A recent Reddit thread asked “Outside of a job, what do you do to make extra money that anyone can do?” I think we would all like to bring in some extra money, so I looked into some of the suggested ideas.
The National Institute of Health and other research companies are often looking for healthy volunteers for various studies. You can read more about some of these studies. Typically, the more intrusive the study, the more money you will make. A lot of the simpler studies will pay $150-$200 if you qualify. It definitely isn’t for everyone – some people have no desire to participate in a medical study. But if you’re comfortable with it, you can bring in some good money. Some studies that require more of your time can pay in the thousands. Probably not an option for someone working full time, but definitely an option if you’re between jobs.
You likely won’t make a lot of money mystery shopping, but you can often keep the items you are required to buy. Mystery dining at upscale restaurants is a great gig, if you can get into it. Again, the final payment may only be $20, but you will have a meal for you and a guest completely funded. It’s an easy way to treat yourself.
Do be wary of these companies – some can be scams. So do your research before signing up. You will need to be fairly well written, and you will spend some time doing the evaluations, but this can be a lot of fun. I’ve done some mystery shopping and I really enjoyed it. I may try to get back into it and share my thoughts with you.
A lot of people don’t like to leave their homes unoccupied while they are out of town for a long period of time. They may also have pets who need to be tended to. Depending on your living situation, you may be able to take on a house sitting gig. Pay absolutely varies, and word of mouth is huge here. But if you’re interested in getting into house sitting, let the people around you know. Research rates in your area.
This is a pretty common gig for young people who are living with their parents after college, but I have friends in their 30’s and 40’s who also do house sitting. The more references you can give, the better. If you are part of any local groups (a running group, knitting club, etc), you can let them know you’re available to house sit. You can also reach out to local neighborhood lists. You might have someone down the street who doesn’t need a person to stay at their house, but they might want someone to come check on their house, get their mail, water their plants, and make sure everything is safe.
If you like dogs, dog walking is a fabulous way to make some extra cash – and you get to spend some time with a dog. Rover and Wag! are two different companies where you can sign up to be a walker, let them know when you’re available, and you can get dog walking gigs. Rover also offers dog boarding services – if you’re willing to take a pet into your home while someone is away, you can make some good money.
Of course, with dog walking, you can also go old-school and put up signs in local parks and other places where people walk their dogs.
Teach English Online
Are you a fluent English speaker? Do you like talking to other people? Then look into teaching English online!
I have a number of friends who teach through VIPKID, where you teach one-on-one with a child in China. You do need a bachelor’s degree for this gig, and a good internet connection (as you will be video chatting), but the lesson plans are provided for you. VIPKID pays up to $21 an hour, and since you’re working with kids in China, early mornings and evenings are the ideal work times.
Another popular company is Cambly. With Cambly, you aren’t formally teaching, but just chatting with students learning English. These students can be from anywhere in the world, so you can learn a lot from them as well! The pay is lower than VIPKID, $10.20 per hour, but the setting is much less formal, and the work is quite a bit easier.
Leverage Your Skills
In general, think about what you’re good at and consider a way to make money with that skill. If you love to knit, you might not be able to make a lot of money selling knitted items, but you might be able to teach others how to knit.
Maybe you love to write. Are you a writer? Plenty of people are looking for help editing papers or writing professional documents (don’t write term papers for a student though – that’s just wrong). Or maybe you should look into blogging!
If reading this blog post makes you want to try your hand at blogging, we have good news for you; you can do exactly that on Saving Advice. Just click here to get started.
Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.