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36 Ways on How to Make Extra Money

Written by Nickel - 65 Comments

We’ve all heard it a million times before… The key to getting ahead is to live below your means. It’s so simple. In fact, even our eight year old knows how to become a millionaire. So why is it so to spend less than you earn? I think that a big part of the problem is that spending less money isn’t much fun. But guess what? There’s another side to the equation. With that in mind, I thought I’d compile a list of ideas for earning extra money.

Earn more money from your current job…

A logical place to start when trying to improve your lot in life is to focus on your current line of work. Here are three different ways to get more from your job:

  • Ask for a raise. One of the easiest ways to earn extra money is to get more for what you’re already doing. With that in mind, you should work to excel in your work, build a case, and then ask for a raise.
  • Position yourself for a promotion. Another great way to earn more from your work is to get promoted to a higher paying position. Do whatever you can to excel. Go above and beyond the call of duty around the workplace and consider taking advantage of any training opportunities that you can find.
  • Find a new job. A great way to increase your earning power is to get a job offer. Even if it’s a lateral move, and especially if it’s not, switching jobs is a great way to increase your salary.

Unfortunately, now that the economy is in the crapper, it’s probably not the best time to ask for a raise, push for a promotion, or angle for a new job. While it can’t hurt to try, you may need to look elsewhere in hopes of generating extra income.

Earn extra money on the side…

There’s an almost infinite number of ways to generate a bit of extra cash. Whether it’s picking up a second job, doing odd jobs around the neighborhood, or selling stuff, you’re really only limited by your time and imagination. Here are 30 33 more ideas for earning extra money on the side.

