pacts: eat more vegetables, exercise, or log your food. You can make a pact for up to seven days per week for each option.

Each week that you’re successful, you’ll be paid a small amount, typically between 30 cents and $5.00, depending on how many pacts you select for a week. But if you miss a day, they’ll charge your credit card by an amount you had agreed to beforehand!

When setting up my account, I selected a $10 penalty, and so far I haven’t had to pay it. It’s a great motivator to get my butt to the gym.

Lest you weasel your way out of it, the app has ways of verifying that you actually did the work. You’ll have to snap a picture of a full serving of vegetables each day, or log your food in. If you choose the gym pact, you can either walk 10,000 steps per day, use an in-app motion sensor for 30 minutes, or set up a gym location that uses the GPS on your phone to verify that you actually went there.

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3. HealthyWage

Do you have a specific weight-loss goal? Would you be willing to wager that you’d be able to accomplish it? With HealthyWage, you can do just that — and win big-time if you’re successful.

3 Money-Making Apps That Pay You for Healthy Habits - HealthyWage
HealthyWage lets you place bets on meeting your goals.

HealthyWage allows you to define your own weight-loss goal: how much weight you want to lose, how much time you want to give yourself to do it in, and how much you want to wager each month that you’ll be able to reach that goal.

It will then compute a prize that it’ll pay you if you’re successful. But again, watch out! If you’re not successful, you won’t get the prize — or your money back.

I don’t need to lose any weight myself, but I thought I’d check it out to see how much I could win if I did. I plugged in some numbers: lose 30 pounds over six months, and bet $50 per month. If I lost those 30 pounds successfully by the end of that six-month period, I’d get my $300 back, plus a prize of $87.97!