More money: 5 ways to earn extra cash in your spare time

The discussion yesterday about how to earn money when you've lost your job got me thinking about ways to earn extra income outside regular employment. None of these are quick fixes, but they're ways to generate cash in your spare time.

Get a Second Job

 

A second job can be an excellent way to earn extra money if you have the time and energy. Why have a second job?

  • To pay off your debt
  • To build up your savings
  • To get more experience
  • To ease into a career transition

Real-life example: In 2000, I took a second job programming computers. For several months, I was working sixty hours a week. I've never been so flush with money in all my life. Too bad I was a spendthrift back then — it was all wasted on computer games, comic books, and Magic cards.

Become a Consultant

Earlier this year, Andréa wrote a guest entry about becoming a consultant to defeat debt quickly:

“Consulting” may sound intimidating. It's really just a fancy word for someone who trades their knowledge and expertise for pay. Every time you make a suggestion, recommend a process, draw up a plan or manage a process, you're using consulting skills. To get into consulting, you just need to find someone who can use your expertise.

Read more advice about how to become a consultant at Andréa's site.

Real-life example: After I decided that computer programming was not for me, I set up a small computer consulting business. I designed web pages, maintained networks, and repaired computers. Though I didn't have much work (I never pursued the business as much as I could have), my hourly pay was the highest it's ever been in my life.

Earn Money From Your Hobbies

If you're like most people, your hobbies cost money. They may cost lots of money. For example, I used to spend hundreds of dollars for new camera lenses just so I could take better photos of my cats. Is there a way to turn your hobby into a money-making proposition? Even if you make just a little cash, you can help offset your costs. Get Rich Slowly readers have been sharing their stories about money-making hobbies in an ongoing (though irregular) Sunday series:

Here are some more ways that you can use your hobbies to bring you wealth.

Real-life example: After spending a fortune on lenses and camera equipment, I've actually been able to make a little money on my hobby. The $750 I've generated from prizes and sales is peanuts compared to what I've spend on the hobby, but it's a start.

Make Money Online

Wait. Didn't I just write that blogging is no way to get rich quick? Absolutely. But blogging can be a way to supplement your income. If you have subject that you're passionate about, and if you like to write, a blog can let you earn extra money from your expertise.

But blogs aren't the only way to make money online. You could open an online store. You could sell things on eBay. Here's a list of 10 ways to make money online from Web Worker Daily.

Real-life example: This blog.

Sell Stuff

A final way to earn some extra cash fast is to sell things. Look in your closets. Check your bookshelves. Walk out to the garage. See all that junk? How much of it do you actually use? Couldn't you borrow books from the library when you need them? When was the last time you played Mario Kart 64? Wouldn't you feel better if your house were less cluttered?

As long as you don't try to sell it all at once, it doesn't take much time and effort to sell your used stuff to generate some extra cash.

  • Sell your most valuable items on eBay. (My eBay tips.)
  • Consider selling certain specialty items to specific stores: sell your used CDs to a music store, your used Nintendo stuff to a game store, etc.
  • Use Craigslist to sell bulky items, or to get rid of stuff that just won't sell. (My Craigslist tips.)
  • Hold a garage sale to purge everything else. (Our annual garage sale is just a month away — I can't wait.)

Real-life example: Once or twice a year, I sell extra stuff I've accumulated. Each year at our garage sale, I make about $300. Every couple years, I sell more valuable items on eBay. Last year I made $1500 for a few hours of work.

Use Your Extra Money Wisely!

What should you do with the extra money you earn using these techniques? Put it in a high yield savings account, establish an emergency fund, pay off debt, and then save for retirement!

More about...Side Hustles, Career

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Ed
Ed
13 years ago

Well I have gone the 2nd job route, the only problem is getting used to having the extra money. Now I don’t want to slow down because I feel that the next “extra” paycheck can be used to fund something else…more sharebuilder stock? Easier to fund IRA? Blow up waterslide for the kids? It never ends 😉

John
John
8 years ago
Reply to  Ed

Paying down debt is always a good idea when you have extra money.