  • Get a second job. While the job market is tight and getting tighter, picking up a second job is a surefire way to earn extra money.
  • Take on a paper route. Paper routes aren’t just for kids anymore, and you can usually knock it out during the pre-dawn hours, so it doesn’t interfere with work.
  • Deliver phone books. Over the weekend, we got the latest edition of “The Real Yellow Pages” delivered to our doorstep. You won’t get rich, but it’s not particularly difficult, and you can do it on your own time.
  • Do yardwork/lawncare. More and more people are outsourcing their lawncare. Why not get a piece of the action? You can make a few bucks and get some exercise all at once.
  • Shovel (or plow) snow. For those in cold climates, you can make good money removing snow. Here again, you can also get some good exercise. Sure, snowfall isn’t as predictable as grass growth, but it’s a great alternative during the winter months.
  • Clean homes or offices. Just like lawncare and snow removal, there are a ton of people out there looking for help around the house.
  • Do tax prep on the side. Companies like H&R Block are always looking for temp employees during tax season. Thanks to Miss m for the tip.
  • Become a golf caddy. Sure, this is a job that is often done by teenagers, but there can be good cash in it.
  • Start babysitting. Babysitting can be quite lucrative — check out how much people pay babysitters — and it’s also very flexible.
  • Start pet-sitting. I know from personal experience that there’s good money in pet sitting… Whenever we travel we need to find someone to board our bearded dragon (seriously), and we always spend way more than we should.
  • Become a tutor. Do you live near a high school or college? Are there any subjects that you’re particularly good at? If so, then consider tutoring in your spare time.
  • Teach a language. For those that are fortunate enough to be fluent in a second language, you can make money teaching it to others. In some cases, people will even pay to chat over coffee with a “conversational partner” who is fluent in that language they’re learning.
  • Become a substitute teacher. Depending on your educational background, this can be a good source of cash, especially for at-home moms that want to get back into the work force, but want hours that accommodate their kids.
  • Become an ump/ref for a local sports league. Around here, sports leagues are always looking for competent refs. Games are usually scheduled around business hours, and it pays pretty well.
  • Do freelance web design. If you have the skills, there are a number of online resources for finding web design gigs. If that doesn’t work, pound the pavement in your community. A lot of small companies don’t have much of a web presence, and could use your help.
  • Do some freelance writing. As is the case for web design, there are a number of online resources for finding writing gigs. Dig around a bit and see if you can find anything that suits your interests.
  • Start a weblog in a lucrative niche. This site is a prime example of the fact that you can make money blogging. It’s not easy, but it can definitely be done.
  • Become a mystery shopper. Here again, there’s tons of info on online, and there are even books about it.
  • Get paid to take online surveys. There are a number of reputable companies that pay people to take surveys online. While they’re not always accepting new members, you should check out Pinecone Research.
  • Participate in marketing focus groups. I actually did this a bit as a kid because we lived near a toy/game company. Thanks to Ashley for the tip.
  • Get paid to signup for trial offers. Sites like Cash Crate pay you to sign up for free trials — you can always cancel them so it’s truly free cash.
  • Maximize your credit card rewards. As long as you keep a lid on your spending and checking your free credit report, reward credit cards are a great way of generating a bit of spare cash on everyday expenditures.
  • Take advantage of signup bonuses. You can easily snag signup bonuses ranging from $25-$250 when you apply for a credit card or open a bank or brokerage account.
  • Play the 0% balance transfer game. Simply sign up for one or more 0% balance transfer credit cards and profit by plunking the proceeds in an high-yield savings account while you make the minimum payments.
  • Make the most of the money that you already have. Move your money to a high-yield online savings account or build a CD ladder in order to maximize your interest earnings.
  • Sell extra stuff from around the house. Clearing our extra stuff is not only a great way to make a bit of money, it’s also very cathartic. If you’re interested, be sure to check out my list of garage sale tips as well as my tips for selling stuff on eBay.
  • Sell your used textbooks. There are a number of sites online that will buy your books back from you directly. Thanks to Nick for the tip.
  • Take and sell digital photos. If you have a knack for photography, you might be able to generate some side income by selling stock photos.
  • Make and sell crafts. Here again, if you have a knack for it, you can make generate some income on the side by making and selling crafts — either at local shows or on eBay.
  • Sell craft designs. Instead of making the crafts yourself, why not work up some nice plans and sell those instead?
  • “Donate” (i.e., sell) plasma. When I was in college, a popular way to get beer money in certain circles was to sell plasma. It’s not really my thing, but it’s a viable option if you need cash in a pinch.
  • Collect and recycle aluminum cans for cash. While there’s not a huge amount of money in this, it’s a pretty easy thing to do, and it cleans up the environment. This is the very definition of a win-win.
  • Sell ad space on your car. Depending on your location, the make and model of your car, and your daily commute, you can actually make a decent amount of money by letting an advertising agency “wrap” your car with advertisements.
  • Rent out a spare room. Got an extra room in your house/apartment? Consider renting it out. You’ll not only defray your rent, but you’ll also be able to recoup a part of your utility costs.

If you have any ideas of your own, please leave a comment.

Published on December 15th, 2008
Modified on December 9th, 2011 - 65 Comments
Filed under: Frugality, Working

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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65 Responses to “36 Ways on How to Make Extra Money”

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  1. 1
    Tashia Says:

    Having a garage sale is an excellent way to earn some extra money! Last year my family started our journey towards paying off our debt and the first thing I did was have a garage sale, I made $1400! I was in the mindset of selling anything & everything that I did not need…the kids were guarding their stuff with zeal!

  2. 2
    Ashley Says:

    Participate in live focus groups if you live in a metro area. I live near Chicago and am able to make probably on average $100/month doing this – some months are better than others. It seems like you’ll go a long period with no calls for focus groups, then get several in one month.

    Google “focus groups” and “market research” plus your city name and you’ll probably find organizations that do it. Call them or go to their website to submit your demographic information so they can call you when they have a focus group.

  3. 3
    Bryan Says:

    Yep, this is pretty much what our site is about – living beneath your means. I’m gonna have to update my article, you bring up a lot of different ways I hadn’t thought of! =)

  4. 4
    Danielle Says:

    Wow, most of my garage sales only gross about $30 – $50!

    I’ll take a couple of these ideas and run with them.

  5. 5
    Dan Murry Says:

    Pretty good article Nickel! I’m currently working on the start a “web blog in a lucrative niche” topic. I’m still trying to figure out what lucrative niche should be.

