How We Make Extra Money in NYC

How New Yorkers are Earning Extra Cash

As a native New Yorker, I can always tell when a recession/depression is on the horizon; people flock to NYC in droves, in search of jobs. This time it is the young and single - perhaps to pay off their massive student loans.

But NYer's earning extra money - or as we say 'hustling' - is not new. The City has always been an expensive place to live. Right now an average 2 bedroom apartment can run you over $2,500 a month with 3 bedrooms approaching $3,000 monthly - and that's because prices are dropping. If you plan to move here, expect to pay not only federal and state taxes, but city taxes as well. And if you plan to teach here, unlike many states, you will eventually need a required master's degree.

So how do we live? We become what I call "Entrepreneurs of Necessity."

The following are money making ideas that came about by chance, by choice, or by necessity and have sustained many NYers.

- Cooking for Co-Workers - (By Chance) - One woman was bringing her home-cooked meals, as lunch, to work everyday. People began flocking around the good aromas. She did share her food sometimes but it wasn't long before people asked her to bring food and they would buy it. It worked out well because this woman was cooking anyway for her family. It was just a matter of buying a little extra when she shopped and cooking a little extra. Her co-workers were thrilled because they were getting real food at a price better than anything they could afford to buy outside. This is becoming more and more popular as everyone benefits. I know more women now who are cooking and providing this service for co-workers. Everyone eats!

- Braiding Hair at the Day Care - (By Choice) - One woman was just so darn good at braiding the hair of little girls, and for this she was often paid to do hair for special occasions. She was soon asked by the owner of a daycare center if she would provide this service for the many harried moms that just did not have the time and the energy to come home to more work. Parents were quick to sign up for this service. One woman I know paid every week to have both her little girl's hair braided every Friday. That way when the weekend came they were all ready to go out and have fun!

- After School Pick Up - (By Chance) - This Grandmother would pick up her granddaughter after school. She lived in a huge condo complex here in the city - and mom and dad who also lived in the complex, both worked and were not there to see their little girl safely into the building after school. Grandma offered to do it. Soon other parents noticed this. The other parents offered to pay the Grandmother if she would also walk their children home after school. Parents do like to know that their (one time known as 'latch key') children have arrived home safely after school. It is one less thing to worry about while you are hours and miles away from being at home. Soon the Grandmother was walking about 5-6 children home after school and seeing them into their apartments. What was so lovely about this is that all the children seemed so happy to be a part of this. There were lots of smiles and laughter.

- Sweet Potato Pies - (By Choice) (see weird pie link below) - Americans love their pies and cakes and cookies and icecreams and other sweets. If you are a Southerner or have Southern roots you may be familiar with this pie that some people call 'weird.' It is my favorite pie. If you can find someone to bake a magnificent sweet potato pie - like my neighbor across the street - well, you will be part of the crowd watching for her to set up her table out front - and bring out her magnificent pies - which she sold by the slice, along with her magnificent pound cakes and lemon pound cakes. As soon as I caught a glimpse of her I'd sprint out and across the street, dodging traffic - always surprised at all the men who would already be there, somehow. I got smart soon after and would just order a whole pie or cake and find a reason to have people over to eat it. But this was her business for years and years. Haven't seen her yet as winter won't end here in NYC. Her slices run about $2.00 - which is a tremendous bargain here in NYC.

Do men bake cakes ? Yes, they do. A few doors down one neighbor makes the best cheesecake and the best carrot cake as well as others. I saw him a few months ago and he was delivering one of his cakes to a bakery. This is what he does now - at least through the winter. His slices run about $3.00.

- Street Sales - (By Choice and By Necessity) - For some reason we folks in Brooklyn have been allowed to set up tables in front of our homes and have flea markets. And the people come. And they buy stuff. So as weather gets a bit milder you can expect to see tables set up all throughout this neighborhood. People sell everything from furniture to clothes to books (very popular) and absolutely everything else. There are colleges in the neighborhood and when students graduate they sell all their college belongings. Usually people think of flea markets and garage sales as being only in suburban neighborhoods but I'm convinced we have more sales than any suburban neighborhood. Yes, I have done this too. I've sold lots of books and costume jewelry (also very popular).

