When it comes to padding your bank account, there’s no time like the present.
Whether you’re saving for a rainy day, planning a major purchase, or just need to relieve some financial anxiety, there’s nothing wrong with looking for new income streams.
And you’re in the right place, because we’ve got an updated list of ways you can make extra cash this year.
Here are some of our favorite tips for making money online. There are a lucky 13 of them, so you can split them up throughout the year. Maybe try one or two per month and see how they work for you.
1. Make Money Completing Simple Tasks
Lots of websites out there will pay you to read advertisers’ emails, take online surveys and even watch videos.
We’ve tried about a million of these, and so many of them are scams. One of the few that we’d recommend is Swagbucks. It’s a reader favorite, probably because of its wide variety of ways you can make money in your spare time.
The most lucrative way to earn rewards on the site is through taking surveys. These are brand-recognition surveys, product-appeal surveys, advertising-effectiveness surveys and the like.
Surveys usually take about 20 minutes. For each one, expect to earn about 40 to 200 SBs, or SwagBucks, the site’s currency. (100 SB = $1.) Because each SB is worth one cent, 500 SBs will get you a $5 Amazon gift card or $5 on PayPal.
Although you have to qualify for surveys before you take them, Swagbucks tries to match you so you waste little time on qualifying questions.
Plus, you get a $5 bonus when you sign up and earn 2,500 SB within your first 60 days.
2. Let Someone Borrow Your Place for the Night
Have you got a spare room? Might as well list it with Airbnb to try to make some money with it. If you’re a good host with a desirable space, you could add hundreds — even thousands — of dollars to your bank account that way.
Airbnb lists guest houses, apartments and single rooms, but you can also list a couch, if that’s all you’ve got available.
Taking a few simple steps can make the difference between a great experience and a less-than-satisfactory one. Here are some tips:
- Make your space available during high-demand times in your area. Think: concerts, conventions and sporting events.
- Be a good host, and make sure your place is stocked with the toiletries you’d expect at a hotel — toilet paper, soap and towels.
Enter your information into Airbnb’s calculator to receive a free income estimate.
(Hosting laws vary from city to city. Please understand the rules and regulations applicable to your city and listing.)
3. Turn Your Stash of iPhone Photos Into Cash
Are you a savvy photographer? If you have an iPhone and a photographic eye, you’ve got a chance to make some extra money without being a full-time photog.
Oh, yeah – you’ll also need access to marketable scenery.
There’s an app called Foap that allows you to turn your iPhone photos into cash.
Here’s how it works: You download the free app and sign up for an account. You take a quality photo and upload it to Foap’s marketplace. Someone buys the license to your photo for $10. You make $5.
If your photo sells 20 times, you make $5 each time and end up with $100 in your pocket, all for about 5 minutes of work.
Sound too good to be true? It’s not, but there are some limitations.
For one, your photo must be accepted by the Foap developers. If it’s too small, grainy or boring (think: not marketable), it won’t make it to the marketplace. And those cute Instagram shots? They don’t accept those either.
Here’s the full run-down.
4. Get Cash Back From Your Debit Card
To put it simply, online banking services are easier to use than the traditional banks. They’re cheaper and more accessible.
One of our favorite companies, Aspiration, works on a pay-what-is-fair model. You choose to set a monthly tip up to $20 or as low as $0, and you can change it anytime.
That gives you fee-free access to a Spend and Save account — and its perks. Check these out:
- Earn 0.5% cash back on purchases with your debit card.
- Earn 2.00% APY on your savings as long as you squirrel away at least $1 a month.
- Get reimbursed for any ATM fees (i.e. get money anytime, anywhere you need it without worrying about the exorbitant cost of those pesky machines).
Plus, in an age when we all look on the big banks with a touch of suspicion because of years of scandal and mismanagement, Aspiration has popped up with the simple motto to “Do Well. Do Good.”
The company commits to donating 10% of earnings to charity and makes it easy for account holders to do the same.
5. Hang out With Pups
Here’s a good side hustle: If you’re looking for a flexible, independent way to earn extra money — and you love hanging out with dogs — Rover might be your perfect gig.
The online network connects dog walkers and sitters to local dog owners through its 4.9-star-rated app, so you don’t have to staple flyers on every utility pole across town.
