22 easy ways to make extra money: Updated November 2018

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22 easy ways to make extra money: Updated November 2018
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Team Clark is adamant that we will never write content influenced by or paid for by an advertiser. To support our work, we do make money from some links to companies and deals on our site. Learn more about our guarantee here.
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Whether you’re trying to get out of debt, save more for retirement or just boost your monthly income, there has never been a better time to make more money on the side.

No longer do you have to settle for a part-time job with a set schedule. Today’s gig economy is all about flexibility.

Make more money: 22 legitimate ways to earn extra cash

We’ve researched the following ways to earn extra money to confirm that they’re legitimate. Many of these strategies have been put to the test by Team Clark and even money expert Clark Howard himself.

To learn more about these side gigs, click on one of the links in our table of contents or keep scrolling for the full list…

Table of contents

Ways to make quick and easy money 

Legitimate work-from-home opportunities

Side hustles with flexible schedules 

Ways to make quick and easy money 

1. Find missing money in your name 

When’s the last time you checked to see if there’s missing money in your name? A quick search of MissingMoney.com and/or Unclaimed.org could lead to a surprise payday!

Just enter your name and state to find unclaimed property, money and assets. It only takes a few seconds!

Unclaimed money from bank accounts, insurance policies, rental and utility deposits, safe deposit boxes and other places make up an estimated $40 billion sitting with state governments.

Here are just a few examples of unclaimed money:

  • A check you forgot to cash
  • Money left in an inactive bank account
  • A rebate check mailed to an old address

Even if you don’t have unclaimed money, you may want to run the search for your family members and friends to see if something comes up! That’s how one member of Team Clark found out he was owed money.

Learn more about some other ways to find and claim missing money in your name!

2. Earn cash back for your shopping 

Sometimes you have to spend money to make money. There are a handful of popular cash back apps that will reward you for buying things that are probably already in your grocery shopping cart.

With the Ibotta app, earning extra cash is as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Add offers to your account
  2. Buy those items at the grocery store
  3. Upload your receipt

Clark.com senior writer Michael Timmermann has earned more than $2,000 since he first joined Ibotta four years ago. He primarily uses it to earn cash back at the grocery store, but the app has since expanded to offer cash back for online shopping.

Ibotta cash back app (Image: Ibotta)

In addition to Ibotta, Michael also turns his grocery receipts into cash with Checkout 51, SavingStar and Receipt Hog.

For online purchases, Michael uses sites like Ebates and TopCashback that give you cash back for starting your shopping with them. Walmart, Priceline, Amazon, Best Buy and Macy’s are just a few of the participating brands.

Many of the apps and websites we’ve listed also offer sign-up and referral bonuses of up to $10 each. That’s easy money!

3. Swagbucks: Watch videos, take surveys and surf the web 

Swagbucks is a way to earn free gift cards and Team Clark knows for sure that it’s NOT a scam!

Like some of the cash back apps that we previously mentioned, Swagbucks awards users points for online shopping. But it’s different because you can also get rewards for searching the web, watching videos and taking surveys.

You can then redeem those points for cash back from PayPal or gift cards to retailers such as Amazon, Walmart and Target.

Our cash back expert Michael has been a member of Swagbucks since 2011 and can confirm that it’s 100% legit. He says he earns at least $25 worth of gift cards every month and sometimes more.

Swagbucks normally offers a $10 welcome bonus and also rewards you for referring family and friends.

4. Participate in a focus group 

You can get paid to share your thoughts and opinions — not a bad deal.

A member of Team Clark has made $250 over the past month by participating in focus groups that he found through FocusGroup.com.

Once you register online, you’ll get emails with surveys to help you qualify for paid focus groups with Focus Pointe Global. The studies are conducted at the company’s 20 facilities nationwide and online.

Our team member most recently was part of a 36-member panel that viewed TV commercials and answered multiple choice questions about them.

He received a $75 Visa gift card for an hour’s worth of work, though many studies pay $150 or more.

