How to Make Extra Money

Ways to Make Extra Money

Learn how to make extra money to help pay the bills or pay down your credit card debts in this bad economy. People assume they are locked into their job and that there’s no other way to make extra cash in this time of economic downturn.

That isn’t the case, though. There are all kind of ways how your can make extra money, while keeping the job you already have. It might take a little bit extra free time, but most of the 20 ideas for how to make money below don’t constitute a full-time job, or even anywhere close to that kind of time commitment.

Making extra money is a matter of turning your skills and resources into profits. A lot of time, the only resource you need is time – getting paid to perform a service people don’t want to do themselves. A certain other segment of these ideas for making extra dollars involve using your living space as a resource – pet and plant sitting, or even taking on tenants. Finally, there is a long list of money-making ideas which involve turning one of your hobbies or skills into profit, or simply getting easy money to become a researcher, research group participant or “mystery shopper”.

There are many ideas for making extra dollars out there, but these should get you started on the road to increasing your income without changing your career, or at least give you ideas for how to turn your skills and resources into money. Either way, here are 20 ideas to make extra money.

  1. Pet Sitting – People go away on holidays and vacations all the time and don’t want to take their pet with them. These same people may not like the idea of kenneling their dog. Become a pet sitter, giving their dog or cat the personal attention and love they won’t get in a kennel. You can arrange whatever setup you feel comfortable with, then advertise to become a dog sitter or cat sitter. Those people without the facilities for animal sitting can hire yourself out to check on peoples’ pets while they’re out of town.
  2. Plant-Sitting – The same goes for plants. People go out of town, but don’t know how to tend to their plants’ needs while they’re gone. Become a plant sitter, either taking those plants into your own home, or going to their home to water and maintain their plants.
  3. Take On Boarders – I know this sounds hopelessly out of date, but I had a friend in college who rented a room for a year or two from an older lady in our college town. If you have the extra space and you live near a college campus, rent that room out to a coed student. If this kid is just out of high school, their parents might prefer they live with a responsible adult and your prices will be cheaper than a house, apartment or dorm. You, on the other hand, will make a little extra money while adding a little youth to your life.
  4. Computer Set-Up – A person who knows the basic setup procedures for home computers can make good money in that business. Consider that the Geek Squad guys charge well over a hundred dollars to set up your computer with the wireless remote, and you know that you can underbid that price. Charge $50 to $75 per visit and you’ll end up underbidding everyone in your town (which is usually just Best Buy).
  5. Computer Maintenance – When you set up a person’s computer, give them your card for your computer maintenance services. Most people’s computers slow down in a year due to viruses and spyware. The least tech savvy among them might not know how to get rid of spyware or how to make a computer faster. You can do that for them.
  6. Become a Genealogy Expert – Have you researched your family’s genealogy records? If you have, then you have the skills to do the same research for other people. You can buy a monthly membership to a couple of genealogy websites, then use that membership to research countless family trees. Most people would like to know about their ancestors, but don’t know the first thing about researching their ancestry. You can be their link to the past.
  7. Internet Research – You can do Internet research in a more general sense for businesses and other contractors. If you know the basics of Googling and how to use the Internet to find information through a search engine, you can hire yourself out as an online researcher. A lot of businesses and professional people will pay good money for research directed in their field of business, because internet researching can be tricky at times (and tedious to some). If you enjoy surfing the Internet and finding the information you need, give Internet research a try.
  8. Join Focus Groups – Researchers are willing to pay people to become a focus group member. You make money for giving your opinion on anything from movies to politics. If you’re like me, you’re happy to share your opinion on those subjects anyway, so why not get paid for it?
  9. Freelance Writing – I know for a fact that webmasters and online publishers can always use well-written Internet content. Open up an eLance account and start selling your writing to clients. If you have a basic mastery of grammar, punctuation and composition, you can make steady income as an Internet article writer. As you get a reputation on, you’ll be able to charge more for your work. Just write a resume, post some samples of your writing, and start bidding on writing projects.
  10. Tutoring – Parents are willing to pay money to have their children personally tutored. You don’t have to be a student or teacher to tutor on a subject; you just need a command of the subject being taught. Most people could tutor on basic math and reading. Patience is probably the single most important trait for a tutor.
  11. Be a Substitute Teacher – People who have less conventional schedules might have the time to become a substitute teacher. No matter where you live, there will be schools in your area that will be desperate for substitute teachers. The only requirements are a flexible schedule and the ability to interact with children. (Also, you can learn more about how to become a teacher here.)
  12. Teach English as a Second Language – If you know a second language, there is easy money in teaching English to recent immigrants to this country. All you need is to make arrangements for a classroom or other venue for teaching a small number of students. Then put up fliers and ads for your class. (Learn how to make flyers here.) You can teach those newly-arrived to our country, or teach locals a second language.
  13. Life Coach – Do your friends tell you that you listen well and give good advice? Consider becoming a “life coach”. The life coach gives encouragement and ideas to other people, helping them live a successful life. Set appointments with your clients around your normal work schedule. You can help locals succeed while making a little extra income for yourself. See also: how do I build my spiritual business?
  14. Buy and Sell Antiques – I know someone who goes to estate auctions, garage sells, thrift stores, trades days and flea markets to find and buys antiques. If you know what you’re looking for, you can find great deals on antiques for next-to-nothing, then sell them on for a nice profit.
  15. Sell Your Stuff Online – Once again, if you have old (yet valuable) items in the attic or closet, take those items and sell them on eBay and Craigslist. Ideas for sell items include kitchen items, one-use items like Halloween costumes, clothes, furniture, books, CDs, DVDs, comic books, board games, trading cards, stamps – just about anything you can imagine.
  16. Professional Shopper – There are some people who are either too elderly or too busy to go shopping for groceries and the like, and they will pay good money to have someone shop for them. Simply have them make out a list and you go to the supermarket for them. Make sure you keep the receipt and make sure (especially in the case of the elderly) to get the best bargains for them. This way, you justify your job by saving money for your client.
  17. Mystery Shopping – A mystery shopper goes into a retail business to shop, then notes the quality of the service employees. Grade their greeters, sales staff and checkout personnel on knowledge, friendliness and time efficiency. Retailers want to assess their own staff, as well as the services provided by their competitors. They pay mystery shopper firms to collect that information for them.
  18. Professional Photographer – If you already have the photographic equipment to get the job down, make a profit off your photography services at wedding, anniversary celebrations, children’s parties and family reunions. Offer to get a mailing list, where you can send the digital images to everyone at the event. (Our article about how to buy a camera can be a good starting point.)
  19. Become a Professional Clown – Learn the clown techniques (juggling, card tricks, etc) and become a party clown. Work children’s parties and be the center of attention while earning extra income.
  20. Become a Virtual Assistant – A virtual assistant hires himself or herself out to perform administrative assistant duties for a local small business. The assistant simply sets the itinerary for the business: setting travel plans, coordinating events on the schedule and otherwise arranging your client’s work-day and work week. If you are organized, you can sell your organization skills to a small business that needs them.

One final bonus idea: creating your own website can be a great way to make money. You can use that website to support any of the strategies above, or you can make money just from your website through affiliate programs and the like.

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