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35 Side Hustles to Make Extra Money

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I like to think of list of ideas as novel, at least more novel than the “get a job delivering pizza” or “sell the books you don’t read on your bookshelf.” (though you could write an ebook… that’s a bonus tip!) While those are fantastic ideas on how to make extra money, I’d expect most people to know that already. You didn’t come here to read a list of part time jobs you could get, so I tried to only list things that were interesting, funny, and, hopefully, something you didn’t think of already.

  1. Become a reality TV star: Think the hacks on reality TV have absolutely no talent? Think you also have no talent? Why not join them? Kyle of The Penny Hoarder lists 12 shows that are casting and you could be the next person people complain about! Some of the shows, like America’s Got Talent and The Sing-Off, will require some talent but most are devoid of it.
  2. Resell Items on and from Craigslist: There are plenty of people who buy and resell items on Craigslist and eBay, few have turned it into a true business like Ryan Finlay of Recraigslist.com. I read this post on Priceonomics that details his entire routine and explains how it all works.
  3. Refer friends to ING Direct: ING Direct is an online bank that will pay you when you refer your friends. For each person you refer to ING Direct who deposits at least $250, you get $10 and you can refer up to fifty people. In return, your friend gets $25 if they deposit at least $250. It’s a win win.
  4. Design Logos: If you have some design skill and are handy with the Photoshop, consider designing logos for folks. My buddy Pete designs logos, including the one we used for the Personal Finance Hour.
  5. Join a Focus Group: I joined a local focus group several years ago and have been invited to participate about once a year, only went once. It’s not a bad gig, a few hundred dollars cash to spend a couple hours in a room with strangers, but it’s very infrequent. Getting the call is like finding a gift… if you don’t mind a few hours in a room with strangers.
  6. Sell Bottled Water @ Concerts, Games, etc: Neville, of nevblog.com, did an experiment several years ago where he sold water on the highway. He revisited it later on and despite losing money, I think it’s still possible to generate a profit, especially if you don’t have to split the proceeds with your employee.
  7. Babysit: It’s not just for teenagers anymore, with sites like SitterCity, it’s possible for anyone to make a little extra money if you’re willing to jump through just a few hoops.
  8. Rent out parking space: If you live near a stadium or other popular attraction, consider listing your driveway as a parking space. I know that this is a popular option for folks in areas with few parking options or during periods of high demand, like during games.
  9. Rent out a spare room: With sites like Airbnb.com, anyone can take a few photos of their spare room and rent it out to visitors. How much you are able to charge will depend on which amenities you offer but anyone can earn a few bucks renting out that spare room easily. You can list for free and only pay 3% to Airbnb when the reservation is completed.
  10. Search for silver coins in your pocket change: Decades ago, many coins, like quarters, were made of 90% silver. Those coins are referred to as junk silver and they’re quite valuable, with a silver quarter worth about $6 with today’s silver prices. You could always try to get a lot of quarters, by ordering them from banks, and pulling out the valuable silver ones.
  11. Become a mystery shopper: Plenty of companies hire mystery shoppers to go through the shopping experience and provide feedback. Most of those companies will, in turn, hire mystery shopping companies that handle the coordination and reporting. It’s not lucrative but it does pay a few bucks every so often and a great way to earn some pocket money.
  12. Sell advertising on your car: If you do a lot of driving, you could always offer up your vehicle to get “wrapped.” If you’ve ever seen cars wrapped in ads, that’s a car wrap and the driver is getting paid to drive around and spread “buzz” about that company. I don’t know much about it but my friend Jeff has researched the subject and shares his thoughts on the Saving Advice forums.
  13. Donate plasma: You can earn money donating plasma, which can be a long and painful process. Do a google search of donation centers near you and find out how much they’ll pay.
  14. Look for your own Missing Money: There are billions of dollars “missing” and you can find out if any of it is yours at MissingMoney.com. You might have to jump through some hoops to get to it but it’s new money to you!
