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40 Ways To Make Money In Your Spare Time

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Budget feeling a little tight?  Have something that you want to buy, but worried that you’ll break the bank?  Just looking for a way to elevate your lifestyle a bit?  There are lots of different ways to make more money.  But, things like starting a side hustle or getting a raise can take quite a bit of time.  Here are some ways that you can start making more money today.  Like, right now.

A word of caution though.  It’s easy to skim a list like this and then just go on with your day and forget about it.  I’d urge you to take a different approach.  When you see an idea that looks even halfway interesting, stop reading and start making money.

The first idea that you try might be a winner, or you might find out that it’s not for you.  Either way, you’ll be one step closer to finding something that does work.  If you take action, you win.

Quick & Easy Ways To Make Extra Money At Home

In this first section, I’ve included ideas that virtually anyone can do relatively easily.  For the most part, these can all be done online so there is no need to leave home.  They also tend to be relatively quick.  Some of these ideas will make a pretty good amount of money, but most of them are just good for a little extra spending cash.

1. Online Surveys

Taking surveys online is a great way to make a little extra money with relatively little effort.  That’s because the survey companies get paid by other companies to collect opinions.  A lot of these surveys are pretty short, but some are more involved.

I actually kind of enjoy unwinding at the end of the day by listening to a podcast or throwing something on Netflix and then multitasking.  What better way to multitask than taking a survey and getting paid for it?

Survey Junkie enables you to earn points which can be traded in for cash or gift cards to a number of different stores.

Vindale Research pays you in cash to take surveys, open emails, or watch videos and provide feedback.

WIth MyPoints, you can earn points just for shopping at stores that you like and you can also get paid to take surveys.  They even offer a $10 bonus just for signing up.

Choose one of these survey sites or sign up for all of them and then pick and choose the surveys that interest you or pay the most.

2. Go Online

With Swagbucks, you can earn points called SB through all sorts of online activities including shopping, watching videos, searching the web, or answering surveys.  Then, you can redeem your points for cash or gift cards.  They’re also offering a $5 bonus just for signing up.

iRazoo is fairly similar in that you can earn points from watching videos, surfing the web, answering surveys, playing games, and completing offers.  These points are good for cash and gift cards.

InboxDollars is another good option along the same lines, and is offering a $5 bonus for signing up.

These are all solid choices for when you have a bit of downtime to fill, and want to make a few bucks.

3. Credit Card

There are lots of credit cards that offer cash back or points that can be redeemed for travel, dining, entertainment or just about anything else you might want.  Beyond rewards for spending though, a lot of credit cards offer generous bonuses just for signing up.  So, it can pay in more ways than one to stay on the lookout for attractive rewards programs.

A couple of my favorites are Citi’s Double Cash Card and Chase’s Freedom Unlimited Card.

4. Play Games

Believe it or not, you can get paid to play games.  Lucktastic lets you play scratch off games and other challenges to win cash prizes.  It’s 100% free to play and the games are really quick.  That said, you’ll have to play a lot to win, and they do make you watch video ads before playing.  So, consider this as an option when you have a few minutes to kill.  But, it probably won’t be a significant money maker.

Mistplay is a great option for mobile gamers.  You just download their mobile app, and then browse their game recommendations.  Choose a game that looks fun and start playing.  The longer you play, the more you make.  Rewards include cash and gift cards.

5. Focus Groups

Focus groups have been around for decades.  While there are a lot of companies that still run these groups in person, there are also a lot of online focus group alternatives these days.  One nice thing about focus groups is that they tend to offer pretty decent hourly rates.  This can sometimes be up to several hundred dollars per hour.

There is a drawback though.  The higher paying focus groups tend to require a certain level of expertise.  In addition, you may have to apply to several different focus groups before you get accepted for one.  So, while the hourly rate is good, it’s a bit lower when you factor in time spent applying to different groups.

All that being said, it’s still a good way to make some extra money.  Check out Respondent and Focus Group.

6. User Experience

With UserTesting, you can try out different websites and products.  You just provide your feedback via video while you’re testing out the product or site and get paid for your opinions.  They pay $10 for 20 minute tests and $30-120 for live interviews.  Not too shabby.

