Would you like to make some extra money? Of course, we all would. The problem is that we’re always so busy with our day jobs, families, and other responsibilities that it can be difficult to find time for increasing our income. The good news is that there are many side gigs that don’t require much time at all. Here are 5 fun and flexible ways to make extra money.
If you’re good with kids and/or pets you can make a nice side income as a babysitter. Rates vary depending on where you live (in my neighborhood a good babysitter gets around $12 – $15 an hour). You can start by asking friends and family for references, and as you gain experience more business will come to you through word of mouth.
Another way to find parents in need of a babysitter is SitterCity. You can add your profile and advertise your babysitting or pet sitting services for free. Parents have to pay a fee in order to view your complete profile and contact information. My wife and I have used the service twice and could not have been more satisfied.
2. Dog Walker
Dog owners with busy schedules need someone reliable to help look after their beloved pet when they can’t do it themselves. As a dog walker you might be called on for something as simple as taking the dog for a mid-morning stroll through the park while the owner is at work. Or you could be asked to take the dog into your home while the owner goes on vacation. The more you are willing to do the more you can charge for your services. You can use online site like Rover.com to get your business started or look for opportunities on NextDoor.com.
It could be the third grader across the street who is struggling in math, the guy around the corner who wants to learn a second language, or the girl next door studying for her medical board exam. Lots of people need a little extra help and if you have the knowledge or expertise in a particular field, you can earn a nice side income as a tutor.
You don’t need a Ph. D. on the subject to serve as a tutor. As long as you have a strong grasp of the content and an ability to teach you can help someone learn and make extra money at the same time. The more advanced and specialized the topic the more you’ll be able to charge.
4. Paid Surveys
Before a company unveils a new product or makes changes to an existing one, they hire marketing research firms to gather consumer opinions and feedback. This is a vital step in the product development process because it can identify problems and help the manufacturer avoid costly mistakes. As a consumer, you can get paid to participate in online surveys, focus groups, taste testings, and product trials.
I’ve done this on and off for years whenever I can fit it into my schedule. The most I ever made was for a one hour focus group where I was paid $60 to taste French fries.
That one was obviously in person but there are many companies, such as Pinecone Research, that will pay you to fill out surveys online. You may also get to test out some products at home and then fill out a follow up survey. You won’t get rich taking online surveys as the typical payout is only a few dollars, but it can be a fun way to earn some extra spending cash.
5. Mystery Shopping
Restaurants, retail stores, movie theaters, and other companies are always interested in honest feedback about their services. But they can’t just walk in and observe their employees themselves. They need to see how their employees act when they don’t realize anyone is watching. That’s where a mystery shoppers comes in handy.
A mystery shopper is paid to make purchases or eat meals and then complete a questionnaire describing their experience. The results are then sent to the company’s home office and the individual store that was “shopped” is graded. They can then use this information to identify problem areas and opportunities to improve.
As a mystery shopper you get paid a small stipend for your trouble, and you may also get to keep some of the products you were asked to purchase. You may also get to enjoy a free meal once the mystery shopping company reimburses you.
For more ideas, check out our Side Hustles collection.
Contributor’s articles are written by members of the personal finance community. Each article was reviewed Moolanomy’s editorial team before its publication.