Banking, finance, and taxes

20 Smart Ways to Make Extra Money

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Earning extra money is a great way to ensure financial security and even freedom. There are various avenues through which you can accumulate additional cash, from dog walking to freelance writing. Depending on your schedule, you can even pursue some of these side jobs while maintaining a full-time career.

Amid inflation, many Americans pursue side hustles to simply stay afloat. Others search for additional income they can use for traveling expenses and other activities. If you’re looking to earn some cash, try one of these 20 ways to make extra money.

1. Mystery shopping

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Many market researchers will hire mystery shopping to measure other businesses’ strengths and weaknesses.

Did you know you can “mystery shop” for businesses as a way to assess customer service and other aspects of a company? For example, some businesses will hire you to visit a restaurant and report back about menu items, the quality of service, and other information. While some people view this act as unethical, it is certainly an easy way to earn some extra money (sometimes while getting free meals). Additionally, the more experience you get, the more gigs you’ll be able to book.

2. Transcribing audio

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Transcribers can earn money simply by listening to audio and writing down what was said in the audio.

Various platforms like Rev and TranscribeMe allow you to earn money by transcribing audio. To set yourself up as a transcriber, you simply need to choose and apply to the forum that best suits your skills. From there, it’s as easy as writing down the words you hear from the audio assigned to you. For example, you might be asked to transcribe interviews, podcast episodes, or other voice recordings.

3. Walking dogs

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Walking dogs for money is a dream come true for many.

While it might seem like a distant dream for many, you can actually earn decent money by walking local dogs — and you don’t even need a formal education. Many dog owners will trust dog walkers with their furry friends, paying big bucks for proper treatment and exercise. If you love pups and want to make some extra cash, simply join platforms like Wag! or Rover and create a profile that showcases your personality and pet experience.

4. Working for TaskRabbit

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You can utilize your skills to earn money by completing household tasks for clients in your free time.

Are you a handy person? Do you enjoy cleaning? Are you a go-to helper when a friend is moving? By signing up for TaskRabbit, you can put your skills to use and select various tasks in your area to earn money. For example, many individuals will hire someone via TaskRabbit to help with moving, cleaning, home repairs, painting, and even assembling furniture. Becoming a “Tasker” is as easy as setting up an account and applying for local jobs.

5. Driving for Uber or Lyft

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Uber and Lyft provide great opportunities to make some extra cash in your free time.

Many people work as drivers for Uber or Lyft to earn some extra cash outside of their full-time gigs. Not only can you make a ton of money as a driver, but you also get to meet new people and see more of your community. Essentially, you’ll be getting paid to drive around your area while listening to music and chatting with customers. This is an especially attractive job for someone living near a big city or bustling downtown. 

6. Freelance writing

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By building a portfolio of writing clips, you can earn a decent income through freelance writing.

Suppose you have niche industry knowledge or expertise in a certain area, and you’re a decent writer. In that case, you can earn a decent profit by offering freelance writing services. In fact, many writers will create successful careers solely by freelance writing for various publications. While it might take time to build your portfolio and gain experience, you can even start writing your own blog to obtain exposure to the industry. 

7. Trading in old electronics

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Various individuals or businessesfo are looking to purchase old electronics.

We all have an old phone or laptop lying around somewhere, seemingly unusable. However, trading in these electronics might earn you a decent chunk of money. Even if you can’t rely on the electronic for its basic functions anymore, many experts can salvage certain parts of the electronics and pay you for them. 

8. Selling old clothes to a thrift store

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You can sell a variety of old items to thrift stores.

Every time you clean out your closet, you can make money. That’s right — if you need to earn some extra cash, you can sell those piles of old clothes to a local thrift store. Many thrift stores even accept random trinkets and household items. Essentially, these stores will give you a percentage of the final sale price. Before tossing these old items in the trash, remember you can turn a profit. 

9. Publishing e-books and journals

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Writing an e-book of any sort is a great way to earn extra income.

If you have a story to tell, poetry to share, or self-help tips to give your readers, consider writing and self-publishing a book. While writing a book takes a decent amount of your time, the money and reputation you can earn from this endeavor are unmatched. Additionally, if you don’t have the time to write a full book, you can even create journals (crafting unique writing prompts and designs) on sites like Canva and publish/sell them on platforms like Amazon. 

10. Influencer marketing

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Those with large social media followings can work with brands to promote their products/services for a percentage of profit.