5. Become a food tester 

Calling all foodies! Did you know that you can make money by participating in taste tests?

Chelsea Glass, Clark’s newsletter editor, has worked with Contract Testing Inc. (CTI) and a couple other companies that have paid her to eat! She says registration is easy and you can start making money in no time.

“The process is pretty straightforward: You fill out a questionnaire (either online or over the phone since sometimes they call you if they need to fill open slots) and if you qualify for the taste test you simply pick one of the available time slots,” Chelsea says. “You never know which fast food/restaurant you’re going to be tasting until you arrive and begin the taste test.”

After the taste test is over, you collect your payment immediately. Chelsea says she’s received cash and gift cards, usually with a payout around $40. The most she earned from a single taste test was $75.

Another Team Clark member makes money with Market Force, a mystery shopping site that focuses a lot on restaurants.

RELATED: 5 ways to make extra money testing food

6. Wrap your car in advertising

Wrapify turns your commute into cash, but this money-making opportunity is probably not a good fit for car enthusiasts.

Wrapify is a company that pays you to wrap your car in advertising for their clients. Clark’s radio producer Joel Larsgaard tested it out and says he made $200 after about three months.

Joel drives very little since he bikes to work, so he thinks this side hustle is best for those with longer commutes. Read more here.

7. Take advantage of a credit card sign-up bonus 

If you have a good credit score, signing up for a new credit card is an easy way to make extra money.

For example, the popular Chase Freedom credit card has a $150 bonus for new cardholders who spend $500 on purchases in the first three months from opening the account — and there’s no annual fee.

That $150 bonus is in addition to 5% cash back that you can earn in bonus categories that change every quarter.

When you start to look at credit cards with annual fees — particularly travel cards — you may be able to pay for an entire vacation with sign-up bonuses worth $500 to $1,000.

Often times, credit card issuers will waive the annual fee for these cards during the first year.

Clark says rewards credit cards only make sense for people who avoid interest charges by always paying their balance in full every month. Read his philosophy before you apply for a new card.

More Clark.com articles about credit cards: 

8. Open a new bank account 

Chase $500 bank sign-up bonus

Don’t want a new credit card? You may be able to earn a couple hundred bucks by signing up for a new bank account.

Clark.com senior writer Theo Thimou has researched this topic and found that you can earn $200 or more by opening up a checking or savings account with traditional banks like Chase, Citi, HSBC, SunTrust and Wells Fargo.

Discover is one of the online banks that also regularly has a $200 bonus if you deposit $25,000 into a savings account.

Not all bank bonuses require such large deposits, but most of them do make you take extra steps like setting up direct deposit, using your debit card a certain number of times and maintaining a minimum monthly balance to avoid a fee.

You should only take advantage of one of these offers if you know that you can jump through all of the hoops to get the bonus.

It’s also a good idea to keep a copy of the promotional offer that you got in the mail as proof in case the bank doesn’t automatically award the bonus after you’ve met the terms.

RELATED: Lots of banks are offering free cash: Should you bite?

Legitimate work-from-home opportunities 

9. Amazon Mechanical Turk

If you want to work from home on your own schedule, Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) is an online platform where businesses post various micro-jobs that workers can complete for a small cash reward.

MTurk refers to the micro-jobs as Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs). The time commitment and the pay rate for each HIT can vary significantly — most don’t require any special skills.

Here are a few examples of the tasks that workers can complete on MTurk:

  • Surveys for academic research
  • Identify objects in a photo or video
  • Transcribe audio recordings
  • Research data details

MTurk dashboard

Michael from Team Clark challenged himself to complete 30 jobs in 30 days through MTurk. Although some tasks paid only pennies, he was able to work fast enough to earn an average of $7.30 an hour.

Michael spent most of his time completing surveys and found the best HITs are posted during regular business hours.

More Clark.com articles about MTurk:

10. Earn $5 (or more) at a time with Fiverr

Become a seller on Fiverr.com and join the growing community of freelancers who offer professional services like graphic design, resume writing, data entry, voice over and more.

