Personal Finance 

13 Quick Ways to Make Extra, Easy Cash Money

$1,025 in credit card offers!If cash is getting a little scarce around your household and you’ve cut back as many expenses as you possibly can, it’s time to look at the other side of the equation – the income side. There are many ways you can earn some extra cash and below I’ve listed thirteen that range from really quick and easy with no headaches to a bit more cumbersome. There’s no order to the list other than that’s how they came out of my brain.

1. Rent out a room. If you have a spare bedroom in your home, you might consider renting it out to someone. While this may not qualify as a “quick” way, it’s certainly something that can really put a lot of extra cash in your pocket. The only downside of this is if you select a bad roommate, always a distinct possibility, because it could be difficult getting rid of them.

2. Rent out parking. If you live in a parking-strapped city and have a parking pad, consider renting out any “extra” spots you may have (or even your spot). You incur the headache of finding a parking spot every night but you may be richly rewarded for doing so.

3. Baby-sit. Teenagers do it, why not adults? Baby sitting is a great way to earn easy money without dealing with a lot of headache. Just brush up on your first aid skills, know your emergency contact numbers (or better yet, program them into your phone), and start offering your services to friends, neighbors, Craigslist, etc.

4. Hold a yard sale. The weather up in the Northeast may not be accommodating to this particular idea but yard sales are a great way to turn your clutter into cash. If you don’t have a lot of stuff to sell, round up your neighbors and see if you can scare up enough stuff for a community yard sale.

5. Sell high dollar items on Craigslist or eBay. If you have any valuable items, consider listing them on Craigslist or Ebay rather than going the yard sale route. Yard sale aficionados are looking for deals more than they are looking for specific items, chances are a customer won’t value items as highly as you will. By going online, you stand a better chance of finding someone who really wants what you’re selling.

6. Return stuff you bought but haven’t used. This is more of a stretch but if you have anything you bought and haven’t used and can return it, just return it! That’s immediate cash money in your pocket that you didn’t have before and it took almost no effort.

7. Participate in focus groups. I participated in a 90 minute focus group in Baltimore about windows and was paid $100 cash. Do a search for local focus groups and you might be able to score some easy cash if you qualify.

8. Take paid online surveys. There are a lot of junk survey sites out there and I’ve stayed away from most of them but my experiences with Opinion Output and Pinecone Research have always been positive.

9. Donate plasma. I’ve always heard about donating plasma but really learned more about it when I was reading Adam Shephard’s Scratch Beginnings. Donating plasma doesn’t seem like fun but it pays and you can do it twice a week. (Men can donate sperm as well, but you’ll probably have to go somewhere else for that)

10. Put advertising on your car. If you do a lot of driving, especially on highways and in very crowded areas, considering getting your car wrapped. Advertisers will pay a few hundred bucks a month to get your car draped in their logo, colors, everything. The nice thing about this is that the wrap can be removed without any damage to the car. This option may not be as easy given economic conditions but it’s certainly worth considering.

11. Tutoring. Are you particularly strong in math or verbal skills? Did you crush the SATs or the SAT IIs? Are you a maven in the sciences? Consider tutoring either online through services like or locally in your area. Check your local area for opportunities to educate our nation’s youth (for a modest fee of course).

12. Seasonal labor. Check out the stores at your local mall, grocery store, and even the post office to see if they have any seasonal labor opportunities. Retail sales are expected to be weaker this year but you may still be able to find some work since there should be an increase in activity, especially at the post office. (You can always get a part time job or become a temp too)

13. Start a part time business as a dog walker, errand runner, or handyman. The easiest “business” you can start is one that uses your existing skills – everyone’s capable of running errands, walking dogs, and, for some, by a handyman (or woman).

If you have any good ideas I’ve missed, as I’m certain there will be plenty, please share them in the comments! Also, if you’ve tried any of these and could share your experiences, I’m sure everyone would be very appreciative.

 Personal Finance 

Participate in Focus Groups & Surveys, Get Paid

Online surveys are great (I’m a fan of Greenfield and of course Pinecone Research) but they don’t mean the same payday as a real life focus group or in-person survey. In one of my marketing classes at Hopkins, the professor brought in a friend of his who was in the business of market research and she discussed where she held her focus groups. As it turns out, which makes perfect sense if you think about it, you simply find companies who deal in the collection and management of folks you can call on to participate in surveys and focus groups. I’m not entirely sure what the payout is but it seems handsome and it’s a good way to try out new products and get out of the house every once and a while.

As I scoured the web, one resource that kept appearing was a site called Greenbook, which helps anyone find market research companies. On the right hand side there is a listing of all the states and when you click on it it gives you a listing of all the market research companies and facilities in that state. In Maryland there were 18 different listings and by visiting the company’s website you’re often able to sign up to become a participant.

You won’t become rich doing this and often companies will have a limit as to how often you can participate in a market research survey or focus group but for a little extra cash (and they often will pay cold hard cash) it’s not a bad idea to consider getting on these lists.


GoZing acquired by Greenfield Online

I’ve written about GoZing survey’s in the past and wanted to mention that they were recently acquired by Greenfield Online, another survey company, so don’t be alarmed if you sign up and see “a Greenfield Online Company” underneath the name GoZing or don’t see the name GoZing whatsoever.

I don’t know how this will affect current members of GoZing. I still get emails from GoZing (and not Greenfield) and the pages it sends me to are still branded GoZing, but the new signup page says Greenfield on it.

 Free, General 

Pinecone Research Open Enrollment

Update 11/1: Pinecone Research’s Open Recruitment Week has ended but Opinion Outpost is a great alternative that I’ve used.

I wrote about Pinecone Research (and Opinion Outpost) a little while back and I wanted to let you know that the open enrollment period has started again. Visit Pinecone Research and click on the scrolling marquee at the bottom, titled Open Recruitment Week – click here to signup for the panel! I don’t think there’s any other way of getting to it directly.

For some of my thought about Pinecone, read this post titled “Pinecone & GoZing – Two Good Survey Networks“.


Pinecone & GoZing – Two Good Survey Networks

One of the easiest ways to earn a little extra spending money is to answer short surveys. But have you seen the ridiculous ads where you pay $20-$50 to join a “network” and then get surveys where you make money?

They’re BS.

Over the years, I’ve found several survey groups that give you interesting surveys and actually pay you.

Pinecone Research is a great survey network constantly looking to grow. Pinecone will send you a $5 check in the mail every so often with the details of a survey. They also send you an email message telling you the deadline of the survey. They also send unpaid Household related questions to figure out what products you buy or use in order to send you applicable surveys. They pay you before you do the survey! If you ever have the chance, sign up quickly because the signup usually closes up quickly.

Opinion Outpost is the second of the two networks I am a member of and they’re a little more erratic, the surveys don’t come consistently and sometimes you won’t qualify for a survey they send to you. They pay after (4-6 weeks) you do the survey, so the pickings aren’t as good as Pinecone. Here is an Opinion Outpost review worth checking out. But it’s free to sign up, you don’t get spammed, and free money is free money.

Vindale Research is a very well known product research company that pays out $5 and $75 per survey you complete, which can include trying a new product or visiting a website. It’s 100% free (which is key, a lot of places will have you pay to apply or be a member) and they have a zero-tolerance SPAM policy. They are not some fly by night operation, having been in business since 2004 and a good reputation in the focus group and product evaluation industry.

If you have experiences with other networks (or with these two), please do share!

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