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. 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!

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There are 56 comments to "More money: 5 ways to earn extra cash in your spare time".

  1. Ed says 10 May 2007 at 13:37

    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 says 01 January 2012 at 21:34

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

      • Kaci says 18 February 2012 at 12:36

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

        • Dan says 12 July 2015 at 01:37

          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.

  2. Allie says 10 May 2007 at 15:47

    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.

  3. tehn yit chin says 10 May 2007 at 15:57

    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

  4. Lazy Man and Money says 10 May 2007 at 17:05

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

  5. Tantowi says 10 May 2007 at 18:06

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

  6. KMull says 10 May 2007 at 19:03

    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?

  7. Wesley says 10 May 2007 at 19:51

    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.

  8. Gal Josefsberg says 10 May 2007 at 20:35

    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 to take their medicine, and cover your other medical bills.


  9. Joseph says 11 May 2007 at 06:50

    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.

  10. Never teh Bride says 11 May 2007 at 08:49

    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.

  11. Roger says 11 May 2007 at 15:18

    (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.

  12. Ben says 14 May 2007 at 07:13

    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 sure you don’t come out worse off in the end.

  13. Computer Consulting Kit Home Study Course says 19 June 2007 at 18:47

    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 consulting and you have some good people skills and good technical skills, go sign-up now to get the free sample excerpts of the Computer Consulting Kit Home Study Course at

    It’s field-tested and PROVEN to work for anywhere from complete beginners to those that’ve been in computer consulting since the 1980’s… all over the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, and many, many other nations around the globe.

    Best wishes,

    Joshua Feinberg, author and editorial director
    Computer Consulting Kit Home Study Course

  14. FYI says 16 July 2007 at 23:25

    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”

  15. Anya says 26 November 2007 at 12:08

    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 :))

  16. Grant says 17 March 2008 at 10:36

    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.

  17. soldja babe says 18 May 2008 at 21:36

    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!!!!!

  18. Sabrina says 26 May 2008 at 06:29

    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 snow shovelled. This will take some of the burden off of you and allow them to try their entrepreneurial skills out at an early age.

    3. Another option is to have them become qualified to babysit and then they can offer their services to your friends or others in the community.

  19. Kim says 08 July 2008 at 18:53

    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.

  20. Sharon says 21 September 2008 at 12:34

    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.

  21. Emily says 22 September 2008 at 08:38

    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 garage sale (and estate auction) finds.

  22. Matt says 05 January 2009 at 18:15

    Another cool new way to make some extra money is renting out your unused space as self storage at 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:

  23. Jeff says 09 March 2009 at 06:59

    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

    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.

  24. Josh says 03 June 2009 at 13:08

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

  25. Keely says 03 June 2009 at 20:29

    A great way to make some extra cash is by selling your own books. There is a great website, 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!

  26. Keely says 17 June 2009 at 08:50

    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 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.

  27. Rosemary says 28 June 2009 at 08:50

    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.

  28. sarah says 22 August 2009 at 09:23

    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.

  29. Earn Money Online Training Lessons says 20 March 2010 at 00:52

    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.

  30. Ann Dogerty says 20 March 2010 at 04:27

    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:

  31. Independencia Financiera says 20 September 2010 at 15:01

    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.

  32. Health says 03 November 2010 at 08:33

    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.

  33. Monica says 03 January 2011 at 14:01

    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.

  34. luke says 09 May 2011 at 17:32

    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

  35. luke says 09 May 2011 at 17:41

    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

  36. Kristen B. says 03 October 2011 at 08:26

    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

  37. KMerriweather says 09 October 2011 at 19:47

    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.

  38. Heather says 22 November 2011 at 08:32

    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!

  39. Daniel G. says 26 January 2012 at 16:08

    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.

  40. Hanna says 03 June 2012 at 07:56

    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 you get price trends and fair market values for almost all used goods so you’ll know what the going price is for an item. I find this very useful and reassuring, as I’ll know I’m not overpaying or underselling my stuff.
    I would recommend everybody to sign up for it and start flipping items!

  41. Alana says 14 June 2012 at 09:29

    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!

  42. Someone says 07 July 2012 at 17:49

    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 at McDs. Only thing is, it’s not on a regular steady basis. But still, whoever wrote that they made $180 is better off than the $6/hr fry kid.)

  43. Brad says 09 September 2012 at 11:06

    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, or aprons out of old shirts and then sell them on KIJIJI or Craigslist. You can make a big proft with that kind of thing. If you like to ‘tinker’ in your spare time it’s a great way to make extra cash.

  44. Danno says 16 October 2012 at 10:44

    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.

  45. Cpc network affiliate Program says 24 October 2012 at 17:49

    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!

  46. how to make easy money how to make easy money says 23 March 2013 at 03:05

    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!

  47. profitclicking make money cash income retiement says 23 March 2013 at 16:20

    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.
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  48. LD @ Personal Finance Insider says 03 April 2013 at 01:30

    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.

  49. Matt says 07 August 2013 at 07:55

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

  50. Earn Some Extra Cash says 27 May 2014 at 15:25

    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.

  51. ed says 21 August 2014 at 19:00

    An extra job sounds great for extra money but finding that right job for you is hard. Am a handy man but with a baby i could really use the extra cash. Any ideas were or what kind of job i could get…?

  52. Ilse Goolden says 14 January 2015 at 23:28

    My own contrubtion is. Checking in on is one way, you can keep up to the moment, with more of what’s taking place, in the ever advancing world of book publising and retailing in general. The website also has a newsfeed from a variety of sector sources.

  53. Debra Nelson says 07 December 2022 at 11:24

    Thank you so much for sharing how to keep track of your money. I agree with the distractions of managing credit cards and the bills continue to mount up.
    Your system to plan better sounds like something, I would like to try.

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