35 Proven Ways to Make Money If You Live in San Francisco
Do you live in San Francisco? Want to make some extra money from home?
We thought so -- especially since it’s notorious for being one of the most expensive places to live in the U.S.
We’ve got more than 30 ways you can boost your bottom line -- most of them you can do without even leaving your couch.
Note: This post is LONG -- so we recommend you bookmark it and tackle a few things each day and watch it add up.
How much do you want to earn this week? This month? This year?
Get started with small steps today. You may be surprised how much you can make!
1. Deliver Food for UberEATS
It’s no contest.
Sign up as a food delivery driver with UberEATS to meet the demand of those who don’t want to prepare their own snacks for the party.
The service is still rolling out around the U.S., but it’s available in about 40 cities nationwide and currently looking for drivers in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Similar to other contract services in the sharing economy, how much you can earn depends on how many deliveries you take and how fast you work. UberEATS requirements are easier to meet than those for the rideshare service:
- Be at least 19 years old.
- Have a driver’s license, insurance and vehicle registration.
- Have at least one year of driving experience.
- Be able to lift 30 pounds.
This can be a great option if your car doesn’t meet the rideshare requirements.
2. Download These Apps
Why not make it every day?
Did you know you could earn money just for having certain apps on your smartphone? It’s one of the simplest ways we can think of to set up a passive income stream!
Companies want to know how people are using their phones, and they’re willing to pay for the information.
These apps collect data from your phone and help them better understand web and mobile usage -- like when you’re browsing, how long you stay on sites or use apps, and what types of sites and apps are popular (or not).
So, you get paid to use your phone like you normally would: to ignore the people around you.
And the data is reported anonymously, so don’t worry; no one will tell your boss how much time you’re spending on Facebook!
Install these apps, and you could earn $400 a year or more:
- ShopTracker – If you’re a regular Amazon shopper, you can earn money each month contributing to research to help companies understand what people are buying online. Download and connect this to your Amazon account. They’ll instantly send you a free $3 Visa gift card, plus another $3 for every month you keep it installed.
- MobileXpression for Android - This one can only be downloaded on Android 5.0 or below. After you’ve installed it for one week, you get to play an instant rewards game for a prize (everyone wins something). I won a $25 Amazon gift card, but some of the other prizes include iPads & Samsung TVs.
- MobileXpression for iPhones - This works the same way, but for iPhones.
- SavvyConnect – You can earn $5 per device (phone, tablet, computer) for each month SavvyConnect is installed. That's a total of up to $180 per year to help rank the most popular sites and apps. Make sure you keep it installed at least a month to get your first $5 per device.
- Smart Panel – This app will pay you up to $110 just for downloading it and keeping it on your smartphone for a year. All the info the app collects remains anonymous. (Note: This panel is currently only open to iOS users.)
3. Get Out of the House, and Drive With Lyft
Hopefully Chatty Kathy tips well…
Need a fun, flexible way to earn money while also meeting lots of new people?
Try driving with Lyft!
Demand for ridesharing has been growing like crazy, and it shows no signs of slowing down. To be eligible, you’ll need to be at least 21 years old with a year of driving experience, pass a background check and own a car made in 2007 or later.
We talked to Paul Pruce, who’s been driving full-time with Lyft for over a year. He earns $750 a week as a driver.
Best of all, he does it on his own time. You can work days, nights or weekends -- it’s up to you!
4. Get Paid Up to $300 to Turn Off the Lights
California residents can earn up to $300/year by syncing their utility accounts to an energy-sharing program called OhmConnect and agreeing to help reduce energy usage by one hour per week.
Here’s how it works:
1. Sign up for a free OhmConnect account and sync it with your online utility account. OhmConnect will give you up to $75 just for signing up!
2. You must have an online account with one of these three utility companies to participate: Pacific Gas & Electric Company, San Diego Gas & Electric or Southern California Edison.
