Whether you need to boost your cash flow to pay bills, save more or simply improve your lifestyle, there are plenty of ways to make more money. Some methods of saving are easy, while others require serious effort. But all have the potential of paying off if you want to boost your bottom line.
Last updated: Oct. 20, 2021
Ask Your Boss for a Raise
If you want to make more money in 2022, start by asking for it. While the pandemic has led to staffing shortages in various industries, employers are more likely to give raises to entice reliable employees to stay.
To get a general idea of what you’re worth, check the going rate for your position on sites such as PayScale, Salary.com and Glassdoor. Then build your case for why you deserve higher pay based on your accomplishments and the value you’ve added to the company, according to PayScale’s negotiation guide.
Give Yourself a Raise
You can boost your paycheck on your own by keeping more of what you earn. Do this by adjusting your tax withholding if you typically get a large refund every year. A big refund indicates that you’re letting Uncle Sam hang on to too much of your money during the year.
Rather than wait until the spring to get your money, file a new Form W-4 with your employer to claim additional allowances and have less tax money withheld. IRS.gov has a withholding calculator that you can use to figure out how many allowances to claim. Considering that the average refund was $2,707 in 2019, you could be adding more than $225 back to your paycheck each month.
Refer Other Employees to Your Company
You might be able to score a bonus at work by referring potential employees for job openings at your company. The average bonus for an employee referral was $1,500 in 2020, according to ERIN — the Employee Referral Invitation Network.
The organization said 82% of employees who came through employee referrals provided the best return on investment. That’s because of numbers like this: 45% of employees hired based on an employee referral stay on the job for four years or longer, whereas only 25% of employees who were referred through job boards stay more than two years.
Switch To an Online Bank Account
In today’s low-interest-rate environment, you won’t get rich by stashing your cash in a savings account. But it still pays to shop around for the highest rate so your money can grow a little faster. Instead, consider switching to an online bank account that offers a high-interest savings and checking account. For example, Synchrony Bank offers a 0.50% APY on its savings accounts, and Ally Bank offers a 0.10% APY on checking accounts with balances below $15,000, but 0.25% APY for accounts with a balance higher than $15,000. The national average for savings accounts is just 0.06% APY and 0.03% APY for checking accounts, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Earn Cash Back
You can turn everyday purchases into money-making opportunities if you pay with a cash-back rewards credit card. If you’re responsible with credit and pay off your balance each month, consider taking advantage of a card that offers back a percentage of the amount you spend. The standard amount you can earn is 1% to 2%, but some cards offer up to 6% in certain spending categories, such as at supermarkets.
You also can earn cash back on online purchases by shopping at sites such as BeFrugal and Rakuten. These sites partner with retailers to offer consumers a percentage of their purchases back in cash. Since 1997, 12 million Rakuten members have earned more than $1 billion in rewards, according to the company.
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Help Your Investments Make More
If you’re working hard to contribute to a retirement account, it’s important to limit the impact investment fees are having on your account balance. For example, if you’re paying 1% in annual fees, a $100,000 portfolio can be reduced by about $30,000 over 20 years compared with a 0.25% fee, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
So, check your retirement plan statement to see how much fees are eating into your returns. If the investments offered in your 401(k) have varying fees, consider switching to lower-fee investments to have more money when you retire.
Participate In Focus Groups
You can pick up extra cash in your spare time by participating in focus groups run by companies that do market research. While many focus groups have moved to online participation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, participation is still possible.
Take Online Surveys
If focus groups aren’t available where you live, you can still make money offering your opinion online.
“I once earned $500 for taking surveys at night while sitting on the couch,” said Lauren Greutman, frugal living expert and author of “The Recovering Spender.”
Greutman said she got paid to take surveys on sites such as Swagbucks, InboxDollars, Pinecone Research and Opinion Outpost. Be aware that some sites offer gift cards rather than cash, but you can still use the cards to make everyday purchases.
Do Market Research
You likely can make more money gathering market research than participating in it, if you have time to take on a part-time job as a market research interviewer.
