10 Great Side Hustles
Sometimes you have no other place to cut. Your grocery bill is lower than families that have twice as many people. You’re on the super basic cell phone plan where network coverage is a luxury. You’re walking around with candles to reduce your electric bill. You’re seeing the impact but it’s not enough. You want more fuel. You want to go faster. Maybe it’s time to think of creative ways to increase your income? A little hustle can go a long way. Here are ten great ways to exchange your time and effort for real cash:
- Participate in Focus Groups – Focus groups are a good way to earn some extra cash while having a say in the consumer products of the future. Some focus groups are held in person at malls or testing centers while others are completed via online survey or webcam. 20/20 Panel, Mindswarms, and Mediabarn are great places to start.
- Sell Your Empty Ink Cartridges – Make a dent in the astronomical cost of new ink cartridges by getting some money back for the old ones. Staples will take your old cartridges in store for a $2 store credit. Online sites that will give you cash for your trash include Dazz Cycle, TonerBuyer, and com.
- Sell Your Used Clothes – Turn your closet into a goldmine. You can sell your clothes through a traditional brick and mortar consignment shop but you’ll generally get credit, not cash. Alternately, you can sell clothes through various online services. These services generally require clothes to be brand name and in excellent condition. Popular sites include thredUp, which will mail you a prepaid bag for your clothing, Poshmark, an easy to use app that lets you post your items for sale, and Tradesy, which will send you a shipping kit to send your item to the buyer.
- Make a Few Dollars – Websites like com and Amazon’s Mechanical Turk allow you to get paid for completing quick and easy jobs. As the name implies, Fiverr allows you to post “gigs” that you are willing to do for $5. There is a truly impressive range of gigs offered on the site – if you can dream it, you can sell it for $5. Mechanical Turk allows you to complete as many or as few tasks as you wish, most of which are priced under $1. They’re generally very easy to complete and you can work up to a decent hourly rate with some experience.
- Sell Your Used Books – Take a look at your bookshelves and be honest with yourself – how many of those books are you going to read again? Many books do not have a strong resale value, such as mass market paperbacks and self-help books. Textbooks and classics, however, have an enduring value. In addition to your local used bookstore, try to sell on Amazon for a small fee. You can also use an aggregator app such as Bookscouter or BookFinder. These apps will show you a list of buyback companies and let you know how much they’re willing to pay for that old physics textbook you loved so much!
- Test Search Engines – Companies such as Leapforce, Lionbridge, and Appen hire independent contractors to test search engine and social media functions. You can work as much or as little as you like as long as you meet their minimums. These gigs generally pay much more than minimum wage.
- Put Your Domestic God(dess) Skills to Good Use – Do you enjoy knitting, quilting, or cooking? Many companies are looking for average users to test their patterns and recipes. Popular knitting site Ravelry has a board devoted to testing opportunities. A quick Google search turns up dozens of current openings. Paid jobs are rare, but most are compensated with free patterns or materials. As any crafter can tell you, the cost of these items can really add up over time, so getting them for free can make a dent in your budget.
- Use Your Phone To Get Money Back on Your Groceries – Apps like Checkout51, SavingStar, and Ibotta let you scan your grocery receipt to get money back on specific offers. All three include offers from most major grocery stores, and offer significant savings.
- Become a Professional Photographer (Kind of…) – Using the Foap app, you can upload your best cell phone shots and hope that a company buys the license to it. You receive $5 per sale, and multiple users can buy the same photo. Some other great places to sell your photos include Alamy, Fotolia, and Dreamstime.
- Put Your House and Car to Work For You – Planning a trip? Let your house make money for you while you’re away by renting it through Airbnb. Similarly, sites like Turo, Getaround and Relayrides let you rent out your car and sites like Zilok let you rent out pretty much anything from power tools to kitchen gadgets. If you’re not using it, why not let it make a few dollars for you.
There are only two ways to increase your financial fuel – make more and spend less. Making more can be unlimited if you’re willing to hustle. As you explore these options don’t get fixated on what you think something is ‘worth’. Instead, focus on how it helps you add to your fuel and reach your financial goals.