Kaci
Kaci
8 years ago
Reply to  John

Unless you’re one of the fortunate few who have no debt. 🙂

Dan
Dan
4 years ago
Reply to  Kaci

Hi, thanks for the tips I never have thought of a number of them. personally like to use online surveys to make a second income, I am making about five hundred dollars per month working about an hour each day not bad for a side income. The site I like to use is paymentforsurveys blogspot com if your interested.

Allie
Allie
13 years ago

I have a second job. My husband pays me to open his business mail and keep track of his business stuff like bills, etc. Works out very well for me. 🙂

“For example, I used to spend hundreds of dollars for new camera lenses just so I could take better photos of my cats.”

I am familiar with this. I have a never-ending quest for a camera that is fast enough to freeze the action of my two border collies.

tehn yit chin
tehn yit chin
13 years ago

Maximise your selling price by consider whether the items needs to be sold via a garage sale vs Ebay.

I have found that the crowd visiting our garage sales are _really_ looking for a bargain. The Ebay crowd, while still looking for a bargain, are also prepare to pay top dollar for the items as well.

An example, best offer we got for a pair of heaters in our garage sale was $60. on Ebay, we got $180. Big difference.

tehn yit chin
http://cheap-as-chips.blogspot.com/

Lazy Man and Money
Lazy Man and Money
13 years ago

You’ll never get my copy of Mario Kart 64. Never…

Tantowi
Tantowi
13 years ago

For get rich slowy, make money online with google adsense, yes it is very slowy 🙂

KMull
KMull
13 years ago

My co-workers made fun of me recently because I sold a few odds and ends on eBay or other online sites. Hey, cash is cash, right?

Wesley
Wesley
13 years ago

A job pretty much anyone can do is delivering food. I used to deliver steaks for a company in my home town. If you can deliver something a bit more expensive than pizza, your tips will likely be much higher.

It’s not glamorous, but if you’re in a pinch, an extra $200 – $300 a week to work a few hours in the evenings isn’t too bad. Football season is a prime time to start this sort of thing…food delivery definitely picks up during that time of year.

Gal Josefsberg
Gal Josefsberg
13 years ago

A suggestion you may not have thought of is to participate in medical research or donate fluids. I’m not going to get into the gory details, but there are a variety of organizations that will pay you for platelets, blood and other fluids. You can also get paid for participating in medical research, by providing data or being a test subject. Obviously, you need to do some research before volunteering for something that might make you grow a third hand 🙂 but this could be a good alternative for someone struggling with medical bills. Pharma companies will actually pay you… Read more »

Joseph
Joseph
13 years ago

It would probably be better to sell games online than in stores, you are more likely to get a better deal. Do some research first to see what the games are selling for on ebay other auctions sites first.

Those gamestores are sometimes likely to “rip” you off on games. Though they are good places to get used games, which is a good idea, they are about 10% percent cheaper, and if you get a card from them they usually are even cheaper.

Never teh Bride
Never teh Bride
13 years ago

Selling stuff is my (extra) money making strategy. You never know how much useless ‘stuff’ you have until you start looking for things to sell. Suddenly, you find out you have books you’ll never read again, clothes you never wear, CDs you hate, gadgets that are outdated, etc.

Roger
Roger
13 years ago

(As an aside, JD, I would vote that you consider killing trackbacks. I have no idea what a group writing project is, but it’s pretty lame in your comments.)

Another thing to consider is overtime, if your job allows or has it available. Time-and-a-half can really add up quickly.