- Dog Walkers - (By Choice for the Walker, By Necessity for the Dog Owners) As mentioned - I can always tell when we are entering a recession/depression. Yes, history repeats itself - and people flock to the city in droves. I have never ever seen such an influx of people into Brooklyn, NY, as I have seen in the last 5 years - the foot traffic never stops now. This time it is young people, probably out of college and strapped with million dollar student loans. And for some reason all these folks seem to have a dog - or two. I have never in my life seen so many dogs in Brooklyn. Well, the thing is - if you have a dog and are working 2-3 jobs to pay your debts - someone HAS TO walk the dog. This has become such a big business here in the City. I know one young man who tells me that this is his sole job - all he does is walk dogs 7 days a week and earns about $500.00 a week. I met a high school student the other day and he was walking two dogs to earn extra money. A woman from CA here to spend time with her daughter decided she needed to earn some extra money and went to a dog walking agency so she could earn some cash. This dog traffic just never stops.

- Nannies - (By Choice for the Nanny, By Necessity for the Parents). Eventually, if you put millions of young women together with millions of young men, somehow there will be millions of babies - I have never seen so many babies in my life. In fact I think some people are combination nannies and dog walkers as this is a common sight: a woman (sometimes a man), a baby filled stroller, 2-3 dogs.

- Putting Your Dog (and Cat) to Work in Show Biz - (see link below) - Yes, eventually it had to happen. I think some folks are getting aggravated going to work all day and night, and having to pay a dog walker while Fido and Rex are lounging on the couch, not even bothering to open their eyes to see their loved ones (you) off to work. One article in a local newspaper talked about how people were putting their pets to work in show business. The link below will include agencies. By the way, if you can find a cat who will condescend to going out to work, your kitty will earn more than a doggie.

- Renting Out Home Space - (Most likely - a Horrid Necessity) Yes, people have done this for ages, it's not new. Someone is always looking for a room to rent - signs for roommates are hanging everywhere here in the City. But...if you are addicted to the judge shows like I am you will see that this is causing a lot of problems. I'd say it's because of the sense of entitlement that seems to permeate our culture for some odd reason. It seems if someone rents just a room from you, they feel they are entitled to the run of the whole house and:

1 - to bring home anyone they pick up in a bar

2 - to constantly have a bunch of overnight guests no matter how weird they are

3 - can sleep on your couch (or worse)

4 - can turn on your plasma TV whenever

5 - can use your computer while drinking gallons of sloppy beer

6 - can cook in your kitchen using all your pots, pans, dishes, and condiments

7 - can call the police on you

8 - can get out of paying you because they are having tough times and you should understand - while they still live with you

9 - etc. etc.

Good luck if you do this.

- How have I survived in my past life on a lowly teacher's salary, you ask?

I have always had a small home business. I have made and sold chocolates, I have sold ceramics that I would take to a friend to be fired, I have shopped wholesale and resold items at retail - usually accessories. My various small businesses allowed me, down through the years, to take various tax deductions. Also owning a condo has given me some tax breaks - otherwise, and I mean this - otherwise, I would have been among the hardworking highly educated poor. In addition to all the expenses of city living - for teachers here you have to add the cost of going to school to get a master's degree - and there is no teacher anywhere who does not spend her own cash to provide for her students and to make her classroom teaching more successful. We always reach into our own pockets to purchase resources. Further, NYC has a closed union shop for its teacher which means you have to join and pay monthly dues.

The sheer volume of people living in New York City allows for entrepreneurs to make money. Whatever hands-on service you may want to supply, there may just be enough people here, somewhere, to pay you for it.

Here's wishing you much prosperity wherever you are!

See links below!

Comments 58 comments

Jody Heckenlively profile image

Jody Heckenlively 7 years ago

Great hub, once again! It's not just NY - people everywhere are getting their creative juices flowing to find new ways to generate cash. You are so wise to have a home based biz and take advantage of the tax benefits.

