26 Ways To Make Extra Money While Keeping Your Day Job

by Ron Haynes

Quite often I hear from people who feel trapped in a job (or trapped without a job) and need to figure out a way to make extra money. Regardless of your personal circumstance, making extra money is a key component to your financial success. Sometimes people hear about how I’ve paid off a lot of debt in a short period of time and they wonder if my income has changed significantly. My answer is, yes, I have used a few unexpected windfalls from different sources AND made extra money to get those debts paid off. Making extra money is the key, especially when paired with lifestyle changes that result in frugal living.

One critical lifestyle change is to make extra money.

The old phrase “spend less than you earn” is made up of TWO factors: spending and earning. Sure you can reduce your spending by a great deal, but very few people have saved their way to wealth. They have also earned additional income and then put that extra money to work for them. There are many ways to make extra money, but how you make extra money is sometimes limited to your current sources of income. Since your day job usually pays the bills, how can YOU make extra money? Here’s some ideas to help kick start your brain into thinking about how to increase the earning side of the equation. These aren’t considered “passive” income (filling out opinion surveys for cash & rewards does take time), but they can help generate some take-home pay to help reduce your debt and potentially get you some breathing room. Once you have that breathing room, be sure to use one of my 17 Sneaky Savings Strategies to put that money to work!

Make Extra Money By:

1. Freelance writing. Have a unique ability to pen the written word? Have a solid grasp of grammar, spelling, and communicating? You could become a freelance writer for newspapers, magazines, or other local periodicals. THAT could help you make extra cash! Don’t be afraid to endure a lot of “No’s” and you’ll eventually get that “Yes” that can give you some instant credibility. You can always build a portfolio by guest posting on blogs or by submitting articles to your local newspaper.

2. Buy and sell used cars for profit. With the economy in the doldrums for such a long time, people are more interested in purchasing their vehicles used and if you have the proper knowledge of this niche market, you can easily generate a substantial income for yourself and your family. Do it correctly and you could profit $300 to $3,000 per transaction.

3. Clean foreclosure properties for banks. Banks have foreclosed on thousands of properties and they need to clean these homes in order to sell them. This online course helps you start a business catering to that specific need. It will give you the confidence to approach the right people in the right way in order to get paid (and paid very well) for bringing a piece of real estate up to standards.

4. Tutor. If you have a college degree, use your downtime to tutor kids in the summer or even over the Internet to make additional income. Drop by the local school system and offer your services to the summer school folks after making sure it’s okay with the school staff, of course.

5. Teach a language. Do you speak another language? Do you speak English well enough to teach it? Either way, your skills are in demand and will help you make extra money. People need to learn other languages and non-English speakers need to learn English. Most people prefer to learn a conversational style rather than just conjugate verbs around the dinner table. Who knew just talking and having a conversation could result in earning additional income? Try learning Spanish or step on out there and pick up Mandarin Chinese!

6. Stage homes. Homeowners, realtors, builders, banks, and mortgage companies all need their homes to sell and a home that’s properly staged usually sells much faster and at a higher price than a non-staged home. As a result, these groups will pay good money to someone who knows how to decorate an empty house and make it look more like a home.

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7. Iron clothes. People are busy and if you offer to iron their clothes and pick up/drop off at their office, you would set yourself apart from the cleaners. Make even more money by offering the service mentioned in #24.

8. Start your own vending machine company. The truth is that vending is a great way to make easy cash! Yep! that’s right cash, because when you’re in vending you don’t have to wait for checks in the mail or wait until payday to get paid. In fact you get paid each and every time to go and restock one of your machines. Also you don’t have to wait for your boss to *maybe* give you a pay raise when it comes time for your review. You simply make extra money every time you place your machines on a new location and start selling candy. There’a a reason why little vending machines are all over the place … but they aren’t everywhere.

9. Substitute teach at your kid’s school. My wife does this quite often. Teachers have doctors and dentist appointments just like everyone else. Their children get sick and they have to take care of them. When these events happen, the school needs a substitute teacher. Check with several schools (don’t forget the private schools) to see what requirements they place on subs and how much extra income you could earn.

10. Start a wedding decorations company. If there is a recession-proof business, it’s weddings. People seem to throw budgets out the window when it comes to getting hitched! If you love the idea of decorating for a wedding, this could be the very business you’ll succeed in.

11. Do you have a unique skill or ability? Have you EVER heard someone say to you, “I wish I knew how to do that.” The “that” could be building decks, arranging flowers, baking pies, playing the piano, canning food, making jewelry, framing pictures, or raising roses. People will pay to be taught. They will pay even more if you offer to teach their children. Offer to teach them or their children in their homes and you could earn even more.