Ben
Ben
13 years ago

The only downside to making money from hobbies are the taxes involved. You’ll have to make sure you correctly report your income netted against any expenses to come up with a gain/loss. Losses cannot be taken against regular income for a tax benefit, but you will be taxed if there is a gain. Also, if you are really into your hobby, the IRS might determine that it is more like a business, and thus, be taxed as a personal business, which is much less desirable in most instances. All I’m saying is educate yourself on the tax side to make… Read more »

Computer Consulting Kit Home Study Course
Computer Consulting Kit Home Study Course
13 years ago

Hi JD, When you setup your small computer consulting business and your hourly pay was the highest it’s EVER been in your life, why didn’t you pursue the business as much as you could have? Do you have any idea how many entrepreneurs have failed because they gave up too soon?!? MANY, many computer consulting businesses have started because of IT pros looking to learn extra cash in their spare time, very similar to your situation. Small business computer consulting can be VERYYYY lucrative with a very minimal capital investment… IF you know what you’re doing! If you enjoyed computer… Read more »

FYI
FYI
12 years ago

Speaking of Google Adsense, perhaps it’s time to admit that the emperor is buck naked? Google is no longer an asset to small business. It’s digressed into a black box designed to extract as much money as possible from small business while giving back as little value as possible. This piece explains why Adwords is something to be skeptical about: “Why Google Adwords is Not Helpful to Small Business” http://smartstartup.typepad.com/my_weblog/2007/07/a-fable-doing-b.html

Anya
Anya
12 years ago

Funny comment spam above for the “Computer Consulting Kit.” I wonder how many places on the web he’s cut & pasted that text or similar text… ignoring the irony of trying to market a self-marketing training kit via such methods. (I bet his materials include a chapter on how to “take advantage of” blogs :))

Grant
Grant
12 years ago

Great ideas!

I’m also always looking for ways to make a few extra bucks. I think that most people need to realize 2 things though.
1. No Such Thing as a Free Lunch
2. You can’t get rich overnight

Watch out for scams too.

soldja babe
soldja babe
12 years ago

my kid wants to earn more money but……………………………… i asked them to wash the car and i would give them $1then asked them to mow the lawn and i would give them $1 im running out of ideas give me more ideas PLEASE!!!!!

Sabrina
Sabrina
12 years ago

If your kids want to earn extra money, here’s a couple ideas: 1. Pay them for anything that needs to be done that you don’t want to do. For example, clean the bathroom, wash the windows, babysitting their siblings, taking out the trash, vacuuming the house, etc. Just be careful to not pay them for things that you already expect from their normal chores. 2. Have them earn money outside of the house. If they are old enough, let them get a paper route. Another option is to let them ask the neighbors if they need their lawns mowed or… Read more »

Kim
Kim
12 years ago

Network Marketing is a great way to earn addiitonal $500 to $1000 per month. I know it has been given a bad rap but it is a great way to earn additional income in your spare time. (not get rich quick) Even David Bach from Start Late, Finish Rich recommends it for additional income.

Sharon
Sharon
11 years ago

Hi JD,

I also have a blog but its contents is more on personal/daily activities.

Before, i had to plan to earn income through my blog but then i realized its not that easy.

Emily
Emily
11 years ago

Another idea is to buy at garage sales and sell on eBay. Sometimes people just don’t know what they have. My parents are avid garage salers and a friend of theirs bought an ink well (2 parts of a 3 piece set) for $15 at a garage sale. She got it home only to find out it was by some famous designer. She popped it up on eBay and it sold for $3000. Of course this is an extreme example, but if you have a good eye for antiques/collectibles, you could make a killing. My parents do pretty well reselling… Read more »

Matt
Matt
11 years ago

Another cool new way to make some extra money is renting out your unused space as self storage at Homstie.com. The site connects people with extra space to those who need storage. If you are in a big city like LA, you can charge around $300/month for someone to store couches and boxes in your garage. This would allow you to make $3600 per year and would most likely save your renter that same amount compared to traditional self storage.

Check it out: http://www.homstie.com

Jeff
Jeff
11 years ago

You may want to look for referral partnerships online. You basically refer people to a service and get a cut of the sale.

