Are you looking for extra income that you can do on the side without quitting your current job? If yes, then you have come to the right place. We have curated this list of extra income ideas that are easy enough for you to start doing from your home or in your spare time, without interfering with your other life activities. To be clear, the list covers different sources of income like passive income ideas, part-time jobs, side hustles, and gigs to supplement your primary job; but this is not a list of typical full-time jobs.
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While compiling this list, I carefully made sure that they are legitimate sources of alternative income and practical ideas that work. I have tried and used, or are using, many of these myself. For the ones, I haven’t tried, I have verified with independent sources to be legitimate income ideas. Some of these helped me earned a few dollars here and there, but some helped me earn significant supplemental income on the side every single day!
Note that not all ideas will fit your skills and abilities. What works for you depends on your skills and your current financial situation.
21 Passive Income Ideas
Passive income is an income source that continues to generate income once you set it up. Depending on the idea, it needs some effort (or a lot of effort) upfront and may or may not need monetary investment, but the crucial distinction is its ability to generate income with very little of your time to sustain it.
For our full list of passive income ideas with an explanation for each item, check out 21 Best Passive Income Ideas for 2020.
Easy Passive Income Ideas for Beginners
- Earn Higher Interest on Your Savings
- Earn More from Your Checking
- Build a CD Ladder
- Get Cash Back Reward from Credit Cards
- Get Cash Rebates When Buying Online
- Earn Gift Cards When You Search
Passive Income Ideas through Investing
- Take Advantage of 401(k) Matching
- Invest in Dividend Paying Stocks or Funds
- Invest in Bonds or Bond Funds
- Invest in REITs
- Rental Properties
- Rent Out Parts of Your House
- Real Estate Crowdfunding and Syndication
- Lend Money via Social Lending Network
Income Ideas that Could Become Passive in the Future
- Make Money Blogging
- Make Money with YouTube
- Write a Book
- Network Marketing
- Selling Insurance
Reverse Passive Income (By Reducing Expenses)
- Refinance Your Home Loan
- Reduce Phones and Cable Bills
30 Side Hustles and Work from Home Jobs
In addition to income ideas listed above, here are additional money-making ideas that would make great secondary income sources. Most of these are not passive and will require ongoing work to maintain income. Spend an hour or two each day working on these side-income ideas that are practical for you, and you can build additional income sources to help you improve your finances:
1. Get Paid to Write Online
There are many sites where you can earn money just by writing about what you love. Some pay per article, some pay upfront for articles plus a bonus for page views every month, and some pay based on ad revenue sharing. It’s not too difficult to make from $100-$400 a month once you get some upfront articles and residual income payments going. If you’re really good, this could turn into a full-time income. Here are some specific ideas:
- Write for money using a platform site like HubPages.
- Write for TextBroker and Constant Content.
- Write for various websites that hire freelance staff writers.
2. Sell Handcrafted Items Online
If you are an artist or crafter, you might consider selling your goods on Etsy. To make the most money, you should sell something unique. Etsy has gotten bigger and bigger in the last several years, so it is harder to stand out unless you are selling something different than others. But don’t stop there, you can also sell your items on other sites.
3. Sell What You Grow
Are you a gardener who loves to share plants? Instead of giving them away, sell them on sites like Craigslist or eBay. There are a few online auction sites, especially for plant and seed sales. A growing home-based business is the sale of fresh organically grown herbs to local restaurants. Take into consideration that if you live in a colder climate, this may be a seasonal income.
4. Participate in Research Studies
If you have a university or research hospital close to you, you could apply to participate in research studies. One of our readers, James shared, “I used to do this a ton when I lived in DC. I’d go to the National Institutes of Health on the weekends and be a normal volunteer for biomedical trials that needed normal volunteers for control groups.”
5. Offer Basic Services
Babysitting, pet sitting, elder sitting or house sitting are four possibilities. You can limit your available hours as you need, and hourly pay is relatively good. It’s not hard to make $100-$300 a month doing this in your spare time. Here are some sites:
- Care.com for babysitting, childcare, tutoring, etc.
- Rover.com for dog walking, pet sitting, and pet boarding.
The possibilities for making money are endless, depending on your talents and abilities. Put your mind to it, and you find something to offer others in exchange for money.
Nextdoor.com is an excellent site to monitor. There are a lot of people requesting and/or offering money for services in your neighborhood.
6. Giveaways and Free Samples
With so many bloggers and websites offering giveaways, now is a great time to win. Depending on what you win, you can sell it for money or use it for your family. Giveaways that offer free food are a great way to reduce your grocery bill. Track these giveaways and freebies using services like Twitaway and Google Alerts. You can also sign up for free products through the Amazon Product Sampling program.
Keep the stuff that you like and sell the rest on Craigslist or eBay.
Search sites such as UpWork, Guru, Freelancer, Amazon Mechanical Turk, and other similar sites for tasks and projects that you can complete right from your home. These do not pay much, but you’ll gain valuable skills and be able to enhance your portfolio in the process.