12. Start your own daycare. Starting a daycare is more than just keeping some kids at your home. To truly turn it into a profitable business, you’ll need to have the right certifications and insurance. The great thing about starting a daycare is that you probably already have the building! With more and more people needing to find good daycare for their children, you could clean up if you operate a well run, nurturing environment for kids.

What if you offered to keep kids all night long for parents who worked third shift? What if you offered to keep kids who were feeling a little sick (nothing major)? Most day care centers won’t accept a child who has a fever or a runny nose, but if you contacted several day care centers for referrals of mildly sick children, you could carve out a profitable market niche for yourself. Make certain you follow all local laws when keeping children.

13. Clean businesses and offices for profit. It would probably blow your mind to find out how much businesses pay to have their offices cleaned. With a couple of good connections and your willingness to ask for the business, you could make a very good living by simply dusting, vacuuming, emptying the trash, and other general cleanup. The key is knowing what you’re doing – cleaning a business is different than cleaning your home and this online course explains why … and how.

14. Do you love to garden and use organic methods? Depending on how large your harvest may be, you could offer “in season” locally grown, organic vegetables and fresh herbs for sale to a restaurant. Take a basket of your most beautiful vegetables and visit several restaurants. Chefs are always interested in getting the best, the freshest food for their patrons. You could pick them, wash them, and deliver them within the hour. You can’t get much more fresh than that!

15. Know your antiques?
Spend your weekends scouting those garage sales, thrift stores, estate auctions, and flea markets to score old treasures on the cheap. Do some research to discover the real value of your finds and spend your next lunch hour auctioning it on eBay.

16. Set up computers,
home theater systems, or wireless networking systems for the technologically challenged. Even though technology is a constant presence in our everyday lives, some people just can’t seem to get the hang of it. You can offer to come in and help those with new gadgets get them set up, install new programs, organize the spaghetti mess of cables, and make sure everything is plugged in correctly.

17. A year or so after you’ve set up those computers, offer to help clean and speed up computers
that may have been infected with viruses, malware and spyware. You know it’s going to happen and someone will get paid to clean those systems.

18. If you’re really on the technology band wagon, you could offer to help people change the formats of their media.
Changing VHS videos to DVDs, scanning old photos, moving CDs to MP3s, or other format changes can make you some additional income.

19. Install  Christmas lights on high end homes. 
Work three months — earn 12 months of income! I’ve literally heard of people who make six figure incomes simply by decorating the homes of people who compete with their neighbors for the most decorated home. Setting up those lights is a pain in the neck and people will pay good money to impress others. Cash in on that …

20. Are you a genealogy buff? People love to know their family histories, but don’t have time to do the research. You can offer your services as a “family researcher” and help clients learn about their roots, learn about your own in the process, and generate extra income.

21. Can you bake? Making and decorating cakes can allow you to show off our artistic side. You could also offer to bake pastries and other goodies for local coffee shops, a local deli, or even sell them in local office breakrooms.

Run errands. The last time I checked, the IRS rate for mileage was just north of 50 cents per mile. By offering to run errands for people (dry cleaning, drugstore, grocery store, post office, etc), you could earn extra money for your time while reducing your taxable income from mileage.

23. Cater business meetings and events. Love the idea of starting your own restaurant but don’t want the headache of having a building and having to deal with employees? Love to cook and entertain? Catering could be right up your alley. But there’s more to catering than just popping some canapés in the oven, putting them on a tray and setting them out for a party. Catering is an intense business that requires precision and organization … two of the issues addressed in the course linked above.

24. Got a sewing machine? Many local clothing stores, particularly upscale stores, men’s suit stores, and even dry cleaners need people with sewing skills. Here’s your chance to show off your skills and make a little extra income.

25. Pet sitter.
Right now I’m looking for a pet sitter for my miniature dachshund. The kennels charge at least $20/day. Could you undercut the kennels, charge $15/day and keep a few pets in your home? If you’re wary, you could always set a weight limit and only keep those little guys (like mine). People need help with hamsters, guinea pigs, cats, dogs, and even exotic pets. If you live in an apartment, you could offer to feed, water, and check on pets kept in their homes. Then you could deduct the mileage from your taxes for an additional bonus.

26. Photography. Do you have one of those fancy cameras? Know how to use it? You could potentially start photographing people’s children, their weddings, their anniversaries, or their parties. Set up your own market photography business (no expensive studio required!)

Here are a few tips to follow in your quest for extra income.