“This typically freelance role is an entry-level position helping to gather market research and data for a variety of clients and companies,” said Brie Reynolds, a career development manager at FlexJobs. “Great phone skills are a must, and these jobs offer part-time schedules and the ability to work remotely.”
Find a Higher-Paying Job in a Low-Cost City
If your money isn’t going as far as you’d like in your current city, you might want to move to a part of the country with a lower cost of living. When planning a move, consider factors such as the city’s median household income, unemployment rate and the percentage it is below the national cost of living.
Additionally, you could investigate the best cities to score a job and find an inexpensive place to live. According to GOBankingRates’ recent analysis of the 200 largest metro areas, the cities with the best cost of living and most plentiful jobs include Amarillo, Texas, and Little Rock, Arkansas.
Be a Human Guinea Pig
You can make money — and a contribution to medical science — by participating in clinical trials. The amount paid varies depending on the type and length of the study. Some can be as simple as giving a blood sample, though, said Donna Freedman, author of “Your Playbook for Tough Times.”
Freedman said that she found clinical trials to participate in through ads in student and independent newspapers, on bulletin boards at a university and even through Craigslist. A good site to check for studies in your area is ClinicalTrials.gov, which is a service of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. The site also offers tips on what to expect during clinical trials.
Sell Your Clutter
“One of the fastest ways to score extra cash is to declutter something from your house and hawk it online,” said J. Money, a personal finance blogger.
By selling to local buyers you don’t need to worry about charging for shipping. Sites include Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace and OfferUp.
“I try to list one new item a week — typically on Fridays right before the weekend hits — and the trick is pricing it right and taking lots of pictures, as well as writing a detailed description, which helps with search and keywords,” he said.
Resell Thrift Store Finds Online
“Another way you can make extra cash is to buy items at thrift stores and resell them online through eBay or Poshmark,” Greutman said. “This is a great way to increase your income.”
She said that her sister-in-law does this and makes $1,000 per month, which provides additional income for her family. Greutman said that she does it for fun. She once bought an Anthropologie dress for $3 at a thrift store and sold it for $75 on eBay. She has also earned extra cash by finding antiques at garage and estate sales and selling them for more on eBay.
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Turn Used Books Into Cash
Don’t let the books you’ve already read collect dust on your shelves. You can turn them into cash by selling them online, Greutman said. Or you could make money selling cheap books found at yard sales for more online.
You can get money for used books by selling them on Amazon. And BookScouter lets you compare offers from various book buyback vendors.
Sell Used Electronics
If you have a gaming console your kids no longer use, an old cellphone or tablet stashed in a drawer, or a computer you don’t need, you can turn these items into cash. Sell unwanted electronics on sites such as Amazon Trade-In, Gazelle and uSell, or can also take old phones, tablets and MP3 players to one of the more than 4,800 ecoATM kiosks across the U.S. and get cash on the spot.
Cash In on Unwanted Gift Cards
If you received gift cards you know you’ll never use, you can make money off them. You won’t get face value, but sites such as Raise and CardCash make them easy to sell.
You can sell your gift cards electronically or mail them for free.
Fix Stuff and Sell It
If you’re good at fixing things, Freedman recommends keeping an eye out for discarded items left on the curb that can be repaired and resold.
“Sometimes people toss out perfectly good items because they’re trading up, or because they’re moving and don’t want to haul everything. Sometimes these ‘curb mart’ deals can mean big bucks,” Freedman said.
She added that someone she knows picked up a four-piece wicker porch set that had been set out with the trash, cleaned it, styled it with cushions and posted a picture on her city’s Facebook yard sale page.
“It sold for $150 almost immediately,” she said. “The entire process took about half an hour. Not a bad way to earn some extra cash.”
Get a Weekend Job or Side Job
If getting a raise at your current position is unlikely, you might want to consider picking up a weekend or side gig to supplement your income. Some of the top-paying side jobs include driving for a rideshare or delivery service, dog walking and online tutoring. For best results, choose something you enjoy so your second job doesn’t seem like one more unpleasant item on your to-do list.
