If you’ve received gifts you really don’t want – and they’re still in the packages – try returning them. Some retailers will take them back up to a year later. If you are not sure where the item was purchased, try going online and searching. If a retailer like Walmart or Target pops up then you can return it there without a receipt and get a gift card.
Tools & Resources: I’ve written a pretty comprehensive guide on the best web design software that covers both free and premium software packages. If you’re serious about becoming a web designer, then I recommend purchasing the full Adobe Creative Cloud Suite. At $49.99 per month, this is probably a bargain considering what you can achieve with this set of tools.
Speaking of teaching, even if you don’t have a teaching degree or current certificate, you may be able to make money teaching English online. This is a great side gig for those working a full-time job. The scheduling is flexible and you can work in the early morning, evenings and on weekends. And the pay is pretty good, too! Some ESL tutors are paid up to $21 per 40-minute class. A few companies to consider:
You can generate a small side income taking online surveys — but don’t expect to be rolling in the dough. Survey sites don’t typically offer a big payoff, unless you invest a lot of time, and many sites are more useful for earning gift cards than cash. Some of the more popular survey sites include Swagbucks and Global Test Market. Read our analysis of a dozen survey sites to find out which one is best suited for you.
Work-at-home scams. Watch out for any job opportunity that promises high pay for low-effort work. “Businesses tend not to solicit employees on flyers on telephone poles or social media messages,” Hutt says. These offers are rarely legitimate, and they might end up losing you money. The Federal Trade Commission lists envelope stuffing, mystery shopping and certain types of multilevel marketing among common work-at-home scams.
Sell baked goods. Working parents might not have the time to whip up a birthday cake or cupcakes for school parties. That’s where you come in if you can create tasty baked goods. A friend of mine who is a single mom started making cupcakes as a way to keep herself occupied while staying with her dad when he was undergoing chemotherapy. She posted a picture of her cupcakes on Facebook and instantly received several orders from friends. Now she makes about $200 a month making cupcakes for others who hear about her through word of mouth or see pictures of her cupcakes on her Facebook page.
It doesn’t pay much, but if you’re a healthy person and want to make a bit of extra money online, the AchieveMint app will reward you for doing things like walking, tracking your food, or taking health surveys. AchieveMint works by connecting to fitness apps you might already be using like Fitbit, RunKeeper, Healthkit, and MyFitnessPal and then giving you points for certain actions. For every 10,000 points, you earn $10 with no limit on your earnings.
Landscape. Look for brush-clearing, mowing, or woodcutting jobs, some of which may land you regular customers. This can save you money at the same time: if you are hired to pick up pine needles, use them to mulch your roses, which will appreciate their acidity and smothering effect on weeds; if you are hired to cut and clear a fallen tree, use it to heat your house that winter.
Some subjects are much better paid than others, so although you may love the idea of writing about travel (badly paid) a better bet would be a niche like finance (much higher rates of pay). Check out the Pro Blogger job board for high paid freelance writing jobs – other places to look might be Textbroker or you can look at the “gigs” section on Craigslist.
We all know we should be investing money, but it isn’t always as easy as it sounds. This is especially the case for those with limited dispensable cash or inconsistent income. Acorns (get $5 to invest when you sign up through this link) is an app that will allow you to round up your everyday purchases and invest that spare change. While you may be unable to write a sizeable check for investing each month, you may not notice an extra $.25 tacked onto your morning Starbucks. Stockpile is another micro-investing platform I love. Get $5 to invest free when you sign up here.
Rescue battered wood. Pallets and pallet stock are cheap (or free) and easy to come by. Look for untreated specimens at construction sites, community colleges, buildings under renovation, or shipping warehouses and plane them down and/or kiln-dry them in a homemade kiln-dryer to uncover their hidden beauty. You can then resell the wood as is or even turn it into beautiful furniture. (Be sure to advertise that the wood is “reclaimed,” as people are often willing to pay much more for this.)
Under no circumstances should any information from this blog be used as replacement for professional financial advice. DollarSprout.com is owned by VTX Capital, LLC and neither are licensed by or affiliated with any third-party marks on this website and third parties do not endorse, authorize, or sponsor our content except where clearly disclosed. DollarSprout.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.