Coming up with extra cash to pay the bills, cover unexpected expenses, boost savings, accelerate your 401(k) or perhaps even finance a dream vacation isn’t as hard as it seems. Plenty of legit, and many unique, moneymaking opportunities are out there for you to capitalize on at your convenience, with the perk of no long-term commitment and, in most cases, setting your own hours.
Updated for 2018, our diverse list is packed with more tactics to earn extra cash than ever — 35 ideas for you to consider, along with resources and pointers to get you started. Some are good for a fast buck, while others could turn into consistent streams of income.
Find out which cash-generating ideas could work best for you.
Become an Elections Officer
You can cash in on our right to vote on Election Day. Many localities need election officers, especially those who are bilingual. And while the hours may be long, the pay isn’t bad for a day’s – in some cases 5 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. — work.
For example, in Fairfax County, Va., which needs thousands of poll workers, election officers are paid $175 for a full day (step up your game and get paid $225 as an assistant chief election officer and $250 as a chief election officer). In Monterey County, Calif., election officers are paid $135 (for clerks) and $185 (for inspectors).
Generally, to qualify, you must be at least 18 years of age and a registered voter in the state, be a U.S. citizen, read and write English, and have transportation to the polling place. You’ll likely also have to devote time to attend a training class. Here’s a video about becoming an election officer.
One quick tip: A first-time poll worker advises newbies to bring plenty of snacks. It’s a very long day and you cannot leave the polling place to grab some chow.
Coach a Youth Sports Team
This one may require some creative workarounds with your full-time job – but that’s the deal with most moonlighting work. In the case of coaching youth teams, it often means late-afternoon, evening and weekend availability, plus knowledge of the intricacies of a sport – soccer, hockey, softball, you name it — and how to teach it to others.
Many recreational youth sports clubs, especially travel teams, around the country pay their coaching staffs. The pay scale for youth soccer coaches on club teams, for example, tops out at around $2,000 per month at the highest level ($200 per month at the lowest level), according to Job Monkey, a job-search website. But note: You must be certified at various levels to pull down that pay scale and have safety certifications, which may or may not be paid by the organization.
Some high schools around the country also rely on outside individuals to coach teams if teachers aren’t interested in taking those positions. (I coached high-school soccer and a club team for a few years while also working my full-time job as a journalist.) Pay varies. I received $2,500 per season for coaching high-school soccer. Of course, from pre-season to post-season and all the daily practices and games in between, that’s not a lot of money – but it was a lot of fun.
If you’re a professional, colleges and universities are always on the lookout for adjunct professors or lecturers. Some may require a master’s degree; others just a college degree and professional experience to share with students. I taught visual and print journalism at two esteemed J-schools – one required a master’s degree, which I have — for 10 years while holding down a full-time job. The side hustles added several thousand dollars to our annual household income, and, more, it was richly fulfilling to work with students eager to learn. How do you get an adjunct teaching job? Reach out to community colleges, colleges or universities where you live. Depending on your specialty – say, accounting – contact the department head in that particular school and inquire about becoming an adjunct.
How about substitute teaching? Grade schools and high schools nationwide are looking for people to substitute teach – and some have outsourced the hiring process. Source4Teachers, a Cherry Hill, N.J.-based K-12 educational staffing firm, works with more than 285 school systems across the Northeast to fill substitute teacher and other staffing positions with its base of more than 31,000 substitutes.
The company says it fills many nonteaching roles that don’t require certification. These are filled by people who are maybe getting their feet wet, seeing if they want to pursue a teaching career. It varies by state and school district, but some don’t require substitutes to have teaching certification. Pennsylvania, for example, allows people with a bachelor’s degree to apply for one-year emergency certification to substitute.
Pay varies by district, but substitute teachers can make between $90 and $120 per day. Teaching-certified substitutes make about $20 more per day than non-certified subs.
Be a Tour Guide
If you live near an historic site overseen by the National Park Service, you could become a licensed guide with the Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides. For example, the Licensed Battlefield Guides of Gettysburg, the Pennsylvania site of one of the greatest battles of the American Civil War, are licensed and regulated by the National Park Service and are the only individuals legally allowed to conduct visitors around the national park for a fee. Rates for a two-hour basic battlefield tour range from $63 to $132 depending on group size, with prorated fees of $31.50 to $66 per hour for additional time. Tips are not required but often given.
Are you a runner? Consider earning extra bucks as a running tour guide. City Running Tours – “sweat and sightsee simultaneously” – is one company offering “sightrunning” (it’s a thing) services in 14 (and counting) U.S. cities, including Washington, D.C., and Honolulu (and two cities in Canada). The company offers personalized or group tours. Tips aren’t required, but permitted.
“Our tour guides make on average about $20-$40 per tour plus incentives based on seniority, type of tour, distance, number of participants, referrals and positive reviews,” Michael Gazaleh, president and CEO of City Running Tours, tells us.