8. Drive for Uber and Lyft
I know several people that drive for Uber and/or Lyft. From our discussions, income in the $12 to $15 per hour range is relatively standard. However, one of them is an Uber Ninja, and he said he could make double or triple that average when he does it — you have to know the time and the place to be to get those rides.
9. Food Delivery
Dave Ramsey often recommends pizza delivery as a second job for those trying to get out of debt, and with good reason. Pizza delivery is easy work. You’ll need to work in the evenings and on weekends, as those are prime pizza delivery hours. If you need some cash though, it’s not hard to drive the pizza from the pizza parlor to the customer and collect payment. You could make some nice tips, too.
And with the Ubervolution, you can also leverage services like Uber Eats and DoorDash.
10. Real Estate Photography
With about $1000 investment, you could get started in Real Estate Photography. To be legit, you’ll at least need a Digital SLR and a 10mm Aspherical Super Wide Angle Lens, plus the ability to touch up your photos.
Print up a batch of business cards and visit your local real estate offices to offer your services. For a freelance photographer, you can make about $150-300 per property.
11. Short Term Rentals
If your local government and HOA allows it, you could rent out your entire house or just a room in your home. Some of the sites you can join include Airbnb, VRBO, Homestay.com, etc.
12. Rent Out Your Car
If you have an extra car sitting around, you could rent it out for others to use through Getaround and Turo.com. The concept is similar to Airbnb, only for your vehicle. Your car has to meet their guidelines, and you will earn more if you have a nicer car to loan out.
13. Sell Used and Free Stuff
Clean out your closets, your basement, garage, shed, and bookcases. How many things do you own that you never use or look at?
Craigslist, Ebay, Facebook Marketplace make it very easy to sell unwanted items. Getting rid of your unnecessary stuff will not only score you some cash, it will also help clear your house of clutter. It’s a win-win.
Selling used stuff is not limited to just your stuff. You can search out free and underpriced items online, as well as around town, then turn around and sell them for a profit. Sites like Facebook Marketplace, Nextdoor.com, Craigslist, and Freecycle.org offers plenty of opportunities for you to pick up free and cheap resalable items.
14. Make Money with Your Hobbies
Turn your hobbies into income streams. Many hobbies, like photography, videography, quilting, gardening, sports, music, and woodwork, are ideal revenue generators.
With some creativity, proper planning, and effort, you could turn your hobbies into a new revenue stream and enjoy the time you spend on it.
15. Sell Your Collectibles
Starting a collection as an investment might not be the best idea — there are just too many better and proven investments out there! However, if you already own good collectibles, and you are willing to part with them, selling them can make a nice revenue stream. As you gain more expertise with the buying and selling process, you might naturally run into buying opportunities that you can later sell for profit.
Just be sure to treat it as a business and not merely add to your collection!
Plus 15 More Ideas
- Make money on Twitch.
- Set up an online niche store.
- Offer skilled services such as tutoring, resume writing, business consulting, blog development, and logo design.
- College students: Sell your used books and textbooks at the end of the semester.
- Ghostwriting. This is very similar to the idea above, but you write anonymously, and the assignments are usually longer. You can ghostwrite articles, blog posts, and even books.
- Write and sell eBooks. This is easier than ever with the help of Amazon and the Kindle.
- Search for freebies and sign up bonuses. For example, you can typically get a $100 bonus from a credit card or bank account sign up.
- Turn your everyday spending into college savings with Upromise.
- Become an Amazon Associate, and ask your friends to use your affiliate link when they make purchases.
- Mystery shopping.
- Find missing money using sites like MissingMoney, Where’s My Refund, PBGC database, and GovBenefits.gov.
- Create and sell CafePress T-shirts.
- Participate in paid focus group studies.
- Sell your body parts and fluids.
- Collect cans and bottles for recycling.
In general, you can find some ideas just by search “making money” plus a keyword of your choice. For example,
- Make money cooking
- Make money knitting
- Make money listening to music
If you like this article, be sure to check out my Extra Income Guide.
Pinyo Bhulipongsanon is the owner of Moolanomy Personal Finance and a Realtor® licensed in Virginia and Maryland. Over the past 20 years, Pinyo has enjoyed a diverse career as an investor, entrepreneur, business executive, educator, financial literacy author, and Realtor®.
I bought a turnkey rental in the midwest for 100k (25k downpayment) and it cashflows a few hundred dollars a month. Rinse wash repeat.
I would add opening checking accounts to the list, right next to sign-up bonuses. I have been doing that and have generated several thousand dollars in 2008 just from checking/savings bonuses.
This is great list Pinyo. Which one of the alternative income sources are you currently working on besides blogging? Which are the most succesful for you?
With respect to #6- Invest in dividend paying stocks. I couldn’t agree more. I’d like to point out, per the author’s reference to dividend aristocrats… when you focus on the aristocrats you’ll get annual dividend increases. I like to refer to those increases as “raises” (thinking of the dividend payment as a “side-business paycheck”). When you reinvest the dividends, and use dividend aristocrats, you can accumulate 10-15% raises annually. That’s pretty good, especially if you can start doing this young enough. Your “side income” will double after 5 years and quadruple after 10 (if you can manage to keep this… Read more »
Earning higher interest on your savings is always a winner for me and it’s so easy to do. It seems that switiching bank accounts can feel scary to some people but I’ve recently switched to a higher earning intrest account. It took 30 mins. Fantastic
I started off as a ghostwriter after high school. It was my combined knack of writing and coming up with crazy money-saving ideas for my family that actually led me to write finance blogs. I must say that I had made substantial bucks doing that!