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

I love this creative spirit that is sweeping the country. What's old is new again - like that old saying 'necessity is the mother of invention' - folks are constantly inventing new ideas, products, and services.

Thanks Jody Heckenlively for writing!

Nic 7 years ago

Good stuff! But now I'll be craving sweet potato pie till September. Oh well.

IslandVoice profile image

IslandVoice 7 years ago from Hawaii

It's refreshing to know. There are opportunities everywhere if one looks hard enough. Good hub!

hudsonliberty profile image

hudsonliberty 7 years ago

With hardship approaches two types of people emerge, those who are overcome and those who overcome.

dianacharles profile image

dianacharles 7 years ago from India

Yes, I agree with the above comment...the tough have got going. Great hub...

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thanks Nic, Sweet potato pie is worth craving because then when you get it - ahhh it's easy to understand the meaning of life. Food!

Yes, Island Voice if we look hard enough. And I think we hubbers are the type of people to look hard enough.

True Hudson Liberty, two types of people emerge, we can always tell the ones who are overcome - they are whining the most.

Dina Charles - the tough have got going! I'm glad to see this return to the entrepreneurial spirit. It's alive and well and flourishing in NYC.

justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas

Wow! What a great bunch of creative ideas! How creative New Yorkers are! :)

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Yes, hustling is alive and well in NYC. It's either that or sleeping on the subway. I've actually had young people new to NYC tell me they have slept on the subway - and it's no big deal!!!!!

Pie Lover 7 years ago

I've had friends make money catering and selling food at work - and I think the idea of making pies would be a great new way to make even more money. And the grandmother walking children home - I'm sure the children all love it. Everyone loves a grandmother! These are good useful ideas. Thanks.

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thank you fro writing Pie Lover! I agree with you about grandmothers. Perhaps it is time to create some kind of grandmother business!

ajm5050 profile image

ajm5050 7 years ago from NY

All excellent ideas fellow New Yorker, I know some dog walkers in NY make some serious money. It's not a rare sight to see dog walkers in the city walking 5 to 7 dogs simultaneously, imagine the sort money they make. Great read again :)

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thanks ajm5050/fellow New Yorker - I admire the 'hustling' spirit of New Yorkers. I think this is the vibrancy that we always hear so much about. I'm looking for more ideas to post!

charm_baker profile image

charm_baker 7 years ago from Los Angeles, California

Way Kooooooool hub girl! Makes you want to pack up and move to NY on pure faith (kinda). I love the ideals you cited, and some of them may even work here on the west coast in sunny Cali! I think I'll keep this list handy. Thanks.

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thanks charm_baker and I got some ideas reading your hub and blog - when you get a chance please do share it right here.

I think others may be interested!

charm_baker profile image

charm_baker 7 years ago from Los Angeles, California

Hi BKCreative - I appreciate the compliment. Not sure which hub in particular, so I am providing the hub where I linked this NY hub of yours too. I think the info. it it is a great grand finale to my hub. Feel Free to read:

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thanks charm-baker. Will read it all! And let you know my successes!

shahbazlodhi 7 years ago

Hi Guys there is another simple way of making money just visit this link and see how easy it is to make money

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thanks - will check it out!

pddm67 profile image

pddm67 7 years ago from Queens, New York

From one New Yorker to another - I totally see what you're saying. I know so many people that are already doing the above to make extra cash. Wishing you much prosperity as well :-)

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thank you pddm67! - we are truly a hustling bunch! But as the song and the saying goes 'if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere' - NYC prepares you for everything and anything!

Good to meet you and thanks for commenting!

TonieTate profile image

TonieTate 7 years ago from Metro-Atlanta

Thanks for this insightful hub. I live in Atlanta and I also see many people who are trying to hustle to get extra money. I learned from reading this hub that you can take the things that you do everyday and earn extra money.

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

The time I spent in ATL - TonieTate - I saw some real entrepreneural spirit - even more than in NYC - so once again A Big Congratulations to the people of Atlanta. An impressive bunch. In fact it was in ATL that I first heard about hair braiding in daycare centers.

Good way to put it - the things you do everyday can earn you some cash. Makes sense.