TryMyUI is similar in a lot of ways, but strictly focused on testing websites and apps.  They pay $10 for each test and the tests tend to last about 20 minutes.

I like both of these quite a bit since their hourly rates are decent and you can do them fairly regularly.  That means that you can actually make pretty decent money in your spare time.

7. Sell Old Things

Sometimes the best way to generate some extra cash is to sell things that you no longer need.  Personally, I use Facebook Marketplace all the time.  It’s great for offloading old furniture, small appliances, electronics, toys, and much more.  You just post your items, and wait for someone local to make an offer.  Then, you leave your stuff outside and someone comes by to pick it up, and pay you.

My favorite part personally is that it eliminates the need to deal with shipping entirely.  Incidentally, I use it to buy things too.  But, that’s not really the point of this post.

Craigslist and eBay are great options for selling just about anything else well.

Then, there are the specialists.

You’ve got Swappa, Decluttr, and Gazelle for tech and electronics.

Kidizen for kids clothes and shoes.

There is even a company called Rebag where you can sell designer handbags and accessories.

8. Transcribe Audio

Rev pays anywhere from $0.30 – $1.10 per minute to transcribe audio or add captions to video. You can make even more if you know multiple languages.  The rates are solid and the work is fairly easy.

9. Proofreading and Editing

ProofreadingServices.com will pay you to proofread and edit documents online.  They offer full time work, but they also offer part time.  Doing this part time can be flexible and fairly lucrative.  Granted, proofreading probably isn’t of everyone.

10. Sell Unused Gift Cards

Ok, selling unused gift cards isn’t exactly making money.  Still, if you have gift cards that you aren’t planning on using any time soon, you might want to unload them to free up cash.  Check out CardCash or Gift Card Granny

11. Nielsen

Nielsen is perhaps best known for measuring TV ratings.  But, they also track online browsing activity.  By signing up with Nielsen, you can earn up to $50 per year just for signing up and installing the app.  This one is relatively easy.  But, then again you’re not exactly going to make a lot of money.

Ways That Anyone Can Make Extra Money With A Little Effort

The ideas in this category will take some effort.  In many cases, you’ll actually have to leave your home, go out into the world, and do things.  That said, many of them can generate meaningful income, and just might be worth the effort.

12. Mystery Shopping

Mystery shopping is another decades old practice that has been modernized with mobile technology.  Field Agent allows you to download their app, and complete shopping assignments.  Some assignments include buying items and trying them out, others involve taking photos and auditing store displays.

This can be a great way to earn a little extra money if you’re already going out and about shopping.

13. Moving Service

WIth Dolly, you can help people move or help retailers to make deliveries.  If you’re strong enough to help move objects and have a car, you can get paid decently.  If you have a pick up truck, you’ll do even better.  That said, this one does involve some heavy lifting.

CitizenShipper is somewhat similar, but they specialize in things that are difficult to transport.  Think pets, motorcycles, furniture, and other things where having a trusted driver is important.

14. Book Flipping

More than a few enterprising individuals have made money flipping books.  Check out library sales, yard sales, and Facebook Marketplace to find good deals on books and then flip them at fair market value and make a profit.

BookScouter can be a great tool to help you determine what a fair price would be for books.

That said, I don’t want to make this one sound easier than it is.  You can make money flipping books but there is a bit of a learning curve and it will take some effort.  It’s not the type of thing where you can just go out one afternoon and make a few hundred dollars your first time.

15. Thrift Store Flipping

Along a similar line, you can go into thrift stores, find clothes that are selling for less than they’re worth and then flip them online for a profit.  Poshmark is a pretty good place to unload your merchandise.

Once again though, this takes a fair bit of effort.  If you’re looking for something of a side hustle, this can be a great idea.  But, it will probably take some time before you’re experienced and efficient enough to make it worthwhile.

16. House Sit

Now we’re talking.  What could be easier than house sitting?  Some of these gigs involve getting the mail, taking out garbage and recycling, and watering plants.  A lot of them also involve a bit of pet care.

Still, all in all, these aren’t a huge amount of effort and are a good way to make some extra money.  Housesitter.com is a good place to look for jobs.