Hey Pinyo, you forgot one. You can always participate in research studies if you have a university or research hospital close to you. I used to do this a ton when I lived in DC. I’d go to the National Institutes of Health on the weekends and be a normal volunteer for biomedical trials that needed normal volunteers for control groups.
I’ve tried the online survey route. WAY too much effort for the return. I can’t tell you how many lengthy surveys I’ve gotten halfway through before being told that I’m not a candidate. They still got tons of info, I got zip. Pretty scammy, if you ask me. One great source of income I have found is doing in-person consumer opinion studies. Once or twice a month, I get paid anywhere from $75 to $200 in cash for an hour or two of providing my opinions on a wide variety of topics/products. Look up these firms in the yellow pages… Read more »
What an AWESOME list! I have been selling stuff on eBay, half..com and Amazon like mad in the last week and it’s been pretty great. I agree that there is some challenge to this, but I have been doing it off and on for years. Only recently have I started to get serious about selling. Thank you for the ideas, though! I have been trying to think of other ways to earn money and a few of the things here (particularly rent-a-coder and tutoring) I have thought about before but not acted on. I appreciate the suggestions! At this point,… Read more »
I don’t believe that Amazon allows you to tell your family and friends to buy things through their associates account. I know that their TOS actually tell you that you can’t buy things for yourself through it nor can you have others buy things for you through it.
Now, how they go about enforcing it is a different story, but you may want to read the fine print when it comes to affiliate programs.
@Phil – I agree, survey is not for everyone. I am too busy for it, but I have friends who said survey works well for them. I linked to her site. I will have to take a look at in-person consumer opinion. I haven’t done one, but is seems to be worth it at $75-$200 a shot. @Shanti – Thank you. I used to be a seller on eBay too. I buy wholesales, then retail sell them. But the margin is not as good as I’d like it to be due to all the fees, and I didn’t get a… Read more »
A friend of mine got some vending machines too and I thought it was a really horrible idea. He goes around to them every weekend and collects change and restocks. It sounds like a huge amount of work. I’m all about passive income.
This is such a wonderful resource. Thank you for sharing. If you don’t mind, I’m going to link to this on my blog for all my stay-home mom readers!
@Buck — That’s probably one of my dumbest investment, but some people made it work. Not to mention it’s a big business.
@Christy — I am flattered. Yes, please do share this with your readers.
Thanks, Pinyo; increasing income is the only way to accelerate your investments (such as by putting at least 50% of the extra income these generate towards your investmnet strategies) … and accelerating your investments is the only way to get financially free or, dare I say … rich!
Here’s an income stream most people have but don’t benefit from, online shopping. I earn over $50 per month as a member. When I shop or those I referred shop, I earn a small cash back amount. So if you shop online at Wal-Mart, Best Buy or Target (did I mention eBay) you can earn cash back as well.
Why don’t you have this income stream working for you?
Have you personally used Prosper or LendingClub? I’ve heard of these websites and I think they’re interesting, but how much protection does the lender have? What happens if the lendee doesn’t pay you back? Are you covered in some way?
Would two sources of interest be considered two streams of income? Or one?
Selling on Amazon.com used to be a good idea but now they take most of your profits. I’m looking for a better alternative to Amazon. Any ideas?
On point #8 – Becomes a landlord, or a real estate investor — e.g., rent out a parking space, a room, etc.
You don’t even need to be a landlord – if you have a spare room or even a couch, you can charge travelers to stay the night on sites like raystay.com
Some great resources, I find that Amazon, eBay and Clickbank deliver more controllable results and the widgets that are now available from Amazon and eBay are awesome. I have created a number of associate sites combining widgets from Amzaon, eBay and Affiliate links from Clickbank, to great effect. The key to it all though is thorough niche research and deep, long tail keyword research…always!
I think the key is to focus on what skills that you have that can be turned into an extra income source. No matter what your background or experience there is always something that is transferable into other sectors of society whether it is writing e-books or how to articles and getting paid for it, or selling cosmetics through organisations like AVON in your spare time
Excellent list, Pinyo!
The best passive income stream is simply the risk-free income from your big nut. Work hard now, save like mad, save your million bucks for $40,000/yr in income and go higher if you want more.
This is such a great resource!
One idea that has worked for me: Learn how to play Texas Hold’Em and play online for real money .. Pokerstars and Full Tilt are the highest trafficked sites that are open to deposits from Americans.
Sounds fishy but poker is the only gambling discipline where you aren’t playing against a built-in house edge, only against other players. In the long-run, if you are better than the other players, you make money!
I really got a lot of great info off this site, I plan to use some and I am open to any others.