In today’s post: If you’re down to the wire, it’s time to get moving. And today, I have several easy ways to make extra cash when life happens.
Life happens. Your hot water heater is going to go out unexpectedly. Your car is going to break down at the most inopportune time. Your child is going to come home wanting to join the most expensive extracurricular activity offered. Do you give up? No. You get going!
I work best under pressure, and many of you probably do too. There’s a quote from Tony Robbins that says, “In life, you need either inspiration or desperation.” In many cases, it’s true. You might think about ways to make extra money frequently, but you just never take that first step. It’s a novel idea, but maybe it’s just not necessary. Yet.
If you’re down to the wire, or just want to make sure you never are, it’s time to get moving. And today, I have several easy ways to make extra cash. Many of these I’ve tried myself.
1. Clear Off Your Bookshelves
I recently went through my bookshelves and sent off a couple stacks of books that netted me around $40. It’s not a lot, but sometimes big bills are best tackled $20 at a time. And as I tell my husband when people turn their noses up at “only $20,” I’ll pick up twenty-dollar bills all day long!
I didn't want to wait around selling them myself so I turned to book buyback websites. I tried a few different apps, but Bookscouter was the fastest, easiest and had way better offers than the others I tried. Some apps were only offering me 25 or 50 cents on books I was offered $4 or $5 for with Bookscouter partners. That’s a big difference!
This task took less than an hour including the packaging of books and driving them to the post office. A few tips:
- Make sure your books are in condition to avoid returns.
- Make sure you go through a buyback program that pays for shipping.
- Check the reviews to make sure you are dealing with a reputable buyer. (Bonus tip: Actually read the reviews. Don't just look at the star rating. Are they recent? Are they justifiable?)
- If taking the cash by PayPal, see if PayPal fees are coming out of your cut.
- Keep your tracking number until you have your payment.
- If your book is worth a lot of money, you may be better off listing it yourself on Amazon or eBay.
2. Cancel Your Subscriptions
My husband is the worst at signing up for every monthly membership that someone sticks in his face. Gym memberships. Car washes. iTunes. Oh my!
Trim helped me track all of these things down and then canceled those for me that they could cancel online. On a few, my husband had to do the walk of shame down to various places to cancel in person. Hopefully, it will make him think twice next time. 😉
Trim may also be able to negotiate better prices for your cable, telephone and other bills. They negotiated our cable bill down for a savings of over $500 per year. You do have to pay them 25% of the annual savings for any services they cancel or negotiate down, but it can still add up in big savings for you.
3. Never Shop Without Checking for Cash Back
Seriously. You can’t ask for much easier cash than this.
If you are shopping online, click through Ebates first.
If you are shopping for groceries, check Ibotta for rebates.
Ebates sends a check quarterly if you are owed over $5. You can withdraw your Ibotta earnings by PayPal or Venmo once you hit $20. It may not seem like much, but over the course of a year, it could be. Put those checks or withdrawals right into your emergency fund or invest them with a micro-investing platform like Stockpile.
4. Get Rid of Those DVDs and CDs
While you are clearing off those bookshelves, maybe you can get rid of some DVDs and CDs while you are at it. Especially if you don’t even have a DVD or CD player anymore!
Decluttr is another simple app that will scan a barcode and give you an offer. Be forewarned. It’s not going to be much. I scanned a box of DVDs we had in the basement and was only offered around $.25 to $.90 each. I was offered around the same for CDs, but I’m not supposed to sell my husband’s stuff anymore. 😀
That being said, you may be running out of options to get rid of DVDs for cash. Most GameStop locations no longer buy them. You can still try a local pawn shop or mom-and-pop game store. If you want to unload them, speak now or forever hold your peace.
5. Get Paid to Walk
After recently having to admit just how inactive I have become over the last 11 years of working from home, I needed a serious way to get me motivated to move. My search led me to HealthyWage and StepBet. Both of these apps allow you to place a wager and commit to increasing your steps. Both will set your goal based on your current activity level (they get those stats from your Fitbit or other accepted fitness tracker). Then, you just have to meet your goal.
Both apps offer a guarantee that as long as you meet your goal, you won't lose money. (If you don't meet your goal, you forfeit your bet of course.) If you're lucky, however, you may win a few extra bucks!
You can do both a StepBet and a HealthyWage Step Challenge at the same time. The fear of losing money has really kept me moving this holiday season. I look forward to continuing these challenges into the new year. You aren't going to get rich, but the fear of losing has certainly benefited my health – and that's the real goal!
Interested? Join me for my next StepBet starting January 1, 2019! It’s a fun 5-week game where we’ll motivate each other to stay active and, hopefully, win some cash in the process. To join, download the StepBet app and type in game code WORKATHOME.
I redeemed my first Swagbucks gift card in 2011, and I’m still using the site to this day. And today, you have so many more ways to earn!
Swagbucks is the web’s most popular rewards program that gives you free gift cards and cash for the everyday things you already do online. Whenever you shop, watch videos or search the web, Swagbucks gives you points called SB. You can redeem your SB for gift cards to hundreds of your favorite stores or request a cash withdraw through PayPal.
