10 Things I’ve Done To Make Extra Money

Just a little over one year ago, my life revolved around making extra money so that I could pay down my student loans quickly and so that I could stop living paycheck to paycheck. Eventually, I paid off my student loans which allowed me to have more financial freedom. I eventually left my day job and transformed my…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: April 4, 2024

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you decide to make a purchase via my links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. See my disclosure for more info.

10 Things I've Done To Make Extra Money. Ways To Make Extra Money PictureJust a little over one year ago, my life revolved around making extra money so that I could pay down my student loans quickly and so that I could stop living paycheck to paycheck.

Eventually, I paid off my student loans which allowed me to have more financial freedom. I eventually left my day job and transformed my side hustles into my full-time career.

Without my side hustle income, I really don’t know what life would be like. Side income allowed me to drastically change and improve my life more quickly than if I only had income from one source.

I’ve done a lot over the years to make extra income, and it helped me improve my life as I described above. Besides doing things that aren’t really jobs, such as using Ebates for cash back to using credit card rewards to earn free vacations, there are tons of other things I have done in order to make extra money.

Due to this, I thought it would be fun to talk about the different ways I’ve side hustled in the past. Below are some of the ways I make extra money or how I made extra money in the past:

1. I used to blog for side income, and now it’s a part of my business.

Of course, I saved the best for first. Blogging for income is definitely not a get rich quick scheme, but if you try hard enough, it is possible to make extra money from blogging.

It took me around 6 months to make my first $100 from my blog, and everything grew from there. I’m now making around $25,000 a month from my online business. Blogging is a lot of fun, so it’s nice to be able to make an income from this blog.

Here are some articles to help you out with blogging:

2. I used to staff write for side income, and now it’s a part of my business.

Freelance writing is something I still do and it’s what launched me into the whole side hustle world. I started freelance writing after someone read my blog and asked me to write for their website. I thought the whole idea was crazy, but I accepted the offer and everything just grew from there.

Read So You Want to Be a Freelance Writer?

3. I mystery shopped as another side hustle idea.

I haven’t done any mystery shopping in a long time, but it was fun while it lasted. It didn’t bring in a ton of income, but it was a way to get free meals, free cosmetics, and more.

You can read an old post of mine about mystery shopping here. If you are looking for tips on how to make extra money in college, then this is a great idea. I did this in college and it was fun!

4. I babysat for extra income.

I haven’t babysat for money in a very long time, but it was a fun side hustle when I did. I used to babysit for a child who lived in my neighborhood starting when I was 14 years old. It paid around $10 an hour, and I babysat around 40 hours or more a week during the summer (and slightly less hours during the school year).

This is another great idea to make extra money. Whether you have your own children or you are looking for more tips on how to make extra money in college, this can be a winner if you like being around children.

Related content: 16 Ideas That Will Teach You How To Find Time To Make Extra Money

5. I used to take surveys as a way to make extra money.

Taking surveys was a “job” somewhat similar to mystery shopping. I would take surveys but they never really paid very much. The positives of taking surveys were usually the free items you were allowed to try out and the little bit of cash they paid as well.

Survey companies I recommend include SwagbucksSurvey JunkieVIP VoiceOpinion Outpost, Survey SpotPinecone Research, and Harris Poll Online. They’re free to join and free to use! You get paid to answer surveys and to test products. It’s best to sign up for as many as you can as that way you can receive the most surveys and make the most money.

Lastly, InboxDollars is an online rewards website I recommend. You can earn cash by taking surveys, playing games, shopping online, searching the web, redeeming grocery coupons, and more. Also, by signing up through my link, you will receive $5.00 for free just for signing up!

6. I sold stuff around my home as a side hustle idea.

One thing I should probably still be doing is selling stuff around my home. I used to list items on eBay all the time, and I made a decent amount of side income by doing so. The only thing I didn’t like about selling stuff on eBay was the crazy amount of time it took. I know others find eBay fun, but I do not.