  15. Sell your gift cards: Since it’s pretty close to the holidays, chances are you still have a few gift cards left over that you haven’t used. If you haven’t spent them down to the last dollar or two, consider selling them on a gift card site to turn them into cash.
  16. Set up a vending machine: In my neighborhood, there is a family that bought a used soda vending machine on discount. They plug it in, keep it stocked, and the neighborhood kids are happy to plunk $0.75 in it for a cooling drink on a hot day. While there are overhead costs, you can still make a decent profit if you buy your soda in bulk and keep the machine stocked.
  17. Sell your hair on eBay: Did you know that doll makers like real hair? If you have healthy locks, you can cut them off and sell your hair to wigmakers, doll makers, and others. You can even do it on eBay.
  18. Sign up for clinical trials: A number of companies are looking for people to participate in clinical trials. They’ll even pay you! The government has a list of clinical trials that you can search. You can also listen on the radio for trials you might qualify for.
  19. Pet sitting: Offer to watch others’ pets. Take care of their various animals while they’re away. You don’t even have to do it while others are gone. Some people hire others to come play with and walk their pets during the day while they’re at work.
  20. Run errands: Busy people need their dry cleaning picked up, and their grocery shopping done. Why not provide these services? You can take care of your own errands at the same time, and get paid for running someone else’s. Bonus.
  21. Amazon Mechanical Turk: I just learned about this. Turns out Amazon has a program that allows you to hire out. Many companies have tasks that machines can’t do. Sign up at Amazon Mechanical Turk, and earn a little money on the side, doing tasks for others. The rewards are small, but they don’t take much time, and it can start to add up.
  22. Recycle scrap metal: If you are having trouble figuring out what to do with that useless car, old caper, or a pile of old nuts and bolts, you can take it to a salvage yard. You’ll be paid by the pound. And, by the way, some places will still pay you for aluminum cans. So you can scrounge around for those as well.
  23. Sperm and egg donation: You can be paid for your reproductive abilities. Sperm banks will pay you for donations, and there are a number of people willing to pay for “high quality” eggs (a process that is a little more invasive and difficult than sperm donation).
  24. Re-sell tickets to events: If you are a season ticket holder, and know you want attend all the games, you can re-sell your tickets and earn a little cash. You can also buy tickets to events that are likely to sell out, and then sell them for a profit later. Some hopeful souls are even trying to scalp tickets to opening IMAX showings of The Dark Knight Rises for $500.
  25. Treasure hunting: Look for items of value that others throw away for re-sell. You can also use a metal detector to help you find old coins and other valuables that might be worth something for you to sell.
  26. Bone marrow donation: If you don’t mind being laid up for a few days, and you can handle what can be a painful procedure, you can make $200 or more by providing bone marrow.
  27. Camp at Crater of Diamonds State Park: If you have a little time, and can afford the gas, head to Arkansas and visit Crater of Diamonds State Park. If you find an diamonds or other precious and semi-precious stones, you can keep them — and sell them later.
  28. Sell your photos online: You can join stock photo sites like istockphoto.com and earn money when others use your work. A great way to make money from your photography hobby.
  29. Try Fiverr: One of the most popular sites right now is Fiverr.com. Do odd things for $5 a job.
  30. Develop mobile apps: If you have a talent for programming, you can earn money by developing mobile apps.
  31. Virtual assisting: You can be a virtual assistant, performing tasks for others, including scheduling and phone tasks, as well as performing other tasks, such as social media engagement or answering emails.
  32. Pick up loose change: Look for loose change, wherever you go, and pick it up. You can even boost the chances that you find it by taking a yardstick and sweeping it under washing machines and dryers at the laundromat. You can probably find change under seats on public transit, and in other hard to reach places.
  33. YouData: Without providing identifying information, you can earn money, a little at a time, by looking at ads via YouData.
  34. Provide computer “tech support”: If you know a little bit about computers, you can charge to help others back up their systems, install new software, and perform other tasks related to technology.
  35. Be a freelance teacher: Teach community education classes or seminars in areas of expertise. If you have the right qualifications, you can even hire out as an adjunct professor.

What ideas do you have for making extra money?

