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Making Money When You Are Unemployed

Updated on August 29, 2016
BestCrispAir profile image

Dixie has been both an employer and employee, so her insights of getting hired as well as what employers are looking for are relevant.


Sell What You Don't Need for Money

Walk through every single room of your house with a pen and paper. Make a note of what you do not need.
Here are some ideas of stuff to sell:

  • Small children's rooms are rich with items that they have outgrown or no longer need. I have sold old furniture, partial bags of diapers that kids outgrew, clothing, bottles, breast pumps and more. If your child has outgrown something and there is not another child to hand it down to, sell it. First, try a consignment shop or used clothing shop where they pay you on the spot. Don't have one? Try eBay or Craigslist. Somewhere, there is someone that wants your stuff.
  • Your home office may be rich in money and you don't even know it. Old electronics are sometimes still in demand. I have sold old dot matrix printers to accounting offices, the paper that went with it, old stands, tables, shelves, ink and printers I no longer use, old digital cameras, computer cameras, old laptops and computers that I properly formatted, extension cords, printer cables, paper cutters and much more. If it has been more than a year since you have used it, sell it now for some cash.
  • Your bathroom has money in it! What kind of money? Toiletries! I was really surprised when I was cleaning the bathrooms of my home. Containers half full or more can be put into lots and sold on Craigslist. Some of the high end products were items no longer used by members of my household, so they were wasting space in my house. I made over $100.00 from selling 3 bathrooms worth of toiletries alone.
  • Beauty products. Didn't like it? Well, someone will! I made money by selling on eBay all of the beauty products that were not being used.
  • Cell Phones, tablets and personal electronics. If you are not using them, sell them off. I sold a Windows XP laptop for $100.00 last year.
  • Kitchen Goods are great! Old mixers, blenders, dishes, Tupperware, other plastic storage, tableware, silverware, pitchers, pots, pans. If it comes out of the kitchen and you don't use it, sell it.
  • Shoes and clothing. Check for stains, tears, rips and repairs and sell it off. If you are not using it, you are sitting on money.
  • Perfumes and colognes. Just because the scent did not work for you does not mean someone else won't love it. Sell off your rejects and pocket the cash.
  • Candles. As long as at least 1/2 is left and it is not from the dollar store, batch them up and sell them off. I sold a huge batch of Yankee Candles that I hated for $100.00. The buyer was delighted and so was I.
  • Figurines, books, coffee table books. See if you can sell them on eBay. My sister had a figurine that brought her over $400.00!
  • Jewelry and watches. Sell them if you don't use them.
  • Furniture. If you don't use it and don't like it, sell it.

Garage Sales can make a lot of money fast. Don't rule this out! When I was redecorating my home, I took all of the items that I was not using and placed them into a garage sale, making sure that I included those items in the ad. I listed on Craigslist and included photos. Each room worth of stuff I sold brought in well over $200 in furniture, accessories, curtains and other design details! Be willing to sell whole or break down pieces.

Learn All You Can About Selling Used Items

There are plenty of places to learn how to make the most that you can selling things that you already own. Here are a few resources to get you started:

There are even tips about how to sell things on the street:

Read up on the items that you are selling and see if they are in high demand or in a niche market. Someone I know sells old manuals for a specific industry. He does well enough that this is now his full time business. You never know when something you own is something that a lot of people want. If this is the case, you may want to contact an auction house about selling your items and paying the commission.


Sell Yourself- Hire Yourself Out for Services that You Can Provide

If you have some skills, let everyone in all of your personal, social and even work circles know that you are available for freelance work. Get a simple business card printed and make sure that you always have some on hand.
Here are some ideas to get you started in your business:

Office skills. Are you a great teacher? Get a group of friends together and charge by the person for the event. Create an evite on Facebook and other social sites. Let people know what skills they will be learning, what time the event starts and ends, and what they need to bring with them. It is not enough to say "Learn computer tips and tricks!" You need to give teasers of what you will be teaching. Here is an actual evite I got from a friend of mine for an event I went to:

Improve your office skills! I will be having a class on office skills this Saturday at xxxxxx location. Bring your laptop and a notebook to take notes with. We will be going over how to create folders in email, Microsoft Office versus Open Office, keyboard shortcuts, email and print shortcuts and more. Class will go from 7-9 PM, including a q and a session. I will be giving a handout of some of the materials covered, and everyone will leave with a quick tip sheet of shortcuts, hot keys and search engine tips. Cost is $10 per person, no one under 15, please!

I went to the class, after all, it was only $10. I learned so much. My friend now does these once a month and is doing quite well.

Vacation Butler

While your friends are gone, you can bring in the paper, check the mail, turn lights off and on, water plants, and if desired, transcribe voice mails from the home phone to email for your friends.

Pet Sitter

Stay in your friends' home while they are gone and make sure all of the animals are tended to.

Baby sitter. Don't do this for friends if you have no experience.

Car wash. Invite friends over and offer to wash their cars.

Dinner Bake

Offer to make great dinners for friends. Prepare everything that you deliver in disposable containers that they don't have to worry about returning.


Document proof reader

Electronics organizer. Sync everything, update everything and make sure that it is all in proper working order. Note any defects and share findings with owner.

Launderer- wash it, dry it, fold/iron and bring it back

Tutor- Share your skills with friends' children on subjects they are struggling with

Answering service- take calls for friends who run a home office

Mail service- Offer to create company documents or respond to mail and email for people who work from home. Leave them in drafts folder for final approval

Travel helper- search online for deals on travel, hotels, rental cars and more. Search for activities, restaurants and more.

Party Helper. Be the extra set of hands during a party and then clean up afterwards

Errand runner

Make a list of all of the things that you are good at and skilled at. List all of these things in a flyer to family and friends and let them know that you are available for hire.

Temp Agencies Can Lead to Permanent Employment

When you sign up with temporary agencies, let them know that you are ok with short term, long term and temp to perm assignments.

If you are okay with doing more than office work, let the agency know. One of the most fun and lucrative assignments I ever had was as a promo assistant. I got to hand out samples of toothpaste while standing next to someone dressed as a giant tooth. It was a lot of fun and I left with a handful of really awesome toothpaste as well.

Register with every single agency in your area. If there are agencies that cater only to a specific job set in their title or ads, call and ask. You never know when something will come up that they need you.

Make sure that if you are available weekends, you let the temp agency know. Most jobs are Monday through Friday, but there are sometimes variables.

Call every single day and evening if you are not on an assignment. Being persistent will get you remembered and get you work.

Some companies only hire through a temp agency. It lets them know if the person is a good fit for them or not. When registering, make sure that if you are interested in a permanent position, you let the agency know.

Keep a copy of your time card. Things can get lost, and if you have a copy, you are able to send it to the agency again.

Offer to Run Errands for Neighbors

If you are out of work and you need money, offer to run errands for friends and neighbors for a fee. A friend of mine found this so successful when people began asking for rides that they went and got a license to be a cab driver.

You never know where errand running will take you. Every time a friend runs an errand, she tells the person at the store "I am being paid to run errands for XXXX" and sometimes, that generates more business!

When You Hear People Complaining About Something and You Can Fix It, Speak Up

Sometimes in conversations, you will hear people say things like "I wish that I could find someone to....."

If you have the skill that the person is referring to,speak up and let them know that you would be willing to handle the task that they are talking about for a fee. If you get work, great! If not, they may still call you later to offer you a job, or others in the room may want your services.


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