No matter how much you make, you could always use some more cash, right? Whether you live paycheck to paycheck or are just trying to beef up your savings, having extra money is always a bonus. But where does it come from? Aside from working 5 jobs, selling off your crap on eBay, or pimping yourself on Craigslist, that is.
Over the years I’ve found some legitimate ways to make some extra cash that I’d like to share (yup, I’ve done every single one of these). Some have big returns, some small, but any extra cash is good cash. Hopefully this will help or at least give you some ideas! Here goes:
- Crafty? Sell your wares on Etsy. This is mainly for crafty types who complete project after project for no one in particular and then have a closet full of knitted mittens, decoupaged coasters, and clothes you’ve sewed. Definitely me, ahem.
- Use a Credit Card with Cash Back Rewards. OK, I know, credit cards are evil but we all use them. I’ve had the same one for 10 years that offered a truly lame points rewards program. It wasn’t until they switched over to cash rewards that I decided to take advantage. For my card 2,500 points = $25. I’ve been sitting on 20,000 points for a long while. Time to cash in!
- Join a Research Lab. This is for academic types. I joined a research lab in 2008 because I was fresh out of grad school but still felt the need for scholarly stimulation (I am that big of a nerd). I happened to find one that offered a small hourly wage for help in writing and designing content for a teen health website. I love the mission of our work, my colleagues are great to work with, and I’ve been making about $100/month doing something I love that is impactful and socially conscious.
- Cash in Your Change. Save your pennies, wait 6 months, and Coinstar those babies! Last time John and I went to cash in the change jar I estimated we had about $11 in there. We had like $40!
- Group Yard Sale. My family has a group yard sale a few times a year where we all bring stuff to sell, use one person’s driveway, advertise, and make a day of it. We’ve made up to $3,000 doing this. Of course yard sale revenue depends largely on the items you’re selling but we found that having a little of everything brings in a diverse group of spenders. They key is advertising what you have that will appeal to the masses.
- Sell Your Unworn Jewelry. John and I started our wedding fund with a bunch of old jewelry and gold. We had no idea it would sell for as much as we did! John compared estimates on our scrap gold and old jewelry from 3 different jewelers and we made about $2,000 from the highest one.
- Online Market Research Surveys. Most pay $5 a survey (or did when I used to do this back in high school). They are long, tedious, and banal but you could bank up to $50/month if you filled out a bunch. This may be a good place to start.
A few more ideas…
For the truly desperate: return all those sweaters in your closet with the tags still on them, sign up for a medical study, sell your old college textbooks online (though they are basically worthless after 6 months), do neighborhood odd jobs, sell your blood/plasma, or hock something roadside.
Don’t you dare ever: touch your 401k/IRA, ask for an advance paycheck at work, or gamble to make money. Those are worse than being temporarily broke and create bigger problems than being poor.
What do you think? Do you have any tried and true methods for making some extra cash on the side?