How to Make Money

You can make more money. Whether you want to retire early, pay off debts, or erase a temporary shortfall, you have the power to earn more money than you’re making today.

To earn more, you’ll need a more diverse income stream, and we’ve struck gold by living in the 21st century. We have hundreds of ways to build new income streams. You could begin earning with some today; others will take a while to build up.

And it’s not all surveys and cash-back apps. The Internet can help kick-start offline jobs like dog-walking or house cleaning, too.

The key will be finding your own best ways to earn more cash. Doing work you hate for a few bucks? That is no way to live. You’re better than that.

Making More Money Right Now

Now, if you have a temporary money problem like an unpaid debt — or a temporary need like raising some money for a vacation — you can find legal and legit ways to earn the cash quickly.

  • Sell Some Of Your Stuff Online: Your books, clothes, shoes, or souvenir coffee mugs could have value to someone else.
  • Have a Garage/Yard Sale: Turn your clutter into cash on a relaxing Saturday morning. You won’t get rich but you could earn enough to fill the gas tank a few times.
  • Install a Browser Plug-in To Earn Rebates When You Shop: Over a couple of weeks you can build up enough money to go to the movies or have a nice dinner. We recommend Wikibuy.
  • Deliver Food or Passengers: Uber, Lyft, Doordash, InstaCart — these services depend on contract drivers; you can earn on your schedule.
  • Let Someone Rent Your Car: Services like Turo and Getaround connect you with drivers who’ll pay to use your car for a day.
  • Become a Street Performer: Brush up your singing skills and don’t forget your tip jar.
  • Complete Surveys Online: Survey Junkie and other services need your opinion for market research. You won’t get rich here, either, but you can earn extra money by taking online surveys.
  • Buy and Resell Products: Buying low and selling high — it’s a tried-and-true way to turn a profit. When you’re dealing in merchandise you care about, you’ll have fun along the way.
  • Negotiate for a Higher Salary: This could be the simplest solution. Can you build a winning argument for more pay at work? When you believe you’re worth the extra money you won’t feel weird asking.

But what if you’re aiming for something more than a temporary solution to a temporary problem? What if you want more than a tank of gas and a gift card for the movies? What if you’re trying to reach financial independence through earning more money?

In that case, you’ll need to strategize. You’ll need to step up your income generation in ways you can sustain. And you’ll need to add another dimension to your financial life: investing so your money can earn money. It’s never too late, or too early, to start.

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Making Money as a Kid

The earlier you start on your path to financial freedom, the earlier you can get there. I was 24 before I started seeing the power of earning and investing my way to financial independence. But kids these days… they can earn money by:

  • Doing Odd Jobs for Neighbors: Taking out the trash, walking the dogs, cleaning out a garage — kids can earn spending money by being proactive and opportunistic neighbors.
  • Washing Cars: Get some soap, water, and buckets and set up a neighborhood car wash.
  • Collecting Cans for Recycling: Walking around the neighborhood may not yield enough cans to earn a profit, but asking your neighbors to give you their cans instead of recycling them can net a profit.
  • Babysitting: You may need a CPR certification but it’ll be worthwhile when you can earn extra spending money taking care of kids.
  • Pet Sitting: Kids who love animals can make money checking in on pets while their owners are out of town.
  • Running Errands: Kids who stay on the go can earn some cash running errands along the way.

These methods will look familiar to people of all ages. Across the generations, kids have washed cars and done odd jobs.

But now kids have better ways to connect with clients. They can connect through neighborhood message boards, social media, and their own websites.

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Making Money as a College Student

College is also a great time to get started earning more money, partly because as a college student you already have a flexible schedule.

It may not feel that way now, but after you graduate and get a full-time job, you’ll know what I’m talking about. You may have time to:

  • Develop an Online Course: You already know a lot, and you know how courses work. Why not put your knowledge to use creating an online course?
  • Sell Your Old Textbooks: Most college students already do this. Campus bookstores and now online textbook exchanges want your old books.
  • Become a Tutor: Check with the professors in your favorite courses to see whether their other students in more basic courses need extra help. Or, your university’s student affairs department may have a tutoring center you could help staff.
  • Become a Virtual Assistant: Students who are organized and have some free time can help executives and small business owners prepare presentations and analyze data.
  • Make Deliveries When You’re Free: When you have a couple of hours between classes — not enough time for a nap but too much time to do nothing — you could deliver food, groceries, or even passengers around town.

Earning more in college can help you stay out of debt. Staying out of debt can keep you on the road to financial independence which could prevent you from needing cash fast.

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How to Negotiate for a Higher Salary

Getting more pay for the work you already do could be the simplest way to earn more money. But have you ever asked your supervisor for a raise? It takes guts.

When you ask for a raise you have to believe your work has value. Whether it’s another dollar an hour, another $500 a week, or another $20,000 a year, you have to sell yourself on your raise before you can sell your boss.

By asking, you’re opening yourself to a critique of your performance and value, but this can be a good thing. You’ll learn how your boss and co-workers assess your work. You could even get insight into the way your employer thinks.

Enter this conversation armed with data. How has your work enhanced the entire company? Is your work the key to your company getting repeat customers or new business? What do you offer that no one else can replicate? Think of some specific scenarios to illustrate your points because your boss will probably ask for some.

