21 Ways To Earn Extra Money


You can find me on Twitter now @indebtedmom 🙂

Awhile back I asked if anybody had ideas – besides a garage sale – for making money. We have plenty to sell and we intend to hold a garage sale later on, but as a full-time working breastfeeding mom with a baby who doesn’t sleep through the night (gasp), I’m fresh out of energy to organize a garage sale.

I’m not the only one looking for some ideas, so I consulted the expert. You know, Google. Because if I had original ideas about making money I wouldn’t be writing a blog about debt. I found a few ideas repeated over and over but what follows is a list of things I would possibly try (no direct sales – #notasalesperson) and things that have the potential to allow a mom to be with her kiddos (no call center jobs). Because I’m not afraid of a little controversy, I’ve even included a couple of rarely mentioned ideas that might not sit well with everyone. But let’s still be friends, k?

Baby steps – easy ideas, but generally low or limited return:

  1. Appraise Collectibles. Anything from jewelry to china to weird, old hand-me-down kitsch could bring in more money than you might expect. We just found a very old quarter in my daughter’s piggy bank that might be worth over $100. Look everywhere!
  2. Sell your old cell phone. This is one we’ve been discussing for awhile, as we’ve had several iPhone upgrades. Our old phones are just lying around, but there is a market for them!
  3. Sell plasma. I have a friend that sells plasma about once a week. It’s a 90 minute commitment that he does while his daughter is at dance class and he gets about $40.
  4. Use apps. Do a little research on apps that pay you for something you might already be doing or buying anyway. I used Ibota before – didn’t like it. Now I’m trying out ReceiptHog and hubby’s going to use Gigwalk during lunch breaks. The list of apps paying is seemingly endless. Here’s a starter list.
  5. Rewards programs. Rewards programs are not just for credit cards, although, if you have a credit card that’s an option. Upromise.com allows you to shop your favorite online and local merchants and save money for college. No, it doesn’t add up fast, but every little bit counts, especially when you were going to spend the money anyway.

Preschooler steps: ideas that require more effort, but earn a little more

  1. Flipping cast-off items. One lady in a forum told me she was on track to make $100 this month from scrap metal finds like grills, set out as trash. We drove by three sets of couches last Saturday and the thought did occur to me that I could take them and possibly sell them. Good friends of ours in Texas were notorious for finding their (cute!) furniture on the side of the road, so not everything being thrown away is really “trash”. Some people frequent garage sales and antique sales for the purpose of reselling the items at a mark-up. You can apparently become a millionaire!
  2. Surveys. Each survey takes a bit of time and the money made is not awesome, but the important thing is that money can be made! Check out sites like swagbucks.com or through Money Savings Mom (which I did to weekend).
  3. Clinical research. Note that you might have to make some adjustments to you life to comply with the terms of the research.
  4. Launch a craft business. I’ve seriously thought about taking up jewelry making and selling my items. I just don’t know if I’d even like it, so I hate to waste money on that unknown, but if you are already doing something and enjoying it – think about how you could market it. I know a knitter who has made quite the business for herself!

Teenage steps: takes quite a bit of time, but potential to make a living

  1. Monetize your blog. Hmmm. I might have to do this. I am already switching to WordPress.org soon because I want to post a widget with a debt ticker, so I’m moving the right direction. Even just $50 a month would make a difference in when our loans get paid off…
  2. Sell your photos. My husband is a decent photographer. It’s one of his hobbies and he posts his work to Facebook. From that alone, he’s sold prints of his work and been hired by folks to take engagement and family photos. So there’s that, but stock photo sites are always paying for photos if every day items, like forks or diapers.
  3. Babysitting. Be honest with yourself. If you don’t have the patience or desire, then do not do this. Especially full time. When we first moved to this area, none of the daycares had openings, so we hired a sitter. She was young and wanted to stay home with her newborn, so it seemed like a win-win, but she was in over her head with our energetic toddler and quit in three weeks, leaving us in turmoil.
  4. Pet sitting. Again, gotta be a pet lover to do this, but also take precautions. One lady in Tennessee was dog sitting for a friend when the dog attacked the sitter’s toddler.
  5. Micro task. I recently heard about sites like fiverr.com and taskrabbitt.com, which is only available in a few larger US cities. Then then I ran across Amazon’s Mechanical Turk site which seems promising. One reviewer says you can possibly make minimum wage at it, but it’s really best for work to fill in some time. Elance.com also offers small time commitment opportunities.
  6. Teach a class. If you can play piano, teach piano lessons. If you are a photographer, offer basic photography lessons. I was so in love with the natural birth class I took, I got certified as an instructor (and have stupidly let that certification slip).

Adult steps: actual job ideas that offer flexibility

  1. Virtual jobs. I’ve registered for flexjobs.com – you have to pay for this service, but you can locate a flexible, work from home opportunity that aligns with your talents. Virtual assistants are becoming quite the “thing” lately; I keep seeing successful bloggers who employ one. Also: Leapforce hires folks to work from home and some Elance.com opportunities are long term.
  2. House cleaning business. I’ve read about women who take their children along when they clean houses with the approval of the client. Face it, your children have to be of a certain age to make this work out. And you have to clean.
  3. Franchises. I’m a runner and am totally gaga over the fitness / nutrition industry. I was pointed to a low startup franchise in that field and have really wanted to do it, but current franchise owners tell me it’s like a full-time gig and it doesn’t make money immediately. Ideas like this are best if you have the investment capital and are just looking for extra income – not working full time and not trying to survive.
  4. Paper route. I’ve seriously considered this one! Papers have to be delivered early, so, depending on your family’s schedule, it’s possible to get back before the kids are up and your spouse heads out the door.

Crazy Aunt: takes a special person and might offend some people

  1. Selling Breastmilk. Some moms pay up to $4 an ounce for breastmilk pumped by a mom on a special diet that jives with their child’s tummy. It’s more common to be paid about $1 an ounce, so the mark-up for a child that already has some problems seems like price gouging to me. Also know that some moms donate huge amounts of milk after weaning – not everyone would be on board with your decision to earn money this way.
  2. Surrogate mom. I really, truly liked being pregnant. I didn’t find it hard or uncomfortable and both my labors were unmedicated and still pain-free. I could be pregnant 30 times, but I’m no Michelle Duggar; I think I can only raise two kiddos. Surrogates are paid several thousand dollars during their pregnancy, but you’d have lots to consider before under taking something so life-altering and emotional. And not everyone would feel comfortable charging for this. This is altogether a very personal decision, and don’t forget how hubby and kiddos could be affected, too. This article addresses how much money can be made.

One note on selling plasma, breastmilk, and renting out your womb: the people on the other side are in need. A medical need, maybe very tragic. On top of that, these people are quite possibly fretting about money more than you are. At the same time, over and over I read blogs and forums advising – with contempt, in some cases – for people to sell clothes and furniture and toys to make headway on debt. So, as long as you are consistent in your outrage, comment away 🙂

I have no idea why you are reading this post today (you might be asking yourself that, too ;-)). Maybe it was just something to read. Maybe you are short a little cash each month or need a little extra to be able to do something fun. Or maybe you are like me – motivated to stay home with your kiddos and/or pay off some debt. Please examine your motivations and don’t deceive yourself that you needy ideas to provide when, deep down, you are working to seek wealth and comforts. (Prov 23:4). Because it’s much better to seek a God first, to make Him a priority. Allow Him to be your treasure and you just might be surprised at how that changes the view of your finances.

Have you tried any of these ideas with any success? What ideas are you most likely to try?

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