9 Ways to Make (Relatively) Easy Money On The Side

February 11, 2013  |  
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Money is hard to come by. Don’t we all know it! But there are some jobs out there that you can do to make some extra money that don’t require too much effort (or, in some cases, skill). Some of these you can probably find on Craigslist. Others might require a little more methodical search. Maybe even a little bit of whimsy. But if you can come across some easy cash, you’re all in, right?


House Sitting

Probably the easiest on the list, this job only requires you to live in someone else’s house for a short while. Pack a bag, water the plants, feed the cat, and mission accomplished. Pay is entirely negotiable based on what the job entails. In some cases, you might be asked to take responsibility for things like paying a few bills, but even that isn’t too stressful. WikiHow suggests posting a listing on Craigslist, but there are also services like House Carers that have a system of bringing sitters and home owners together. Of course, if you have a personal network that you can tap to put out the word, you can do that too.


Dog Walking/Pet Sitting

This might be more an urban thing, but dog walkers are a necessity for some city dwellers who spend many hours each day at an office or otherwise away from their pets. We took a quick look online and saw pay figures as high as $260 per week. Of course, you do have to love dogs and be willing to clean up after them. But walking a dog is really a 20-minute job at its most basic.

If you don’t have the time to commit during the week for that sort of thing, consider pet sitting. Basically the same as house sitting, you have to make sure that pets are fed, watered, walked (if necessary), and played with while owners are out of town. If you need to study or work on other things in the meantime, you can multitask.


Be A Focus Group Member

Companies are always looking to test products and ideas before actually taking them to market. So they host focus groups, where they gather thoughts and opinions from prospective consumers to see what works and what doesn’t. And they pay those people to share their opinions. You can make as much as $100 or $200 for a couple of hours of your time.

SurvivalInsight.com offers some suggestions for where you can find focus groups to join. Delve and Shugoll Research are other companies that offer ways for you to sign up online.

Go On A Game Show

How many times have you played along at home? And gotten the answers right?! Well, maybe it’s time for you to take the plunge. If you’re in the area, you can try out and participate in shows like Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, or The Price Is Right. Players can walk away with thousands of dollars in cash and prizes (*said in my game show announcer voice*). And it’ll be a fun thing that you can share with family and friends forever.



Sit In On A College Class

If you’re in a place with a large university, this could be the side gig for you.

Sometimes, adult students have to miss a class or two to take care of a personal matter. But, they don’t want to fall behind while they’re gone. You can go to class for them, take notes, maybe record or transcribe the lecture in that student’s absence. And get paid to do it.

I actually did this a few times in college for an art history student who had to go out of town. The class was interesting (Roman art, if I remember correctly). And I had a tape recorder, so even though this wasn’t a topic I knew much about, I didn’t have to. The professor’s words were being delivered right to my client. Fees are negotiable, but if you have to transcribe (which could be a couple of hours work) you can ask for a nice price.


Rent Out A Room To Travelers

It might be a little creepy at first to have a stranger in your house. But this service is really quite popular nowadays.

Travelers are always looking for lower-priced alternatives to staying in a hotel. Moreover, they’re looking to interact with people who actually live in the location they’re visiting, rather than staying in a tourist area that’s removed from the realities of local life.

Services like Airbnb offer an opportunity to make money off of the extra space in your house. If you have a room, or even a spare couch, and you don’t mind someone you don’t know sleeping on it, you can charge a fee to a weary traveler. If you rent, you’ll want to be careful about this option. We’ve read stories about people who have, in essence, broken the clause in their lease against subletting by participating in this sort of activity. But if you’re in the clear, you could be in some extra money.




Become a Movie Extra

Want to be in the movies but don’t have very much acting talent? You can still be a part of the cinema, and make a little extra cash while you’re at it.

Movies and TV shows that have scenes where waiters, crowds, onlookers, or office workers are needed for a moment need extras. Some of these people are aspiring actors. Others are people who just have some time on their hands and get picked for the job. Get yourself a SAG card (Screen Actors Guild, the same group that hosts an award show each year) and you’ll become part of the union that will get you the standard rate for working. This story on AskMen.com, which lays out the steps for becoming an extra, puts the rate at $115 per day. In addition to the money, you get to hang around with movie stars, eat free food, and get a sneak peek into what could be the next year’s biggest blockbuster.


Temp Work

Temp work is not the thing to do as a career. But if you have the time and you sign up for a reputable company with good connections (Robert  Half International is one), you can find yourself making some money on those days when you’re available.

Temping offers a decent hourly wage. And, since you’re only there for a short time, duties are usually limited. Answering phones, greeting guests, and accepting packages can be the extent of it. In the meantime, you can read a few interesting books, or get some actual work done on your real business or passion.


Become a Sales Clerk at Your Favorite Shop

These jobs can be much harder to find in this economic climate. But if you have a couple of free evenings, this could be a great way to make some extra cash (commission even, if you’re a good salesperson), and get a discount at one of your favorite stores at the same time.

The holiday season is usually the time for temporary retail workers. But shops need people to help customers all year round. Pick a few stores that you really like and put in an application.

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