17. Shovel Snow

Depending on where you live, you can make good money shoveling snow.  Granted this is seasonal, and it’s hard work.  But, you’ll probably get a lot of customers if you walk up and down the street after a blizzard offering to shovel walkways and dig out cars.  It’s a pretty good way to make a lot of money in a short amount of time if conditions are right.

Great Ways To Make Money If You Have The Right Skill Set

The ideas in this section aren’t for everyone.  But, I did include ideas for people with all sorts of different skill sets.  A lot of these pay pretty good rates since people with specialized skills tend to earn a premium.  So, check out the list below and see if anything suits you.

18. Freelance Writing

There has probably never been a better time to be a freelance writer.  You can find work writing for news outlets, blogs, eCommerce sites, or just about anywhere else that the written word is used.  Some of these gigs pay by the hour and others pay by the word or by the piece.

In many cases, freelance writing is quite flexible.  So, you can take on work when it suits you.  Check out ProBlogger’s job board if you’re looking for work.

19. Yard Care

Some people love taking care of the lawn and others really don’t.  If you’ve got a knack for it, this can be a good side income.  You can do anything from basic mowing to more involved landscaping.

Advertising locally is a good way to find customers.  But, you can also check out GreenPal and LawnGuru when looking for gigs.

20. Tutor

If you’re academically inclined, tutoring might be right up your alley.  Wyzant matches tutors with students across all kinds of subjects including algebra, reading, Spanish, standardized test prep, and more.  You can meet in person or tutor online.

Hourly rates are pretty good.  So, this can be a very legitimate way to make money. 

21. Handyman

If you’re good at home improvement projects or fixing things around the house, you might want to check out Handy.  This is another flexible income source that also pays pretty well.

22. Sports

For the athletes among us, coaching can be a great source of income.  Check out CoachUp if you’re interested.  They can match you up with one on one opportunities, clinics, camps, and more.  There are opportunities across baseball, gymnastics, football, volleyball, and many other sports as well.

23. Referee Sports Games

If you like sports but don’t want to coach, maybe refereeing is for you.  Keep in mind though, spectators do love blaming the refs when the game isn’t going their way.  So, this one is sure to have its ups and downs.

24. Translations

Doing translations can be great work for anyone that knows multiple languages well.  There are all sorts of projects to work on, from localizing eCommerce sites to translating novels.  Check out Gengo if you’re looking for gigs.

25. Fish Tank Care

Fish tanks, or aquariums, look really nice.  But, they can be somewhat difficult to maintain.  For that reason, a lot of aquarium owners choose to have someone else come check on their tank on a regular basis.  If you’re an aquarium enthusiast and you know what you’re doing, you can get paid pretty well for just a little bit of work.  Of course, you probably have to spend some time traveling to different locations.  So, be sure to factor that in when quoting your rate.

26. Rent Out Baby Gear

Anyone that has had kids knows that you end up accumulating a ton of baby gear.  Cribs, strollers, bassinets, the list goes on.  Once a parent has had their last child, there are a few choices about what to do with all the gear.  You can give it away, you can sell it, or you can rent it.  If renting out your baby gear sounds like an interesting option, check out BabyQuip.

27. Thumbtack

Thumbtack is a great place for skilled professionals to find work.  Whether you’re an attorney, plumber, CPA, or electrician, this is a great place to find leads.  If you’re working 40 hours a week at your day job, this is a good way to apply those same skills in your free time.

Because of the level of specialization required, a lot of these jobs pay pretty well.  Just be careful to make sure you’re not violating a non-compete or moonlighting clause with your current employer.

Flexible Ways To Make Money Longer Term

I’ve included some ideas below that can allow you to make a nice, steady longer term second income.  The thing that makes these ideas different from some of the ones earlier on the list is that in most cases there is a learning curve or some investment of time upfront before the cash starts rolling in.

So, these aren’t the best ideas if you just want to make a quick buck one weekend.  But, they are great if you’re looking to meaningfully increase your income for several months or even years.

28. Rent Out Your Car

If you own a car that spends a fair amount of time in park, you might want to monetize it by renting it out.  That said, if sitting around collecting checks while other people drive your car sounds too good to be true, well, it is.

