Creative Ways to Make Extra Money
You’ve been singing the budget blues ever since your 401(k) took a nosedive and your friends started getting laid off. Frankly, living like a college student and surviving on ramen noodles and generic soda has lost its charm. We hear ya! If your boss vetoed your plea for a raise or you’re nearing the end of those unemployment checks, then this article is for you. Here are some ideas on how to make more moola.
Moonlight. Retail jobs may be slim pickings right now, but if you can find a shift that starts after 5 p.m., then you’ll also bag an employee discount. More flexible options include babysitting, pet-sitting, or plant-sitting on the weekends for extra money. Those with a knack for writing, graphic design, Web development, or other creative skills might pick up a few freelance projects. However, if you’re collecting unemployment, then you’ll want to double-check how an extra income will impact your eligibility. And if you’re employed (and want to stay that way), then find out if your company has a policy against moonlighting. You may be able to get around it by working in an unrelated field (banker by day, bartender by night).
Sell your stuff. Last season’s DKNY jeans could be this season’s cash. Ditto on all those unread books and unwatched DVDs languishing on your shelf. Some consignment shops buy items outright, but you’ll have to split the proceeds with the store. By doing a little extra legwork and setting up a listing on eBay or another online shop, you’ll be able to command a higher price. Find a local buyer for larger items like furniture and electronics by posting a free listing on Craigslist (just be sure to follow their instructions to avoid fraud). And if you’re the crafty type, then consider selling some of your wares on Etsy.com.
Join a focus group. A short, one-shot focus group can pay anywhere from $50 to several hundred bucks. All you have to do is show up and give your opinion about products, issues, or company messaging, which you do among your friends for free. Look for focus groups on your local edition of Craigslist (search “focus group” and “market research”) or sign up for alerts through FindFocusGroups.com. In most cases, you must go it alone (bringing friends can bias your opinion) and you’ll have to answer a set of questions about your buying habits, your brand preferences, and the like before you can qualify. Still, women ages 18–35 are a hot consumer demographic, so it’s likely that you’ll get the chance to give your opinion in exchange for a little extra green.