Now, I mainly just sell my stuff to consignment stores, donate, or give my stuff away.

A great place to sell your old cell phone, laptop, tablet, game consoles, and so on is Decluttr.

7. I would pet sit as one of the ways to make extra money.

I didn’t pet sit for long, but I did do it on a couple of occasions. I love, love, LOVE animals, so pet sitting was always a fun little job to do. I would get paid for letting out dogs, walking them, feeding, giving them any medications, and more.

8. I rented extra rooms in my house for extra money.

We have had three renters in our home since we bought our home five years ago. Two of these renters weren’t here for long, but my sister lived with us for a couple of years.

Renting a home in our house was a very easy way to make extra money since we always had the room and no work really had to be done.

9. I sold drinks at a concert to make extra money in high school.

Back in high school, I helped out a friend of mine and worked at a concert venue. They just needed someone for one day to hand out drinks to those entering the venue, and I was told I would get paid for being there, that it was a relaxed environment, and that I would be able to enjoy the concert after just working there for a few hours. That meant I was still able to enjoy the main band completely, and I got paid. I was also able to hang out with my friends so it was an easy one day job!

It wasn’t a ton of money, but it was a fun way to get free entry to a concert. You can usually do this with festivals and other events as well and it’s one of the fun ways to make extra money in high school (or college, or whenever!).

10. I entered giveaways as a way to make extra money.

I don’t enter many giveaways anymore, but it’s something I would like to get back into. I used to win money, gift cards, products, and more when I would enter giveaways as a way to make extra money. It wasn’t hard either, and it was a ton of fun to win stuff.

I would usually keep everything I would win, but I know others who sell their winnings on eBay or Craigslist if they don’t have any use for it.

What ways have to tried to make money? What would you not do? What are you making extra money for?

If you are new to my blog, I am all about finding ways to make and save more money. Here are some of my favorite sites and products that may help you out:

  • Cut your TV bill. Cut your cable, satellite, etc. Even go as far to go without Netflix or Hulu as well. Buy a digital antenna (this is the one we have) and enjoy free TV for life.
  • Save money on food. I recently joined $5 Meal Plan in order to help me eat at home more and cut my food spending. It’s only $5 a month (the first two weeks are free too) and you get meal plans sent straight to you along with the exact shopping list you need in order to create the meals. Each meal costs around $2 per person or less. This allows you to save time because you won’t have to meal plan anymore, and it will save you money as well!
  • Look for coupon codes. I search for coupon codes for everything. Today, I have two for you. I have a $20 Airbnb coupon code and a free taxi ride with Uber. Both are great services that I have personally used.
  • Find a part-time job. There are many part-time jobs that you may be able to find. You can find a job on sites such as Snagajob, Craigslist (yes, I’ve found a legitimate job through there before), Monster, and so on.
  • Lower your cell phone bill. Instead of paying the $150 or more that you spend on your cell phone bill, there are companies out there like Republic Wireless that offer cell phone service starting at $10. YES, I SAID $15! If you use my Republic Wireless affiliate link, you can change your life and start saving thousands of dollars a year on your cell phone service. I created a full review on Republic Wireless as well if you are interested in hearing more. I’ve been using them for over a year and they are great.
  • Learn How To Get Free Stuff

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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. Emma | Life by Emma

    I’ve done almost all of those things, including selling drinks until very recently. Bar work at events has always been a great side gig for me. When I was paying down debt aggressively I worked 7 days a week, Monday to Friday in my corporate job and Saturday and Sunday in a music store. I was child free and my husband also worked all the overtime he could manage so we could eliminate debt/ save for travel. It was worthwhile for me because not only did I get extra income but I purchased all gifts for friends and family with staff discount. I have to admit though, once we had paid off debt I quit the weekend job, I needed my life back but the sacrifice was worth it!

    1. Yes, I was in the same place before as well. I worked 7 days a week back then. It was worth it then but I don’t think I could do it again!

  2. Veronica Lee

    I’ve made some pocket money from giveaways, surveys and the ads on my blog.