So nice to meet you! I'm a fan!

Rubes profile image

Rubes 7 years ago from Somwhere up high

Those are some great ways to make money. Way to go Grandma! Part of Making money is about being in the right place at the right time. Awesome Article!

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thank you Rubes!

Last weekend my Brooklyn neighborhood was filled with stoop sales. We are still hustling heavily here in NYC!

Thanks for the awesome compliment!

AnnieMary 7 years ago from UK

I love this hub

I am relocating soon and may not easily get a job. The making of pies is very tempting. I am moving to a city and may consider trawling the office blocks with my home baked goods


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thank you so much AnnieMary!

Sounds like you have a good idea going directly to the office blocks - then establishing a following. It seems more than ever good homemade pies, cakes, cookies are doing quite well. I suppose no matter what - we need it!

Thanks for writing!

febriedethan profile image

febriedethan 7 years ago from Indonesia

Home-based business are common in my country, like catering, little groceries shop, fruit shop, selling meat balls, selling noodles, car and motorcycle washing, toddler day care, private teaching, internet rentals, cake shop, selling jewelries online, etc, etc almost every household has their own. Even my parent run a photo-copy shop and my husband and I open a software house in our home ha..ha. Great hub, thank you for sharing!

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

I think this is what we are returning to febriedethan!

We have become totally dependent on corporate America to totally provide and think for us - now that it no longer exists we are all in trouble - some in a desperate struggle. Sad and painful but I think we are waking up - to the fact that we have to control at least some of our wealth.

Thanks for writing. We have to do what you are doing and finally we are. We have to! There is a saying in America 'we are all one paycheck away from homelessness' shocking but true!

The Rope profile image

The Rope 7 years ago from SE US

loved the hub! good advice presented from the personal side, my favorite! thanks, BK!

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

You're welcome The Rope!

I need to add 'blogging' and 'content writing' and 'hubbing' and all sorts of online things that many of us are doing right now. Myself included.

Eileen Hughes profile image

Eileen Hughes 7 years ago from Northam Western Australia

I loved this hub, but yes we do have to be creative like your name. It fascinated how new types of jobs started showing up around our place. Bin washing, dog washing,house no painting on kerbs and many unusual other things which I cannot think of on the spur of the moment.

It would never have happened fourty years ago.

Cleanclover profile image

Cleanclover 7 years ago from Piece of land!

all we need is wisdom from god

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

I love all your ideas too Eileen Hughes. I think we are beginning to realize that we have to have our own sources of income - because when the job goes, and we have no control over working for a company, everything goes leaving a trail of financial, emotional and physical damage. We're all better than this.

I've been reading your hubs Cleanclover - lots of good wealth building tips - I'm a fan now!

Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 7 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

Another great read! I'm wondering what types of ceramics you made, if you threw on a wheel, or just molded by hand?

Thanks for the ideas!


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

I had a lot of help with the ceramics - I had a friend that opened a studio and she made all the molds, so I was left with the painting and then we fired. She was brilliant because most ceramists back them would fire a molded piece then let someone paint it because it was less fragile - but she figured out we could paint directly on the wet pieces - saved a lot of money and time.

Time for some new hustles now. Writing online is beginning to pay off for me now - this includes residuals from hub pages!

Philipo profile image

Philipo 7 years ago from Nigeria

Very nice. It is survival of the fittest. Everone including you can also join and make free money in Holidays and Cash networking programme. I have a number of write ups on the issue also. Having been in the networking business for sometime, I quite agree that Holidays and Cash is unique and will stand the test of time. You can take a tour here or join directly

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thanks Philipo - I'll check it out right now!

Guru-C profile image

Guru-C 7 years ago

This brought back memories. I'm a native New Yorker, though now I live in Florida. In the early 90's, I was living in Brooklyn and was going through a transitional period. I really wanted to visit my family in Fort Lauderdale but couldn't afford the airfare. I decided to put up a little table on 7th Ave. in Park Slope and hawk handmade jewelry my Mom had sent me to try to sell. Within a few hours I had enough money for my round trip! Thanks for a great hub and for bringing me back to an interesting time in my life. Good luck to all my fellow New Yorkers everywhere!