Create Online Content
If you love to write and have expertise in a certain subject, creating online content as a freelancer could be a lucrative side hustle — or a full-time job, said Holly Johnson, a freelance writer and creator of the Club Thrifty blog.
“Nearly every business has a website, and most hire freelancers to create content for their blogs,” she said. “By learning how to create engaging blog posts, you can earn anywhere from $50 to $500 per post.”
Johnson said that she started creating online content for pay in 2011 and was able to become a full-time freelancer by 2013.
“Even though I work flexible hours and days, I earn considerably more than I ever did at my day job,” she said. To get started, Johnson recommends creating an online portfolio to showcase your work. And list freelance writing as one of your skills on LinkedIn.
Start a Blog
Starting a blog of your own is another great way to make money, Wang said. You can use free software from a site such as WordPress to create your blog and use Google’s free AdSense program to put ads on your site. Additionally, you can join Amazon Associates to earn up to 10% in advertising fees by advertising products on your blog.
However, if you can’t devote hours to building a blog, Wang recommends using it as a way to showcase your work.
“The quickest way to earn money off a blog is to use it as a portfolio,” he said. Show the work that you’re doing in your field of expertise to get freelance work or land a new, higher-paying position.
Manage Social Media Accounts
If you’re looking for part-time work, you might be able to make extra money as a social media manager. For this professional-level position, you need a bachelor’s degree, experience in marketing or communications and at least one year of social media experience, Reynolds said.
Profit From Your Photoshop Skills
If you have experience using photo-editing software and a background in design, you can work part-time as a freelance Photoshop expert, Reynolds said. Jobs per project are available on sites such as Upwork and Fiverr.
Make Money From Your Love of Gaming
If you love playing video or computer games, you could profit from your passion as a gaming support representative.
“In a gaming support representative job, people with a passion for gaming and technology are hired to provide customer service support for gamers related to questions about products and services,” Reynolds said. “These roles are typically part-time and remote, with seasonal and short-term options available.”
Get Paid To Do Research
“People with a knack for research and a passion for learning new things might enjoy a part-time, remote job as a business researcher,” Reynolds said. “Researchers receive requests for information on different topics and are paid by completing these short research projects.”
Be a Tutor
“Tutoring jobs are an excellent option for people with a passion for education and a need for flexible scheduling,” Reynolds said.
The average tutor earns $17.70 per hour, according to PayScale. Previous teaching or tutoring experience is preferred, Reynolds said. You can find online tutoring gigs at Tutor.com and Wyzant or offer in-person tutoring in your community by advertising your services on community, school or university bulletin boards or local online resources.
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Be a Courier
You can earn extra money as a courier delivering time-sensitive documents and parcels. You must have your own vehicle and driver’s license and pass a background check because you’ll be handling important materials. Couriers deliver legal documents, transport medical materials or pick up and deliver packages and correspondence for businesses. Indeed reports the average hourly pay for a courier driver is $20.14 per hour.
Be a Peer-to-Peer Delivery Driver
You can turn a daily commute or cross-country road trip into a money-making opportunity as a driver for Roadie, a peer-to-peer delivery service.
“The service connects people with stuff to send with drivers heading in the right direction,” said Marc Gorlin, founder of Roadie. Basically, you get paid for delivering packages on trips you are taking anyway. And the service is available in all 50 states.
Deliveries are local and long distance, and the driver can earn in the hundreds, with the payout highest for delivering oversized items. Additionally, you can pick up more than one gig at a time — as long as everything fits in your car.
Drivers must be 18 and have a valid driver’s license and a current auto insurance policy. To get started, fill out an online application using the Roadie app, have your background validated and take an online tutorial.
Drive for Lyft or Uber
You can make money in your spare time driving people for Lyft or Uber. How much? Uber estimated that over a recent four-week period in Washington, D.C., its drivers made $1,186 per week, with tips.