  3. I’ve done almost all (except blog side hustle, rent extra room) I can say that side hustle helps you a lot when you are repaying a debt, bt you must to became a sort of save and budget nerd to have a good personal finance/work/social life balance!!! I can say that I will work in the cafe almost every single week end till the end of June, this means work for 7 days every week (except Xmas period) but it helped me and still helping to achieve my financial goals…

    1. Budget nerds are the best πŸ™‚

  4. I have been hired for so many times to be an inter-coder for thesis and dissertations. I am paid really much because these people are really professionals and serious with their field. Not more than those, I also learn something from the research that I code. One hustle job paid me $80 for just tallying survey instrument. This is really a good hustle! I have also tried distributing surveys to respondents!

    1. Sounds like some good hustles there. Good job Jayson!

  5. That’s a pretty good list!

    One side job I used to have that was a lot of fun was a photographer’s assistant. We’d do weddings, bar mitzvahs, those sorts of things. He was the real pro, and I was the runner. I set up lights and flashes, posed people, organized the flow of shots, that sort of thing. Paid cash, mostly weekend work, it was pretty great.

    1. Wow sounds awesome!

  6. I once worked a real estate tax auction. Basically, when people had overdue taxes, rich guys would offer to swoop in and cover the taxes for them. So the city would get $$$ quickly and then charge the overdue person with an interest rate on top of what they still owe.

      1. I’m going to write a post about it in the future. It’s fairly interesting and the money I got definitely made it worthwhile. I was a bidder so I got paid well just for raising my hand.

        1. Yes, you definitely should write a post about it! πŸ™‚

  7. I still babysit to this day, but only if the price is right πŸ™‚ And I’m now finally starting to write more on the side and hoping that takes me into a whole new world of side hustles re freelance writing.

    1. I hope it takes you into a whole new world as well Natalie. I have a feeling it will πŸ™‚

  8. Love this!! I’ve done a few of these myself πŸ™‚ When we moved, we sold some stuff on Craigslist and wound up making closing to $1000 – on stuff we never even used!! My favorite way to make side money is definitely freelance writing, but one of my goals is to start entering giveaways (if you can count that as a goal haha!).

    1. Wow $1,000 is AMAZING! Good job.

  9. as we clean up clutter from our home I always see if I can sell it on e-bay or Craigslist to bring in some extra cash. Always great to generate some streams of passive income.

    1. Yes, its definitely nice.

  10. One of my favorite ways to make extra money is to do food sampling! I usually get paid between $50-$100 for about an hour of sampling.

    1. WHAT?! That’s awesome!

    2. KayLee

      How do you get into food sampling?

  11. kay ~ frugalvoices.com

    I used to love selling on ebay until it started to feel like a job. Now if we have something to sell, we use Craigs List.

    1. Yeah, it gets very boring on there for me.

  12. Great tips! Good for you. When I was 12 I brought the newspaper around on Sunday morning. I hated the job but I loved working and it gave me some great pocket money. If you live near or in a big city, they’re frequently looking for people to play backgrounds in a movie or serie. Most of the time it’s just walking around and you can earn a ton of money per hour plus it’s fun to see actors doing their work (if you’re interested in that, of course!)


    1. I’ll have to look into being a background person. That sounds like fun!

  13. I’ve done a few things on the list. At least once a year I try to declutter the house so I sell stuff on Ebay. I’m in the middle of paying off student loans so I’ve been freelancing to get the balances down faster.

    1. We really need to declutter right now. Our home is packed full of stuff!

  14. Photography has been my side business for a while now. I get to do something I love while getting paid for it. I don’t even mind working on the Saturday or Sunday’s because it doesn’t feel like work. My M-F job on the other hand isn’t as exciting but it pays the bills.

    I also eBay as much as possible. I’m not sentimental to most of the things I own so I have no problem tossing it online and selling it.

    The pet sitting option isn’t something I’ve taken into consideration but now that we have our own house with a big backyard I may have to look into that.