    In the past I have designed websites, taken advantage of trial offers, done yard work, shoveled snow and delivered phone books! I would never recommend delivering phone books to anyone, nor would I ever do it again.

    It only pays 10-20 cents per phone book delivered and the ones I delivered had to be on the front steps of the residence! This equated to either parking the car full of phone books and walking up and down really long driveways or driving up and down the driveways. I’d say it took 3 minutes on average to deliver each book. At roughly 20 books an hour at 20 cents a book that is only $4/hour! That does not even figure in gas money or wear and tear on the vehicle.

    It did not help that I was delivering these phone books in the middle of the winter with a couple feet of snow on the ground. It also didn’t help that I live in a semi-rural area where the driveways are at least 100 ft long. In the end, I gave up and returned the phone books. This scenario might be a bit different in other areas and climates, but I know for sure I’ll never waste my time with it again.

  6. 6
    Miss m Says:

    If you can play a musical instrument you can start a party or wedding band, I had a string quartet back in high school that played a few weddings. You can freelance in many fields, not just writing. I know engineers who do subdivision work for developers on the side. Another idea is paid tax preparer, I think you can work for H&R block on evenings and weekends during tax season.

  7. 7
    Craig Says:

    Renting out a room would be amazing. Having some type of real estate to get a passive steady income on would be ideal, but also very costly and a huge investment. side income is key these days, something I would like to have.

  8. 8
    Charlie Says:

    Great article. You can also sell your used books on Amazon.com. Its relatively easy. To see if your book has any value look on the book for an ISBN number. This is a 10 or 13 digit number (often found beneath the barcode on the back of the book or on the first or second page of the book).

    Simply go to Amazon.com and type this number into the search box. You should then get the book’s product page. Look at the range of prices that the used version of your book is selling for. If you have any valuable books you can then click on the “Sell on Amazon” link at the very bottom of the page for a tutorial on how to sell books on Amazon.

    I sold several hundred dollars of books I had sitting in my closet. My bother sold several hundred dollars of his old law books this way as well.

  9. 9
    Valerie Says:

    Great ideas here!
    I went to the Pinecone Research link and it has no place to sign up. How do you know when they are accepting new members?
    Thanks! :)

  10. 10
    Bill m Says:

    Would be nice if there was a site that would manage the ad space on your car, heh, this is the first time I hear this..

  11. 11
    Nick Says:

    I would recommend ecampus.com to sell your used textbooks. They let you place your textbooks on their “marketplace” site for a 15% commission, they are the middle man, but they pay you for shipping. I had a good sales month in August, when the fall semester started….hope it picks up here soon for spring. Ecampus will also buy your books dirctley from you.

    Good secondary income.

  12. 12
    LadyBug Says:

    Nick’s comment put a fire under my butt. I had a box of textbooks that I have been meaning to sell/donate – eCampus bought 9 of them back for $134 – which is more than they were earning sitting in my closet. Even my high school French book netted $4, which I didn’t think was worth anything.

  13. 13
    Dan Murry Says:

    Another site for selling back textbooks is textbooksrus.com

    I used to work for them. It’d be interesting to see who pays more for the books. It’s easier to comparison shop at home instead of trudging to the various campus bookstores to see who will give you a better deal.

    On another note they do have some of the cheapest textbooks around, especially if they are the International Editions which are identical except for maybe being softcover.

  14. 14
    Dustin McClure Says:

    Enjoyed your list, I am going to see what else I might be able to fit in my busy life.

  15. 15
    Nick Says:

    LadyBug,

    Glad I could help…..

    :D

  16. 16
    Brantley Oakey Says:

    Wow! I tried to think of some other ideas, but I think you have a pretty comprehensive list there. Way to go. Great post!

  17. 17
    Dawn Says:

    Selling back textbooks warrants more cash the sooner you sell them back (i.e. the moment you finish your final). Publishing companies constantly print new editions and updates, thus making your year-old textbook practically worthless. Also, you don’t get much return from your local university bookstore, because they only accept a set number of each particular used book. I’ve had this problem in the past because I waited too long to sell my used books.

