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10 Strange and Unique Ways to Make Extra Money

Updated on August 26, 2015

With the price of a college education steadily increasing due to the cost of tuition, campus fees, housing and meals, getting your degree has become less and less affordable. Rather than take out additional student loans or waste your time filling out applications for scholarships that you may or may not receive, you can earn some extra cash now. As a result of our expanding technological capabilities in the past decade, the market for online work has grown to provide many excellent opportunities for students like you to supplement their income. Here are some of the ways you can earn money on your own time without having to leave home:

1. Provide a unique service

Did you know that you could make money performing odd jobs, such as installing Wordpress plug-ins, creating business cards, and providing translations? Sites such as Fiverr allow you to sell your odd jobs for $5 each. These services are commonly called "gigs". Gigs range from basic tasks like data entry and research to incredibly unique skills. For example, if you are good at Photoshop, you can get paid for providing someone with his or her picture on the front of Rolling Stone magazine. If you have trouble coming up with ideas, you can simply look through popular "gigs" others have used. The possibilities are nearly endless. Wouldn't you like to get paid to prank phone call people or write people's names on grains of rice? While $5 may not seem like much, it adds up over time and can end up making you some great supplemental cash. Another way to make money by providing a unique service is by using Etsy. Etsy is the perfect website for anyone looking to create and sell unique crafts online. All you need to do to start making money is create a demo of your creation and name your price. Setting up a payment method is easy, with PayPal being the most common route to take. Excluding a minor listing fee of 3.5% on each sale, this is a great way to make money doing something you already enjoy, such as painting or jewelry making.

2. Sell stock photos

Are you a photography major? Or do you just like taking pictures? If you are someone who is looking to get in touch with his or her creative side, why not get behind your camera and earn some extra cash? You can make decent money selling your photos online. As long as your pictures are clear and the product you are advertising stands out as the focus of the photo, you can sell your photos online to companies. The best part is: You get to name the price. Just make sure you have a decent camera and a good backdrop with suitable lighting. Most newer phones, such as the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 6 have excellent cameras, so there’s no need to waste time or money renting a professional camera. Fotolia and iStockPhotos are great sites that allow you to upload and sell your photos for free. In order to receive the maximum amount of profit, you should aim to photograph subjects that are in high demand. Some stock photo sites will even have a section dedicated to showing which areas are most sought out by their customers. To earn that extra cash, simply take good shots and get the photos companies are craving.

3. Use free trails and watch TV

Have you ever used Netflix’s one-month free trial? Did you know that there’s a chance you could have gotten paid for this? Project Payday is a website that actually pays you for participating in free trials. Just remember: They are only paying you to use the free trial. It is still up to you to remember to cancel your subscription at the end of the trial period so that you don’t end up getting charged. As long as you don’t let your free trial run out,

Project Payday is a great way to earn some extra spending money, and you don’t even have to change your daily routine. Another way you can make money without having to change your daily routine is by watching more television. This may sound crazy, but you can actually get paid for watching more television. RewardTV is a company that pays you to answer questions regarding the previous night’s television shows. While the amount of money you make will not amount to much and should by no means be your primary source of supplementary income, it is an easy way to get paid an extra $15-$20 each month simply by continuing to watch the TV shows you already know and love. In the long run, that’s an extra $180-$240/month.

4. Become a writer by writing blogs and articles

We’re all writers—this is a common misconception people often repeat. As a writer myself, I can say with absolute certainty that this is not true; however, we all have the potential to become writers with diligence and hard work. While it is true that blogging can be an excellent way to make some extra cash, this is not without patience and persistence. The money you make off of blogging is heavily dependent on the amount of foot traffic your blog receives. Thus, it can take anywhere from 1-2 years to build up a sufficient user base and actually start seeing any cash; however, if you are willing to put in the time and invest in your future earnings, blogging can be one of the most fun opportunities to earn some bonus spending money by simply sharing your opinions and reporting on interesting stories. If you enjoy writing and want to see a monetary gain quicker, freelance writing may be more along the lines of what you are searching for. Freelance writing is one of the most popular ways to score some extra cash online with payments averaging around 50 cents to a dollar per written word. This path requires a lot of time and dedication, as it is a subjective market. Many sites, such as iWrite, TopTenz, and A List Apart pay you money for each accepted post made to their site. Some sites are more likely to pass your work than others. For example, TopTenz pays $50 for each accepted post, but articles must be at least 1,500 words; however, your chances of getting accepted are higher than if you had written the same article for A List Apart, which would pay you $200. Thus, choosing which site to use is a matter of personal preference. Do you want more money with a lower success rate, or are you willing to accept less money for a higher success rate?

5. Give your opinion

Did you know you could get paid simply by providing companies with your opinions? Filling out surveys online may seem tedious and perhaps a little frustrating at times, but you can get paid decent money by providing companies with your opinions. This does not require any work experience or special knowledge; all you need to do to make money is be yourself and share what you think. Websites, such as Swag Bucks, Inbox Dollars, Survey Club and more are willing to pay you for taking surveys and performing other odd jobs, like shopping and using their search engines. In fact, some of these sites are willing to pay you just to join. Other great survey sites to use include iPoll, The Opinion Panel, and Vivatic. While many survey sites pay in cash, others pay you in the form of reward cards. Wouldn’t you like to get paid simply for having an opinion, surfing the Internet, and playing online games?