3. OhmConnect will send you weekly payments for reducing your electricity for one hour per week. They do this because you’re helping reduce the high demand that prompts unclean power sources to turn on. They’ll send you up to $300/year, plus you’re helping save the planet!
Plus, with OhmConnect’s new referral program, you can get paid up to $75 to help your friends save money and energy.
For every person who signs up through your link, you’ll earn:
- 500 points ($5) when they sign up with a utility account (Silver status)
- 2,000 points ($20) when they save one kilowatt during an #OhmHour (Gold status)
- 5,000 points ($50) when they participate in 90% of events in a month (Platinum status)
5. Stop Deleting Your Emails
It turns out that deleting your emails could be costing you serious money. Intrigued?
Paribus is a tool that gets you money back for your online purchases. It's free to sign up, and once you do, they will scan your email archives for any receipts.
If it discovers you’ve purchased something from Amazon, Target or one of the other 16 retailers listed on their website, it will track the item’s price and issue you a refund anytime there's a price drop!
You don't have to do anything!
6. Get a $5 Bonus When You Download Stash
No more excuses. It’s time to start adulting.
We’re kind of obsessed with Stash around here (and not just because it gives you $5).
We love that anyone can use Stash to start investing. You don’t have to have an MBA or even make it all the way through “The Big Short” to understand how to invest with this app.
You just choose from a set of simple portfolios reflecting your beliefs, interests and goals, and it does the rest.
To get the $5 bonus.
2. Download the Stash app on your smartphone, and set up your account with the same email address. Within two business days, you’ll see the bonus added to your account.
For what it’s worth, though, “The Big Short” is worth your time. It has Ryan Gosling in a tailored suit and Margot Robbie in a bubble bath.
7. Get Paid to Share Your Opinions
Hard to argue with her…
OK, we’re probably not the first to admit surveys aren’t the best way to make extra money. But if you’re just lounging, why not put that time to use?
You can just click a few buttons -- no one has to know you got paid without even getting dressed today.
Ipsos Panel and Vip Voice are legitimate paid survey companies (both with an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau). You might recognize the name Ipsos from the news, because they conduct a lot of presidential polling.
Some top-end surveys can pay up to $95, but those are going to take some time, and they don’t come around often. Most will pay $1-$2 and take about 10 minutes to complete.
You could earn $100 or more a month just doing surveys during commercial -- or bathroom -- breaks!
8. Rate Your Local Pizza Place
Awww...yeah! Who wouldn't want $5 and a free large pizza? :)
As many of you know I was a professional mystery shopper for many years (I got my start conducting liquor audits all over the Southeast).
One of the most popular types of mystery shops is for pizza companies -- both Papa Johns and Pizza Hut regularly conduct mystery shops at all of their locations. As part of the assignment you're required to time their delivery service, quality of pizza, etc.
It's pretty easy to do and you can do it several times a year. If you're interested in giving it a try, here's a list of my favorite mystery shopping companies.
9. Sell Your Unnecessary Clutter
For virtually anything, you can use letgo. This intuitive app lets you snap a photo and upload your item in less than 30 seconds. Not only does it remove a lot of the hassle of selling things online, it’s also 100% free to use.
Have a bunch of movies or CDs collecting dust on a shelf? Clear some space to help you breathe, and put that old stuff to work for you.
Decluttr will pay you for these items -- plus your Blu-rays, video games and other electronics like cell phones, tablets, game consoles and iPods. Plus, enter PENNY10 at checkout to get an extra 10% for your trade-ins!
Seriously, it’s time to let “Jagged Little Pill” go. Or at least sign up for Spotify.
10. Get a Free $10 Gift Card When You Shop Through MyPoints
Got something to say?
You’re not going to believe us when we tell you you can get paid for shopping and sharing your opinions, but it’s true.
Have you heard of MyPoints? It’s a cash-back site that lets you earn rewards by shopping online, printing coupons and taking paid surveys.
MyPoints’ shopping portal is an instant way to save on everything you buy at thousands of retailers. For example, you’ll get up to 5% cash back on purchases in some categories on Amazon.
