Always Frugal gives us 11 ideas…
1. Make ad supported web sites or blogs. Here is my personal favorite: make web sites on your favorite topics and put ads or affiliate links on your sites for some extra cash. A great way to get started is to use Google’s blogger site, and then put their Adsense ads on your blog to generate income.
2. Try freelance article writing. If you aren’t comfortable making your own blog, there are existing web sites where you can make money by writing articles that go on established sites. Some of the sites that operate this way are Associated Content, Hubpages and Squidoo. The advantage to putting pages on these sites is that it may be easier to get your pages to rank on an established domain as opposed to starting a new site from scratch, and you personally don’t have to know any of the technology behind setting up a blog or site.
The downside is that you are writing content that is given over to someone else, and in the long run you probably won’t make nearly as much money as you could as with a site of your own. Plus with your own site you have the option of selling the entire site someday.
If you are a college student, you can sell your used text books online. Often you can get a better deal than at the campus book store where they have some what of a captive market.
4. Resell items. Go to other people’s garage sales, look for bargains and then resell the items online through places like eBay. We have a friend that makes a living just from reselling a certain type of exercise equipment on eBay. Another person that was featured in our local paper made a living reselling wedding dresses. It helps to specialize in one area so you get to know the market very well and get a good feel for what will sell online and for how much.
5. Go to library book sales, especially on the last day when they are trying to get rid of the books. You can often get a whole bag of books for $1 or $2. Then resell the books online through Amazon Marketplace or eBay. The downside with this approach is that in order to turn a tidy profit you have to have a good idea in advance of what types of books sell online and for how much. Plus, library sales often attract many used booksellers so the competition for the best books is often steep. You can get an edge by becoming a library member, or better yet a volunteer, and possibly getting a chance to purchase books before they go on sale to the general public.
6. Sell handmade items. If you have a hobby such as sewing or woodworking, instead of just making items for yourself and your friends, make items to sell either at craft fairs, consignment shops or online. One of my friends is an artist and sells her oil paintings, so it gives her both a relaxing hobby and a second income. Her art supplies are all tax deductible because they are business expenses. To sell your items online, check out www.etsy.com.
7. Offer your services to others. Even if you don’t have a craft type hobby, if you have a talent you can often do services for others who either don’t have the skill or the time to do chores themselves. Some of my friends who are otherwise stay at home moms do services such as pet care, child care, sewing and typing for some extra money.
8. Turn Your Hobby Into a Business. Turning any hobby into a business can often “earn” extra money just from tax savings. This is due to the many tax deductions available to small business owners. Possible deductions for your home business may include deductions for a retirement plan, health and dental insurance. phone expenses, Internet connection costs, equipment such as phones and PCs, a home office, travel expenses and much more. The list is really quite extensive.
9. Sign up for consumer focus groups. One of our friends makes an extra few hundred dollars a month just by going to consumer focus groups. My husband made $100 a couple of years back on his lunch hour just for watching two commercials for a major software company and telling the marketing people which commercial he liked better.
My husband and I are both on the mailing list for Blarry House research. They email or call me whenever they have a focus group might be a good fit for one of us. Some of the offers are not worth the time, but other’s are pretty lucrative for just an hour or two’s worth of work.
10. Use or Sell Your Gift Cards. Recent news reports claim that there are billions of dollars of unused gift cards going to waste. This is a boon for retailers and a financial set back for millions of U.S. households. So dig up those old gift cards and either use them or sell them on eBay. I had a $50 Linens N Things Card I could not use because they closed their only store in my area, and their online site no longer accepted their own gift cards. Initially I was going to throw the card away but then I thought that maybe I could find a place to sell it online. I ended up putting it up for auction on eBay where to my amazement it sold for $45 (less listing and selling fees).
11. Rent out a room to a traveler using airbnb.com.