Rover says sitters can earn as much as $1,000 a month.
Rover’s pet sitting requirements vary by location. In general, you must:
- Be 18 years or older.
- Pass a background check.
- Have access to the Rover app (iOS or Android).
Here’s how it works: You’ll create an online sitter profile where you’ll answer questions about your experience with puppers and your schedule availability.
You can choose to offer a variety of services, including dog walking, overnight boarding at your home or theirs, and daycare. Boarding is the app’s most popular service, so offering it can get you more gigs. You set your own rates. (Rover keeps a small percentage as a service fee.)
Dog owners will reach out to you. Accept which gigs you want, then start snugglin’ pups. As soon as you complete a service, you’ll be paid within two days.
6. Help Small Business Owners
Does earning $60 an hour sound appealing? How about the freedom to work remotely while helping others succeed?
Those are the perks of working as a bookkeeper, says Ben Robinson, a certified public accountant and business owner who teaches others to become virtual bookkeepers through his online course, Bookkeeper Business Launch.
And no, you don’t have to have a CPA to be successful in this business. In fact, all you really need are decent computer skills and a passion for helping business owners tackle real-world problems.
It’s a great opportunity for moms who want to work part-time, millennials who are just out of college and anyone who wants to bring in real money while working from home.
7. Jumpstart Your Spring Cleaning (Any Time of Year)
There’s always one weekend when, as the weather warms and the snow thaws, you’re inspired to deep clean. Declutter, organize, vacuum, scrub.
But why does that only happen once a year? It can happen anytime, especially if you want to make some extra money off items you no longer need (ahem, take a look in your closet…).
Use a free app called OfferUp to sell your unwanted goods to locals. Post anything — from furniture to clothes to gadgets to cars — and wait for a bite.
Chat with interested buyers through the app (no exchanging of phone numbers required), schedule your meeting; and use an OfferUp Community MeetUp spot or search its site SafeTradeSpots.com to find a safe public place to meet your buyer and complete the transaction.
Pro tip: Don’t accept a check, cashier’s check or gift card as payment. Ask for cash or have the buyer pay you through the app (no commission fees!).
Go ahead, and get a jumpstart on your spring, summer or winter cleaning when you download OfferUp to list your first item — it takes about two minutes!
8. Do Good — While Trying to Grow Your Money
Investing can be a great way to grow your money, but have you carefully considered which companies you’re willing to back? Their morals and values? You probably wouldn’t want to invest in a company that’s destroying our oceans or cheating the system.
Impact investing is a simple fix. It adds a new layer of transparency to investing. Take Swell Investing, an SEC-registered investment advisor.
Swell offers investors (beginners to advanced) the chance to invest in high-growth companies committed to solving global challenges. “Swell is built on a belief that today’s biggest challenges will result in tomorrow’s leading industries,” its website says. And it makes cents — err, sense.
You can start with just $50 and invest in portfolios committed to clean water, zero waste, renewable energy or disease eradication, to name a few.
The portfolios aren’t just clouded with these do-good names. Interested investors can tap into each to learn more about the portfolio’s trends, performance and companies.
Swell doesn’t have any trading fees, price tiers or expense ratios. It does charge a 0.75% annual fee — that’s about the cost of one coffee ($3.75) per year if you invest $500.
Really, impact investing is a solid way to help tackle the world’s biggest challenges — while you face perhaps your biggest challenge: saving for retirement.
Get started with Swell by signing up with your email address here.
Disclosure: We have a financial relationship with Swell Investing LLC and will be compensated if consumers apply for an account and/or fund an account with Swell through links in our content. However, the analysis and opinions expressed here are our own.
9. Get Paid to Participate in Clinical Trials
Some people make thousands of dollars each year getting tested for allergies or trying out new vaccines. They often do this kind of “work” as a side gig on weekends or around their work schedules — and it doesn’t require any special skills or education.
They’re taking part in clinical and research trials of new drugs, devices or medical interventions. In return, they get compensated with a good deal of cash.
To do this, you should be between 18 and 60 years old with no history of major diseases or medication issues. Even if you don’t have the particular disease or condition that the trial is analyzing — from acne to high cholesterol to cancer — you could still qualify for the study as a control (healthy) subject.
