November 28, 2021

Earn Money

Business Life

Simple Ways to Make Money Without a Second Job

The coronavirus outbreak has created many financial hardships, especially for those struggling with student loans and/or job loss. Visit our Coronavirus Information Center for more information about how the response to the outbreak affects your student debt, as well as other ways to earn money from home during the pandemic.

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Student loan debt can stretch an entry-level salary thin. If you are struggling to make ends meet, you may be wondering how to make money without getting a second job. Earning more could help you get out of student debt faster while providing extra cash for your savings.

While side hustles can be a great income booster, the internet is swamped with shady companies. To help you identify real side-gig opportunities, we’ve vetted 15 legitimate ones.

How to make money without a second job

These unique ideas may help you learn how to make passive income without having to make a big investment of time.

If you already work a full-time job, you may want to try to make extra money without getting a second one:

1. Rent out a room
2. Sell gift cards
3. Give out microloans
4. Create blog content
5. Open a new bank account
6. Become a mystery shopper
7. Post affiliate links
8. Sell old clothes and accessories
9. Test out listing features
10. Invest your change
11. Shop at real stores
12. Crafty? Open an Online Store
13. Refer products
14. Rent out your car
15. Sell your smartphone pictures
Plus: How you can use that extra money

1. Rent out a room

If you have a spare bedroom or even just a couch, you could make extra money by renting it out to short-term vacationers. Budget-conscious travelers book accommodations on sites like AirBnB or VRBO.

Depending on your location and the space you have, you could make more than $500 a month or more.

2. Sell gift cards

Gift cards are a simple gift idea — you’ve likely received a few for the holidays, your birthday or graduation. Instead of letting those cards gather dust in a drawer, you can turn them into cash by asking family and friends if they would like to buy them directly from you.

Next, try selling your gift cards on a gift card exchange website like GiftCash.com or CardKangaroo.com. Depending on the card’s brand, you might be able to get as much as 92% of the card’s value.

3. Give out microloans

If you have some money in savings, you might make it work harder for you by investing with peer-to-peer lending. With services such as Lending Club or Kiva.org, you can help individual borrowers by partially funding their personal loans. Lending Club is a more traditional venue for investors and start-ups, while Kiva’s focus is working with underserved organizations around the world.

Some people need a loan for a dream wedding or to launch a business. You can lend them some money, and the returns you get on your investment are based on their risk profile and credit worthiness.

To diversify your investment, you can give out several small loans rather than one big one.

4. Create blog content

Freelance writers can make a lot of money, but it takes a lot of time, commitment and experience to command higher prices. For those who need extra cash fast, content mills can connect you with clients and pay you quickly.

The rates you’ll earn will be much less than what you’d get on your own, but you don’t have to do any of the administrative work or find clients yourself — you can get to work right away and start earning cash.

One resource is Verblio (previously known as BlogMutt). Once you become a Verblio writer, you can complete as many assignments as you want each week. While pay starts at $10.50 for a 300 to 400 word post, it can add up, and according to Verblio’s website, it goes up from there.

Verblio pays you for your work via PayPal every Monday, so you’d need to have a PayPal account to receive compensation. Still, it may be a quick source of money when you need it.

5. Open a new bank account

You could earn money just by opening a new checking or savings account. For example, TD Bank is offering as much as $300 to new customers who open a TD checking account as of May 20, 2020. However, the downside is that there are often caveats attached, like having to have a specific amount in direct deposits before you get the extra money.

But it may be worth contacting banks directly to find out if they offer any cash-based promotions. A few hundred dollars could be a way to jumpstart your emergency fund.

Be warned, though: there are risks to opening new bank accounts for the bonuses. Learn about possible drawbacks, and three times this option makes sense.

6. Become a mystery shopper

If you enjoy shopping, you might want to consider being a mystery shopper. These side gigs are usually run by third-party vendors who pay workers to go incognito into stores, then report on their experiences. Mystery shoppers may purchase items and then get reimbursed for their purchases.