  • Always get everything in writing.
  • Always consult with a qualified tax adviser for mileage and other potential deductions.
  • Always try to get payment up front … or at least some sort of deposit.
  • Always ask for referrals from your existing clients.
  • Always follow all local, state, and federal laws, especially when dealing with children.

About the author

Ron Haynes has written 1000 articles on The Wisdom Journal.

The founder and editor of The Wisdom Journal in 2007, Ron has worked in banking, distribution, retail, and upper management for companies ranging in size from small startups to multi-billion dollar corporations. He graduated Suma Cum Laude from a top MBA program and currently is a Human Resources and Management consultant, helping companies know how employees will behave in varying situations and what motivates them to action, assisting firms in identifying top talent, and coaching managers and employees on how to better communicate and make the workplace MUCH more enjoyable. If you'd like help in these areas, contact Ron using the contact form at the top of this page or at 870-761-7881.

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great post – lots of good ideas in there… It’s always good to know how to make a few extra bucks when you need to – but what about blogging? ;)



I thought about adding that, but I’m not qualified to say if it makes that much money just yet. One thing I DO know, it isn’t passive, that’s for sure. I didn’t work this hard in grad school.


Hi Ron,

Nice looking blog here! Slick styles.

I always like these “how to make money not at your job” type posts – it’s great to see the different ideas and possibilities. Once I’m out of graduate school and I really do have extra time again, I’m going to follow up on a couple. (I would have to say that blogging, for me, so far – :) is still easier than grad school!:) – but you’re right, it’s definitely not a *passive* source of income)

In fact this list makes it very tempting to not go out and “find a real job”… think about the rise in personal concierge services. Someone just runs out and does all your errands for you.



Ha ha! Maybe I’m doing the whole blogging thing wrong! LOL!
I’m not the most tech savvy person…but I’m getting there.

Elliott - 21st Century Dad

I’m trying out guru.com looking for freelance graphic design and multimedia presentation work. I bid on a project this weekend and got the call this morning. Guru has multiple categories for a wide variety of professional skills.

I’m also doing the istockphoto.com thing. Just like blogging, you get out of it what you put into it. My earnings don’t meet the payout threshold yet. It’s only a matter of uploading quality content.

I definitely believe in “double-dipping” whenever possible. If I can engage in an enjoyable activity and make money at it, that’s a winning combination.

Just because it’s something I would do for free, doesn’t mean I have to do it for free or cheap. The point here is to make extra income. You also deserve to be paid accordingly for your skills at the going rate. Just because you’re doing it part time doesn’t mean you’re any less deserving of the same rate of pay as the full-time practitioner.


#Elliott – 21st Century Dad→

You’re exactly right. Maybe I should add that to one of the “Always” lists. Always make sure you’re being paid the going rate. Great point.


Ron – These are good suggestions. I can certainly speak for the money that can be made installing computers for individuals or small companies. I have done these myself. Of course, with computers you have to be available and have the temperament for follow-up support as well. In my opinion, you need some extreme patience when helping home users with their computers.


Great suggestions! I’ve done a few of them in my time. Actually, I think I’m supposed to pet sit sometime next month. It’s easy money, and my kids love it, since we can’t have cats & dogs where we live.

Mostly I just stick with blogging, though.


Wow, thats one heap of a list you got there. I am also on the tech bandwagon, i would love the idea you have on converting content to other formats. me and my friend wanted to do this with online videos to transfer to devices, because most of the time, FLV or online videos can’t play instantly on them.

Rachel @ Master Your Card

Blogging can definitely make you a decent extra income as can other online work – I made over $2000 last month from blogging, writing articles and doing other online work – but I’m doing it full time.

pam munro

Having been an actor & lived with them around me all these years – I have tried a lot of these. Mystery shops get you $5-10 per shop – I did do one that was $150 – that was great. If you were shopping anyway, it would work. They do make you pay your own $ upfront to do restaurant mystery shops – so I have never done that.

For tutoring you need a B.A. and in California at least a Cbest test – Lots of times they prefer moonlighting teachers. Languages? Are you a native speaker? They are also preferred for the most part.

You can do promotional work – you know the folks that hand out stuff at stores. But you have to work weekends. And for food, provide your own electric frying pan!

Freelance writing can bring you in $ – Sites like associatedcontent.com pay upfront (see my articles there!)
And then there is Amazon’s mechanical turk – for cyber piece work….mturk.com.

I have actually done ironing – but you have to know prosperous folks to do that! I do better to surf & get all my freebies & samples and save money that way!