6. Share you knowledge

Knowledge is a valuable tool that’s in high demand. The eBook industry was worth $3 billion last year alone, so there is definitely some money to be made in the digital market. While you might think “novel” when you hear the term “eBook”, you don’t necessarily have to be a strong writer to publish a book and make some extra spending money. Self-published authors can write short stories, funny anecdotes, or even create informational texts to help other students. Before publishing, it is important to have a friend or family member edit your book to ensure that there are no grammatical errors. Utilizing simple publishing applications like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, or Mac's iBook Author, you can ensure that your work gets out there. If you are looking for some ideas, you can always look at the top selling eBooks to get a general feel of what people are reading. While it is unlikely that your eBook will blow up and make you famous, there is still a chance that someone might like your book and give it a read. Another way you can bring in some additional spending money is by working as an online tutor for popular websites like Udemy and While some sites are more geared towards academic tutoring at the grade school, high school, and collegiate levels, other tutoring sites allow you to teach more universal subjects. I bet you didn’t know you could make money teaching people how to make balloon animals or put on make up. Google Helpouts and Udemy make it possible to provide instruction in almost anything from your own living room. Whether you are providing music lessons, fitness instructions, nutrition consultations, or so much more, you can make money just by sharing the things you know best. Majoring in business? Give business advice. Studying history? Help high school students who are taking the AP history exam—all without having to worry about arranging meetings at the campus library or printing off flyers to advertise at the student union. All of your pupils are right at your fingertips, and most lessons go for anywhere between $25 and $50. If you are majoring in something high in demand, such as computer science, you can make as much as $500,000 selling your courses on Udemy. While this is unlikely, it is not impossible. In fact, many top tutors have made more than $10,000 or more just by helping others.

7. Utilize your knowledge of technology

Are you someone who likes to work with technology? Whether your knowledge of technology is standard or advanced, there is an odd job out there that’s perfect for you. If you have a solid background in graphic design, web programming, or video and image manipulation, sites like Elance and Guru are looking for you. This is another form of freelancing, in which you look through projects and place bids on those you feel best suit your particular skill set. Following an interview process, you may get selected to work on projects that can span from either a few hours to a few weeks. Payment varies, but you get the opportunity to set an hourly rate if necessary. One thing to be sure of is that the companies you work for are legitimate because, with any online opportunity, there are always those looking to scam you out of your money. If navigating Apple products, such as the iPhone, Macbook, and iPad is more your specialty, you can make extra cash working as an official Apple at-home advisor. As an employee of one of the biggest tech companies in the world, all you have to do is offer virtual support for other Apple users. By working through AppleCare, Apple’s customer service program, you can make money from home while utilizing your natural understanding of technology. As long as you meet Apple’s standards, you can work from anywhere in the United States.

8. Share your experience

Many big companies, such as Google and Smart Panel, are willing to pay you just to install their application their application on your iPhone or Android device. These apps are made to collect information regarding what you do on your phone. This helps companies better understand common mobile and Internet usage and, as long as you keep the application installed on your device, the company will keep paying you monthly. These apps monitor what time of the day you browse the Internet, how long you stay, as well as what types of sites and apps you commonly use. If you install all of these apps—Smart Panel, Google Screenwise Panel, and MobileExpressions--you can potentially earn more than $400 a year without even having to lift a finger. Another way you can share you experience for money is by working for sites like User Testing. User Testing is a website that pays you $10/session to test a website while recording your experience. The downloadable software is unique to User Testing and records both audio as well as your computer screen. Each test takes anywhere from 15-20 minutes and has a 7-day turnaround period for payment in order to allow time for the company to check your work. This helps the owner of the website learn what works and what does not work based on your ability to navigate the site as a first-time user.

9. Declutter for cash

Here’s something you might not have thought of: You can make money just for cleaning your closet. If you have any CDs, movies, or videogames that you no longer want or use, you can make $10-$20 per item by selling them online. If you have a large collection, the money will add up quickly. Sites like MusicMagpie and Amazon Trade-In allow you to advertise and send in unwanted items. If you are looking to sell books, Bookscouter is a mobile application that allows you to compare the offerings of over twenty different buyback companies so you can sell your used book at the highest price. To use this app, all you have to do is scan the barcode on the back of the book you are looking to sell. Once you have found a company you are willing to sell your book to, you tell them how you want to get paid and ship the book. Most buyback companies offer prepaid labels, so shipping is free, ensuring 100% profitability for you as the seller.

10. Resell your textbooks and class notes

Textbooks are just some of the most overly priced books you will ever have to buy. In fact, many cost more than $100. Why not make money selling them? One idea is to buy other students’ textbooks at the end of the school year and then wait until the first week of school to re-sell the old textbooks to incoming students. Books Trade-In allows you to advertise textbooks online so that they will hopefully sell easier. While you could always just create a listing on campus, allows you to expand your base to reach students from other campus around the country. Although they do take a small commission for each sale you make, it is a nice way to get something out of those overly-price textbooks you have sitting around your apartment. Another way to make some extra spending money using what you already have is by selling the notes you take in class. How’s that for motivation to stay focused during that boring hour-long lecture? Rather than just paying for college, let college pay you. Sites like Notesale allow you to scan or type up your notes and advertise them online for other students to purchase. In fact, you even get to name your price, so you can control how much money each set of notes costs. Notesale does take a small cut of your earnings, but in return they provide you with marketing to bring in customers.

Tell me: How do YOU earn extra cash?


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    • Marisa Lahm profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Lawrence, KS

      @georgialgal1984 Thanks! I will have to try some of those. :)

    • georgialgal1984 profile image

      Mrs Clark 

      3 years ago from United States

      Great tips! Some ways I earn extra cash are :

      -writing articles

      - buying items cheap and then reselling them

      - having garage sales

      - taking surveys

      and selling items to my local consignment shops. Hope you have a great day~ :)


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