{ 17 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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17 Responses to “35 Side Hustles to Make Extra Money”

  1. Martha says:

    I’ve done a few focus groups and made a nice amount of extra cash. I did it in college and kept going after graduating. Most college campuses have focus groups and psychology/learning studies which they pay participants! Right now there are signs for video gamers… who knew you could make money playing video games (Call of Duty and Halo, specifically). :)

  2. Jessica says:

    I just participated in a university study where I had to do a few brief surveys then collect a sample of my toddler’s poop. I will get a $25 check! As a student, I participated in all sorts of paid experiments. Some were fun, others mundane, and some just plain weird. I was also a gynecological model for masters level nursing students to learn how to do pap smears!!!!

  3. boomer says:

    Some good ideas (especially #5, these can be some good cash and can be interesting as well), I would just give warnings on a few items:

    On #6, check the licensing requirements for the area as you could get yourself arrested and your product seized.

    On #11, watch out for scams. NEVER pay to get these jobs and NEVER accept a “job” where you are sent a check to then wire then money back out as a test of a money transfer service. The check may clear your account and then get returned once you have wired the funds, putting you on the hook for the check.

  4. I’m only interested in sperm donation if it involves wealthy heiresses. Quality baby batter should not be sold so cheaply.

  5. Great list! While some items are harder to do most seem reasonable. You could also start a blog but it takes a lot of work and time before you will earn your first dollar.

  6. Although one of the most maligned businesses, network marketing is a great way to build wealth on a part time basis. The key is to find one with really great and unique products with a company that is really great to their “builders” and customers.

    An example of a MLM NOT to join is a company like Amway (sorry Amway distributors) that require a lot of upfront purchases – the company gets rich off their distributors purchases.

    Another one that I was involved with is LifeVantage – truly great products (Protandim) but a company that is selfishly top heavy. Decisions from the top are poorly thought out and implemented.

    One never knows when the opportunity of a great company with a great product comes to you. When it does, it could be your way to working part time on your fortune while still keeping your day job.

  7. You’ve got a lot of ideas for how to earn extra money here – many I never would have thought of! I’ve included a link to this blogpost in ReadyForZero’s Weekly Shout Outs: Side Hustle Edition (http://blog.readyforzero.com/weekly-shoutouts-side-hustle-edition/) since you’ve listed more ideas than I’ve seen anywhere else. Thanks for the tips!

  8. zapeta says:

    I always check my pocket change for silver, and I definitely have been giving away my ING links. Lots of other good ideas here, thanks!

  9. Matt M says:

    #6 was hilarious, I want to get a homeless guy to sell water for me so bad now.

  10. getnit. says:

    hustle . hustle hard,.

  11. scott says:

    Are you kidding me. Some ideas are ok but most are just freaking stupid. WTF

    • I wouldn’t go so far to say that they’re “freaking stupid”. Some are a bit out there, but out-of-the-box methods are typically the best methods. I like the list.

  12. James Barton says:

    All of these ideas are for food for thought and are inspirational. Just because some of them maybe difficult etc does not make them stupid. These lists are great for creativity and brainstorming. Thankyou.

  13. Debra says:

    We’ve done #9. successfully.
    We converted 1/2 of our small basement (with just a VERY small basement window) over four years ago, to a studio apartment with walk-out patio area, that makes the studio entry, fully private from our living quarters, and rent it out as a strictly single-occupancy, furnished studio. It was a relatively small investment, that was paid for after less than 18 months of renting it out. My husband and I did all the labor, except for moving the gas line and cutting the 8″ thick concrete foundation wall, so we kept our expenses low. Our home mortgage and half of our utility and cable/internet service bills are paid thru renting it out.

    we are working on #19.
    Just trying to figure out where to place an outdoor, enclosed dog run, so the pets we take on can let themselves out thru a doggy door at night, to relieve themselves.

  14. Nick Loper says:

    Hey Jim,

    Great list, and nice job with some of the more out-of-the-box ideas (1, 8, 23, etc).

    So I actually signed up for YouData the other day but couldn’t figure out how it worked. I think they need some help on their site explaining exactly why people should sign up and how much money they might expect to make!


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