5 unique ways to make extra money

Almost four years ago, I quit my job to start working for myself. I was able to do this for two reasons; first, because my wife Kim and I paid off our $52,000 in consumer debt. Second, because I started researching legitimate ways to make money on the side.

There are tons of ways to make extra cash; some are legit, some are not. Some require a lot more work than others. You might not be up for driving for Uber or starting a dog walking business, but even if those things aren’t for you, there are still unique ways you can make money by doing side hustles that don’t require you to sacrifice too much of your time or money to get started. After all, the goal is to make money, right?

Here are five unique ways you can put some extra moolah into your pocket and you can do them all on a schedule that works for you.

1. Rent Out Your Spare Bedroom

Sites such as Airbnb advertise rooms and entire houses for rent for travelers. The goal of Airbnb is to provide comfortable staying spaces for travelers at a great price. If you’ve got a spare bedroom in your house, you can advertise the space on Airbnb and host travelers that visit your city or town when it’s convenient for you.

A quick search of my local area showed private rooms for 1-2 guest renting for between $30 and $75 per night. This means you could potentially make between $60 and $150 per weekend by just renting out your spare bedroom.

2. Design Products

If you have a knack for creating designs for t-shirts, coffee mugs, shower curtains, blankets or any other number of products, think about posting your designs on Cafepress. Your part of making cash through Cafepress is easy: you create and upload your designs to your Cafepress account. When people buy a product with one of your designs, you get paid a commission; 5% to 10% of the selling price.

One of the other great things about working with Cafepress is that it’s a largely passive income source. Once you’ve set your designs, there’s very little work to do in terms of making money, provided you’ve done some marketing to get the word out.

3. Take Online Surveys

There are several online survey sites touting big payouts to survey takers, but not all are legit. One of my favorite legit survey companies is Harris Poll Online. I like Harris Poll Online because it’s free to join. Then, when you take their online surveys you earn points. These points can be used to purchase gift cards from a number of different stores such as Amazon and iTunes, or you can use your points to purchase goods such as movies, books or stuff for the home.

4. Rent Out Your Car

Turo is another great option for making extra cash. If you’ve got a car that you don’t use often, you can list it on Turo as available to rent for business and recreational travelers. It’s pretty easy; you register the make and model of the car and where you’re at, Turo sets the rental price and you get paid 65%-85% of the trip price via direct deposit. It’s worry-free income too; Turo insures your car with a plush insurance policy, and you get to accept or decline requests to rent your car as you see fit.

5. Report Your Shopping Habits

Another cool and different way to make money can be by reporting on your shopping habits. Here’s how it works: when you sign up with National Consumer Panel, they mail you a handheld scanner, kind of like the ones you use for gift registries.

All you have to do is scan the barcodes of the stuff you buy as you put it into the cart. You also record the total you paid and what store you bought at. Then, at the end of each week, you send your shopping report in electronically.

NCP then awards you points based on your shopping habits, and you can trade those points in for cash, an Amazon gift card, a Visa rewards card, an iTunes gift card or toward the purchase of a Kindle Fire.

6. Sell Stuff Around the House Online

You would be amazed at what items you have lying around the house that might bring good money. Do you still have your textbooks from college? What about your old cell phone or last generation iPod? Look around your house and determine what you are willing to part with. We used the 1 year rule: if I hadn’t used the item in the past year, it is time for it to go. I use Ebay to sell smaller items and I use Craigslist to sell bigger items because shipping can really eat into the amount of money you will get. The bigger the item, the more it will cost to ship.

7. Buy for Less and Sell for More

This is one of my favorite things to do. It can be risky, so I would make sure to only buy items that you are familiar with. Recently I stopped by a yard sale that had a Keurig for sale. I gave them $8 for it, listed it on Craigslist, and sold it for $50 the same day. I will often pull my cell phone out while at a sale and look an item up first on Amazon or Ebay to see what it is selling for. Then if the margins are high enough, I make an offer.

