If you’re struggling to make ends meet and don’t have the time to take on a second job, you could just make some extra money on the side. Sometimes even a second job isn’t enough to cover those extra expenses or pay down that debt you’ve wanted to get rid of for a while. If you’re working a full-time job and have other responsibilities to take care of, finding a second job can be a challenge in itself. Fortunately, there are a number of online and offline opportunities that could give your income that much-needed boost.
1. Sell items on Craigslist or eBay.
List items for sale on eBay or Craigslist and you won’t have to do all the hard work of setting up and promoting a garage sale. Create an account to start listing anything from slightly used clothing and accessories, to home furnishings and computer equipment. Make sure to write a detailed description and provide as many high-quality images as possible with each listing. Include accurate contact information and offer free shipping options for a faster sale.
2. Start an online store.
Sites like eBay, Amazon, and CafePress make it simple to set up an online store and start selling physical and digital products for profit. You don’t have to invest in inventory and can manage your storefront from the comfort of home. You’ll need some basic Internet and marketing skills to get this going, but these stores can generate a modest side income in a very short amount of time. Review all of the requirements and fees involved as a seller on these sites so you can choose one that will generate the most profit.
3. Open up a new bank account.
Many banks try to lure in new customers by offering a cash bonus for opening a new account. Check out the latest offers from a few banks in your area and open a savings or checking account with the required minimum deposit. Most banks will require you to maintain that account for a certain number of days before you receive the bonus, but a little effort and patience can be worth it. Some banks offer as much as $150 for opening up a new checking or savings account during a specific promotional period. Keep in mind that these funds will need to be reported on your income tax return.
4. Sell electronics for cash.
If you’re trying to save up for some new electronic equipment, consider a buy-back or trade-in program offered by a local electronics store. Many stores now buy back certain brands and models, and can give you cash or a store credit for your next purchase. Think about all of the household electronics and appliances that are in relatively good condition, and that you have no use for. Get an appraisal for each item and trade them in for some quick cash—no strings attached.
5. Sell baked goods to local businesses.
If you’re an avid baker, create contracts or partnerships with local businesses that might be interested in serving your items at fundraisers and other special events, or acting as a reseller of your baked treats. Just make sure to check for any food laws in your state or county before you start sharing your skills for a profit. Some states require bakers to work out of a commercial kitchen and hold a special license.
6. Be a mystery shopper.
Sign up to be a mystery shopper, where you evaluate stores and customer service at various businesses for a fee. These companies work with mystery shopping companies as part of their quality control processes. You will need to follow the guidelines carefully, but you can get paid to shop and eat at some popular venues in your area. Take the time to search for legitimate companies by reading forums and checking the Internet for reviews of various mystery shopping companies before you disclose personal information. Don’t sign up for a company that requires you to pay a fee or subscription just to get jobs; there are plenty of legitimate companies that recruit skilled shoppers with no fees involved.
Sabah Karimi is a columnist for Wise Bread, a great resource for money-making ideas.