One that i have used recently is http://www.thesimplescan.com

I just referred my family and friends to have thier photos scanned and get a cut of 15% of thier sales. Hope this helps, there are plenty of options out there.

Josh
Josh
11 years ago

Haha, 1 dollar each to wash a car and mow? I would do a dollars worth of work to each then

Keely
Keely
11 years ago

A great way to make some extra cash is by selling your own books. There is a great website, http://www.bookjingle.com that purchases used books. They make an instant offer on your books and even give you a label to ship the books to them for free. Payment is sent quickly after the books are received, usually less than 2 days. My experience has shown that they offer more than the used bookstores and definitely more than a yard sale. You won’t get rich but you will make some extra cash!

Keely
Keely
11 years ago

You mentioned selling things you no longer need and I have found a great way to sell books that I don’t want or need any longer. On http://www.bookjingle.com you enter the ISBN numbers on the back of the book and a price comes up for the books they will accept. It is really easy and they even give you a prepaid label to ship the books to them for free. It only took two days after they received my books to get paid by Paypal. I think they pay by check as well.

Rosemary
Rosemary
11 years ago

Thanks for that bookjingle site. Anything like that on CD’s or games? I have used “Cash for Gold” and made out pretty good. They also take silver & gems. Don’t send them anything that has memories….I now wish that I didn’t send a certain ring.

sarah
sarah
10 years ago

Don’t forget the easiest slow making income. RECYCLE your bottles. we all drink something out of a bottle/can. rather than throwing them away or recycle bin, save&collect. when you have enough, take them down to where they recycle and get cash. some grocery stores are actually paying for them. just need to find out where in your city/town, they recycle.

Earn Money Online Training Lessons
Earn Money Online Training Lessons
10 years ago

Earning extra cash from your blog is a process you need to master in your spare time. Education is the key, educate yourself by reading some good E-Books, joining forums related to your niche and putting together a system that will make you money over time.

Ann Dogerty
Ann Dogerty
10 years ago

Hi JD! thank for sharing this handy info)
another rational idea is to save up time which is money on web downloads. I search and download everything from here: http://www.queentorrent.com
ebjoy!

Independencia Financiera
Independencia Financiera
9 years ago

Hi JD.
I felt really related to your post. I have a second job that generates me about 30% additional income. I’ve also started a web site and have options to monetize it, but I’m still working on the material rather than focusing on selling things.
The point is I allways hear people complaining that they don’t earn enough, but most of them do nothing about it. Your five ideas just a glimpse of what people can actually do to earn more… the problem is when people don’t really want to do it.

Health
Health
9 years ago

Don’t forget the easiest slow making income. RECYCLE your bottles. we all drink something out of a bottle/can. rather than throwing them away or recycle bin, save&collect. when you have enough, take them down to where they recycle and get cash. some grocery stores are actually paying for them. just need to find out where in your city/town, they recycle.

Monica
Monica
9 years ago

An easy way to earn some cash is to become a product tester. You get paid $40 or more per hour and you will be normally asked to try products and consumer packaged goods that already exist on the market onsite.

Tragon pays their members for their participation in paid product testing or paid discussion groups. If you live in SF CA Bay Area or Chicago IL – Deerfield, IL Tragon may be a good fit for you.

luke
luke
9 years ago

onther way you could make money is if you want a product you could buy bulk cheap and then take on out of the bunch and sell the rest on ebay for what they are really worth or what stores are selling them

luke
luke
9 years ago

Oh and i forgot it help if you buy from other countries that has a lower currency than you and that ship for low price and then you can sell for what they were selling it for

Kristen B.
Kristen B.
8 years ago

I have tried having an extra work so that I could be able to earn more. I wish I would have items to sell on eBay and I would have an option where can I try applying as a mystery shopper, which is near to my place. I was trying to think of other investment options so that I could earn passive income. Thanks for the interesting article.

