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Doesn’t it seem like no matter what your income is, there’s always something you wish you could do, but it’s just not in the budget? If only you had a few hundred dollars more each week you’d be able to invest more in your 401k or your child’s college fund. Or you’d be able to have a vacation fund or replace your twenty-year-old refrigerator. Today I’ve put together a list of 25 realistic ways you can earn an extra $500 per month.
All these methods have a few things in common. One is, that there’s either very low or no overhead to start.
And two, you don’t need a college degree or a fancy certification. You can jump into most of these in a weekend, work around your current schedule and start bringing in another $1000 a month.
Most people work 9 to 5 jobs, and tons of them own dogs. Around 46 million of them. So, there’s bound to be a handful in your neighborhood. Dog walking is one of the easiest side hustles to get into, and could even lead to full-time income.
Imagine how many people in your own neighborhood leave poor Fido to face a long lonely day of staring out the window. A percentage of those people regularly pay someone to stop by and spend 15 minutes with the poor guy. You can charge between $15-$25 dollars per visit, so this is something you can easily earn at least $100 dollars a week doing for a minimal investment of time.
How would you drum up business? Spread the word among neighbors and friends that you’re available to stop by. Once you get a few under your belt, now you have references for other jobs. Then spend about $15 dollars on a box of business cards and put some up at the local Vet office, the dentist, the real estate office or supermarket. Chances are, as soon as you get a handful of jobs, word of mouth will get you more.
You can also find regular jobs on Care.com
Get Paid for Your Photos
C’mon, don’t hoard those great road trip photos. Do you have a knack for taking great candid photos, or catching a sunset at just the right moment? You could be making a nice passive income from them on Foap, so take a look through your camera roll.
How does it work?
Just create a free account on Foap and upload some photos. They’ll license them out to people for $10 dollars and then split it with you. So, you’ll pocket $5 dollars for each photo that sells, and the same photo can sell repeatedly.
Participate in Online Surveys
Taking surveys won’t exactly pay your rent, but they can be a steady source of extra income that you can earn in your spare time. If you’re sitting on the couch at night, waiting at the doctor’s office, or waiting for your kids to finish soccer practice, why not take a few simple surveys and be paid for it.
Two of the popular ones are:
Inbox Dollars does marketing research on consumer preferences. Why? Well, various businesses need information about potential customer’s tastes and preferences. Instead of hiring their own marketing department, companies pay a service like Inbox Dollars for their research.
So, Inbox Dollars creates surveys or has you watch short videos and then enter your preferences. They pay you for your input, and then they’re paid for the research results. It’s free to sign up and these are not long and drawn out. Complete them on your lunch break, at the soccer field waiting for your kids to finish practice, or just sitting on the couch at night. Why not take a few simple surveys or watch a few previews and put a few bucks in your pocket?
Swagbucks is similar to Inbox Dollars, in that you sign up for free, then you’d click to download their browser add-on. That will keep track of the activities you do, like watching short videos or taking surveys. You accumulate “SB” points which you can redeem for gift cards from places like Amazon, Target, Walmart, PayPal and Starbucks.
So, they’re not actually paying you cash, but you’ll have gift cards for stores that you’d be shopping at anyway. You’ll also accumulate points just for doing your own online shopping. Businesses can tell that you’re making purchases through Swagbucks, so they pay Swagbucks and Swagbucks shares a portion of that payment with you by awarding you points.
Do you have teaching experience or an expertise in a certain area? You can be earning about $40/hour by tutoring a student for an hour. Or if you can group a couple kids in the same hour, give them a little discount to $30/hour and pocket $60/hour for yourself. For kids struggling to learn a certain concept, that extra hour of help can be a huge boost.
How can you find work tutoring? One way is to make your services known in your local PTA. Another way is to register with Study Pool.