    Another hint is talk to other students in your major. You may be able to make a great sale on your own to someone taking the same class after you.

  18. 18
    Carma Says:

    I worked in a law office where the young receptionist was helping to put herself through college on the money she received from photos her husband had taken of her and posted to rubberball.com – she also had the thrill of seeing herself when she traveled or hearing about where her photos popped up and were viewed by others in the office. AT&T happened to have purchased them and put them on billboards, one page magazine ads, and on lighted Mall ad stands. The shock when I saw the photos was they were taken at the Great Salt Lake – not some resort beach. Ever been to the Salt Lake? I believe the one amature photograph netted them $10,000. This was three years ago.

  19. 19
    Nick Says:

    A great way to earn extra money as you mentioned, without too much effort is to just sell stuff from around the house. Ebay works wonders, and you’d be surprised at what people are actually interested in buying, and how much they’d pay.

  20. 20
    Brandon Says:

    I’ve noticed more and more friends and family turning to me to fix their computer. Usually they just want it formatted and get a fresh copy of windows on it. They toss a bit of money my way when it’s done. I spoke with one of them and they said they would’ve paid $100 to get this done by a professional!

  21. 21
    Andrea Says:

    Working as a server for a catering company has been the best side job I have had. You can make 14 -20 dollars an hour for events that usually take 8 or more hours, but you can tell the company what days you can or can’t work so it’s really flexible.

  22. 22
    frugalscholar Says:

    My son and his college friends donate their plasma. They get $75 for two donations in one week. They have a fine time chatting, drinking juice, and watching movies.

  23. 23
    Humbuzz Says:

    Be careful about renting a room in your house.APartment comlxes are getting pickier about their tenant selection processes, so undesireables go to private homeowners. Do a background check. Do you want someone going through your medicine cabinet or your bank statements?

  24. 24
    Photos by Fred Says:

    I did commercial photography for 30 years.
    There is always a demand for business portraits
    of executives and professionals for trade publications.
    Also authors get portraits for the cover of their books.
    Manufacturing companies need photos of products
    for advertisements and for portfolios.
    In my case there were oil tool companies that needed
    this.
    Small stores often need photos for newspaper ads.
    With digital cameras and computers you don’t need
    a darkroom anymore.

  25. 25
    Billy S Says:

    I can’t imagine anyone desperate enough to walk into the bull filled arena (kids) of substitute teaching for the pittance of subsistence pay that is provided.

  26. 26
    Sara Says:

    Sell scrap metal. My dad has been making a decent chunk of money doing this. He started by taking his own junk van down to be sold, and then realized he could buy junker cars really cheap and manage to make money off of them. Usually a few hundred dollars apiece. Then he did the same thing with other metal… old appliances and such. Some pieces are worth more than other… the catalytic converter on a car for example is worth a bit. It of course helps if you have a truck, or at least some means of towing a vehicle or trailer. But, a pretty good income. He would also peruse the dump looking for valuable stuff – either scrap value, or something functional that he could use of sell.
    A few other things you can do, depending on where you live, and your skill set: shellfishing or mushroom hunting. I know mushrooms are particularly lucrative, but you have to know what your doing. Shellfishing requires a license, and right now there is a moratorium on new licenses in my state.

  27. 27
    Em. Says:

    Nicely written list. I included you in my link-tastic xmas post.

    Even better for those of us in Michigan, aluminum cans get you 10c a piece. If you can acquire cans you didn’t pay that 10c on initially (all soda cans have “deposit” ahead of time here), then it’s pure profit.

  28. 28
    Dividend Growth Investor Says:

    Buy a dividend stock that has increased its dividends consistently for over 25 years and watch your passive income increase without much efforts ( provided you picked the right stock/s)

  29. 29
    mr.me Says:

    why not look on youtube for a simple guide and then offer to hel people with it
    i done this with the xbox rrod (3 red lights) i earned a chunk
    you would be surprised how many people panic and call somebody rather that look on the internet

  30. 30
    Bradley Jones Says:

    These are all good ways. There are also a few places online that you can sell used cell phones and PDA’s you have laying around. Or give them for charity.