Both of these ride-sharing companies hire drivers who meet certain requirements. You must have been a licensed driver in the United States for at least one year (three years if you are under 23) with Uber, plus for both companies, have a valid driver’s license and a four-door vehicle, be covered by auto insurance and go through a screening process. Your vehicle must also meet certain requirements that vary by locality.
Assist Others Virtually
The virtual assistant niche is growing fast, Freedman said. This job lets you make money while working at home by helping others do things they don’t have time to do or don’t want to do themselves. It requires an eye for detail and strong organizational skills, she said.
You can find virtual assistant positions at Fancy Hands and Zirtual.
Care For Pets
If you love animals, you could make extra money caring for people’s pets while they are at work or on vacation. You can sign up with a site such as Rover or Wag! to be a pet sitter or dog walker.
Both sites let sitters set their own schedules and rates.
Be a Babysitter
Being a babysitter can be a fun and easy way to make extra cash.
“As a midlife college student in Seattle, I earned $10 or more per hour to watch kids who sometimes went to bed an hour after I arrived,” Freedman said. “It was like being paid to study.”
The average babysitting rate varies depending on the city, the sitter’s experience and the number of kids being watched, but it can be as high as $18.75 per hour in top-paying cities, according to Care.com. You can apply to be a babysitter with a site such as Care.com, which matches caregivers with those in need, or post on Facebook to let friends know you’re available to sit.
Be a House Sitter
An easy way to make extra cash is to be a house sitter while the homeowners are away.
“That could mean staying in the place or coming by to water plants, pick up mail and make the place look lived-in,” Freedman said.
You can get house-sitting jobs by applying through a site such as Care.com. Or advertise your services on Craigslist, Facebook or community bulletin boards.
Rent Out Your House… or a Room
Renting a room in your house — or your entire abode — is a quick way to make hundreds or even thousands of dollars, Freedman said. For example, if you travel frequently for work or fun, you could list your home on VRBO to rent it out to other travelers while you’re away. If you have a spare room and want to host guests while you’re at home, you can do so through Airbnb.
As long as you don’t rent some or all of your primary residence for more than 14 days a year, you won’t have to pay taxes on your earnings, Freedman said. Just make sure to keep valuables and sensitive paperwork in a safe or locked file cabinet while guests are in residence.
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Rent Out Your Parking Space
If you live in a big city where parking is expensive or hard to come by, you might be able to make extra cash by renting out your parking space if one comes with your apartment or condo. If you don’t have a car, rent your space to someone who needs it.
Rent Out Your Car
If your car frequently sits in the garage because you take public transportation or travel a lot, turn it into a money-maker. You can list your car with a peer-to-peer rental service, such as Getaround or Turo to rent out your ride. Each service provides insurance coverage. Getaround takes a commission of up to 40% on rental earnings, Turo takes a 10% to 40% commission.
Rent Your Belongings
You might have items that others will pay to use on a short-term basis. That includes your barbecue grill, power tools, vehicle, formal wear, blender or extension ladder.
At Loanables, you can post items for rent and decide the terms of the rental, including the price. It even has a pricing comparison list, so you can see how much rental places typically charge.
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If you’re crafty, you could profit from your ability to create handmade items. For example, Freedman knows people who make money by selling their wares on the online marketplace Etsy.
The site charges a 20-cent listing fee plus a 5% transaction fee. Freedman recommends having a plan to keep up with demand should your Etsy store be a hit.
Provide Lawn Care
You can make money mowing lawns, trimming hedges, weeding garden beds and cleaning leaves. Start by calling local lawn care companies to see what they charge and then set your rates accordingly. You can make flyers advertising your services and rates and distribute them in nearby neighborhoods.
Be a Mystery Shopper
Although mystery shopping scams abound, this job is a legitimate way to make money. Scams typically ask for some sort of payment, but real opportunities — which you can find through companies such as BestMark and Secret Shopper — offer a fun way to make money by scrutinizing how a retailer or restaurant does business, Freedman said.