    1. Yes, look into pet sitting! It’s a great way to hustle.

  15. I have done a few on your list such as renting out extra rooms (sometimes ending with eviction/legal fees ugh), Played around a bit with surveys but with no real payoff, Web design, and recently working promo events for brands like foods/spirits (They can pay well if there is not much travel involved).
    I’m working now on generating some income from my blog. In the future I hope to sell soaps, kits, or courses on there as well.
    Great ideas here in the comments!

    1. Oh no! They’ve ended badly before? We had one end badly (we kicked the person out after just one day because of something extremely illegal he did that even our neighbors saw), but luckily he just left and didn’t say anything.

  16. Carolyn Flanagan

    I enter contests all the time!

    1. Jack

      I never thought of doing this! Such cool tips!

  17. Connie @ Savvy With Saving

    I use to make some extra money critiquing resumes on Fiverr but it took up too much of my time.

    1. Sounds like an interesting hustle. Thanks for sharing Connie!

  18. I’m pretty sure i have done everything on this list except maybe selling drinks at a concert.(does a lemenade stand count when I was a kid) πŸ™‚ These are all great ways to get a little extra cash in your pocket.

  19. I have done a wide range of things to make money. I always tried to hustle on the side of any of my main jobs. When in college, I had multiple jobs and side hustles. I now will do a lot of things as long as they come with a good ROI.

    1. Yeah, I’m all about ROI now as well.

  20. Anna Marie M.

    I never had an idea about earning through mystery shopping not until I read this post. So far, I’ve done extra money through entering giveaways, taking surveys, writing articles and selling my old items as well as my winning in contests/giveaways.

    1. Yes, I would definitely check out the mystery shopping article I mentioned in this post. It was a great way to get things for free and make a little bit of cash.

  21. Paul Latta

    Hi, Michelle,
    I just posted this same comment on Harry’s blog, but since it might help your readers, I hope you don’t mind me repeating it:

    Another great read. I’ve always been a hustler from the day I could handle a snow shovel.

    Two great side hustles I’ve picked up this year:

    1. I live in Atlanta. There are several marketing research firms here,the largest of which is Focus Pointe Global. These firms pay big bucks for panel service. Most meetings last an hour and pay an average of $75 an hour. They’re fun and you get to influence companies and products. Over the last 3 months I’ve earned $750 β€” not too shabby!

    2. I go for a walk every day. While I do so I collect aluminum cans. It’s great exercise, it’s good for the environment and I collect about $3 in cans each trip. I’m not going to get rich doing this, but 3 x 365 = $1095 a year!

    Anyhow, just wanted to share. Looking forward to exploring your blog.

    1. Those both sound like great hustles. Awesome!

  22. Kayla @ Shoeaholicnomore

    Good list of side hustles Michelle! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  23. I have secret shopped and I have done freelance writing. I would definitely draw the line on renting out a room in my home unless I knew the person but even then, I would probably have a tough time charging them.

    1. We’ve only rented to people we knew who needed a place to live. I don’t think I could rent a room in my home to a complete stranger.

  24. Tope

    Thanks for sharing Michelle, I havent made extra money online however I would love to freelance as a writter. I tried using some freelancing sites but the whole process kinda freaked me out,I guess I will give it a try once more.

    1. Yes, give it another try! πŸ™‚

  25. I’ve done a lot of things to make extra money such as selling mix cd’s and candy. My extra money is going to my debt repayment.

    1. Sounds like a great reason to side hustle Jason πŸ™‚

  26. I take surveys all of the time. They don’t pay a ton, but they do offer me some extra cash every month. In addition to that, I also rent out my house and sell stuff around my house and I freelance write a little bit too.

    For me, the money doesn’t go towards debt but for buying a few rental properties. The goal is to own 10 to replace the majority of our income.

    1. Wow sounds like an awesome goal Jon! I would love to start saving for something like that one day as well too.

  27. Yes, be more aggressive! πŸ™‚

  28. You raised a good point in at least one of your examples, being alert to opportunities to make a little cash even in one time or unusual situations.