How to Ask For Your Raise

Don’t talk about why you need the raise. Explain why you deserve it. Explain how investing more in you will help the entire company grow.

And then stop talking and wait for the answer. A lot of times your supervisor will want to think about it. Maybe your boss needs to ask someone higher up. Be patient while your appeal makes its way through the channels of influence.

How long you should wait depends on your profession. If you work for a non-profit or a school system that is governed by a board, you may need to wait for the next board meeting which could be a month away. If you know your boss has direct authority over the payroll, give him or her a few days. Then ask again, professionally but firmly.

Your boss may say no. Even though you’re disappointed, try to listen to the way your boss says no. If you still feel valued and respected as an employee, consider your boss’s point of view. Ask how you can become more valuable to the company. Work even harder to meet these goals and then ask again.

But if you think your supervisor did not consider your request, you have to ask yourself about your future in your current job — or you’ll at least need to think about other ways to make extra money.

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How to Make an Extra $100 a Day

We’ve all been there. When you need cash and you need it now, you probably aren’t so worried about a gig you can sustain. You just want to get started right away.

But you never know, your side hustle could turn into your career if things go well. Consider:

  • Driving for Uber or Lyft: You could get set up and driving within a couple of days if you have the right documents — license, proof of insurance, proof of address.
  • Becoming a freelance writer or proofreader: Lovers of words can earn from home by writing and proofing content.
  • Research consumer products: Firms like Vindale Research pay cash for you to try out products and give honest assessments.
  • Rent out a room: Got an extra room above the garage or down the hall? You could rent it to someone and earn steady cash.

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I Need to Make $500 More a Month

Earning a steady amount of extra income, like $500 more a month, for example, will take a more steady effort.

You can do a lot of the same activities we’ve already discussed, but they’ll need to be integrated into your everyday life.

You could use your lunch hour or set aside a couple of hours after dinner at night. When I did that I earned enough money to buy an engagement ring just by delivering for Postmates. My other ideas include:

  • Developing/teaching an online course: We’re all experts at something. Turn your expertise into passive income by developing online courses. Whether it’s teaching someone how to play a Jimi Hendrix song or how to start a blog, you can find buyers for these courses.
  • Making products to sell online: Maybe you love pottery or jewelry. Maybe you can knit a perfect scarf. Sites like Etsy help you connect with people who will buy your products.
  • Reviewing websites: I’ve used UserTesting to make money before. You can share your perspective on company websites for a small fee.
  • Taking (a lot of) surveys: You’d have to make survey-taking a way of life to earn $500 a month, but it is possible if you use several platforms simultaneously. 

Over the past couple of generations, our economy has changed so much. A few decades ago you would have needed a second job to legitimately come up with the equivalent of $500 or more a month.

Now you can work for yourself in the gig economy, making money as you need it, and taking time off when you decide you can afford to.

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Best Ways to Make More Money

If you haven’t found your best way to earn extra cash yet, you just need to dig deeper. Here are just a few more example of different ways to make more money:

Even the freedom you’ll achieve working in the gig economy doesn’t compare to actual financial independence. When you can build a steady income that’s not connected to you spending hours at work, you’ll have more free time.

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Investing Breathes Life Into Your Plans

I have done a lot of small side hustles, including pet-sitting for my neighbor’s cat and selling concert tickets, and I put most of the proceeds into accounts for investing.

Investing will add a third dimension to your financial life. Most people have a two-dimensional financial life. They earn so they can spend. When they spend too much they need to earn more or spend less. Or both. You get the idea.

Investing can add a new income stream — one that’s not directly connected to your time spent working.

Yet most Americans don’t invest. They associate investing with gambling, or suits and ties on Wall Street, or knowledge they don’t have.

It’s not that complicated. Sure, you shouldn’t invest your rent money but if you can spare a hundred dollars a month you could get started. If you can’t spare $100 a month, you could start one of the side hustles above to earn that cash to invest.

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Earning Money to Get Out of Debt

Debt dampens your earning power. You may have found this post because you need to earn money to get out of debt. If so you’re on the right track. Earning your way out of debt will give you a tremendous sense of accomplishment. Plus, you’ll be back on the road to financial freedom.

Sometimes the hole is too deep. Sometimes you could spend years saving, side-hustling, and living frugally without denting your debt.

When you feel this way, consider re-thinking your strategy. You may be able to find more efficient ways to climb out of debt.

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Separating Work from Not Work

Living in the 2020s has given us so many more legit ways to make money. This post offers just a surface view of the multi-faceted gig economy.

The side hustle lifestyle can give you freedom from the traditional rigors of work-life: the set hours, cubicles, desks, paperwork, and routine.

But working on your own brings its unique burdens, too. You’ve got nobody looking out for you. You don’t have paid vacations or scheduled breaks. You don’t even clock out. Taking a break from work means taking a break from earning money.

After a few months of living this way, it takes its toll. Being “on duty” all day every day erodes the division between work and not-work. Your entire identity can get caught up in your work.

It’s up to you to re-establish and preserve this work-life balance so you can have some time — at least a few hours a day — away from work. Nobody else will protect your boundaries for you.