With inflation pushing up the cost of daily life just about everywhere you go, people from all over the country are looking for ways to lower their spending — but even that isn’t enough in most cases. So on top of trimming their budgets, people are looking to pull in extra money to give themselves a little financial cushion.
If you can create a $500 monthly income stream, you’ll add $6,000 to your annual earnings — and that’s an incredibly helpful supplement in these harsh economic conditions. The good news is that an extra $500 a month is not out of reach. No matter your skills, background or education, there’s a new revenue stream just waiting to be unlocked. Here are a few of the best ways to tack an extra $500 onto your monthly earnings.
Rent Out Your Car
- Average of about $500 per 2 1/2 weeks through Turo.
If you’ve got assets that you don’t want to sell but may not be currently using, consider renting them out. Thanks to the access the internet provides, it’s now easy to rent out everything from your garage to your parking space — but renting your car might be the easiest of all.
According to Turo, the average host earns $10,516 per year. That’s more than $876 per month, which means you’d make your $500 monthly quota in about two-and-a-half weeks.
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- $41 per hour on average; about 12.2 hours to earn $500
People, in general, are modest about their abilities, but it’s likely that you have specialized knowledge that can translate into dollars. Think about what you spend your work or leisure time on. Do you flip houses on the weekends? Do you run the finances for your church or social group? Are you an expert at negotiating contracts? These and countless other skills are in demand. You can parlay your knowledge and experience into dollars via a consulting relationship with the right company or group.
Ask For a Raise
- $500 per month with a 40 hours-per-week job = $3.125 hourly raise
Don’t undervalue your contributions at work. If you’ve been working somewhere for a year or more without a raise, consider asking your supervisor for a raise. Present your accomplishments and skills you’ve learned over the past year, especially highlighting times when you’ve stepped up and covered tasks, not in your job description. The worst thing that can happen is they say no, but the best is $500 or more a month, so go for it.
- Average hourly wage: $32.36; roughly 10.3 time-and-a-half hours ($48.54) per month to pull down $500 extra
Your employer might be willing to give you more money, but you might have to work for it. If getting a raise is not an option, perhaps working overtime is. Overtime is defined as getting paid time and a half, or your usual rate, plus 50 percent.
Drive for Uber or Lyft
- Median earnings of roughly $18 per hour; about 28 hours to earn $500
Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft have become the poster children for the gig economy. As long as you have a car and a clean driving record, you can fill in the time gaps in your schedule by becoming a driver for hire. One of the best things about driving for a rideshare company is that you don’t need to stick to a fixed schedule. The experience can be as flexible as you need it to be.
- Extremely variable; full-time speakers average about $44 per hour, which requires 11.36 hours to earn $500
Are you a good communicator? Are you passionate about the things you do? Then perhaps public speaking is for you. Hone in on those special talents you have and turn your story into one of motivation. People, in general, get inspired by passionate experts who are successful, and sharing your story in a public forum could be an easy way to generate some extra dollars for yourself. As your reputation builds, so too could your hourly rate.
- Median pay is $18.37 an hour; about 27 hours a month will earn you $500
You may not have time to take on a part-time teaching job, but if you’ve got free weekends and evenings, you might be able to pick up a tutoring gig. These types of jobs can pay relatively high hourly rates, and you could also be doing a great service for your tutoring student. Tutors are needed for everything from traditional educational courses to specialized test preparation, such as the bar exam or professional qualification tests.
Umpire or Officiate
- Average pay is $26.66 per hour; 18.75 hours to earn $500
Are you a sports fan? Are there local sports leagues in your neighborhood? There likely are, and they may be in need of game officials. Umpiring or officiating can be a great way to get involved in your local community, participate in sports and earn additional money for your time. One of the best things about officiating is that games are typically in the evenings and on weekends when you’re more likely to have free time.
Teach English Online
- $12-$25 on average per hour; 20-41.67 hours to earn $500
If English is your native language, you already speak the international language of business. Countless foreigners are looking to come to America — or other English-speaking countries — and establish themselves, and they’ll need your help. Even American students need help with their English skills, and thanks to the prevalence of video technology, you can do these jobs from your own home.
- Average pay is 15.83 an hour; about 31.6 hours to earn $500
Pizza delivery used to be the main game in town when it came to food delivery, but things have changed dramatically over the past few years. With the rise of Grubhub, DoorDash and many other food delivery services, there’s no shortage of opportunities if you’re looking to make a little extra cash. If you’re good at garnering tips, you can reach $500 fairly easily.
- $31 per hour; about 16 hours to earn $500
Do you have a passion for fitness? Do you have a successful workout routine that keeps you healthy? Consider sharing your passion and your knowledge with your local community. Through personal training, you can share your expertise with others while earning a decent hourly wage. Personal training can be extremely flexible, no pun intended, so you can set up a teaching schedule that matches your free time. You may even be able to lead virtual fitness classes online.
- $15.10 per hour on average; about 33 hours to earn $500
Pet sitting is often a go-to job for teenagers, but it’s become a booming industry that anyone can get into. The combination of Americans’ love affair with their pets and their diminishing free time means that there’s plenty of opportunity to pet sit. Finding a job in this industry is also easier than it has ever been, as there are now websites dedicated to matching pet sitters and potential clients. If you can find a client who needs regular pet care during your free time, you can book a recurring source of easy revenue.