Plus you’ll get a free $10 gift card just for signing up. Here’s how to get it:
- Sign up for MyPoints here using your email account.
- Use the MyPoints portal the next time you need to shop online. You can shop thousands of stores, including major retailers like Walmart, Amazon and Target.
- Make a purchase of $20 or more within 30 days, and MyPoints will reward you with 1,750 bonus points, which you can redeem for a $10 gift card to a retailer of your choice.
You’ll also receive invitations to surveys you may qualify for, and you’ll earn extra points for completing those.
11. Attach This Device to Your Browser
Digital Reflection Panel will pay you over $200 a year to let them gather information about your internet habits in hopes of one day making online experiences even better.
All you have to do is connect a simple device to your wireless router and do device updates every now and then. It takes about seven minutes to fill out the necessary panel and survey to participate.
The meter will end up on your doorstep and you'll earn a $25 bonus for installing it within four days of it arriving.
On top of that, you'll get $60 after the first two months, and $10 each month you keep it plugged in after that.
12. Start Investing With $1 Today
Do you ignore opportunities to start investing because you don’t think you have enough money? You could be missing out.
We found an app called Clink that lets you invest in the stock market with just $1 a day. Plus, you’ll get a free $5 bonus to invest just for downloading the app.
And you don’t have to be a financial genius to get started. (We even have writers who figured out how to invest with this app…)
Clink does the heavy-lifting for you. You’ll link your bank account and decide how much you want to invest and how often -- daily, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, and it’ll handle the rest.
To get the $5 bonus:
2. Set up your account with the same email address. Use the promo code: PH2016
13. Provide Customer Service -- in Your PJs
This guy takes casual Friday to a whole new level.
Have you ever considered doing customer service from the comfort of your home? An increasing number of companies are hiring work-from-home customer service reps, instead of running call centers.
These jobs can be full– or part-time and offer a variety of schedules, including daytime, evening and weekend shifts with a range of pay depending on the position and location.
Your job is usually to answer customer questions over the phone or via online chat. You may find sales positions that include higher pay and performance incentives; or technical support positions, which are best if you’re tech-savvy and have an interest in helping people understand technology.
You should enjoy helping people, though! You know how a bad customer service call can totally ruin your day? You don’t want to be the bad rep on the other end of that call.
If you don’t like working with customers, keep an eye out for other work-from-home jobs at these job sites.
14. Be an Image Reviewer for Shutterstock
Um, we call that winning, Alice.
Like looking at photos?
Mountain landscapes? Cats? Food? Funky illustrations? Your own face?
If you have some professional photography experience, but want a break from the field, a work-from-home job with Shutterstock could be perfect for you.
Shutterstock offers millions of royalty-free photos, illustrations and videos and has openings for work-from-home editorial image and illustration reviewers.
As a reviewer, you’ll check images to be sure they meet Shutterstock’s guidelines before hitting the online stock image or illustration catalog. You’ll work from home on a freelance basis for about 25-30 hours per week.
15. Sell Your College Textbooks
You go, girl!
You’re not really going to revisit those lessons on the history of Freudian psychology, are you?
And those textbooks probably cost you a fortune in the first place. You might as well make a little money back, now that you’ve put college behind you.
You can sell used textbooks through an online textbook buyback company. To find the best price, we recommend Bookscouter.
At Bookscouter, just search using your book’s ISBN, and the site will connect you with more than 25 of the best-paying and most reputable buyback companies online.
16. Hang Out With Cats and Dogs
Not a bad way to make new friends!
Do you want to make extra money spending time with cats and dogs? Pet-sitting could be a great side gig.
Take a dog for a walk -- or just stop by to keep them company while friends or family are out of town -- and you could earn about $40. It’s a fun way to make some bank and get your Fido fix, especially if you can’t have a pet of your own.
Get an even closer connection -- and more cash -- by offering to watch pets overnight while their owners are out of town.
