5 Ways to Cash In on Your Skills

Creative ways you can make money, from tutoring to renting out the garage.

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These days, retirees "have to get creative when it comes to bringing in extra income," says Andrew Schrage, editor of the personal finance blog, Money Crashers. Consider these options:

Tutor. If you have a subject specialty, you can advertise on Craigslist or turn to local tutoring businesses (they match you to a pupil, and you get a monthly check). Another option: Tutor.com, which has about 2,500 tutors who teach one-on-one through online sessions from their home computers. Your income will partially depend on the subject covered. Chemistry and physics garner more than, say, history or social studies. "Our most active chemistry tutors earn anywhere from $800 to $1,600 a month," says spokeswoman Marie Farrar Knowles.

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Sell vintage goods. If you collect vintage wares, you can turn your finds—from old typewriters to stained glass—into cash. You can sell through online marketplaces like eBay, and many malls rent booths to sellers at a nominal fee and take 10 percent of each sale. The No-Nonsense Antique Mall Directory ($25) can be ordered at antiquemalldirectory.net and lists about 5,000 venues nationwide where you can sell.

Pet sit. Animal lovers can sign up with a pet-sitting firm or put up their own shingles. By posting flyers at dog parks or with veterinarians describing your services, from daily walks to overnight stays, you can attract clients. For a $160 annual fee, the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (petsitters.org) provides a guide to setting up a business, a listing in an online Pet Sitter Locator, and group pricing for insurance as well as other benefits, says Sherry Suhosky, the group's president-elect.

[See 10 Ways to Start Earning Extra Money Now.]

Sell handicrafts. Websites like Etsy.com and Artfire.com allow the creatively minded to sell everything from jewelry to furniture. "We have a wide range of sales for our artisans, from hobbyists to those making over $100,000," says Tony Ford, Artfire's chief operating officer. Etsy boasts over 800,000 active "shops" and charges a 20-cent listing fee and a 3.5 percent sales fee per item; Artfire has a flat monthly charge.

Lease home space. Depending on the property, savvy owners can charge from $100 to lease garage space to many times that for a suite of rooms. If you've never rented to a tenant before, consider joining Landlord Association.org ($9.95 for three months) to access such resources as sample rental agreements and discounted rates on tenant reports, such as a nationwide criminal background check ($19.95) through TenantAlert ($35 to register).