Magnavox MDR513H

KMerriweather
KMerriweather
8 years ago

This is a very informative article. For so many though it is hard to fathom making a living this way. The pay scale just do not seem to match the service requested. People and companies offering a measly $.05 to $1.00 for writing services which is just horrible. Even so, we don’t complain. Why? We need to make money to survive. To anyone looking to make extra money, follow the advice in this article. Make it happen for yourself. Most importantly, don’t give up.

Heather
Heather
8 years ago

Another way to make a little extra cash is offering to house-sit or run errands for seniors. Many seniors do not have family willing to give up their time to do these things. I’ve made up to $200/wk extra doing this. Sometimes they have given me items like old comic books or jewellery that I’ve resold. Most senior citizen houses are a gold-mine of antiques. I keep telling my grandparents that but they don’t seem to get the extent of it!

Daniel G.
Daniel G.
8 years ago

I don’t have any debt to pay off or anything. I just want to make extra cash for extra items to buy at groceries or that extra dollar for drinks at a bar or a movie theatre and have a steady job and a second job to take on a mystery shopper job on the side. All of the “make extra money list” sounds good to me. I lost my job recently.

Hanna
Hanna
8 years ago

These are all great tips and I have a “tool” to add to the “Sell Stuff” part. I’ve recently gotten sucked into online trading, and it is amazing how much money you can make by looking for good deals on sites like eBay and Craigslist, and then sell the item for more (maybe “upgrade it” a little bit first). For instance, you can get an iPhone with a broken screen for a fraction of the price on Craigslist, change the screen for $50-100 and sell it and still make money of it! I’ve used this new tool called Statricks, where… Read more »

Alana
Alana
8 years ago

I’m not quite a millionaire (yet), but your website has allowed me to become more financially free than I ever thought possible. Everything from simple saving tips to long-term investment strategies – it’s all gold. I just thought I’d drop by and show my appreciation. Thanks!

Someone
Someone
8 years ago

Nooooo way I’m going the second-job route when I don’t even have a first job. I’d rather sell some things or do affiliate links and invest rather than actually go to a 9-5 or work behind the burger counter. Maybe it’s an example of cognitive dissonance, but for some reason “work” calls to mind getting up every morning and punching in the clock for a set number of hours rather than making your own hours and socking it away to accumulate even if it’s only a little bit. (You’d probably make more in an hour on eBay than you would… Read more »

Brad
Brad
7 years ago

I like the ideas presented here, but I think there is more to add. I think you can make extra money by doing almost anything, it just takes a little creativity. What really makes you the money is creating value for other people. Even with a blog like this one, if it didn’t create value, it wouldn’t make any money. In the DIY section of Pinterest there are thousands of projects which could be sold at a profit. I personally do this and it makes me some extra money on the side. I’ll make lamps out of thrift store teapots,… Read more »

Danno
Danno
7 years ago

Great article. I am trying to earn money as we speak. Flipping iphones on craigslist. Buying lots then selling for more than what I got them for.

Cpc network affiliate Program
Cpc network affiliate Program
7 years ago

Hi, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility issues.

When I look at your blog site in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.

I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, very good blog!

how to make easy money how to make easy money
how to make easy money how to make easy money
7 years ago

Hi there! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my good old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this post to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

profitclicking make money cash income retiement
profitclicking make money cash income retiement
7 years ago

Greetings from Los angeles! I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to check out your blog on my iphone during lunch break. I love the info you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home.
I’m amazed at how quick your blog loaded on my cell phone .. I’m
not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, superb site!

LD @ Personal Finance Insider
LD @ Personal Finance Insider
7 years ago

A lot of people don’t realize how many quick and easy ways there are to earn extra cash. Most of these won’t replace having a job, but it’s always nice to earn a little something extra on the side.

Matt
Matt
6 years ago

Wow, This is reallly grat advice. Thank you J.D for posting such a great article.

Earn Some Extra Cash
Earn Some Extra Cash
6 years ago

I have found great success in selling things on Ebay but its definitely more of a pain now than it used to be about 5 years ago and the fees just contribute to the madness.

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