My Top 10 Easy Extra Money Ideas

By | December 7, 2016

Raise your hand if you’d like some extra money? Yeah, my hand went up too. Brad and I live well within our means, but I’m always looking for some “extra.” Extra for some of our smaller home improvement projects, to support my fancy coffee drink habit, and fun money to spend on outings, getaways, gifts, or whatever. It’s nice to have this extra bit to do more without cutting into our savings.

That’s why I wrote this post – to show that it’s not that hard. This isn’t about a side hustle (although a few of these could fall into that category), and no the money won’t replace a full-time job. However, these ten activities could add a few hundred to several thousand dollars to your bottom line.

Fair Warning

Although these are “easy” opportunities for extra cash, it’s relative. None require monetary investment, or experience of any kind. The commodities needed to be successful with most on the list are computer (tablet, smart phone) access and more importantly dedication. The fact that I work on a computer and am online all day allows for ample access. I can do a little bit throughout the day when I’m procrastinating brainstorming and it adds up over time. You may not be able to do this as easily, but if you do have access and can set aside time each day I’m sure you’ll have success.

This is Silly!

I’m not gonna lie. A few of the things I do feel embarrassing to share, because they seem so penny ante. However, by doing a little every day in between tasks I’ve racked up an impressive amount. The trick is to just let the pot roll over and accumulate. I usually cash out once or twice a year to a sum that definitely keeps me going. For that reason I encourage you to try these (or try them again if you stopped).

How This Post Works

The ten activities below are tried and true an selected because of my success with them. Each activity provides a brief overview, and where appropriate, a link to a post I’ve written with more in depth information.

This list is only the tip of what’s out there, but this post is limited to the things I actively do. If you like what you read about the money earning activities I’ve described and decide to join (where applicable) I may earn a referral bonus. Thank you if you do but please don’t feel any pressure to do so. Note that when you do join, refer your friends and you’ll earn bonuses too!

One more thing. Once a month I’ll post my easy extra money earnings so you can see what I’m actually doing. Okay, to the list. Let me know what you’re doing and how you’re doing at it. Here’s to easy extra money!

My Top 10 Easy Extra Money Activities (in alpha order)

1. Consigning

Consigning is when a store sells your clothes, accessories, furniture, home goods, etc. on your behalf and receives a percentage of the selling price. I’ve consistently earned several hundred dollars every year for the past couple of years doing this. If you’ve never tried it, it’s such an easy way to make extra money! I explain my process and give tips here.

2. Craigslist

Craigslist is a (mostly free) classified website that offers darn near everything you can think of. It’s also a great marketplace to sell your stuff. I don’t consider myself an expert by any means, but I’ve had ongoing success selling “stuff.” Click here to read what I did and what I’ve learned along the way.

3. EBay

EBay is an online marketplace that connects buyers and sellers. Using auction or “buy it now” options, people can buy and sell just about anything! I’ve sold things on eBay for 15 years making thousands of dollars in the process.  Though eBay continues to evolve, with many sellers believing for the worse, it’s still a perennial favorite of mine. Read more about why I think it’s still worth it as a way to bring in extra money.

4. Garage/Yard Sale

Garage sales are on this list for one reason. They work. Unlike the other ways of earning extra cash, however, I think of them as being one offs, because you can’t hold them very often. Brad and I held a yard sale which netted a little over $600. It was a monetarily satisfying experience, but it worked my type A personality so it’s not one I want to repeat too often. I don’t actually have enough to say to warrant a separate post, so I will just share two links that helped the most:

Yard Sale Queen

Garage Sales Tracker

One more thing. I know yard sale Facebook pages are popular. And I’m sure they work, but my experience with the groups in my area was that everyone was selling and no one was buying. My advice would be to observe the groups in your area before spending time and energy posting your wares.

5. Microsoft Rewards

Microsoft Rewards (formerly Bing Rewards) pays members to search the internet with Bing as well as use other products such as Microsoft Edge. If you’re like me and on your computer a lot, this is such a simple way to earn a few hundred extra dollars a year. I mean, all you have to do is use the Bing search engine for some of your searches and you get paid (in the form of gift cards from stores like Starbucks and Amazon, and Microsoft Products). See my post for more information.

6. Music Xray

MusicXray is a website that pays people to rate new music. In this way it is similar to SlicethePie which is also included below on this list. This program holds the distinction of being both the easiest, and slowest way to make some extra money, thusly should only be counted on in the most ancillary of ways. Because it is so easy everyone should consider it if a little extra cash is up your alley. Read my post about how it works and how much you can earn.

7. Mystery Shopping

Mystery shopping (or secret shopping), for those who don’t know, is when a you get paid to assess customer service or measure quality control by shopping at a company and completing evaluations. The companies can range from banks to malls to movies to restaurants and everything in between. It has been a staple in my extra money cabinet since grad school. Though I will still mystery shop for cash when the gig is simple (i.e. $25 gift card for walking around my local mall to see if the kiosk employees speak to me) or the incentive is large enough (i.e. $100 to go to a local hardware store and talk to employee about an obscure tool), these days I mostly shop to save thousands on entertainment expenses. Read my post for more information about mystery shopping and what I’ve learned.

8. Selling Your Gold/Silver

Like garage/yard sales, selling your unused gold and silver is a great way to earn some one-time extra cash. After years of holding on to earrings without a match, mortar board and sweet sixteen charms that I’ll never wear again, and a few trendy mistakes, I finally sold it all for cash.

The biggest decision was which service to use because so many seem sleazy. I went with Helzberg Diamond Jewelers Gold Purchase Program (non-affiliate link), because they are a well-known chain store. I highly recommend them! They sent me a post-paid envelope and I sent in my jewelry. Get this! They emailed a video which showed them opening my envelope and putting each item on a scale so I saw exactly how much it weighed. They made an offer of $213. I accepted, received a check in the mail, and a surprise certificate for a free pair of pearl earrings. I’m not a pearl wearing kind of gal, but the next time I was in the mall, I stopped by the store to see what would happen. The associate said, “Oh! You used the gold buy-back program.” She then gave me a pair of pearl earrings in a velvet bag. That was it. The earrings are lovely.

9. Slice the Pie

SlicethePie is a website that pays people for critiquing music, clothing, and accessories. It’s free to join. The best part about SlicethePie is that you can earn at your own pace, reviewing as much or as little as you like. I discovered SlicethePie probably two years ago and found that it’s easy to earn at least a few hundred dollars a year. I’m lazy with it. Others have earned significantly more than that. For more detailed information about what it is and how it works, see my much more detailed post here.

10. Swagbucks

Swagbucks is a website that pays people for doing things like watching videos, searching the internet, shopping (think cash back like Ebates), and trying out free offers. It’s one of those sites that if you’ve never done anything like it before it’ll seem scammy. However, it’s totally legitimate and free to join I’ve earned close to $3,000. Click here for my more in depth overview, and also find out why it was initially one of my more embarrassing ways to earn extra cash.

Okay, your turn! PLEASE share your awesomeness. I really wanna know.