Payouts vary depending on the duration and invasiveness of the procedures — the “ouch factor” plays a big part in your earnings.
Most trials are divided into Phase I, II or III studies. Phase I studies assess the safety of a treatment, while Phase II and III studies investigate the efficacy of a treatment. Because most drugs in Phase I trials haven’t been tested on humans yet, be sure to only sign up for Phase II and III trials if you’re concerned about suffering any adverse effects.
Here’s our complete guide.
Here’s where to find opportunities:
10. Post Videos on YouTube
Do you have a video camera or a smartphone? Great — you have everything necessary to start making money on YouTube.
Make a video, load it up, click a couple of buttons to monetize it, and start telling all your Facebook friends about it. Lather, rinse, repeat. You might not make millions, but perhaps you’ll develop a nice stream of extra income.
Years ago, writer Steve Gillman and his wife created a 10-episode show on ultralight backpacking, starring Steve. They already owned a camera, so it cost them nothing. The videos never went viral, but they’ve slowly and steadily generated more than $1,000 of income over the years.
It costs nothing to open a YouTube account and upload your videos. To make money from them, just join the YouTube Partner Program and set up Google AdSense. It automatically adds advertisements to your videos, and you earn money every time someone clicks on or, in some cases, even just sees the ad.
Take a look at Google’s video monetization criteria for an idea of what kinds of videos qualify. Generally, they have to be family-friendly and your own content.
As for your topics, go with something based on your hobby or passion.
How much money you make depends on whether you know (or learn) how to market your videos, what topics you cover and, to be honest, whether you get lucky and have a video go viral. To make big profits, you’ll need heavy traffic.
11. Sell Your Plasma
Have you ever considered selling your body? Not like that.
You can make money selling your plasma. It’s a way to get paid, and it also helps others in need.
The process takes about two hours and, yes, it involves a needle, but the process is simple. You’re free to read or watch TV while a machine draws your blood and separates the plasma.
Interested? Search “plasma center + [your city]” for options, and ask your friends for referrals — many centers offer referral sign-up bonuses.
To qualify, you should:
- Be at least 18.
- Weigh at least 110 pounds.
- Be in general good health.
How much can you make? It’s common for plasma donation centers to pay between $20 and $30 per visit, up to twice a week.
12. Sell Handmade Jewelry or Craft Goods Online — the Smart Way
Earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings — jewelry designers make all kinds of amazing products. Whether you work with metal, felt, old Scrabble tiles, origami cranes or even deer antlers, you’ll likely find a market for your work.
How much can you make? It depends on what and where you sell. For example, if you list your items online through a marketplace like Etsy, you’ll face some fees, including a 5% transaction charge. However, Etsy also sees millions and millions of shoppers, so it could be worth the exposure.
Whatever you do, just remember not to price your pieces too low. Cover the costs of materials, time, shipping, listing fees and other expenses.
You can sell all kinds of other crafts, too — but you have to be strategic about it.
When Lena Gosik-Wolfe started her first craft business selling custom 3D-printed cookie cutters, she noticed some sellers had difficulties growing their businesses. So she started a second business aimed at helping crafters thrive at selling products online. Here are some of her tips:
- Know your target audience. Figure out what type of person will be interested in buying your products.
- Build your brand. Having an Etsy page that has a unique look, complete with an original company logo and cover image, colors and design makes all the difference.
- Photos and product descriptions matter. Clear, brightly lit images highlighting the details of the items make a huge difference to the customer.
13. Write an Ebook
If you’re a subject-matter expert or have an intriguing life experience, you could write a book. But there’s no need to send it off to all the major publishing houses in New York City.
You can self-publish ebooks through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform. Once again, we turn to writer Steve Gillman, The Penny Hoarder’s man-of-a-thousand jobs, who wrote a book in a week. Note: Ebooks don’t have be hundreds of pages long. Gillman found many books as short as 6,000 words.
After publishing on Amazon, he started making $350 a month. The best part? He continued to make money, even months and years later.
How much you make hinges on a number of variables, including how much you list your book for and how many copies sell. For reference, Amazon pays writers up to 70% royalties on ebooks priced between $2.99 and $9.99.