Ways to Earn Extra Money

via fivecentnickel.com by nickel on 12/15/08

We’ve all heard it a million times before… The key to getting ahead is to live below your means. It’s so simple. In fact, even our eight year old knows how to become a millionaire. So why is it so to spend less than you earn? I think that a big part of the problem is that spending less money isn’t much fun. But guess what? There’s another side to the equation. With that in mind, I thought I’d compile a list of ideas for earning extra money.

Earn more money from your current job…

A logical place to start when trying to improve your lot in life is to focus on your current line of work. Here are three different ways to get more from your job:

  • Ask for a raise. One of the easiest ways to earn extra money is to get more for what you’re already doing. With that in mind, you should work to excel in your work, build a case, and then ask for a raise.
  • Position yourself for a promotion. Another great way to earn more from your work is to get promoted to a higher paying position. Do whatever you can to excel. Go above and beyond the call of duty around the workplace and consider taking advantage of any training opportunities that you can find.
  • Find a new job. A great way to increase your earning power is to get a job offer. Even if it’s a lateral move, and especially if it’s not, switching jobs is a great way to increase your salary.

Unfortunately, now that the economy is in the crapper, it’s probably not the best time to ask for a raise, push for a promotion, or angle for a new job. While it can’t hurt to try, you may need to look elsewhere in hopes of generating extra income.

Earn extra money on the side…

There’s an almost infinite number of ways to generate a bit of extra cash. Whether it’s picking up a second job, doing odd jobs around the neighborhood, or selling stuff, you’re really only limited by your time and imagination. Here are thirty ideas for earning extra money on the side.

  • Get a second job. While the job market is tight and getting tighter, picking up a second job is a surefire way to earn extra money.
  • Take on a paper route. Paper routes aren’t just for kids anymore, and you can usually knock it out during the pre-dawn hours, so it doesn’t interfere with work.
  • Deliver phone books. Over the weekend, we got the latest edition of “The Real Yellow Pages” delivered to our doorstep. You won’t get rich, but it’s not particularly difficult, and you can do it on your own time.
  • Do yardwork/lawncare. More and more people are outsourcing their lawncare. Why not get a piece of the action? You can make a few bucks and get some exercise all at once.
  • Shovel (or plow) snow. For those in cold climates, you can make good money removing snow. Here again, you can also get some good exercise. Sure, snowfall isn’t as predictable as grass growth, but it’s a great alternative during the winter months.
  • Clean homes or offices. Just like lawncare and snow removal, there are a ton of people out there looking for help around the house.
  • Become a golf caddy. Sure, this is a job that is often done by teenagers, but there can be good cash in it.
  • Start babysitting. Babysitting can be quite lucrative — check out how much people pay babysitters — and it’s also very flexible.
  • Start pet-sitting. I know from personal experience that there’s good money in pet sitting… Whenever we travel we need to find someone to board our bearded dragon (seriously), and we always spend way more than we should.
  • Become a tutor. Do you live near a high school or college? Are there any subjects that you’re particularly good at? If so, then consider tutoring in your spare time.
  • Teach a language. For those that are fortunate enough to be fluent in a second language, you can make money teaching it to others. In some cases, people will even pay to chat over coffee with a “conversational partner” who is fluent in that language they’re learning.
  • Become a substitute teacher. Depending on your educational background, this can be a good source of cash, especially for at-home moms that want to get back into the work force, but want hours that accommodate their kids.
  • Become an ump/ref for a local sports league. Around here, sports leagues are always looking for competent refs. Games are usually scheduled around business hours, and it pays pretty well.
  • Do freelance web design. If you have the skills, there are a number of online resources for finding web design gigs. If that doesn’t work, pound the pavement in your community. A lot of small companies don’t have much of a web presence, and could use your help.
  • Do some freelance writing. As is the case for web design, there are a number of online resources for finding writing gigs. Dig around a bit and see if you can find anything that suits your interests.
  • Start a weblog in a lucrative niche. This site is a prime example of the fact that you can make money blogging. It’s not easy, but it can definitely be done.
  • Become a mystery shopper. Here again, there’s tons of info on online, and there are even books about it.
  • Get paid to take online surveys. There are a number of reputable companies that pay people to take surveys online. While they’re not always accepting new members, you should check out Pinecone Research.
  • Get paid to signup for trial offers. Sites like Cash Crate pay you to sign up for free trials — you can always cancel them so it’s truly free cash.
  • Maximize your credit card rewards. As long as you keep a lid on your spending, reward credit cards are a great way of generating a bit of spare cash on everyday expenditures.
  • Take advantage of signup bonuses. You can easily snag signup bonuses ranging from $25-$250 when you apply for a credit card or open a bank or brokerage account.
  • Make the most of the money that you already have. Move your money to a high-yield online savings account or build a CD ladder in order to maximize your interest earnings.
  • Sell extra stuff from around the house. Clearing our extra stuff is not only a great way to make a bit of money, it’s also very cathartic. If you’re interested, be sure to check out my list of garage sale tips as well as my tips for selling stuff on eBay.
  • Take and sell digital photos. If you have a knack for photography, you might be able to generate some side income by selling stock photos.
  • Make and sell crafts. Here again, if you have a knack for it, you can make generate some income on the side by making and selling crafts — either at local shows or on eBay.
  • Sell craft designs. Instead of making the crafts yourself, why not work up some nice plans and sell those instead?
  • “Donate” (i.e., sell) plasma. When I was in college, a popular way to get beer money in certain circles was to sell plasma. It’s not really my thing, but it’s a viable option if you need cash in a pinch.
  • Collect and recycle aluminum cans for cash. While there’s not a huge amount of money in this, it’s a pretty easy thing to do, and it cleans up the environment. This is the very definition of a win-win.
  • Sell ad space on your car. Depending on your location, the make and model of your car, and your daily commute, you can actually make a decent amount of money by letting an advertising agency “wrap” your car with advertisements.
  • Rent out a spare room. Got an extra room in your house/apartment? Consider renting it out. You’ll not only defray your rent, but you’ll also be able to recoup a part of your utility costs.

So there you have it… If you have any ideas of your own, please leave a comment.

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by Ben Pike