    Recently our town had a recycle day when the city took most recycles in for free with a small charge of $5.00 for electronics.Because I had a stove I pulled my trailer,l mostly empty. The line was long, 2 1/2 to 3 hours!

    About a third of the way in one of the traffic directors asked if I wanted to help shorten the line by letting others throw stuff on my trailer for tips. I agreed and several of his assistants went back down the line behind me collecting recycles and tips.

    I didn’t lose my place in line and got enough in the way of tips to pay the $20 I needed for my old computer gear and then some.

    People are often asking for help with small tasks and willing to reimburse folks to help out. I wouldn’t charge close friends or family, but in many situations it is entirely appropriate.

    1. Sounds like you had a great little day hustle. Good job James!

  29. anna pry

    If we didn’t have kids i would do renting a room, been thinking i could get into babysitting or pet-sitting

    1. Yes, you should look into it! πŸ™‚

  30. Facebook has actually made selling stuff easier. I’ve joined a lot of neighborhood swip-swap/garage sale groups. We’re moving so we’ve found stuff to sell. I put some things on there thinking no one would buy it and surprisingly on a lot of it I’ve had like 20 offers! I haven’t made that much but it’s been fun and the money is all going to our summer vacation!

    1. Interesting! I noticed that a lot of my Facebook friends sell stuff on Facebook. I might have to try that!

  31. Jef Miles

    I’d love to get into coaching others in their careers to earn some extra income.. One thing I want to become better at is finding ways to avoid trading time for money, although initially I feel this is probably unavoidable..

    Any suggestions on how/where to find staff writing positions or communities?

    Thanks for the post Michelle πŸ™‚

  32. I like that most of the items on your list aren’t too stressful. I used to dogsit frequently, and I liked that bc I felt like I got to go about my normal day but just added a furry friend. I would like to write for money, but I’m nervous about getting into that niche. Any tips are welcome πŸ˜‰

  33. Young Millennial

    I have only done a few before not only for money but also to use my free time wisely instead of sitting in front of a TV or a computer playing games. I still try to do surveys as a way to get Amazon gift cards to get free kindle books.

    1. Yes, it’s a much better use of time! πŸ™‚

  34. Yeah, only having one bathroom would be a major issue. Luckily we have two so it hasn’t been a problem.

  35. I got a couple more ideas. Although I am hustling to build Phroogal, I’m also doing side jobs to pay the bills and programmers. My biggest source for me is selling stuff on Craigslist and my family and friends donate things to me and so it’s pure profit.

    1. That’s nice of your friends and family. Sounds awesome!

  36. I still doing number 1, 2, 5, 6, 9, 10. Did babysit but never got money from it, cause it’s my nephew (hahah, and I love him). Because I haven’t house yet, I don’t rent extra room. Never did mystery shopping (surprise isn’t my thing) and pet sit (in Indonesia, my country, people rarely do this).

    1. Good job on having so many hustles!

  37. I’ve done the majority of these too – we’ve also planned to rent out extra rooms when we finally buy our house! This post got me thinking and inspired me to write my own one – it is amazing what different things we have all done to make extra money!

    1. Checking yours out now πŸ™‚

  38. Carolyn Flanagan

    I enter giveaways, they are great for gifts for family or friends

    1. I want to start doing that more. Good job!

  39. I do mystery shopping once in a while but only if it’s convenient. I don’t want to go out of my way and I try to do it during my lunch break. They’re fun though it’s like I’m a secret agent or something. Thanks for the great ideas.

    1. Welcome Syed πŸ™‚

  40. Erum Hussain

    Lovly and impressive blog and thanks for arranging such a nyc giveaway for us πŸ™‚

  41. Clint Odeza

    I have done and been doing the #1, #5 and #6 aside from having a regular work. it helps a lot financially because of my winnings me and my family have extra money for vacation, dining out or even put some of the money I collect to our savings account

  42. Sounds like a great plan. Thanks Michelle for commenting! πŸ™‚

  43. Birdiebee

    You have come a long way and it is awesome that you are doing so well. I have thought about blogging but just not sure how to start and questions whether I have the technical skills to keep up a blog website.

