Easy Money Making Ideas Anyone Can Do
When my husband and I were discussing the possibility of me leaving the workforce to become a single income family, it was very scary, financially. My income was an important contribution to our family’s finances, but after the birth of our third child I really wanted to spend time home with the kids.
Little did I know at that time, I’d find a number of ways to add to the family’s income, beyond the contribution a stay at home mom makes in the day to day work she does for her own family.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclaimer.
Today I’m going to show you how I earn $500 per month in my spare time and how I hope to triple that in 2017. I plan to revisit these strategies later this year to update readers on my progress so you can use these for yourself.
I’m writing this in the hopes that it will help readers who are searching for creative ways they could begin earning additional income or saving money beginning today, with very low – or no – start up costs.
I want to be very clear: this article is meant to share only the non-traditional ways that I earn extra money in my spare time. These tactics listed and income reflected do not include additional income we earn through our more specialized income streams, or those that are non-traditional but have larger start-up costs. That’s a whole other article I hope to share another day!
Social media advertising – Many people don’t realize they can monetize their personal social media accounts if they have strong social followings. Sites like Fullbottle, Social Native, and IZEA offer the opportunity to make cash by posting content on Twitter, Facebook and / or Instagram. Some is pre-written content you simply post, others are opportunities to develop your own content within their brand criteria. While this hasn’t been a large source of income so far, there is potential here that I hope to pursue more this year. The trick is to make sure to only share content you really believe in, otherwise you are just spamming your friends. 🙁
Surfing the web: As a blogger and web junkie, I surf the web quite a bit. When you install Swagbucks as your search bar, you earn money simply by surfing. That’s it! No, really! This month I earned roughly $10 just from surfing and redeeming free points along the way. My only regret is that I didn’t start doing this earlier. Sign up now under my referral code and get bonus points just for signing up! You can earn a variety of gift cards, through this program, but I typically redeem my points toward Paypal cash deposits.
Selling Graphic Designs: Occasionally I’ve made custom digital card designs when asked. I typically create my own birthday invitations, thank you notes and photo cards for personal use, so it’s my eventual goal to repurpose them for my Etsy shop. Since this isn’t something I’ve proactively advertised, it hasn’t been a strong business for me so far. I’m honestly not sure this will be an avenue that is worth the time investment after Etsy expenses, but I’d like to experiment with this more to see what kind of income I can generate using designs I’ve already created.
Filling Out Surveys: This is new territory to me. As a former marketing consultant who knows her professional hourly value, this seemed like a very low quality way to spend my time. However, I wanted to research ways that an average person could make honest money in their spare time, so I gave it a the ‘ol college try last month. At first, this avenue was just as frustrating as I anticipated. I’d start to fill out a survey, answer 10 questions, only to find out I didn’t qualify. This happened several times until I started to get into the swing of things. I don’t know if the sites got to know me better so the surveys became more suited to me, or if it was just bad beginner’s luck. Either way, I started to give it more of a chance and started to see results. Here are the tips I learned for making any sort of reasonable $ with surveys: 1) Sign up for multiple companies. Each site only has so many surveys to offer at a given time, so the only way to start racking up $ is to sign up for as many as you can. 2) Fill out surveys in your spare time. I don’t have the desire to constantly do this, but December was a month of lots of appointments and time spent in waiting rooms: dentist, doctors, and waiting in drab rooms for my kids to get out of sports activities. So instead of mindlessly surfing the web like I might have otherwise done, I filled out surveys and collected $. Here are survey companies I’ve used: Harris Poll, Pro Opinion, Swagbucks.
