Don’t let your lack of a job drain your bank account. Here are 10 creative ways to make money during your job search.
Looking for work? If you’re not sure how long you’ll be without a regular paycheck, you’re probably eager to find ways to boost your bank account (or at least keep it from draining so quickly).
While you may have already considered applying for unemployment, you should also be on the lookout for short-term opportunities that pay in cash.
1. Make your car a billboard
Driving to a lot of interviews? You might as well earn money while you’re at it.
A great way to offset your expenses is turning your car into a billboard. By wrapping your car in an advertiser’s logo, you could earn upwards of $400 a month!
2. Sell your plasma
Not only is selling plasma one of the easiest ways to earn money, but you can also feel good about giving life-saving fluid to those who need it. You can donate twice per week, earning up to $70 for a few hours hooked to a machine.
3. Start art modeling
Did you know there’s a way you can use your naked body to earn cash — legally? It’s called art modeling.
Ask around at local colleges or art schools to see if they need nude models for their drawing or painting classes. It’s a little awkward at first — but the money is good, and it’s a great story to add to your life resume.
4. Become a freelance food server
Though it may have a fancy name, it’s a pretty simple way to make money.
Here’s how it works: Head to a local bar without a kitchen. Ask the bartender if they allow outside food, then go table-to-table offering to pick up food from a nearby restaurant for a $5-10 delivery fee. (Think: Seamless, in person!)
If you want to take it to the next level, grab paper menus from a few different joints and offer your customers their choice of restaurants.
5. Become a reseller
Organizing and decluttering your life will do wonders for your outlook. Make the most of your unemployment by getting rid of things you don’t need and (finally) having that garage sale.
Once you’ve cleared out your stuff, keep the earnings coming by looking for other things to resell: Craigslist freebies, things people put out as junk or cheap thrift store items you can quickly clean up and sell for a profit.
6. Use Amazon’s Mechanical Turk
Are you familiar with Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service? On this site, you can earn money completing “Human Intelligence Tasks” (HITs) like answering surveys or tagging photos.
Though thousands of tasks are available, I’ll let you in on a little secret: You can optimize your work and maximize your earnings by using Reddit.
7. Start an exercise group
Don’t let your time off be an excuse to fall out of shape. If you like exercising — and bossing people around — put together a few circuit exercises and invite some friends to get their sweat on. Hold your fitness boot camp in a local park and charge $10 per participant.
8. Take your skills to the streets
Have a secret talent? Share it with the world by busking on a busy corner or at a public transit station. You can perform anything from music to comedy to magic; just make sure you’re entertaining and friendly, and you should be able to rake in the dough.
No, volunteering won’t earn you any money initially, but it does have tons of other benefits. If you volunteer strategically, you could learn or strengthen skills that make you a more attractive job candidate, possibly even allowing you to negotiate a higher salary at your next job.
Volunteering also lets you network with new people, which could lead to opportunities you wouldn’t have heard about otherwise. And lastly, giving back to others is a great way to keep your spirits up during your job search.
10. Drink wine
Right, right; how on earth is drinking wine going to earn you money? Well, you can sell the corks and bottles online, since people love using them for craft projects.
After a long day of networking, applying and interviewing, you’ll probably want a glass or two!
Just because you’re jobless doesn’t mean you have to be penniless. Use your time wisely to brush up on new skills, earn money and perhaps even have some fun!
How have you earned money during a job search?
Kyle Taylor is founder of The Penny Hoarder, a popular blog about weird ways to earn and save money. His blog is read by more than 5 million readers a month and has been featured on Oprah.com, CNN and Yahoo Finance.