In times of economic crisis, every last dollar counts. No matter how much the coronavirus pandemic has affected your income, it’s always a good idea to sock away some extra money if you can.
Even if you’re working 40 hours a week at a full-time job, there are things you can do to earn a few extra hundred dollars per month. Although everyone’s life is different, there are likely at least a few options that can give you a bit of breathing room when it comes to finances.
Last updated: May 12, 2021
Rent Out Possessions
If you’ve got assets that you don’t want to sell but may not be currently using, consider renting them out. Thanks to the access the internet provides, it’s now easy to rent out everything from your car to your garage to your parking space. Although you’ll likely want to pay for insurance on items you rent out — and you may have to, legally — you should be able to earn back much more than you pay out in insurance premiums.
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Share Your Experience via Consulting
People, in general, are modest about their abilities, but it’s likely that you have specialized knowledge that can translate into dollars. Think about what you spend your work or leisure time on. Do you flip houses on the weekends? Do you run the finances for your church or social group? Are you an expert at negotiating contracts? These and countless other skills are in demand. You can parlay your knowledge and experience into dollars via a consulting relationship with the right company or group.
Ask For a Raise
If you’re still working in a full-time job, congratulations! Many of your fellow Americans have fallen victim to the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and find themselves on the unemployment rolls. You could use this to your advantage by asking your employer for a raise. As you still have your job, you’re likely a valued employee, and your company may be willing to reward that with some extra money in your paycheck during these trying times.
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Your employer might be willing to give you more money, but you might have to work for it. If getting a raise is not an option, perhaps working overtime is. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average hourly wage across all industries is $30.01. If your employer paid this rate per hour of overtime work, you’d need to put in about four extra hours per week to earn an additional $500 monthly.
Drive a Ride-Share
Ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft have become the poster children for the gig economy. As long as you have a car and a clean driving record, you can fill in the time gaps in your schedule with becoming a driver for hire. One of the best things about driving for a ride-share company is that you don’t need to stick to a fixed schedule. The experience can be as flexible as you need it to be.
Are you a good communicator? Are you passionate about things you do? Then perhaps public speaking is for you. Hone in on those special talents you have and turn your story into one of motivation. People, in general, get inspired by passionate experts who are successful, and sharing your story in a public forum could be an easy way to generate some extra dollars for yourself. As your reputation builds, so too could your hourly rate.
You may not have time to take on a part-time teaching job, but if you’ve got free weekends and evenings, you might be able to pick up a tutoring gig. These types of jobs can pay relatively high hourly rates, and you could also be doing a great service for your tutoring student. Tutors are needed for everything from traditional educational courses to specialized test preparation, such as the bar exam or professional qualification tests.
Umpire or Officiate
Are you a sports fan? Are there local sports leagues in your neighborhood? There likely are, and they may be in need of game officials. Umpiring or officiating can be a great way to get involved in your local community, participate in sports and earn additional money for your time. One of the best things about officiating is that games are typically in the evenings and on weekends when you’re more likely to have free time.
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If English is your native language, you already speak the international language of business. Countless foreigners are looking to come to America — or other English-speaking countries — and establish themselves, and they’ll need your help. Even American students need help with their English skills, and thanks to the prevalence of video technology, you can do these jobs from your own home.
Pizza delivery used to be the main game in town when it came to food delivery, but things have changed dramatically over the past few years. With the advent of Grubhub, DoorDash and many other food delivery services, there’s no shortage of opportunities if you’re looking to make a little extra cash. If you’re good at garnering tips, you can reach $500 fairly easily.
Do you have a passion for fitness? Do you have a successful workout routine that keeps you healthy? Consider sharing your passion and your knowledge with your local community. Through personal training, you can share your expertise with others while earning a decent hourly wage. Personal training can be extremely flexible, no pun intended, so you can set up a teaching schedule that matches your free time. You may even be able to lead virtual fitness classes online.
Pet sitting is often a go-to job for teenagers, but it’s become a booming industry that anyone can get into. The combination of Americans’ love affair with their pets and their diminishing free time means that there’s plenty of opportunity to pet sit. Finding a job in this industry is also easier than it has ever been, as there are now websites dedicated to matching pet sitters and potential clients. If you can find a client who needs regular pet care during your free time, you can book a recurring source of easy revenue.
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Put Your Artistic Side To Work
If you have artistic skills, you can turn those into monetary value and enjoy yourself at the same time. If you’re a painter, consider offering yourself for hire, either for artistic works or simply as a day worker. If your skill is woodcarving, see if there’s a market for creative works or if you can do some carpentry for local shops or businesses. Whether it is knitting or sewing or photography, there’s likely someone in need of your talents.