Students use Study Pool to find answers to questions in various subject areas. You can sign up as a tutor and be paid to answer their questions. How it works – as a tutor, you’d browse the submitted questions and then “bid” on various questions. In your bid you’d specify the time frame you’ll have it answered by, and propose a price. If your bid is selected, you’re off to the races. There’s no limit to the number of questions you can be paid to provide answers for.
While we’re on the subject of teaching, Udemy is another way you can profit from your expertise in – anything! Whatever you have experience in – languages, math, science, knitting, drawing, computer skills and so on. Here’s how it works – You’d create an account with Udemy, and use their site to create your own course.
Then they’ll assist you to market your course anywhere in the world. You’re totally in charge of your content, pricing, and scheduling, but they’ll handle any payment processing from your customers to you. Interested? Find out more here.
Drive for Uber or Lyft
Did you know that the average car sits unused 95% of the time? That’s a lot of money to invest in an asset that’s used so little. So, why not have your car start earning its keep? You can drive with Uber and give them 20% and keep 80% for yourself. You’d be your own boss and decide whatever fares you want to accept. You wouldn’t be driving all over the state either. You can decide what fares you’ll accept.
Here’s what you’ll need – A four door car that seats at least four people other than the driver. You’ll need to have a valid, in-state driver’s license, and your car needs to be registered and insured in the state you’re working in. You can easily make several hundred dollars per week driving part-time.
Get Paid to Provide Childcare
Create an account on Care.com and you can be paid to babysit, care for elders, pets or even housekeeping. If you’re between the ages of 15-18 you’ll need to create a parent-sponsored account, and then you too can begin making money. Just create an account and then search their database for work. You don’t even need to handle cash if you set up direct deposit.
How much can you make? Among the various tips on their site, is a wage calculator where you can determine a suggested rate based on your area, your level of experience and the particular job.
Get Paid for Home Care
Caring for children or seniors can be a nice gig, but empty homes are quiet and don’t talk back. You can also find opportunities on Care.com to check in on the empty homes of vacationers or even stay in them.
Sell Your Artwork
Do you have an artistic flare? Sites like Etsy, Cafe Press, and Zazzle make it easy to sell your crafts. You’d be surprised at how many people earn a living from something that started as a hobby. Whether your talent lies in duct tape wallets, hand-made jewelry, photography, knitting, woodwork or any number of genres, there’s probably a market for your creations. You could also market them at Amazon Handmade, or even create your own website and collect payments through PayPal.
By the way, don’t be intimidated about creating your own website. It’s easier than you’d think. Check out my tutorial on how you can get your own site up and running in about 20 minutes.
RELATED POST – How to Create a Blog That Will Replace Your Income.
Rent a Room out with Airbnb
Do you have an extra room in your house, or an empty apartment or home? You can earn money renting it out to travelers on Airbnb. It’s a great way to make money and meet people from around the world at the same time. Or if you’ve felt the urge to go on an extended trip why not have your mortgage or rent paid for while you’re gone. If you plan ahead, you can travel for a fraction of the usual cost.
Sure, you’ll have to roll up your sleeves to clean homes, but this is something you can get started at a really low cost. Have a broom, a vacuum, some spray cleaner? You’re good to go. The flexibility to schedule your own hours, and the ability to bring home $100 for a few hours of work make cleaning a great way to bring in extra income. Have some business cards made and distribute some at local realty offices, the supermarket, vet or dental office. Once you have a few clients, word of mouth could be enough to fill your schedule.
Or you can also sign up with Care.com to connect with customers.
Start a Blog
Let me be clear, you won’t see the money flowing in from a blog immediately. If you decide to start a blog it will be months or even a year or more before you’re able to see a steady income from a blog.
So why is it included in this list?
I’m including it here because:
- you can get a blog up and running in as little as 15 minutes, and
- If you stick with it, the potential income from your own blog can far surpass any of the income you’ll make for the rest of the items on this page. And probably more than you can make in any traditional corporate job. It’s very common for bloggers to make five figures per month.
