There are many legitimate ways these days to earn a few extra dollars when your monthly budget seems to be spread too thin. We’ve rounded up some of the best ideas and a few resources to get you started.
***Steer clear of anything that resembles a get-rich-quick scheme. They are usually scams, and you’ll end up losing money or ruining your credit. Do your research before ever handing over any personal information or money to people you don’t know or trust.***
1) Join a focus group. Register with a local market research company that regularly conducts focus groups to get paid for sharing your opinions on local businesses. You’re usually only allowed to do a few a year, but you could make up to $200 each time.
2) Sign up for a medical trial. Researchers studying new medical treatments need subjects to test their products or theories on – and usually, they pay people to do it. If you live in a major city or near a university, it’s easier, but you can also find clinical trials in many areas: (http://www.thepennyhoarder.com/participating-clinical-trials-can-earn-serious-cash/)
3) Become a Mystery Shopper. Pose as a customer, then write a review of your experience. You have to be analytical and articulate, but you could make $10 up to $500 a time if you’re good at it. Use the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (http://www.mysteryshop.org) to make sure you’re working for a reputable company.
4) Become an eBay power seller. Scout out thrift shops or craigslist for commonly searched for items in good condition that you could re-sell for more money.
5) Sell your unused items in consignment shops, or on craigslist/ksl. Got stuff lying around that you want to get rid of? Many cities have Facebook groups “indoor yard sale” where you can sell any of your unwanted items. Big ticket items like baby cribs and furniture go pretty quickly, as long as they’re in good condition, and you’ll free up some storage space.
6) Donate bodily fluids; sperm, eggs, blood plasma, or breast milk. Sounds super gross, but your body makes the stuff for free, and other people need it. Mother’s Milk pays donors $1 an ounce. Sperm banks are pretty picky about their donors, and egg donors go through an intensive process, so it’s not always easy money. Blood plasma donors can earn $25 – $70 a week, but you have to be relatively healthy and drug-free to participate.
7) Help your neighbors out – become a dog walker, do yard work, babysit or nanny for working parents. Your neighbors will usually be happy to have you help them with chores they don’t like to earn a few bucks, and if you’re trustworthy, they may pay you to watch their kids while they go for a night out.
8) Write a blog. If you’re a good writer and you have interesting ideas, crafts, pictures, or stories to tell, you can make it big in the blogging world. Or, if not big, you can still get paid to do it. Find out how at: http://www.problogger.net/make-money-blogging/
9) Get a paper route. Not many people get excited at the idea of putting rubber bands on inky paper and driving around town at 5AM, but if you’re an early bird, it’s still a viable source for some extra cash. You could go at it middle-school-style and toss the papers from your bike for a great early-morning workout. Check your local newspaper for ads. They’re almost always looking for willing delivery people.
10) Give lessons or tutor. If you’re great at a hard subject like math, anatomy, or foreign languages, consider tutoring students. If you have advanced training or education, people are more likely to trust your expertise. You’ll need to provide references and a background check to prove you’re trustworthy and actually knowledgeable, but if you have real-world experience and you love sharing knowledge, it can earn you plenty of extra cash. You can even give lessons if you’re good at chess, piano, painting, guitar, breakdancing…anything people are eager to learn. Word-of-mouth is a great way to get business, or create a YouTube video demonstrating your skills as your resume.
11) Monetize a hobby. Websites like Etsy make it easy to sell your original crafts or art. You could even sign up for craft bazaars and local art shows, if you’re into that sort of thing. This one takes some time and effort, but if you have the skills and the passion, it can be a great (and enjoyable) way to earn some extra income.
12) Become a wedding officiant. If you’re great with people and love public speaking, get licensed in your state to officiate weddings. You can typically charge a few hundred dollars per wedding, plus you’ll probably get some free food. It’s a serious business, so you need to be organized and sincere – the couple’s future depends on you doing your homework and making sure everything is legal. (http://www.usmarriagelaws.com/search/united_states/officiants_requirements/) (https://theamm.org/minister-licensing/)
If none of these sound appealing to you, check out a list of some more inventive ways to make a few extra bucks: http://www.budgetsaresexy.com/ways-to-make-money/