Put Your Artistic Side To Work
- Varies depending on skills
If you have artistic skills, you can turn those into monetary value and enjoy yourself at the same time. If you’re a painter, consider offering yourself for hire, either for artistic works or simply as a day worker. If your skill is woodcarving, see if there’s a market for creative works or if you can do some carpentry for local shops or businesses. Whether it is knitting or sewing or photography, there’s likely someone in need of your talents.
Cook or Bake
- $18.92 per hour; about 27.5 hours to earn $500
Do you know your way around a kitchen? Many people don’t. This creates a huge opportunity if you’re looking for some extra money on the side. Depending on your level of expertise and desire, you can set up everything from being an occasional cook for a family or organization to running a full-on part-time catering company. You could even precook or package meals simply for individuals or families who don’t have the time, inclination or ability to cook.
- Median of $11 an hour plus tips, which can total up to hundreds per shift; varies to earn $500, but on hourly alone, it would be around 45.5 hours a month
If you’ve got evenings and/or weekends free, consider taking a part-time job as a bartender. Those are the moneymaking times for bars, so you might be able to grab a few available shifts at one of your local watering holes. If your days of working at a grungy pub packed with college students are over, check out higher-end establishments. These days, there are plenty of whiskey bars and sophisticated lounges that are still in need of someone to pour the drinks.
Run the Books
- $20 per hour; about 25 hours to earn $500
If you’ve got accounting skills or even software skills, you can rent yourself out part time as a bookkeeper. Plenty of small businesses need help managing the bookkeeping side of the business, but many don’t have the budget or the need to hire big-name accountants full-time. You can look online for remote bookkeeping assignments, or you can start by visiting your local shops and stores to see who might be in the market for your services on a part-time basis.
Launch a Blog
- Slow at first, but ongoing revenue can easily top $500 monthly
You’ve probably heard about all of the YouTube millionaires who simply post videos online and instantly rake in tons of cash. While there are certainly examples of this, that shouldn’t necessarily be your goal. If you simply write a blog or post a video series about something you’re passionate about, you’re likely to attract some followers over time. By partnering with advertisers like Google, you’ll start generating a revenue stream that could easily top $500 monthly over time.
- Varies depending on site
You’ve no doubt seen advertisements for how easy it is to make money sitting at home, answering surveys. The truth is that this area is full of scam artists, so you’ll have to be wary of what’s a real opportunity and what is not. However, there are legitimate “stay-at-home” jobs like Swagbucks, where you can pick up some extra money in the form of popular store gift cards for answering surveys and performing other activities from your computer.
- Average or $35 per hour; about 14 hours to earn $500
Editing papers or videos at home is another way you can earn some extra money in your free time at home. If you latch onto a specialty project, such as editing scientific journals or other higher-paying gigs, you can reach your $500 monthly target much faster. Since communication is an essential part of any business, companies are always in need of good editors. If that’s your strength, you should be able to find some opportunities.
- $16.44 per hour = about 30.4 hours to earn $500
Virtual assistant jobs have exploded in popularity thanks to the rise of interactivity tools like Slack and Zoom. Now, you can perform many traditional office tasks from your own home on a part-time basis. This is a good gig if you’re organized and comfortable with online technology, from Google Docs and Dropbox to various editing, graphics and mailing software.
Publish an E-book
- Extremely variable; a long-term build
One step beyond writing a blog is publishing an e-book. Although you’ll have to advertise and market your e-book — ideally, on your blog, among other places — a successful e-book could lead to an ongoing monthly revenue stream. Your e-book can be on anything you’d like, it just has to provide value for the consumer, either in terms of specialized knowledge, passionate writing or just the knack for storytelling. Like blog writing, this isn’t a quick fix for additional monthly income, but it’s easy to start, and the revenue can grow over time.
Garner Financial Account Bonuses
- As much as $500 or more at a time
The financial services industry is competitive, so with some diligence, you may be able to score some account signup bonuses worth $500 or more each. For example, BMO Bank is currently offering a $500 bonus for signing up for a new checking account. Many credit card companies offer cash bonuses for signing up for cards as well. Citi, for example, is currently offering a bonus worth $800 for the Premier card. If you shop around, you can find numerous such bonuses. Just be sure to read the fine print so you don’t get caught up in a situation that will end up costing you money in the long run.
Be a Medical Guinea Pig
- Could earn $500 or more in a single study
Clinical trials on human beings are one of the last steps in the development chain before a drug is brought to market. Pharmaceutical companies and hospitals can pay fairly large amounts of money to participants in these studies. For example, you can earn $1,350 for participating in an RSV vaccine study.
Write Resumes or Professional Profiles
- Average of $20.55 per hour; about 24 hours to earn $500
If you have a knack for making others look like more successful professionals, perhaps resume writing is a way for you to cash in. Some professional LinkedIn profile creators can make $1,000 per month or more.
Trim Your Budget
- Hundreds of dollars per week
Trimming your budget isn’t a way to earn money per se, but it ends up having the same effect. If you have recurring monthly subscriptions, hobbies where spending has gotten out of control or an incessant habit of eating at restaurants, you may be able to trim hundreds or even thousands of dollars out of your monthly budget. Over the course of a year, this could result in significant savings without you having to spend any additional time at all earning extra money.
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Andrew Lisa contributed to the reporting for this article.