You can work as little or as much as you want and set your price at $5 per gig or higher — up to $995.

Fiverr’s website says that once a seller completes an order, the money is transferred to their account right away.  Listing services is free and sellers keep 80% of each transaction.

11. Become a freelance writer

If writing is one of your key strengths, there are always plenty of writing and editing jobs that you can do from the comfort of your own home.

Job titles include content writer, copy supervisor, technical writer, food blogger and financial writer.

We reached out to the job experts at FlexJobs and they told us the pay range can vary widely, with more technical or expert-level writing positions paying the most.

Some writing jobs pay per hour and others pay per article. Here are some examples from FlexJobs:

FlexJobs is a subscription site that filters out all of the scams. Since it requires a membership fee, it’s best only for those who are serious about finding a work-from-home job.

Here are four things you need to know before you sign up for FlexJobs!

12. Sell your unwanted stuff

Have a lot of clutter around the house? If a yard sale isn’t really your thing, eBay and Craigslist are two places to list used items for sale, including furniture, clothing, electronics and toys.

More recently, apps like OfferUp, Poshmark and Facebook Marketplace have become popular tools to sell your unwanted stuff.

Sell just about anything

Sell your old electronics

Sell your old clothes 

If you have a lot of items to unload, Katy Wolk-Stanley of The Non-Consumer Advocate shared with Clark.com how she uses Craigslist as part of her winning strategy to make the most money at her yard sales.

Before you list anything for sale, check out this article on all the ways to sell your old stuff for the most money.

13. Resell items from T.J. Maxx, Ross and Burlington

Hustler Hacks

This may be a little risky, but there are people who make a living by purchasing items at discount stores (T.J. Maxx, Ross Dress for Less, Burlington, etc.) and turn around to sell them on eBay.

Glen Zubia, pictured above, told Clark.com that he paid off $50,000 of debt by becoming a reseller.

He says that people just starting out as resellers should focus on what they know. Glen buys a lot of things, but his interest in sneakers has helped him spot the best deals when he’s shopping.

If you’re interested in becoming a reseller, check out Glen’s YouTube channel where he shares lots of tips and tricks.

Side jobs with flexible schedules 

14. Run errands or help someone with their to-do list  

You can make quick cash by helping someone else check off odd jobs on their to-do list.

If you’ve seen the ads for TaskRabbit on TV, you know that it’s a place to go when you need help moving, assembling furniture, mounting a TV, cleaning or even running errands.

Taskers get to be their own boss. They work as independent contractors and use the TaskRabbit platform to obtain clients.

15. Charge Bird or Lime-S electric scooters

Has your city been taken over by Bird and Lime-S electric scooters? Whether you like them or hate them, you can make easy money by charging them at your house while you sleep!

Here’s how it works:

  • Drive around in your car and collect low-battery scooters
  • Bring them home to charge overnight
  • Release them the next day and get paid for your work

To become a Bird Charger or a Lime-S Juicer, download their apps as a rider first.

16. Donate plasma 

Plasma Donation

Another way to make cash on the side is by donating plasma that’s used to create life-saving medicines around the world.

Clark’s radio producer Joel says he gave plasma roughly 15 times during his college years to earn extra money — a process that took about 90 minutes each visit.

Here’s how Octapharma Plasma, a U.S.-based company with more than 80 centers nationwide, explains plasma donation:

“Donating plasma is similar to giving blood. A trained staff member called a phlebotomist puts a sterile needle in your arm vein to draw blood. The blood is then cycled through special, sterile equipment that separates plasma from the other parts of your blood. Your plasma is then collected in a container, while the other parts are safely returned to your body. This process is called plasmapheresis.”

How much money do you get for donating plasma? CSL Plasma says donors can make up to $400 a month.

Octapharma Plasma says on its website that donor fees may vary month-to-month and by location. Plasma donation centers frequently advertise special promotions for new donors.