So, how would you go about starting a blog? First, you’d decide on a topic you could write about once or twice a week. What’s on your mind all the time? Some common subjects people blog about are personal finance, stay at home Mom issues, family issues, relationships, self-improvement, home life, food, and recipes. Whatever niche you decide on, there are probably hundreds of topics you can write about.
A typical post might be between 1000-2500 words which is around a few typewritten pages. You’d break it up into sections, add a few pictures and click “Publish”. The idea is that once you build up a number of posts, you’ll begin to have a community of readers who keep coming back to read your content. You’ll be able to see how many readers or “views” you receive per month. And once you start receiving a steady stream of views, that’s the point where you can start making an income from your blog.
If you’d like to start your own blog, check out my post How to Create a Blog That Will Replace Your Income. You can get it up and running in less than 20 minutes. And from there, the sky’s the limit.
Computer Support Service
Who doesn’t own a laptop or desktop these days? Most homes have multiple devices, and you’d be surprised at how many of them are discarded due to problems that can be resolved by someone with a bit of experience. Things like virus scans, basic application installs, printer setups, and memory upgrades make many people throw up their hands in frustration. $75/hour is a pretty standard rate for computer support. Put some business cards in your local supermarket, community college, retirement village, dental office, or create a basic website to advertise.
Some of the computer skills we take for granted are still lacking for many people. You can connect with people through your local recreation department, senior citizen group, library or any number of places. If you can explain things in a clear, easy to understand way, your skills will be very marketable.
Consulting / Coaching
Do you have an expertise or a talent in a particular field? Maybe bookkeeping, computer skills, a foreign language, soccer or track experience? A lot of kids may be a member of a sports team but may want some individual coaching. Local small business owners may be up to their eyeballs in work and could use a skilled bookkeeper. Consulting is another area you can get into without a huge investment and $50-$60 an hour is pretty common.
There are millions of people supplementing their income by freelancing in their spare time. You can find how other people are advertising their skills on sites like and get an idea of how to pitch your own freelancing gig to potential clients.Upwork and get an idea of how to pitch your own freelancing gig to potential clients.
Junk Hauling Service
Do you own a pickup truck or small trailer? There’s a lot of people who’d like to clean out their basement, garage, or toss out the unsold remains from their garage sale. If your town has a designated location to bring unwanted items, you could profit by helping them out.
Publishing and selling your own eBooks on Amazon is one of the best ways to generate passive income.
Here’s why – you do the work once, then earn a steady income from it. And don’t let the word “publishing” scare you away. Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing is one of the most accessible ways for you to get your ideas in front of potentially millions of people.
One of the best ways to get into KDP is to produce non-fiction books of no more than 40-50 pages. You’d charge between $1.99 and $3.99. These can be how to books, a guide on a certain topic, or destination, recipes, a summary of your experience with a particular topic – there are dozens of topics you could write about.
Think about it. Millions of people already have their account setup within Amazon, and they can make a purchase within seconds. If you can offer an interesting how-to process, a review or a description of a certain place – you can put it in front of millions of buyers. And at this price, buyers are not going to agonize over spending the money.
How would it work? You’d write your eBook in whatever application you normally use. You can edit it yourself, or pay someone a reasonable fee. Then you’d create a cover for your book. Again, you can pay someone to do that, or use Amazon’s built-in, easy to use cover-wizard. Then upload your book, using Amazon’s KDP wizard, choose the price you want to charge, and you’re done.
You can get as elaborate as you want, like hiring an editor, a cover designer, or a marketing consultant. But the point is, none of that is necessary to get your foot in the door and get started. You can literally start writing tonight and have a published book on the largest platform in the world within the next few weeks.
Millions of people try and fail at various fitness programs because they’re not sure how to approach it. They may not know how to put together a program for their fitness level that will challenge them, enable them to progress, and be accountable to it. If you have some experience at running, working out, tennis, golf, yoga or any number of fitness areas, then you have something to offer.