A good place to start learning about mystery shoppers is MSPA Americas, formerly named the Mystery Shopping Providers Association of North America).

This trade association represents the customer experience industry in the U.S., and its website provides a wealth of information about mystery shopping in the retail industry.

Looking to sign-up with a company right away? One option is BestMark.com, a company that hires mystery shoppers and has received an A+rating from the Better Business Bureau.

7. Post affiliate links

If you have a website, blog or social media account, posting affiliate links could be an effective way to make money on the side.

You can join affiliate networks like Amazon, ShareASale or ShopStyle Collective. Post links on your sites to your favorite products and earn commission when someone purchases the item.

If you don’t have a huge following, platforms like ShopStyle Collective can be helpful, as they pay you per click on the authorized links, not per purchase.

8. Sell old clothes and accessories

If you have clothes you no longer wear or accessories you never use, make some extra money by selling them online.

Poshmark and eBay are two sites where you can sell your items for the price you set. While you can make more money with these sites than with other platforms, you may have to wait a while for a buyer.

ThredUP is great for when you don’t want to do all of the selling yourself. You simply send in a bag of items and they pay you a percentage of ThredUP’s selling price.

9. Test out listing features

If you have a little spare time, you can make money testing out listing features with Amazon Mechanical Turk. When you sign up, you can take on tasks like checking spelling, looking for item numbers or comparing products.

Each task pays just a few cents, maybe up to a dollar an hour, but you can easily complete many in a few minutes.

10. Invest your change

When you’re learning how to make passive income, investing is a good place to start. But it can be overwhelming getting set up. Acorns takes the pain out of investing and helps you start by using your spare change.

Whenever you make a purchase, the Acorns app rounds up your purchase and invests the difference for you. Over time, these micro-investments can add up to big returns. A basic account with Acorns costs $1 a month.

11. Shop at real stores

If you shop at brick-and-mortar stores, you can earn gift cards by using the Shopkick app. When you sign up, the app will list stores near you that offer “kicks,” or rewards points, for visiting — you can earn points just for walking in.

Plus, you can earn more by scanning item barcodes with the app or making your normal purchases, and redeem your points for gift cards to your favorite stores or for cash credit via PayPal.

12. Crafty? Open an Online Store

If you have crafting or artistic abilities, you might want to sell your goods via an online platform, like Etsy, which sells vintage and handmade items, along with art and crafting supplies, or Amazon Handmade, a marketplace for handmade goods. Depending on your marketing skills and products, you could earn money on the side with an online shop while enjoying your hobbies and exploring your talents.

13. Refer products

People often consult their friends and family for recommendations, so if you have a favorite product, you can help your loved ones and earn money at the same time.

Many companies, including banks or credit card firms, have referral programs. You sign up for an account and get a unique referral link you can share via email or on social media. If someone purchases a product or signs up for the service you recommended, you get a potentially lucrative referral bonus.

14. Rent out your car

If you don’t use your car every day, you can turn it into a money-making machine by renting it out through Turo, which connects car owners with renters in your area. On average, owners who list their car on Turo make upwards of $500 a month.

You can rent out your car whenever it’s convenient for you, such as only on weekends or during certain times of the year.

15. Sell your smartphone pictures

If you love taking pictures with your phone while you’re on the go, you can sell those photos for cash.

Small businesses constantly need stock photos for their blogs and social media channels, and your smartphone pictures may be exactly what they’re looking for.

Services like EyeEm, Foap and Adobe Stock (formerly Fotolia) allow you to list and sell your photos through their apps. Pictures can sell for $5 to $250 or more, depending on the photo.

How you can use that extra money

These are 15 ways of how to earn more money without getting a second job. You can use these alternative sources of income to help pay off your student loans, pay down other debts or simply boost your savings. Some side jobs take hours, while others may only take a few minutes a day.

Looking to make even more money without a second job? Check out these simple side hustles you can start tomorrow.

Maya Dollarhide contributed to this report.

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