There is a little more work required than you might think.  At the very least, you need to keep your car very clean and in good condition.  You might also need to drop your car off at nearby locations that are somewhat convenient for the renters.

Still, this is a very viable way to make some extra income.  Turo and GetAround both make the process relatively easy.

29. Freelance

Freelancing has been around for ages.  But, the Internet has made it much easier to find work than it’s ever been.  Sites like UpWork, Fiverr, and FreeUp are all good places to look for gigs.

The nice thing about freelancing is that almost by definition it tends to be very flexible.  Some months you might not have any time for it at all.  Other months, you might choose to work for 40 or 50 hours.

Now, I will say, it does take a little time to get going initially.  You’ll probably need to apply for a number of roles before getting one.  After a while though, you begin to establish a reputation on these platforms and things get much easier and more efficient.

30. Mechanical Turk

Mechanical Turk or MTurk for short is a marketplace run by Amazon that allows customers to pay people to do all sorts of simple tasks online.  In particular, these tasks tend to be things that are easy for humans and difficult for artificial intelligence, such as identifying objects in a photograph.

For the most part, you won’t get paid a high rate for doing work on MTurk.  But, if you enjoy unwinding at the end of the day with some simple tasks, this could be just right for you.

31. Drive For Uber Or Lyft

Driving for Uber or Lyft has become increasingly popular in recent years.  This is particularly lucrative for people that live in densely populated cities.  If you enjoy driving, and know your way around town, give it a shot.

32. Dog Walking

If you like animals, dog walking might be for you.  A lot of owners need someone to walk their dog every day if they work far away from home.  So, you might be able to find some steady customers.  Plus, you’ll get to know the dogs better if you see them frequently, which is kind of nice

You might ask your local vet if you can leave business cards or flyers at their office to find work.  Or, you can check out Wag and Rover.

33. Pet Sitting And Boarding

There is a lot more to Wag and Rover beyond just dog walking.  You can find work boarding dogs at your home or pet sitting at a dog owner’s home.  You can even get dog training gigs here if you know what you’re doing.  This really is ideal for animal lovers.

34. Teach English

If you’re interested in tutoring but don’t remember everything from your academic days particularly well, take a look at VIPKid.  This platform matches English speakers with people all over the world that are interested in learning English.  Not only will you make some extra money, you’ll have a chance to make a positive impact on someone’s life.

35. Food Delivery

If you’re looking for flexible work, food delivery can be a good gig.  If you drive for DoorDash or Postmates, you’ll be delivering food from restaurants.

If that’s not interesting to you, maybe Instacart will be.  This one tasks you with doing the grocery shopping and the delivering.  If you know how to navigate a grocery store efficiently, this can be a great choice.

36. TaskRabbit

TaskRabbit is a marketplace for all sorts of, well, tasks.  These include handiwork like mounting TVs and fixing toilets, as well as delivering things and running other errands.  Become a Tasker and then pick and choose the work that you want to do.

37. Amazon Flex

If you own a car, Amazon Flex is an option to consider.  You get to set your own hours, and drive around locally delivering packages for Amazon.  This has some appeal over driving people around since you can listen to your own podcasts or music without having to accommodate the tastes of your customers.

38. Lose Weight

DId you know that you can get paid to lose weight?  HealthyWage let’s you set a weight loss goal and then bet on yourself to achieve it.  Careful though.  A bet is a bet.  So, if you fall short of your goal, you’ll be on the hook to pay up.

Get Paid To Get Healthy With Sherri Shepherd!

39. Babysitting

I’ve mentioned house sitting and pet sitting already, so of course I can’t leave babysitting off the list.  This is a great option if you like kids.

You can advertise locally or try to get the word out through a moms group.  If you’re having trouble finding parents that need your help, check out Care.com or SitterCity.

40. Rinse

Rinse is a service that picks up dry cleaning and wash & fold laundry from people in the evening, and then drops it back off when it’s clean.  This is an ideal second income source because they need drivers that are available to pick up and drop off in the evenings.

Final Thoughts

Well, that’s a wrap.  I hope that you found at least a few of these to be intriguing.

Now that you’ve made it to the end, go back and choose one to try out.  If you don’t like it, go back and try a different one.  What do you have to lose?