This doesn’t have to be limited to the people in your neighborhood. You can easily put up a website and offer your services as a virtual trainer. How would that work? Let’s say you’ve run for 15 years and have trained for numerous distances over the years. You’d advertise your services on your own website, and when someone contacts you, whether they’re in the next town or six states away, you can do a fitness assessment over the phone or online. Once you have the customer’s profile, you can provide a program and then set up a designated day and time when you’ll check in on their progress. You can adjust the program as needed, and you can collect payments through PayPal.
Since a virtual trainer doesn’t travel every day to meet clients, you can take on more clients and earn more. A good example of this is the site Lazy Girl Running.
The expense to board a pet in a kennel is approaching what you’d pay for a hotel. And I’ve realized several times, right before we’re scheduled to leave for a few days, that our dog is overdue for a shot. So, to get away for a weekend a dog owner can easily shell out several hundred dollars before leaving home. Or more if they own two pets. Many people would be happy to pay you $15-$20 to stop by for thirty minutes to feed, walk and spend a little time with their pet. They’ll save money, their pets would be happier in their own home, and you have money in your pocket. It’s a win all around.
Just like their owners, pets require haircuts too. A mobile pet grooming service can be a low-cost part-time business.
Pool Cleaning Service
If you’ve owned your own pool then you know two things. 1) it’s a bit of a learning curve getting to know the right balance of chemicals needed, and 2) you need to monitor your pool regularly or it can get out of balance and look like a bad science project within a week. So, if you’re already familiar with the process, why not get paid to visit a few pools in your neighborhood. This is one of those gigs where word of mouth will help you. Tack some business cards in your local supermarket, dentist office, pool store or community center. Once you get a couple jobs under your belt, and people appreciate their clear pools and free time, you’ll hear from their neighbors.
Rec Sports Officiating
Local recreational sports leagues are often in need of referees. This can be a great way to make money and get a bit of exercise at the same time. Local soccer leagues would want you to have an “F License” to referee. Many towns conduct classes leading to your F license, but you can also get your license online at US Soccer. It’s a two-hour course that will run you $25 dollars, and you’ll have to be at least 16 years old. Once you have your license, you can make about $25 per game.
One nice thing about referee gigs is that they’re almost always on the weekend or during the week after business hours so you can do this without interfering with your regular job.
Design Your Own T-Shirts and Drop-Ship Them
Have you ever thought of a great design or saying that you thought would make a great t-shirt? You don’t need to own a screen printer or even t-shirts. Just log in to Teespring, create your own custom design and have them shipped from Teespring to your customer. Have a great idea for a T-shirt? Put it on eBay, Facebook or another platform and you’ll only lay out the money for shirts once you have a sale.
Become a Translator
Are you multilingual? If so, you can take advantage of one of the fastest growing occupations in the nation. One place you can get work is on Verbalizeit. You can choose to work only the jobs you want. You can work translating documents or transcribing. You’ll take a short test when you sign up, and then accept whatever jobs you want.
Become a mystery shopper
Do you enjoy shopping? Why not get paid for it?
A mystery shopper is when you’re paid to pose as a regular customer and shop at a certain business. Then after your visit to their business you provide simple feedback on it. You’d report on things like their customer service, or the overall appearance of the store. In return for your review, you’ll receive a fee. You may also be expected to make a purchase, but you’d be reimbursed for it.
Just beware of any companies that ask you to pay to sign up. Legitimate mystery shopping gigs should not be asking you to pay anything to sign up. One way you can make sure is to check on their site to see if they’re a member if the MSPA. This is the organization that regulates mystery shopping businesses.
Once you sign up, then look on their site for an available merchant to shop at. Just think – you could sign up for companies that you’d be going to anyway.
Here’s a list of reputable companies you can start with:
So there are 25 different ways to start bringing in some extra income to pay down your debt or to afford something you can’t now. You could even use the extra income to pay for some training or education to get you to the next level in your career. Or you just may find one of these gigs to be lucrative enough to do full-time.
Have you come across a good opportunity to make a side income? How did it work out for you?