  31. 31
    give some money Says:

    I love these ideas I think i am going to give a few a try I had not even considered the phone book delivery thing, altough it is probably a seasonal thing anyways I will have to check into that. there are also a lot of online opportunites, one of them which I am cucrrently doing is typobounty.com, it it really easy to use and free so any money you make is yours to keep. I think I have been doing ok, my daughter is also doing it and she is doing better than me so I guess it all depends on how much money you really want to make. overall I would recommend this site. ok off i go to find me more ways to make money

  32. 32
    Dividend Growth Investor Says:

    Buy dividend growth stocks and enjoy the rising stream of dividend income to your portfolio!

  33. 33
    Shivalu Says:

    Sell clothes, shoes, accessories (purses, belts, jewellry)through a consignment store. They keep a portion of the cash, but this is a great way to make money off the clothes in your closet that you don’t like/need/fit. However, as with textbooks, it is good to take your clothes in sooner rather than later. Once clothes are “last season’s” style they decrease in value.

  34. 34
    C. Says:

    This may seem odd and remote, but we are actually seeing some good returns from this idea as the recession sets in and inflation continues to rise. We built a huge pantry and have purchased foods in bulk. We purchase everything we can at restaurant supply, or online food storage companies (www.emergencyessentials.com, http://www.shelfreliance.com) We have watched over the last three years when we take a few thousand dollars and invest in foods that we use. We purchase it on sale or in bulk, then when we go to restock – wow – it’s doubled in price. Although the savings can’t be calculated, it’s obvious that we are getting much better returns than a savings account or a CD. We set up our new kitchen with storage for small appliances like breadmaker, wheat grinder, convection oven, waffle iron, stainless steel electric skillet, for convenience and electric savings. We are getting such great returns on “banking food” that it does not bother us to take money from savings and stock the pantry. Note: There are laws on how much you can purchase ahead, I think it’s a matter of months out.

  35. 35
    Carma Says:

    I just did the Census, that’s every 10 years – so in 8 years they will begin hiring for 2020. It paid ok, but the mileage allowance in this rural area was 50 cents a mile so some wracked up some good miles on their old depreciated automobiles for some tax-free reimbursement.
    While standing in line at the pharmacy, a woman told me she gives plasma for $50 (each time) and goes in twice a week (the maximum time allowed). I’m not sure that is for me, but that’s $500 a month/$6,000 a year and that does not seem like it would be taxed – don’t know.

  36. 36
    Mikayla Says:

    Me and my sister want to start babysitting. We both have experince,but not much,one or two years. We are trying to figure out how much each of us should get, OR how much we get together. I think we should get payed $15 each(or $30 together) if the children are 6 years and older. $10 each(or $20 together) if the kids are 5 years old or younger. So what do you think? PLEASE HELP!! NEED MONEY NOW!!!

  37. 37
    irene Says:

    paid to go shopping and taste foods

  38. 38
    Carma Says:

    Sell seasonal items, work consessions at a rodeo, sell Christmas trees, run a fireworks stand (we cleared $8,000 in two weeks ten years ago). There is always something going on. Delivering newspapers has nearly become a thing of the past, but we still have rural routes in our area that are always having a turn over in carriers.

  39. 39
    Nika Says:

    I found the craigslist is an awesome source of pt, ft, and business opportunities. For about the last 5 years now I have been using craigslist to either supplement my income and now I found a business opportunity that has allowed me to work completely for myself. Granted, I don’t make as much as I did at my full time job, but $50,000 per year is respectable and it allows me to stay home with my kids. So I encourage everyone to get in the habit of checking craigslist on a regular basis and give it a try. I have not been burnt once in the 5 years I’ve used it but you must use common sence, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is a scam. Also, since I live in a metropolitan area, craigslists requires a fee for anyone posting jobs so this helps with keeping most scams from posting.

