Ideas on How to Make Money with Profitable Side Jobs

Ideas for side job to make extra money

Are you drowning in debt, living in a money mess that’s keeping you awake at night? Whether you’re trying to figure out how to dig yourself out of a hole, scrounge up the extra cash to send your kids to college, supplement your anemic retirement fund, or a down payment on your first home, a side hustle may be the perfect solution to make money.

We talk a lot on the FatWallet blog about ways to save money, but if you’re extreme couponing like a superstar and cutting corners everywhere you can and you are still not making it financially, maybe frugality is only part of the solution. Let’s explore dozens of ways to make extra money instead.

How to Make Money Quickly & Painlessly:

In a pickle and need immediate cash? We’ve all been in a place of being hard up to make quick cash at some points in our lives, although some more desperate than others, I’m sure. But I saw a post while ago on one of my favorite personal finance blogs, that a young woman was selling her virginity to make some extra money to help her family.

What? She couldn’t come up with any other better, less risky ideas? Sure, I know that sometimes desperate means call for desperate measures, but there are a lot of other ways to make money quickly that don’t require anyone to resort to prostitution or hit up a payday loan store (which is almost as scary!)

Here are some painless ways to put more cash in your pocket almost immediately:

  • If you got a large tax refund last year, adjust your tax withholding to give you more money each month.
  • If you have a job, ask if there are any opportunities to work extra hours.
  • Become a temp, wait tables, mystery shopper or something of the sort.
  • Return anything you have purchased that you haven’t used yet for a refund.
  • Ask anyone who owes you money to pay-up.
  • Cash out available balances on accounts you have on sites like FatWallet, Ebates, PayPal, credit cards, etc.

Dump your stash to make some cash:

If you’re still desperate, there are plenty more options! What do you have that you can sell for some quick money?

  • Cash in your gold and silver broken chains, bracelets, orphaned earrings, and outdated jewelry, at a reputable jewelry shop.
  • Sell your book, movie, and music collections.
  • Sell or trade in any gift cards you have.
  • Sell your un-needed clothing, toys, music instruments, electronics, etc. at a yard sale, on Craigslist, eBay, or on consignment.
  • Super desperate for immediate cash? Sell plasma, breast milk, sperm, or eggs.

Ideas to Start a Profitable Side Hustle

If your day job isn’t cutting it, start a side business to ward off the no-money monster! It’s not as hard as you think to figure out how to earn an extra $500, $1,000, or $5,000 per month. I managed to make enough extra every month to stay home with my kids for 13 years, leveraging the skills, knowledge, and resources I had available to me. Here’s how you can too…

IMPORTANT: Be sure to check with authorities to make sure you have the appropriate licenses, insurance, and what-not before starting any business. You don’t want to end up with legal things to worry about on top of money!

Make a list of the knowledge, skills, and resources you already have.

Do you have a car?

  • Turn your car into a moving billboard
  • Run errands/ or make deliveries for people, restaurants, newspapers, and businesses
  • Start a shuttle service, taking neighborhood kids to school and picking them up from practices, drive elderly people to appointments and shopping, etc.
  • Rent out your truck/van
  • Haul junk, scrap, recycling, donations, yard waste, or anything else you can think of
  • Be a tour guide if you live in touristy area
  • Offer to drive people to the airport in their own car and return it home
  • Offer to drive people’s car to their summer/winter homes for them

Do you have a home?

  • Rent out storage space.
  • Get a roommate or boarder.
  • Rent large rooms as a meeting space.
  • Turn your home into a bed and breakfast.
  • Rent a room to travelers or students.

Do you have some land?

  • Rent it out for garden space to apartment dwellers.
  • Grow your own fruits and veggies and set up a produce stand or table at a farmer’s market.
  • Grow perennials (or Christmas trees-my grandparents did this!)
  • Let people camp, hunt, or fish on your property for a fee.
  • Lease out your land to the DNR for hunting


Start with what you have and know and think about the various ways it can be used to make money by providing a service or a product to a market that is looking for it. What do people frequently ask you for advice or help with?


“I have a nail gun and I’m not afraid to use it!”

Equipment can be the most expensive part of a small business start-up. If you have equipment that you already own, it’s a great starting point for brainstorming a possible money making opportunity.