Selling My Stuff: Now, I don’t go crazy with this. I’m not that person on the buy/sell boards trying to sell my used makeup. You know the ones. But when I have a belonging that I know has value and I’m no longer enjoying, I try to sell it for the best price. A few examples of items I’ve sold include smart phones, electronics, mid- to high-end handbags and shoes, and clothing. I have good luck on ebay for higher value items, but I’ve also sold our family’s brand name clothing and accessories at local resale shops. For example, I do invest in decent handbags. It’s the one accessory I use every single day, so I want to love it. The great thing about this is that the nicer the bag, the better it holds value. Often times, I’ll buy higher end brands in excellent, used condition, and sometimes, for the right brand, I’m able to re-sell it on ebay after a few years and make up to $0.75 on the dollar. I also find that clothing brands such as Anthropologie, J. Crew and Matilda Jane can hold decent value on ebay when sold in excellent condition.
If you’re interested in selling some things, but don’t have the time to photograph, price, list and ship everything, I highly recommend thredUP. They send you a pre-paid envelope, you put your high quality, brand name items for kids or adults in it, and they send you a check. That’s it. While it’s a whole other post topic, I also recommend shopping thredUP to save some serious $$. You’re buying gently used premium brands for cents on the dollar, and they often have 40% off deals.
Selling vintage finds: A new source of income this year has been through selling various vintage finds. I’ve found I have a knack for finding popular vintage goodies at a good price, so I’ve been selling these individually, and also offering them on ebay and my Etsy shop. I’ve just started this, but it’s a promising way to encourage my love of shopping vintage 🙂
Shopping: Now this probably doesn’t really qualify as true income, but it’s worth noting because I get rebates of $15-$40 per month on groceries and online purchases I’m already making. These apps are super easy to use, and now I look at it like leaving free money on the table if I don’t use them: Ibotta and Ebates.
Ibotta is an app that lets you save on everyday grocery items – you can stack an in-store coupon and then come home and earn additional savings through this app.
To use Ebates, simply visit their site before making any online purchase. Search the name of the store you plan to purchase from, and then visit that site through the Ebates link. Then, you earn an automatic rebate of up to 10% on your purchases.
Blogging: I’ve been blogging as a hobby for years, but as a former marketer I’m embarrassed to say that I never quite knew how to monetize my work. I truly do this blog because I enjoy it, but I put enough time into it that it started becoming important that I found a way to monetize all the time I put into it.
Last year I tried to be a bit more savvy about finding ways to be compensated for the work that I’m doing, and am growing my blogging income slowly as I begin to navigate this world. I do that through ads and affiliate links – links that point my readers to resources I’ve used and enjoyed, at no additional cost to them.
Aside from affiliates and ads, I make additional income from sponsored content, which is not factored in this roundup of ways I make $500+ in my spare time. Most people can’t have a blog up and running with a large, loyal following in a short period of time, so I didn’t consider it fair game for this post! As I mentioned, that’s a whole other article…
Exercise: Believe it or not, you can earn cash just by being active. I’ve found two ways to automatically earn cash through your activity tracker:
Earn Walgreens Balance Rewards Points. Are you a Walgreens Balance Rewards Member? If so, here’s how you can earn rewards points with your activity tracker: sign into your account and click on Account Home. Find the “Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices” button and click “Earn Points”. Next, connect your activity tracker and earn points as you move!
Earn Achievement points. Visit AchieveMint.com and register for a new account. Connect your account to your fitness tracker and earn points for your activities. Once you earn 50,000, you can change it in for a $50 gift card.
That’s it! That’s how I earn $500 per month in my spare time. I plan to update the blog with progress updates on how these money makers work for me. My goal is to triple the side income to $1,500, in addition to my separate blog income.
I recently told my husband that 2017 is going to be my year of saying “yes” to things that interest me, so I hope to pursue a few new ventures that I hope I’ll be able to add to an article about nontraditional income streams later in the year. One of them is opening an online clothing boutique – a venture I swore I’d never try to take on, since I’m NOT a natural salesperson. However, I’ve been in love with this brand forever, so I hope that others will love it as much as I do. I’ll be honest, this one feels a little scary for me! Please check it out and tell me what you think!
Do you have any other great tips to add to my list? Please share them in the comments below!