Sell Unwanted Electronics
Don’t leave smart phones, tablets, computers or game consoles you’re no longer using in a desk drawer or the back of a closet. You can easily cash in on your unwanted electronics — even damaged items — by selling them online.
Sell used smart phones and Apple products at Gazelle.com and get paid by check, PayPal or an Amazon gift card; you can also use one of Gazelle.com‘s mall kiosks and get instant cash. You can sell smart phones, tablets, and wearables (think “smart watch”) to NextWorth.com and get paid by PayPal or by check. At uSell, you can sell smart phones, tablets, game consoles, and more. You get paid by check or through PayPal. Shipping with all of these sites is free. Or bring your video games, game consoles, smart phones and tablets, and accessories to GameStop to earn cash or store credit without the shipping hassles.
Search for Unclaimed Property
Federal and state coffers hold billions of dollars’ worth of unclaimed property. Some of it could be yours, but it’s up to you to track down the cash.
The feds hang on to tax refunds that are returned to the IRS because of mailing-address errors or that are never claimed by taxpayers because they didn’t file returns. The government also holds on to forgotten savings bonds, government-guaranteed mortgage-insurance refunds and government pensions that were never claimed. There’s no central database, so you’ll have to check with individual federal agencies about missing funds.
State governments hold onto uncashed dividend checks, returned utility deposits, unclaimed state-tax refunds, uncollected insurance benefits, and stock dividends, among other things. (If a bank or other payer doesn’t have your last known address on file, it will turn over your money to the state in which the institution is incorporated.) You can search for unclaimed property held by states at Unclaimed.org and Missingmoney.com.
Yes, I did this. And yes, I found some unclaimed funds, in the coffers of New York state, where I once lived. I followed the procedure and sent a notarized letter to New York and heard back. I received three checks totaling $134.
If you have a special skill — whether it’s the ability to play an instrument well, paint like Picasso or explain calculus in a way anyone (even me) can understand — you may be able to make money sharing it with others. For example, you could earn $10 to $75 an hour tutoring individual kids or college students if you speak a second language or have great math, science or writing skills.
Advertise your services on school, campus and community bulletin boards, or tutoring web sites such as Wyzant and Tutor.com. And take advantage of social media sites, such as Facebook, to let people know about the lessons you’re able to teach.
Model for Artists
Modeling is another great way to earn money – and you have several options. If you’re comfortable posing nude in front of artists and are capable of holding poses for as long as 30 minutes, consider life modeling. Artists want to draw bodies of all shapes and sizes in order to hone their skills. Typical sessions last three hours, and pay is about $8 to $18 per hour, according to job listings on Glassdoor. During sessions, models start with short one-minute gesture poses, then transition to longer poses lasting from five to 30 minutes. If you’re interested in becoming a life model, contact art schools at local colleges, art organizations and community centers. You can also check Artmodeltips.com for a list of life drawing sessions in the U.S.
If you’re uncomfortable with nekkid life modeling, you could take other routes. How about modeling just part of your bod? Fashion magazines, TV shows, commercials and movies are always in need of attractive hands, feet, legs, even beards, unique ears and that perfectly shaped bald pate. In-demand body part models earn anywhere from $1,000 a day for TV work and $2,000-$5,000 for print work, according to Forbes. Contact local and national modeling agencies, including Los Angeles-based BodyPartsModels.com.
Get Paid for Your Opinions
Market-research firms are hired by big businesses to get inside the heads of consumers. Participation in an in-person focus group led by a moderator, such as those run by Focus Pointe Global, can earn you between $4 and $575. Focus Pointe Global also has opportunities for focus groups, telephone or online surveys.
In exchange for taking online and phone surveys, firms such as Harris Interactive and Schlesinger Associates offer rewards points redeemable for gift cards and merchandise. Beware scams, though. Legitimate firms won’t charge a fee or ask you to cash a check and wire back part of the money.
Lawyers are getting in on the act, too. “Online jurors” can earn cash for giving their opinions on legal cases. EJury.com pays $5 to $10 per case. You’ll need a PayPal account. At OnlineVerdict.com, where fees for “jurors” range from $20 to $60 (the case reviews take from 20 minutes to 60 minutes to complete). Payment is made by check.
Sell Gold and Silver for Scrap
If you have gold jewelry that isn’t valuable as an antique or a designer piece, consider selling it for scrap. Keep in mind that most gold jewelry isn’t pure, say 14-karat or 18-karat, so you’ll need to calculate the melt value to get a better sense of its worth as scrap. The melt value reflects the actual amount of gold in the jewelry; a dealer will offer you a percentage of that value. Quotes will vary widely, so get several. See Smart Ways to Sell Your Gold to learn more.
The same goes for silver. Maybe you inherited a few sterling trays you never use. Assuming the trays hold no particular value to collectors, sell them for scrap rather than trying to sell them at a consignment store or online. Check with several metals dealers, both online and at storefront locations, to get quotes. Expect to receive about 85% to 90% of your silver’s melt value.
This article provided by NewsEdge.