  • Computer: virtual assistant, writer, web designer, transcriptionist, software engineer, web or app developer, graphic design, computer repair, home or small business network set-up
  • Camera/Video Camera: sell your photos or products you make from your photos, start a video blog, photograph events, people, pet, homes, businesses, cars; offer videography services, or video editing
  • Power Washer: clean siding, driveways, sidewalks, wash cars, playgrounds
  • Sewing Machine: mending, tailoring, home decorating, embroidery, making costumes for dance & theater productions, quilting, upholstery
  • Washer & Dryer: laundry services for small businesses and busy people
  • Stove/Oven: catering, baking, cake decorating, meal preparation, personal chef
  • Lawn Mower: mowing and trimming for businesses, municipalities and individuals
  • Plow: snow removal for people, businesses, and municipalities

Are you an expert, guru, or talented at something?

The Obvious: Doing whatever you’re good at to earn money

The Not-So-Obvious: Teaching others how to do what you’re good at! (Community colleges, online colleges and community centers are often looking for experts to teach as well.)

Put your thinking caps on and join me in a brain – dump of possibilities here!

  • Musician: teaching; performing; writing and selling your music; recording advertising jingles; use your musician network of friends to help organize performers for others: weddings, corporate events, local bars & night clubs, parties
  • Pets: walking; grooming; pet sitting; training; pet proofing homes; pooper scooper; pet photography; baking home-made or organic pet treats; making pet outfits; taking people’s pets to the vet, groomers, dog parks; teach your pet tricks and come up with a pet performance act; clean aquariums; start a doggie day care; let pets out/feed them while owners are away/at work
  • Parent/Teacher: babysitting or being a nanny; tutoring; coaching sports; start a preschool in your home; offer after school care; host kids workshops for crafts, lego, cooking, etc.; organize birthday parties; sell teaching resources; become a parenting coach teaching parents how to positively discipline their kids, organize their household
  • Crafts: making cards, scrapbooks, collages, etc.; all kinds of arts and crafts, such as jewelry, homemade soaps, pottery, paper crafts, book sculptures, cards, scrapbooks, collages, clothing, etc. can be sold on sites like Etsy & Crobbies
  • Tree Hugger: Organize or lead tours for hikers, campers, paddlers, bicyclists, hunters, people who love to fish, people who love to photograph the outdoors
  • Green Thumb offer to do yard clean-up, mowing, trim bushes, spread bark mulch, plant flowers, water plants for people on vacation, weed flower beds, landscape design, flower pot arrangements, floral arrangements
  • Honey-Do: handyman, putting in mailboxes, sealing driveways, putting up decks, fences, assembling box furniture, putting up shelves, closet organizers, finishing basements, furniture repair or refinishing, painting, home staging, picking colors, mixing fabrics, accessorizing, party decorating, wedding decorating, restaurant and business interior design, furniture arranging, consulting with home sellers
  • Healthy Cooking: food & nutrition specialist, organic cooking, raw foods, healthy meal planning and preparation
  • Fitness Expert: personal trainer, coach, referee
  • Make up & Fashion: hairdresser, personal shopper, help people clean out their closets & shop for clothing/accessories, make up tips, work with photographers for senior photos, help women and men find their style
  • Foreign language: teaching, tutoring, translating
  • Web Savvy: blogging, building and flipping websites, domain/hosting reselling, get paid to be a brand ambassador in social media, promote referral programs and affilate programs, write/video product reviews, adsense, online marketing consultant, website development
  • Good with Numbers: bookkeeping, accounting, and tax services, helping people with budgeting, paying off debt, saving for goals
  • Reseller: shop at auctions, your basement, flea markets, garage sales, estate sales, for collectables, tools, etc. Buy low and sell high on Craigslist, eBay, yard sales

Home Based Businesses

Start your own direct sales or network marketing business; think Mary Kay-Arbonne-Pampered Chef-Tupperware, types of businesses here. Check out the to make sure it’s not a home business scam before joining a company and if possible interview your potential up-line to make sure you are comfortable and will get the leadership support you need in order to be successful.

Let FatWallet make money for you!

  • Check FatWallet for free gift card offers for test driving cars
  • Watch for Free After Rebate (FAR) offers you can use or sell. This FatWallet member put himself through school with FAR deals!
  • Profit from the FatWallet “Tell-A-Friend” Referral Program! How many friends do you know who like getting a great deal or want to save money? We’ll pay you $5 for every friend you refer to FatWallet who joins and shops!

Additional Money Resources


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