If you’ve resolved to make more money this year, there are many ways to do that without switching jobs or getting a second one. If you’re willing to give up a few evenings and weekends, you can try these creative ways to make a few extra bucks.
Rent a room or home to travelers through sites like Airbnb.com and VRBO.com
Best for people who have flexible work schedules (to communicate with and meet guests), adapt easily to new people and situations, or travel a lot and are willing to open their home to fellow travelers.
Not so great for people who have a rigid work schedule—you may need to leave during the day to meet guests or do repairs.
Tips for maximizing profits: If you’re buying a rental property with the intent of renting it out to travelers, use the 1 percent rule, suggests Paula Pant, a personal finance and real estate expert who blogs at AffordAnything.com. In other words, the monthly fees you expect from travelers should equal 1 percent or more of the purchase price. To save money, Pant suggests managing guest turnover and doing your own cleaning, vs. outsourcing those tasks.
Additionally, before you rent a room to a potential guest, check his or her reviews from past visits to be sure the person is rent-worthy. If he or she has left many bad reviews of other properties, the problem could be with the person, not the properties. You may also want to do a background check on any potential renters for your own safety.
Be sure to check your area’s landlord-tenant laws before deciding to go this route because every municipality’s laws are different. Pant says that if you do an online search, only trust information that comes directly from a primary source, such as a city government webpage.
Provide services through sites like Elance or Amazon’s Mechanical Turk
Best for people who can fit in small amounts of work throughout their days and evenings and who have work skills that are in demand online, such as writing, marketing, website development, or coding.
Not so great for people who have inflexible work schedules or work slowly.
Tips for maximizing profits: When setting a price for your services, don’t sell yourself short, says Kelli Grant, consumer reporter at CNBC.com. Although you might get a few more jobs if you’re cheaper than your competition, you may not make enough money to make it worth your time once you factor in how long a job takes or any equipment required.
Hold garage sales
Best for people who live in single-family homes where they’re allowed to hold sales. It’s even better if that house is in a neighborhood willing to hold group sales.
Not so great for people who don’t have someone to help on sale day. You need more than one person to run a sale, to help safeguard your money and property, and to assist with helping people during a busy time, says Lynda Hammond, author of The Garage Sale Gal’s Guide to Making Money Off Your Stuff.
Tips for maximizing profits: Start your sale on a Friday and continue it on Saturday. Hammond says there are fewer Friday sales, so you won’t compete for customers. She suggests “opening” at approximately 6:00 AM. After all, the early birds are already parked out front anyway.
TIP: Sell collectibles for less than their eBay price, suggests Hammond. You won’t make as much as you would online, but you avoid the hassle of packing items, shipping them, talking to buyers, and dealing with returns.
Sell items online through sites like Craigslist and eBay
Best for people who love garage and estate sales, don’t mind spending their weekends driving to multiple sales, and have room to store items until they sell.
Not so great for people who don’t have the patience for visiting multiple garage and estate sales, don’t enjoy cleaning or revamping used items, and don’t want to deal with eBay shipping or meeting strangers via Craigslist.
Tips for maximizing profits: As you shop a garage sale for items to resell, balance your time against your return on investment, suggests Gina Lincicum, blogger at Moneywisemoms.com. Buying a large outdoor toy and then cleaning it will take more of your time, but it will sell for more than a dirty toy. Check used clothes carefully for stains and holes—fixing and cleaning them might not be worth the small profit you’d earn. Keep notes over time about what sells well in your area, and tweak your offerings to increase your profits.
Making extra money doesn’t have to feel like a chore. Find something you enjoy and look for ways to make it work for you. Whether it’s refurbishing old furniture or simply writing copy for a website, there are plenty of ways to make extra cash. What other ways do you suggest?