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thank you Guru-C! We do have the hustling spirit here in NYC. Fortunately, there are about 10 billion people and invariably you can sell something to someone(s) again and again.

Thanks for commenting! But did you ever come back to NYC - or was Fort Lauderdale it?

Guru-C profile image

Guru-C 7 years ago

Hi BkCreative, Thank you for asking! Yes, I returned to NYC, and as invariable happens there, my luck changed and I got lots and lots of work. I moved to Miami in '96 to become creative director of an advertising agency and - mostly - to be near my family. Best wishes to you!

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Good for you Guru-C - thanks for checking back! The best to you too!

FGual profile image

FGual 6 years ago from USA

Great hub here.Lots of good ideas. I'm a burned out cab driver who is trying to make money online, writing or anything else. Just want to spend life in the home office, and not worry about getting fired anymore. Freedom of choice.

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

I hear you FGual - it is so past the time for change. Good grief. I'd rather do without almost everything so I can write rather than doing that endless 9-5 always broke, overtaxed, overworked 'owe my soul to the company store' type of thing.

It's getting better. I've been writing online now for almost two years and it is started to make a difference.

Thanks for writing - and nice to meet you too!

mwatkins profile image

mwatkins 6 years ago from Portland, Oregon & Vancouver BC

Great hub - Your insight is refreshing and thoughtful! That area has always fascinated me! My friend said it well when she said to go do things other people don't want to do - like the things you suggest here, there is also curb painting (the city sells a kit to do that with for about $125.00, but you'll make that money back fairly quickly), picking up dog poop in a yard - Poop scooper, . . . . And, you will NEVER go wrong owning your own business - as you say, for the tax write offs (I've had one since 17 years old) Thanks for writing such an informative and fun Hub!


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

I'm glad you found the hub useful and informative mwatkins. I so enjoy the enterprising spirit. I sat in a coffee recently owned by a couple from CA. They also do things like t-shirts and mugs - and they are doing a film. All the things we can do just don't stop. I've heard of the pooper scooper idea - it's something I would pay for. Sometimes just paying people to assist us makes sense because we have so many roles.

Thanks for writing and nice to meet you by the way!

Granny's House profile image

Granny's House 6 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

Bk, What a great hub. There are a lot of good tips here. I am sure they will be helpful to people needing to find a way to wpork. Good job! Thank you for becoming one of my fans. I look forward to reading more

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Yes, indeed, we do a lot of hustling here in NYC. I think that saying is more true than ever - 'if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.' Whew!

I'm enjoying your hubs too! Thanks for writing!

mulberry1 profile image

mulberry1 6 years ago

Depending on a single employer for your income is risky anytime and anywhere. You have to be flexible and willing. I have an advantage though, I live in the midewest where things are just cheaper.

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

So true mulberry1 - and this is what has happened. We have become our jobs - even describe ourselves that way. And once that goes - well, we go too.

You have to be flexible, and financially creative and yes, living in NYC is costly. Many young people have flocked here to teach and find jobs and yes they have - but they cannot afford the cost of living - they will never have money to invest or save or retire or do anything to benefit themselves.

Thanks for your input.

Glemoh101 profile image

Glemoh101 6 years ago

This way is good every one ,

make money online with hubpages!

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thanks for writing Glemoh101 - I am a follower now!

Anjili profile image

Anjili 5 years ago from planet earth, a humanoid

You were quite creative when putting this one together. I enjoyed going through it especially your varied modes of hustling. Nice hub. Thanks for the info

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

You're welcome Anjili. I think it's time to find more moneymaking ideas!

DayLeeWriter profile image

DayLeeWriter 5 years ago from Georgia

Just found your hubs and will be visiting regularly! Keep on writing!

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thanks DayLeeWriter - good to meet you!

EuroNinila profile image

EuroNinila 4 years ago from NYC BABY

Nice hub, voted up from a fellow New Yorker :)

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 4 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City Author

Thanks EuroNinila! Glad you liked the hub!

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