Earning Extra

You might have mastered your monthly budget, but it never hurts to have extra income to help out. Finding ways to make extra money in your spare time (if you have it) is a great way to add to your savings, or give yourself a little extra spending cash. I’ve had steady, full-time jobs since I was in high school, so I’ve always had a pretty solid income, but I’ve taken on side jobs to help pay for things I considered “extra”… shopping when I don’t really need to, going out with friends, vacations, etc. It can really help you reach your goals faster. It’s also great for helping to pay down any outstanding debt, which is what I currently use additional funds for. After paying off my credit card balance last year, my main focus this year is to chip away at the last of my student loans. I’ve always overpaid on them just a little based on what my salary afforded me, but the extra income allows me to bring those numbers down in bigger chunks.

Extra work for extra income doesn’t have to be hard, tedious, or even “work” at all… you might find some of the things you can do enjoyable, which is a great incentive. I’ve shared below some of the jobs I’ve picked up over the years, as well as ones that friends have used, and even suggestions I’ve come across along the way. Consider any of these the next time you’re in need of some extra change in your pocket!

Babysitting. Having a background in Early Childhood Education, this is my obvious go-to for extra money. It’s almost always enjoyable (aside from the occasional temper tantrum) because for the most part, you’re just having fun with a few kiddos. It doesn’t require too much skill, and once you’ve earned the trust of a family or two, they’re sure to recommend you to other friends with children.

House or pet sitting. This one requires even less work than the option mentioned above! This generally just involves looking after one or the other while a friend or acquaintance is out of town for a few days. Just be sure to follow any specific directions they leave for you, and be respectful of their space, and you just might earn yourself a recurring gig.

Dog-walking. This is perfect for animal lovers, and even better if you’d like a pet of your own, but it just isn’t in the cards for you. It’s up to you how many dogs you can take on at once, and be sure that they’re animals that can get along well with other dogs in the group. Added bonus: sneak in extra exercise!

House or yard work. Cleaning houses or mowing lawns is a great way to earn extra cash, and can be fairly easy. I find cleaning to be therapeutic, especially if you put on some upbeat music to make the time go faster.

Tutor. This doesn’t typically require much time, and is great for anyone who excels in particular subjects (especially areas that others tend to struggle in, such as math, science, or foreign languages). Skill levels can range from elementary school through college level work, depending on what you’re good at.

Refinish and resell. This can require a little more time and effort, but can possibly offer more profit. I love to search out quality items in need of some love at thrift stores (or even better, listed for FREE on Craigslist) and refinish or restore them. I’ve bought pieces of furniture for less than $20, spruced them up for some minor fees, and sold them again for $100+.

Take surveys online. It takes a little bit of research to find ones that actually pay off, but I’ve done online surveys before to earn credit for gift cards for restaurants or stores. They can be a little time-consuming, but are fairly easy to complete while you watch TV or sit around the house.

Be an extra on a film set. This was by far one of the most fun ways I’ve ever made extra money! Pittsburgh has turned into a prime location for movie shoots, so it’s not uncommon to see scenes set around the city. The days can be long, but it’s usually pretty interesting to watch, and they usually feed you. AND you just might get to bump elbows with a celebrity or two!

Charge for your skills or talent. Are you great at baking? Are you a whiz at solving computer problems? Offer your services for a fee and folks will be happy to pay up in order to save themselves extra time and/or frustration.

What creative ways have you found to earn extra money?