Mystery shoppers complete their tasks at assigned stores and restaurants, then complete questionnaires about their experience. Shoppers can expect to earn $15 to $25 for a typical assignment with Secret Shopper.
Make an Extra $5 — or More — on Fiverr
If you have a service to offer — from graphic design to resume writing — you can sell it on Fiverr. The site was launched on the premise of offering to do tasks for $5, but sellers can now charge much more. It’s free to sign up, and sellers keep 80 percent of the purchase amount for their services.
The amount you can make might seem small, but Freedman knows people who make their entire living this way.
Share a Skill Online
If you have a skill to share — from cooking to crafting — you can make money by teaching others how to do it online. At a site such as Skillshare, you can teach online classes with short videos.
Teachers get paid monthly for every student who takes a class. Top teachers can earn more than $100,000 a year, according to Skillshare.
You can teach lessons the old-fashioned way if you can play an instrument, are fluent in a foreign language, are a certified fitness or yoga instructor or have some expertise you can share with others.
You can find the going rate for the lesson you want to teach by checking Craigslist listings for your city. Then you can post the lessons you’re willing to teach on the site. Or, make a connection with your neighbors to spread the word about your abilities.
You can make money doing chores for others — such as cleaning, assembling furniture, making minor repairs or running errands — by signing up at a site such as TaskRabbit. Download the app to be notified of jobs available near you and then pick the ones you want and negotiate a rate with the client.
Be a Brand Ambassador or Event Marketer
You can make extra cash as a brand ambassador if you’re willing to hand out flyers on the street, dress as a mascot or help promote a company in other ways. Or you could do similar work as part of an event marketing team.
You can register with a promotional talent or event staffing agency, such as Street Team Promotion or ATN Event Staffing, to be notified of jobs in your area. Several recent job listings for events on Across the Nation’s Facebook page were paying $20 an hour and up.
Serve as an Online Juror
Most of us hope we’re not called for jury duty. You can make extra money as an online juror, though. Attorneys use mock juries and focus groups to prepare for trials. They submit facts related to a case, and online jurors answer questions. You can sign up at sites such as OnlineVerdict and eJury if you’re at least 18 and a U.S. citizen.
OnlineVerdict pays between $20 and $60 per case, and eJury pays $5 to $10. Note that jurors can only review cases in the county or federal district where they live.
Be a Tour Guide
If you have special knowledge about the city where you live, its architecture or art scene, you might be able to make money as a tour guide. One way to do this is as a “scholar” for Context Travel. Context operates in 60 cities on six continents and looks for guides with expert knowledge to serve as teachers and storytellers.
An easy way to make some quick money is by testing websites, said Jim Wang, creator of the personal finance blog, Wallet Hacks. He recommends signing up at UserTesting, which pays participants to visit sites or apps and give opinions about their experiences.
“You get $10 for every 20-minute test, and you’ll need a computer, webcam and a microphone,” Wang said. “You’ll be asked to perform some tasks, say your thoughts aloud and do so for 10 minutes. It’s pretty simple.”
Take On a ‘Weird’ Job
Traditional weekend work isn’t the only way to earn some extra cash. If the idea of dog walking or driving for Uber doesn’t appeal to you, consider a less obvious way of earning a dime.
Think outside the box and brainstorm some unique, uncommon or downright weird ways to make money. For example, some people sell their hair online or work as a living statue.
Learn a Money-Making Skill
If you possess a special skill or talent, you might be able to use it to make money on the side. If not, consider taking a class or enrolling in a training program to boost your aptitude in a particular area.
According to Glassdoor’s report “50 Best Jobs in America for 2021,” individuals in the fields of software development and IT earn some of the best salaries. So consider taking that information technology class to boost your computer skills for next year.
Get Paid To Exercise
For many of us, hitting the gym is just one more thing to do at the end of a long day. But what if you could get paid to burn those calories?
Some ways to make money exercising include getting involved in a workplace fitness challenge, choosing an active side job like gardening, and teaching a yoga or pilates class to your friends and neighbors.
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Jami Farkas contributed to the reporting for this article.