Have you ever seen your favorite micro-celebrity promoting a beauty product, clothing item, or special service? Individuals with a decent following on social media can consider influencer marketing to earn extra cash. Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing that allows individuals to work with brands via endorsements and product placement. Both parties benefit from the arraignment: the influencer earns money from brand deals while the brand earns niche exposure from the influencer’s audience. 

11. Testing websites and apps

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You can get paid to sit at your desk and click through new websites or applications.

Earning more money can be as simple as testing websites and applications for their usability. Through certain platforms, you can get paid to visit websites, apps, and other digital products while completing certain tasks to review user-friendliness and collect other helpful information. While it can help to have a background in computer science, most companies don’t require you to have specific education requirements for this role. Browse your options and decide where your talent will be best put to use.

12. Offering online tutoring

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Online tutoring can be both financially and emotionally rewarding.

There are many side hustles and jobs you can get without a college degree, such as online tutoring. If you’re passionate about a specific subject and want to help others learn (while earning money), you can offer your services on a tutoring platform and work a flexible schedule. In other words, you can squeeze in some tutoring sessions after your nine-to-five or even on weekends if available. Prices will vary depending on your experience and the amount of hours you dedicate to this role.

13. Selling old books

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Turn those old dusty books lying around your apartment into cold hard cash in your hands.

Bookworms know the struggle of having too many paperbacks and not enough bookcases to hold them. While you might feel an emotional attachment to your personal library, consider whether you can let go of some of your less-beloved books and sell them for some extra cash. Many platforms, from Amazon to, allow you to sell used books online through a simple process. If you don’t find success there, you can also visit local thrift stores, as many of them accept and pay for gently used books as well. 

14. Babysitting

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If you love kids and need to make some extra money, consider offering babysitting services in your free time.

Babysitting is often viewed as an ideal “first job” during our teenage years. Many of us watched neighbor’s or family friend’s kids in our younger years to earn some extra cash for activities. However, you can offer babysitting services at any age — whether as a part-time gig during college or as a post-grad side hustle on the weekends. Additionally, rather than waiting weeks to get paid, you will likely receive cold hard cash immediately after offering your services. 

15. Creating digital courses

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Don’t gatekeep your wisdom; channel it to create and sell online courses.

Do you have experience and knowledge in a specific niche, from psychology/self-healing to social media and marketing? If so, consider creating and selling digital courses and helping millions of individuals learn more about a certain topic. This is a great way to make money and gain exposure in your industry. That being said, this money-making hobby works perfectly as a side hustle, as it can help support your career growth in other areas as well.

16. Selling stock photos

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Stock photography might be difficult to turn into a full-time career, but you can certainly make some extra cash pursuing this side hustle.

If you’re into photography or have a creative eye, you can sell stock photos and earn a profit on third-party websites. Some people even earn their sole income off their stock photos. While it can take time to reach this level of success, at the very least, you can turn a decent profit and earn additional income through this simple hustle. Simply register for one or more of the many stock photography websites available, then upload your photos to their online catalogs. 

17. Joining a focus group

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Research focus groups in your area or online to see which ones you qualify for.

Did you know you can partake in various studies/complete surveys and make money? Both online and in-person focus groups can earn you a decent profit. Sites like list various studies you can participate in, which can earn you upwards of $200. Not only will you make extra money, but you can also connect with other individuals and contribute your diverse perspectives.

18. Working for a delivery food service

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Working for food delivery services like Uber Eats or DoorDash allows you a flexible schedule and decent pay.

Rather than leaving the house and picking up food themselves, many people order food delivery through apps like Uber Eats, DoorDash, and GrubHub. If you want to make some extra money here and there, you can sign up as a driver and start picking up orders nearby. Not only will you earn up to $500 per day, but you can also create a flexible schedule that suits your needs.

19. Renting out a spare bedroom

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Earning extra money can be as simple as listing your apartment or spare room for rent while you’re away for a few weeks.

You don’t need a full guest house to make money on sites like Airbnb. In fact, you can even rent out a single room or apartment (with permission from your landlord, of course — unless you own the property) and earn some extra money on occasion. For instance, if you’re traveling out of town but want to make money off your living space while you’re gone, simply list your home and host a traveler, whether for a few nights or prolonged periods of time.

20. Starting an Etsy shop

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Etsy is a wonderful platform for aspiring artists and small business owners.

Whether you’re an artist who makes gorgeous paintings or simply have a pile of vintage clothing and other items to sell, you should consider creating an Etsy shop. Etsy is the perfect marketplace to earn money off your unique items and artwork, such as paintings, woodwork, jewelry, clothing, and more. While it might take dedication to market your products and gain a loyal customer base, this side hustle can turn into a lucrative source of income down the line.

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