Cook or Bake
Do you know your way around a kitchen? Many people don’t. This creates a huge opportunity if you’re looking for some extra money on the side. Depending on your level of expertise and desire, you can set up everything from being an occasional cook for a family or organization to running a full-on part-time catering company. You could even precook or package meals simply for individuals or families who don’t have the time, inclination or ability to cook.
If you’ve got evenings and/or weekends free, consider taking a part-time job as a bartender. Those are the moneymaking times for bars, so you might be able to grab a few available shifts at one of your local watering holes. If your days of working at a grungy pub packed with college students are over, check out higher-end establishments. These days, there are plenty of whiskey bars and sophisticated lounges that are still in need of someone to pour the drinks.
Run the Books
If you’ve got accounting skills or even software skills, you can rent yourself out part time as a bookkeeper. Plenty of small businesses need help managing the bookkeeping side of the business, but many don’t have the budget or the need to hire big-name accountants full-time. You can look online for remote bookkeeping assignments, or you can start by visiting your local shops and stores to see who might be in the market for your services on a part-time basis.
Launch a Blog
You’ve probably heard about all of the YouTube millionaires who simply post videos online and instantly rake in tons of cash. While there are certainly examples of this, that shouldn’t necessarily be your goal. If you simply write a blog or post a video series about something you’re passionate about, you’re likely to attract some followers over time. By partnering with advertisers like Google, you’ll start generating a revenue stream that could easily top $500 monthly over time.
You’ve no doubt seen advertisements for how easy it is to make money sitting at home, answering surveys. The truth is that this area is full of scam artists, so you’ll have to be wary of what’s a real opportunity and what is not. However, there are legitimate “stay-at-home” jobs like Swagbucks, where you can pick up some extra money in the form of popular store gift cards for answering surveys and performing other activities from your computer.
Editing papers or videos at home is another way you can earn some extra money in your free time at home. If you latch on to a specialty project, such as editing scientific journals or other higher-paying gigs, you can reach your $500 monthly target much faster. Since communication is an essential part of any business, companies are always in need of good editors. If that’s your strength, you should be able to find some opportunities.
Virtual assistant jobs have exploded in popularity thanks to the rise of interactivity tools like Slack and Zoom. Now, you can perform many traditional office tasks from your own home, on a part-time basis. This is a good gig if you’re organized and comfortable with online technology, from Google Docs and Dropbox to various editing, graphics and mailing software.
Publish an E-book
One step beyond writing a blog is publishing an e-book. Although you’ll have to advertise and market your e-book — ideally, on your blog, among other places — a successful e-book could lead to an ongoing monthly revenue stream. Your e-book can be on anything you’d like, it just has to provide value for the consumer, either in terms of specialized knowledge, passionate writing or just the knack for storytelling. Like blog writing, this isn’t a quick fix for additional monthly income, but it’s easy to start, and the revenue can grow over time.
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Garner Financial Account Bonuses
The financial services industry is competitive, so with some diligence, you may be able to score some account signup bonuses worth $500 or more each. For example, Chase recently offered a now-expired $500 bonus for signing up for a new checking account. Many credit card companies offer cash bonuses for signing up for cards as well. Capital One, for example, is currently offering a $500 cash bonus for the Spark for Business credit card. If you shop around, you can find numerous such bonuses. Just be sure to read the fine print so you don’t get caught up in a situation that will end up costing you money in the long run.
Be a Medical Guinea Pig
Clinical trials on human beings are one of the last steps in the development chain before a drug is brought to market. Pharmaceutical companies and hospitals can pay fairly large amounts of money to participants in these studies. If you’re willing to take the risk of side effects, you can easily clear $500 or more from participating in medical studies.
Write Resumes or Professional Profiles
If you have a knack for making others look like more successful professionals, perhaps resume writing is a way for you to cash in. Resume writers can earn upwards of $27 per hour, and some professional LinkedIn profile creators can make $1,000 per month or more.
Trim Your Budget
Trimming your budget isn’t a way to earn money per se, but it ends up having the same effect. If you have recurring monthly subscriptions, hobbies where spending has gotten out of control or an incessant habit of eating at restaurants, you may be able to trim hundreds or even thousands of dollars out of your monthly budget. Over the course of a year, this could result in significant savings without you having to spend any additional time at all earning extra money.
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