- With the Swagbucks Mobile and SBTV apps, use your spare minutes and phones to earn a few SB. On the Swagbucks website, rack up SB by shopping, answering surveys and watching videos.
- While you wait for the coffee to brew, download free games and other apps through the Discover tab: 20 SB
- During commercial breaks, take a featured survey or fill out your survey profile: 60 SB
- While standing in line at the grocery store, answer the daily poll: 1 SB
- When you’ve finally made it to the gym, watch style, tech and celeb news through the SBTV app: 2 SB for every 10 videos
This activity really adds up over time. I usually let my earnings add up and then redeem them for gift cards when I need something from Amazon.
7. Let Paribus Optimize Your Online Shopping
Paribus is a nifty little service offered by Capital One. The software monitors your email for online shopping receipts from one of their participating merchants like Target, Walmart or Old Navy. If the price of an item you purchased drops within the merchant’s price matching period, Paribus will contact them automatically for a refund of the difference. You don’t have to do a thing!
They will also watch for late deliveries at Walmart and Amazon. This happened to me with one of my Black Friday purchases from Amazon. UPS didn’t get here within the two-day Prime shipping window. Paribus contacted Amazon on my behalf and I was issued a $15 credit. Nice!
I can’t guarantee a credit every time. I’ve heard sometimes people are given a month of free Prime tacked onto their subscription. If you aren’t a Prime member or it was something shipped by a third-party, you may simply get your shipping charges refunded. Any way you look at it though, it’s better than nothing! And Paribus is free. They don’t charge a cent for their service.
8. Collect Cans
My husband still saves all our soda cans for selling to the recycling center. It’s only a few bucks when he gets his trash can full, but it’s something extra to put away for a rainy day. And it’s less in the landfill.
You don’t have to stop with just cans. Check your local recycling center to see if they pay for paper, glass or plastic products. And scrap metal is always a hot money-maker if you have any lying around.
9. Did You Forget About Some Money?
At least once per year, it’s a good idea to check for your name on your state’s treasurer website or unclaimed.com. Sometimes, a final paycheck or refund doesn’t quite make it to your mailbox. Maybe you forgot about a few bucks in a savings account, the account was closed and you’ve moved seven times since then.
You never know. It’s worth the two minutes. You can also check the gov site for other possible funds you’re owed.
10. Flip an Awesome Find
I’ve never gotten involved in e-commerce flipping as an ongoing career, but I do occasionally spot a stellar steal that can be resold for a profit. I once picked up a big Calphalon dutch oven for $.99 as a buy-one-get-one offer. I was able to resell it on eBay for $79. I recently got a pair of loafers for next to nothing and was able to sell them on Poshmark for $28 profit.
I love the thrill of a great find. I’m digging YouTube channels like Ralli Roots and Hustler Hacks that share their reselling hauls. It’s great inspiration! You should also check out Rob and Melissa. I love when Rob emails his flea market finds on the weekend.
11. Live in the City? Charge Scooters
If I lived in the city, I’d totally have my husband run around every night collecting Lime or Bird electric scooters in need of charging. You charge them up. Return them the next morning. Get paid the same day!
You need to download the app and register as a rider first.
12. Rent a Room
A bit of spare time and a spare room. That’s all you need to get started earning extra income as a host on Airbnb. Whether you want to become an entrepreneur and work for yourself or you already have a full-time job and just hope to make some extra cash in your free time, you can find what you’re looking for on Airbnb. You get to choose when and how often you host. You can share a spare room in your apartment, host your whole home the next time you’re out of town, or create a listing for a vacation house if you have one. Airbnb makes it simple to earn extra money by putting your extra space to work for you.
13. Do a Craigslist Gig
You can often find some interesting little local jobs in the Craigslist Gigs section. From being a brand ambassador at a local event to clearing junk to visiting theaters to check movie trailers, there’s a little something for everyone.
These often are one-time gigs, hence why they aren’t in the Jobs section. But sometimes they can pay pretty decent. A few of the brand ambassadorships listed in my area recently have been paying $19/hr or more.
14. Clean Windows
Seriously. If there is one job that no one wants to do, it’s windows. I literally hired someone to come do mine a month or two ago and they canceled the hour before they were supposed to be here. So, I just did it myself. Which inevitably leads to people stopping and asking, “Can I pay you to do mine?”
If you don’t mind washing windows, let someone pay you to do theirs! This is a great gig to list in local Facebook Buy/Sell Groups. You probably won’t have much competition. It may not be your dream gig or something you want to do long-term, but if you're in a pinch what's stopping you?
15. Become a Courier
Driving jobs are hot these days. You can deliver packages for Amazon. Deliver food for Doordash. Deliver groceries for Instacart. Or drive people around with Uber. Get paid for not only the trip but also with tips. Most of these jobs will let you work whenever you want. Just pull up the app and start picking up work. And some, like Uber and Lyft, even offer same-day payments.