Sell stuff – you can have a yard sale or sell anything extra on the Pennysaver or a similar publication. You can sell ANYTHING – even recycled carpet! SELL your junk car for $ & they will take it away, too.

Wish I could understand how people make $ blogging – I still am a dummy that way. I do help business people with their business writing. A lot more folks NEED it but don’t want to PAY for it!!

One last thing – you can do little bits of government work – like work at the polls at election time – or at census time, work for the Census Bureau – done that, too!

But don’t PAY anyone for access to mystery shops, etc. – you can get it all GRATIS!


#pam munro→

Hey Pam,
Thanks for your comments…great information!
Bloggers make money in several ways, Google pays us based on how many
people click the ads on our sites or on how many “eyes” actually see their
ads. Other possibilities are things like Amazon. When someone buys
anything on Amazon by clicking through one of the links on my site, I get
a 4% commission. Other possibilities are paid reviews but I haven’t gotten
into that yet. There are literally dozens and dozens (hundreds) of sites
that will do all the leg work for you to find advertisers, then you
publish their ads on your blog.

Check out http://www.johnchow.com or http://www.problogger.com. Those guys are making
big money, but I’m just trying to get to a point where my blogging income
covers my mortgage and my kids private school education. I’m not there
yet, not even close, but I can see it in the distance.

Notice when you visit a blog how many people have ads on them. Those ads
are like billboards and the advertisers will pay to have their offerings
on your site.

Hope this helps. If you need any ideas or have any questions, never
hesitate to ask.


About being a substitute teacher, do you need a teaching degree? I am a registered nurse and I only work 3 days a week I would try doing that too!



I would suggest checking with your local school system and don’t forget the private schools in the area. You might also be able to work a few days per week as a school nurse (I’m sure you already thought of that).


With a lot of patience you can start a website….there are tons of free resources out there! I met my capital in the first month it went live!


You can only deduct milleage with the IRS if you have BUSINESS car insurance on your vehicle and are considered “self-employed” There is LOTS of paperowrk to fill out to be able to deduct milleage.



Actually, if you’re using a vehicle in the pursuit of commerce, you can deduct the mileage. I had only regular insurance on my personal vehicle but regularly used it for company purposes. Two IRS expense audits in four years and never any problems!


about plant vege yeah tried that, at first it was growing well but later on… all bugs come and eat them.



I had that problem too, but was able to use some organic pest controls to get rid of the bugs. Check with some local plant nurseries for some help on the pests in your area.


Great post. Lots of great ideas. I think you’re onto something with the ‘green consultant.’ I personally believe that ‘green’ is a fad (oh, it’s important, but the pendulum has swung too far), but fads have been making money for a long time. With the cost of energy rising rapidly, we find our dollars aren’t buying much these days, and finding ways for yourself, and others, to save money while making the world ever-so-slightly better, is win-win.


Thanks Bill,

Green may or may not be a fad, but if you could make a few bucks off it, why not? I’ve actually thought about offering to come into someone’s home, replace every light bulb with CFL’s, wrap the hot water heater in a blanket (and turn it down a notch or two), caulk around the windows and doors, put in power strips that can turn off unneeded appliances and electronics, install a programmable thermostat, and up the freezer and fridge temps for a fee of $150 plus the cost of materials. I bet it could work!


Ron, I think you’re onto something! Just don’t crowd me out of my territory! :smile:


Yea, it really is amazing how much you can get done when you realize what you’re wasting time doing a lot of the time. I know people that say they don’t have time to do “x” or “y”, but have time to watch TV or play video games. There is always time if you make it… ;)


I like #19, but where can I find a ligit company for this?


Hi Gabby,
Thanks for stopping by. Two mystery shopping programs that my company has used in the past are:

Hope this helps. We’ve used them both for around 4 years. I believe them both to be legitimate. You can check others out through the Mystery Shoppers Trade Association at http://www.mysteryshop.org/

I’d also recommend this ABC News article: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Consumer/story?id=5288516&page=1

Joe Zeitouny

What about offering Remote IT Services? Or Even Online Database Hosting Services?


i will try bro….at home


I know a cool website that you can make extra money from just by coming up with name ideas for new businesses and products. If they like your name idea, they pay you $50. It’s great to make extra food, bills, play, or gas money here and there.


Great Blog! How about affiliate marketing? Despite what every internet marketer will try to tell you, you can learn how to do this with free research. The internet is the best tool ever invented to research ways to make money for free. All you need is determination.

Ray The Money Man

Great info and great discussion in your comments. I’ll bookmark this right now for sure!

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