We could all stand to have a few extra bucks in our bank account, right? Whether you are busting your butt to throw as much money as possible at your debt, saving to put a down payment on your first home, or trying to get as much into that retirement account as possible, extra money is always welcome.
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Of course there are obvious ways to make extra money, such as asking your boss for more hours or more work, in order to earn more at your main job. But in the 21st century it seems to me like earning all of your income from one place is an awful lot like keeping all your eggs in one basket. And, especially in light of the major recession that we had within the past decade, I think you may agree that is a somewhat risky situation. After all, if your employer decides to downsize, relocate, or fold, it puts 100% of your income at risk if that’s your only source of pay.
For that reason, I’m going to focus this article on ways to make money in your spare time outside of your main job. If you have other ideas for great ways to bring in cash in your spare time, please feel free to tell us in the comments!
9 Ways to Make Money in Your Spare Time
1. Pick up a second job
Second jobs don’t have to be glamourous, folks. Ideally a second job would be something that could bring in a comparable wage as your main job, but hey, extra money is extra money, right?
2. Sell stuff
You know all that junk cluttering up your basement/closet/garage? Surely there has got to be something of value in there. A few months ago when I majorly decluttered our house, I found such gems as a five year-old cable modem, a nice business suit that doesn’t fit anymore (boo), and a leather jacket that I had literally not seen Mr. CMF wear in the 10+ years I’ve known him. All of those things found new homes via eBay. Besides eBay, I also use Craigslist (to sell bulky or heavy items) and Amazon (to sell books).
3. Consult or do freelance work
If you have knowledge or skills in a certain area you may be able to pick up side income either consulting or by freelancing. I personally have done some freelance copyediting and writing, which has been a nice source of extra income over the years.
4. Start an online store or part-time business
A few years ago, I experimented with running different types of online stores. I sold skincare items on eBay for a few years (I bought Mary Kay items in bulk from MK consultants who were going out of business, then I re-sold them individually on eBay). I stopped doing that mainly because of other obligations, but lately I’ve been thinking about getting back into it. It’s a nice way to make money, and as long as you respond promptly to customer emails/questions and ship quickly, it’s pretty easy. Renting your space via Airbnb is another great way to make money. If you are looking for some other innovative ideas for popular part-time businesses, check out this great article from ThePennyHoarder.com.
5. Make money from your hobbies
If there is something that you like doing and you are good at it, why not try to make some money from it? For example, there are sites online (like Shutterstock) that will pay you money for stock photos. The catch is that you have to be a good photographer- otherwise they likely won’t be interested in buying your pics- but if you happen to have some talent in this area, then this is right up your alley.
Blogging is by no means a way to get rich quick folks, but there IS money to be made (usually in the form of advertising revenue or freelance writing opportunities that may come your way). If you need money right away this will not be the way to go (it can take months or even years to build up a big enough following to bring in significant revenue), but if you are interested in adding another income stream and are willing to put in some (read: a LOT) of time and effort, blogging can be a way to do that. Check out this post to learn how to start a blog AND start making money from it.
7. Taking surveys
Taking surveys online is one of the easiest, although not necessarily the most lucrative, ways to make money in your spare time. However, I personally like taking surveys. I just think that it is beyond easy, and I love being able to take surveys in an airport while I’m waiting for a flight or when I’m sitting for what seems like way too long in the waiting room of a doctor’s office. My current favorite site to take online surveys is Harris Poll Online– I think they offer a better array of rewards than other sites. Other sites that CMF readers have used and liked for surveys are VIP Voice, Inbox Dollars, and Earning Station.
8. Pick up small gigs in your neighborhood
Are you someone who walks your dog every day? If so, why not ask a few neighbors if they would like you to walk their dogs as well? Other examples of simple gigs you could pick up close to home would be house sitting, babysitting, or even lawn mowing or shoveling snow. And although I haven’t used it, I have a few friends who have picked up some extra income by using TaskRabbit to complete tasks like cleaning or moving for other people.
9. Make money/earn rewards by doing things you would be doing anyway
For example, pretty much everyone does at least some shopping online, right? The best way to maximize your online shopping dollars is to shop at your favorite online web retailers through portals such as Swagbucks or Ebates (referral links). In this way you can earn rewards for your shopping activity- which you were going to be doing anyway. So you may as well earn rewards while you’re at it! I’ve also started using Swagbucks as my default search engine and pick up rewards that way.
Have you used any of these ways to make money in your spare time? If so, what’s been your best or favorite way to bring in extra cash?
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