Ideas for how to pad your bank account even if you're looking for a full-time job.

Whether you’re job-searching and need to make ends meet or employed and want to pad your bank account, there are lots of ways to make money aside from your day job.

You may have already moved in with a friend or family member to save money, gotten rid of unnecessary bills or stopped buying your daily coffee to save a bit of cash.

Here are a few more suggestions for bringing in the dough:

Sellstuff you don’t need. If you’ve recently graduated from college, you probably have a stack of textbooks sitting around your apartment that you can list on Or maybe you have several pieces of clothing with the tags still on them that you can part with. Have some furniture you’d like to sell? Between eBay and Craigslist, there are plenty of ways to make a few extra bucks by selling off things you don’t want or need any longer.

Start your own business. If you have a hobby, skill or expertise that others will pay for, figure out how to use that to make a profit. Perhaps you’re great at organizing or enjoy working with animals. Sites like Bragadoo can help you build referrals and gain clients. Consider buying a domain name and creating a simple website, which can cost as little as $10 per year. (Weebly is a simple drag-and-drop website builder with a variety of templates.)

Open up an Etsy shop. List handmade products on Etsy to make extra cash — anything from photography to knitted hats to graphic design products.

Start a blog. While blogging might not make you a ton of money, you can kill two birds with one stone: make some extra cash and further your career by positioning yourself as a thought leader in your field. Look to make money through ads on your blog, as well as product reviews and listing your own products (such as ebooks) on your site. This is a particularly good option if you’re a good writer or photographer — but don’t be fooled, it’s hard work to grow a blog.

Look for freelance work. Head to FreelanceSwitch, iFreelance or a similar website to find employers who are looking for workers with your skills. SEED is another resource that connects freelance writers, photographers and filmmakers with blogs and outlets. Not only can freelancing be a way to earn extra money, it also helps you build your portfolio and avoid gaps on your resume.

Complete tasks for others. At TaskRabbit, you can connect with individuals who need various forms of assistance. Users seek, for example, a photographer for an event or a handyman to fix something in their home.

Sign up to share your opinion. Become a secret shopper, or take surveys online. Companies are always looking for consumers to tell them more about their new product, ad campaign or preferences. Just make sure the opportunity is legitimate — there are a lot of scams floating around out there.

How do you earn extra cash?

Heather R. Huhman is founder and president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and/or employers.


  1. Captain Obvious

    Sell eggs and/or sperm.

  2. Whitney May Parker

    Great tips! I can always use more of these ideas! =)

  3. Camille Gaines

    Great article with many ideas. These are new outsourcing resources for me; I have used elance and guru; I will check them out. Thanks!
    Camille Gaines

  4. Jodine I

    “Sign up to share your opinion. Become a secret shopper, or take surveys online. Companies are always looking for consumers to tell them more about their new product, ad campaign or preferences. Just make sure the opportunity is legitimate — there are a lot of scams floating around out there.”

    Has anyone tried this and made money? I never do, I always end up chasing my tail like a dog. Going around and around never reallly getting anywhere.

    • Scott Stead

      I did secret shopper for a little while – the pay wasn’t amazing but I got free food – and occasionally if the McDonalds or Five Guys was in a shady enough neighborhood – I’d get an extra $40-$50 to eat a greasy burger.

      • Smile

        McD, BurgerK, Whatab, etc only paid $5.00 plus reimburse up to $6.00 in your purchase. . . i’ve never seen any fast food that paid for the ‘neighborhood’. Plus, is it worth it if you vehicle gets jacked while you’re eating? Or you wind up having to go to the ER?

    • Smile

      It’s also hard to find enough ‘shop jobs’ to make up a ‘route’ for the day,so you can do a batchof them and try to maximize on your gas. So many ppl are now grasping at mystery shopping, that I have seen the pay offered for the jobs actually go down. . they don’t need to pay you much more than $2.00, since so many ppl are grabbing up the measly paying assignments. After doing this for almost 2 years, i stopped, as it was costing me money inthe end.

  5. Smile

    the secret shopping is not so great. First, you have to find a reputable company. There are many many shopping scams out there. Once you have signed up with genuine secret shopping services, you will find that the pay is very low. You will be asked to buy something and write up the experience. You have limits as to how much you will be reimbursed for, but you still have to pony up the money out of pocket first. If your review is written in a acceptable manner, and does not require contact for revisions, then you can get it processed fairly quickly. But the actual ‘pay’ may be only $2.00 to $5.00, and you will find you have to use your vehicle a lot to get to the jobs. You can easily eat this up in gasoline. You will also be limited as to how many times you can ‘shop’ certain stores or businesses. Some bank ‘shops’ I’ve done paid as much as $11.00 , but they were hard to come by, and required a huge amount of report writing, wanting exact conversations recounted, exact words used, etc. A lot of articles mention mystery shopping as if it’s a sure-fire way to amass an good income, but it is hard work, hard to get enough of it to really make driving your vehicle around to do them, and quite a bit of time to prepare your final reports. You will make much less than minimum wage with this.

  6. Vickie Elmer

    Good ideas, but I’m not sure if they’d fall out-of the box for many today.
    If you want more, very offbeat ideas check out the new book “101 Weird Ways to Make Money” by Steve Gillman (Wiley, $19.95 list). I’m about to read the chapter on cricket farming, and he has others on street performers, foreclosure cleaner and senior services provider (a strong growing area).

  7. Bnikos

    Sell your skills on Fiverr…

  8. car carrier

    I find all of the suggestions really great! It is really a practical look on life things like this is just in front of us yet we are not able to see it. Life full of wonderful bliss we just have to see it thru to check on for options.

  9. Kredietsimulator

    Great tips! Thanks for sharing.

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