    1. Hello!

      I would check out this blog post. It can help you create a website and it links to other posts of mine about blogging.


  44. Beth Fowler

    I will check tis out.

  45. Iclal

    Thanks for sharing! I’ve mystery shopped before a while back and it was actually very fun!

    1. Yes, it’s a lot of fun!

  46. celine

    i did number 1 (no luck lol) and 6 and babysat so far, I am trying to get a job but i can’t find one that would fit my school hours..i want the extra money but my education comes first πŸ˜€

    1. Yes, education is important πŸ™‚

  47. Manolis Saviolakis

    I like this giveaway.Thank you. I just stick to what are considered hobbies that I can make extra money doing.

  48. Lily

    I would like to know what surveys I can do for extra cash that’s are safe. I tried doing this a while ago but all the surveys ended up being spams.

    1. Have you looked into Pinecone research? That’s one that I used to always use.

    2. Have you looked into Pinecone research? That’s one that I used to always use.

      1. elle

        I just signed up for your newsletter:)

        Can you tell me a little bit of your experience/perspective of the Lending Club as an investor? Pros/Cons? This sounds interesting. Thanks!

    3. Callie Robinson

      I use swagbucks.com they have surveys and lots of other ways to earn gift cards or points you can transfer to PayPal.

  49. Nancy

    I’ve tried surveys, but I’m not in a desirable demographic for most of them–too old, I guess. I did mystery shopping but didn’t like it–too many hoops to jump through, too much time invested for the low pay, freebies I don’t need, and a scummy feeling of misleading the sales person. I don’t like rewards credit cards because you have to spend money to get the relatively paltry rewards. I write for a living for clients who pay really well, so I’m not interested in side writing jobs for ridiculously low pay (I mean $5 for a blog post, seriously?). But I am thinking of joining a mock jury site because that would be enlightening and interesting. What I do for extra money is tutor. I specialize in helping professionals improve their writing for their career advancement and also helping people write more effective college application essays. In five months, I made about $900.

    1. Good job on your tutoring side job. Sounds like a good one πŸ™‚

  50. Robert Connor

    We have all done many things to make money, what worked best for you last year & do you see anything different for 2015! Thanks ans best regards Robert

  51. Chelsea

    Where do you recommend entering contests for extra cash?

    1. There are many giveaway websites that list all of the awesome giveaways that are out there. I like Giveawaypromote.com

  52. Kristin Charpentier

    What websites did you use for giveaways?

    1. I mainly only enter giveaways from bloggers that I follow. I recommend looking at Giveawaypromote.com, though.

  53. Jane Allen

    Great list! It’s all about survival.Once it’s legal, I’d do it to survive. I’ve also done all sorts of menial stuff and now, I’m hustling through the instrumentality of the Internet.

  54. ashley

    I haven’t seen you mention inboxdollars. I use this website and earn a good deal of extra cash.
    $5 sign on bonus too!

    1. InboxDollars is already mentioned in this post πŸ™‚

  55. Nanette

    Interesting ideas on how to earn income. How much effort does it take to attempt these ideas before you actually receive your money?

  56. Ken Lundquist

    I’m looking for some side income. I’m not sure about writing blogs I do have a ton of experience in carpentry and construction tips that I’m willing to offer but don’t where to start

  57. Smridhi M


    That’s seriously a great list to save money and earn extra income that will help you to grow mentally. As its said, that a penny saved is a penny earned you everyone must look for better and easy ways to make more money.

    As, stated in this blog, there are many ways to make good use of your time and earn dollars which will improve your standard of living and keep you mentally fit. I have tried many side hustle like getting client’s work from freelancing websites and run a few blogs of my own in my free time. Due to this, I was able to save more for my future.