So you wanna make some easy money? Welcome to the club.
If you’re anything like me, no matter how much you make it never seems to be enough. I’ve searched tons of articles promising easy ways to earn extra cash, but I just don’t feel like filling out 100 online surveys for $20 or getting scammed by some mystery shopper scheme.
So I set out to find REAL, simple ways for us liberal-arters to supplement our income and kick debt’s a$$…
…And I succeeded—BAM:
1. Sell stuff, simplified
I know, you’ve heard this before. But I’m not talking about spending hours every week shipping eBay items at UPS or waiting around all afternoon for people from Craigslist to come check out your old furniture.
Though these sites have definitely been lucrative for the right people, not all of us want to make the time investment. For those of us without schedules that allow for furniture pickups and post office runs, there are 3 simple ways for us to make money by selling things we don’t need:
• Consign– Go through your closet and pull out anything you can’t honestly picture yourself wanting to wear in the next 6 months. Toss it all in a bag and bring it to your local consignment shop the next time you’re out and about.
The clerk will check out your items and take anything sellable—you can either keep or donate the rest. When your clothes sell you’ll receive a check in the mail. Not sure where to find a consigner? This site had all of my usual spots listed along with many others indexed by state. Note: this works for accessories and other items too!
• Sell giftcards online– sites like cardpool and plastic jungle make this easy. You won’t get the full amount but let’s face it—would you rather carry around that $25 JCPenney gift card until you die or get a quick $20 for it?
• Open an online store– Like to craft? Have a collection you want to get rid of? It takes no time to set up an online store with sites like Etsy.com. List your item and asking price and wait for the orders to roll in.
Okay, it’s kind of like eBay– but I find it much simpler, which is key for us busy, non-committal liberal-arters. It took me all of 3 minutes to set up an online store (though I’m not selling anything yet). Check out this gem from the SillyBuddy Etsy store–adorable, easy enough to make, and selling for almost $50!
2. Get a side gig
I swear by this. Babysitting has helped me pay the bills on numerous occasions when I haven’t had a full-time job, and I’ll probably continue to do it for extra cash until I have my own kids. The real kicker? It usually pays more per-hour than most full time jobs!
Sound good to you? Set up a profile on sites like care.com and sittersitty.com for babysitting, dog walking, and other gigs. Good at math, Spanish, or another subject? Become a tutor. Not sure of exactly what you’re into? Check sites like Craigslist for odd jobs in your field of interest. I’ve even responded to an ad in which a woman was offering cash to type handwritten pages—there’s plenty of good stuff out there.
3. Turn your hobby into cash flow
If you’ve found an activity you love count yourself doubly lucky because with a little effort and imagination you can use it to make some side cash.
Play guitar? Book some small gigs at weddings or parties or start teaching lessons. Love to write? Contribute to a blog and get paid per post or freelance at websites and local news outlets. Have a knack for graphic design or taking good photos? Freelance or sell your creations online using zazzle.com. You can even turn your professional expertise into extra loot by consulting in your free time.
4. Work a part-time job
So the idea of going to a second job after 8 hours of work isn’t the most appealing…I get it. But if you find the right job and only work a few nights a week this can be a great way to meet people and hone a new skill while earning some extra dough.
My top part-time picks: barrista-ing at a cafe, hosting at a local restaurant, or working for a retailer you love so you can maximize your benefits (gotta love a discount!).
5. Take the easy route
Looking for something really easy? Here are ten more fast-cash ideas:
$ Let your car become a moving billboard or include ads on your personal website and get paid by the click.
$ Cash in your change—You’d be surprised at how much money you have just lying around.
$ Return anything you haven’t used with the tags still on—Come on, you’re never going to wear that!
$ Check your pockets—Especially coats, and bags too: every once in a while I find the wad of cash that got away.
$ Sign up for credit card rewards—You could be missing out on free points for purchases you’re going to make anyway!
$ Cancel unused subscriptions—When’s the last time you actually watched a Hulu show or movie?
$ Check your credit report—Any unknown delinquencies can cost an arm and a leg in the long run—fix them now and breath easier tomorrow.
$ Get your car looked at—A minor fix now might save you hundreds next month.
$ Call in your debts—But please, don’t break any kneecaps.
$ Be mindful—We waste money on a lot of things we don’t need or even really enjoy. Think twice before you haul that full cart into the checkout line at Target. You only came for one thing. Is this crap worth the stress you’ll feel tomorrow? Or the trip you won’t be able to afford next month?
How do you supplement your liberal arts income?
Amanda Cripps is a writer and marketing professional taking one day at a time in the NH Seacoast. You can follow her on Twitter @amandacripps