RELATED: Americans are donating plasma to make up to $400 a month

17. Rover: Start your own pet sitting business 

If you love dogs and cats, pet sitting is a side job where animal lovers can make an extra $1,000 or more every month.

For those who don’t already have clients, the online service Rover can help you build your business. Two members of Team Clark have experience with Rover, which connects sitters with clients who need pet sitting and dog walking services.

Sitters can set their own rates, but Rover takes a 20% cut. One of our team members has charged $66 a night for two dogs.

Rover sitter profile (Image: Rover.com)

When you’re just starting out, you’ll want to charge clients a little bit less than the other sitters. You’ll be able to increase your earnings potential over time as you get more 5-star reviews.

Dog boarding services are typically in high demand on weekends and holidays when people are traveling.

18. Drive for Uber or Lyft

If you want to earn money on your own schedule, driving for ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft is another option to consider.

Clark signed up as a driver for both services a few years ago to try them out. He didn’t make a lot of money, but he says it’s an opportunity to supplement an existing income or for the unemployed to bring income in.

Both companies have recently started offering guarantees for new drivers, like earning $2,200 for the first 200 trips.

19. Food delivery: UberEats, GrubHub, DoorDash and Postmates

If you don’t like the idea of having other people in your car, all of the big restaurant takeout delivery apps are hiring like crazy!

GrubHub is one of the major players in the food delivery space. The company says its drivers earn a competitive wage, keep 100% of their tips and the hours are flexible.

Vehicle requirements for food delivery services are usually more lenient than Uber or Lyft and allow drivers to use older cars.

20. Make deliveries for Amazon Flex

Amazon Delivery Worker

Sticking with the delivery theme, Amazon Flex delivery drivers can make up to $18 to $25 an hour.

Amazon pays by the delivery block and opportunities are available in more than 50 cities to deliver for Amazon.com, Prime Now, AmazonFresh and Amazon Restaurants and more.

You can earn a higher hourly rate by driving a larger vehicle, working during peak times and making tip-eligible deliveries.

21. Rent out your home with Airbnb

Have you ever thought about becoming an Airbnb host? If you have a home or room where you can host travelers, this is one of the best ways to earn hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month.

According to a tool on Airbnb’s website, an Atlanta homeowner could earn $900 a month by turning a private room into an Airbnb.

RELATED: How to make money renting your home on Airbnb

With Airbnb, homeowners can list their space and set whatever price they want. Hosts are generally charged a flat 3% per reservation. Homeowners are paid promptly after guests check in.

Paula Pant of AffordAnything.com told us she made $28,000 in one year as an Airbnb host. Read her list of pros and cons!

22. Rent out your car with Turo

If you’re not comfortable renting out your house on Airbnb, rent out your car with what’s been called the “Airbnb for cars.”

Turo is a peer-to-peer car sharing marketplace. For owners, it provides the opportunity to list your vehicle for free and earn 65% to 85% of the trip price when it’s rented. Insurance protection is included.

How much money can you make with Turo? It depends on how often your car is rented, but Turo estimates up to $6,500 a year!

Turo earnings estimate (Image: Turo.com)

Final thought 

Making extra money is just one path to improving your financial picture. You’ll be able to reach your goals faster if you increase your income and reduce your expenses at the same time. Here’s our guide to get started.

Team Clark’s mission is to help you save more and spend less every day — and we also want you to avoid scams.

When you’re researching any of the ways to make extra cash that we’ve shared, be 100% sure that you’re visiting the company’s official website. We’ve provided links to most of them in this article.

These side hustles won’t make you rich, so anyone promising that you’ll earn $500 a day working from home is a scammer.

If you’re unsure about whether a job opportunity is real or fake, give Team Clark’s Consumer Action Center a call at 404-892-8227. Our free help line is available weekdays to empower you with consumer advice and education.

Do you know about a legitimate way to make money that we should add to our list? Tell us on Facebook and Twitter.

More Clark.com stories you may like: 

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