8. Get a Second Job

I know firsthand how difficult it can be to have two jobs but it is worth it if you have  a goal. Our goal was to be out of debt in 18 Months so a second job was a must to make this happen. If you are in this boat, check out my post on how I got a second job in 8 days.

9. Work Hard at Your Current Job

This is common sense, right? Well, if you work hard at your current job, come in early and leave late, you will be noticed. Why? Because that is the behavior of a winner and people like having winners around. You do this long enough and you are bound to get a raise.

10. Monetize Your Skills

Are you good at fixing computer issues? What about cutting hair? Are you handy around the house? Take an inventory of your skills that you can turn into cash. Write down on a piece of paper what your skills are and how you can make money using them.

11. Put Items on Consignment

Do you have a nice piece of furniture that you would be willing to sell? In Arizona we have a store called My Sisters Attic where they sell pre-owned, quality items; Mainly furniture and household goods. Even if you have some designer clothes, there are consignment shops for those as well. Here are a few in my neck of the woods: My Sisters Closet, Well Suited, Buffalo Exchange, Sunset Clothing Xchange, & A Second Look. Note, some of these stores will just give you cash for clothes, so you don’t have to wait for them to sell.

12. Sell Your Photos

If you love photography and would like to make a little extra money with your pictures, you can become a Shutterstock Contributor. It is free to contribute and you can get anywhere from $0.25 to $75.00 per download!

13. Freelance writing

If you like to write and would like to make money in your pajamas, then freelance writing could be a great fit. My friend Holly makes over $100,000 per year from freelance writing. She even has a course to help other people make money as a freelancer called Earn More Writing.

14. Sell Items on Etsy

If you are into making crafts or items that are unique in nature, check out Etsy.com. It is online marketplace where you can have a web presence to sell the items you create.

15. Create a Kickstarter Campaign

This is one of the greatest innovations in the 21st century. If you want to create a product, produce a film, or even cut an album, Kickstarter.com allows you to raise money to so. I recently gave to a campaign called, “I’m Fine, Thanks” which raised over $100,000 for their movie!

16. Teach a Community Education Class

If you have a skill that’s best learned in a group setting, considering contacting your local Community Education officials and talk to them about teaching a class.  Ideas for what type of class you can teach if your local community education program doesn’t already offer it are endless.  You could teach a budgeting class, an Internet safety class, a class on how to use a smartphone, how to pay off debt, how to retire early or a multitude of other things.  Research your skill sets and see what you could teach others that would bring value to your community and earn you extra money in the process.

17. Tutor a Student

Parents with students of all ages are seeking out qualified tutors for their kids.  If you are great with kids, and are smart at Math, English, Creative Writing or Grammar, consider advertising your services as a tutor.  This is a great way to make money while in college too.  Advertise your services on Craigslist or Facebook.

18. Teach Others What You Know

Make a list of your skills and talents, and work to find a way to teach others how to do the same.  Are you a great cook? Offer services to come to someone’s house and teach them to cook a few great dishes.  If budgeting and money management are in your skill sets, offer a one-on-one coaching session on how to manage money. Most people have at least one talent that others rave about and wish they had.  Find yours, and offer to teach it to others for a fee.

19. Provide a Time-Saving Service

There are many tasks out there that busy people would gladly pay someone else to do, such as housecleaning, dog walking, lawn care, doggie doo-doo cleanup, car washing services and other similar tasks. Look for simple tasks that you don’t mind doing that would be a huge time-saver for other people, and offer your services via local bulletin boards, local newspapers or Craigslist.

20. Expand Your Side Hustle

Already got a side hustle in place?  Find a way to expand on it.  If you offer house-painting services, consider adding another repair/maintenance service to your business.  If you’re a freelance writer, consider offering website content writing services.  If you offer babysitting services, expand your business and offer house-cleaning services as well.  Find a way to utilize the skills you already have and grow your side hustle business to expand your customer base and earn more money.

Earning extra cash through sources like these is what helped Kim and I pay off our $52,000 of consumer debt in just 18 months.

Have you tried any of these ways to make extra money?