    Hope my two cents help.

  40. 40
    Greg Miliates Says:

    One of the most profitable ways to earn extra money is by consulting, since a consulting business has:
    –>low start-up costs,
    –>flexible hours,
    –>high hourly pay rate, and
    –>you likely already have the expertise to get started.

    I’ve found that fear often stops aspiring consultants from starting a consulting business, and on my blog (http://www.StartMyConsultingBusiness.com), I talk about how to overcome those fears. I also talk about practical, concrete things you can do to start and run a successful consulting business, along with tools, tips, tricks, and techniques for automating your business and keeping costs to a minimum.

    One of the neat things about becoming a consultant is that you DON’T need a pile of cash to start a consulting business. For example, you can create a professional website for under $100–typically in an evening (I have a free ebook that shows you exactly how to do this, even if you’re not a techie).

    I started my consulting business over 4 years ago as a part-time way to make extra cash, and it’s grown into my full-time endeavor, where it’s the sole income for my family of 4 for over 2.5 years. I make several times what I used to make at my day job, and have much more flexibility.

  41. 41
    Xavier Says:

    Honestly, the internet is a great opportunity to make money but at the same time it is such a challenge to stay on top and stay “profitable”. If you lose your traffic from engines then you’re running the risk of becoming obsolete. The site I started is http://banktruth.org and so far its been very fun to help people find online banks and the best rates for deposit accounts but its also a challenge to be competitive.

  42. 42
    Carma Says:

    Babysitting Inquiry – Mikayla: Usually it is more to babysit the little tots/babies. That sounds like a fair price, but I suggest you charge the $15 for 4 and under and $10 for 5 and over. Can I just put in another plug here. Please keep your electronic devices home. Keep the TV off unless it has Ice Age or Toy Story playing. Do not use their phone to communicate with your friends. Clean up after yourself if you are in their home and go beyond, do a few other things if you have time. You’ll get referred to other people and soon have a booming business! Just don’t forget your time belongs to those who are paying you – not yourself. Give the little ones your attention and time. Get down on the floor and play with them, sing with them, talk to them, etc.

  43. 43
    Jay Says:

    Great list very thorough. I would like to add affiliate marketing to the list selling other peoples stuff online in exchange for a commission.

    It is a great way to make some extra money from home in your spare time and it is virtually free to start out and get going.

  44. 44
    Norah Says:

    If you have a platos closet near you, you could bring your clothes there. I’ve brought many of my clothes there that don’t fit me and you get pretty good money vs. garage sale or throwing them away. Or anything like a platos closet would work. Hope I helped! (:

  45. 45
    Yvonne Says:

    If you want me to do some of you assignments or work book via online, just reach me.

  46. 46
    Hanna Says:

    Great tips, I’ve recently gotten sucked into eBay trading – and actually made money of browsing for good deals, fixing up the items and reselling them for more! If this is something you’d be interesting trying, I would recommend this pricing tool for figuring out what your stuff is worth so you’re not overpaying or underselling your stuff. It’s a great new startup I’ve just signed up for, and I already find it super useful!

    http://www.statricks.com/craig.....-tool.html

  47. 47
    Helena Says:

    Hanna, thank you so much for sharing, I really appreciate it:) I’ve been using eBay and Craigslist for many years, and its very time consuming doing all the market price research! This service looks like its going to be a helpful resource with determining what the ACTUAL price is. And I’m guessing it will be easier to negotiate on Craigslist when you can show people some solid data. Again, thank you so much. Just signed up and I cant wait to start using it:)

  48. 48
    carla Says:

    Need help to earn extra income. Not real computer smart.

  49. 49
    aween Says:

    can u give the may of earning money in simplest way

  50. 50
    carla Says:

    My daughter cleans houses after she gets off her regular job working 8:00 to 4:30. She makes $100 per house. She is only 21 and has done this for 3years. She is a very determined girl she has saved in a year and a half over $10,000. She does a very good job on the houses and her name has really gotten around. She gets more calls than she can handle. So think of opening a cleaning service. There is good money to be made.

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