17. Sell Stuff Through Fulfillment by Amazon
I think it’s time to downsize…
We all knew those Beanie Babies and Furbies would be worth something one day, right?
Well, maybe they’re not the cash cows we hoped, but if you have a stock of toys or other items like this, you could make some money selling them through Fulfillment by Amazon. You provide the goods, and FBA handles the rest, from storage and shipping to customer satisfaction.
It’s one of the simplest ways to run an online business from home.
Choose from Amazon’s categories to sell anything you want, ideally something you know well.
The Penny Hoarder founder Kyle Taylor used to buy and resell toys, and he made $10,000 through FBA in November and December 2014!
FBA offers a great opportunity to do a little bit of work around other daily tasks. It’s perfect if you want to make extra money around raising kids, doing housework or even a day job -- or just clear your basement and clear out those old collections.
18. Make Money Off Your Love for Disney
? ? ?
We’ve come to realize people who like Disney aren’t casual about it. Disney fans friggin’ love everything about the company: movies, rides, costumes, characters, you name it.
Did you know you could cash in on that lifetime of cherished memories?
Could there be a better way to earn money than by working for the most magical place on Earth?
Keep an eye out for these casting calls -- Disney always has something going on. These are our favorite sites:
And if you want to keep up with what we find, follow The Penny Hoarder Jobs on Facebook.
19. Empty Your Closet -- and Cash In
That has to be the sweetest way to clean your closet.
Does your closet still hold your prom outfit from 10 years ago? Be real: It’s never going to fit again. And even if it did, where would you wear it?
20. Start a Blog
We hear ya…
It’s definitely not a quick way to make money, but starting a blog can eventually help you earn extra money. If you enjoy writing, this is a super fun way to cash in on it.
You can blog about anything you want, so choose something you’re passionate about! Read our step-by-step guide to building an audience and making money from your blog. If you work hard, it could even replace your full-time income.
“Now, I field emails (from advertisers) every day, and in the last three months, I’ve made a full-time income from my website after only making pocket change for several years,” Alford explains.
21. Sell Unused Gift Cards
It’s like a surprise gift from yourself!
More than $44 billion dollars in gift cards went unused between 2008-2014, according to the New York Post. We’ve got a much more productive way to put that money to use!
Sure, it’s disappointing to receive a gift you might not want. But if it’s a gift card, quietly thank the aunt (or other distant relative) who gave it to you for not trying too hard to buy something you wouldn’t have liked anyway.
It’s not cash, but a gift card is the next best thing -- even if it’s for a store where you don’t usually shop.
That’s because you can sell it to someone who does want to shop at that store.
List your unused -- or even partially-used -- gift cards on a gift-card exchange site. Buyers use these sites to find a good deal on gift cards, and you get to turn that unwanted present into cash!
22. Rent Out Extra Baby Stuff With This App
They seem so small…
Traveling with kids can be rewarding, but also very challenging. The goBaby app aims to make it a little easier on parents -- while giving other parents the chance to make some extra cash.
Babies and young kids need a lot of stuff, apparently, to survive. Packing and hauling that stuff across airports, planes, trains and automobiles sucks, and it might even cost you extra money.
Through the goBaby app, New York City-based mother of two Natalie Kaminski created a parent-to-parent marketplace where traveling parents could rent baby gear like strollers, car seats and other items from local parents with the same to spare.
This Airbnb-style exchange for baby supplies is available in New York City and will be launching soon in Boston, Miami, San Francisco and Chicago.
If you live in one of these cities, use the app to monetize your extra baby gear!
Here’s how it works:
2. Take a photo of the item you want to rent out. Add a brief description, and set your price.
3. Choose whether you’ll deliver the item or have the renter pick it up.
4. Give the item to the renter, and get it back within the scheduled dates.
5. Get paid. Repeat!
23. Get Paid to Lose Weight (Seriously!)
The one time you definitely want to be a real BIG loser.
Picture this: You step on the scale and finally see your goal weight.
Congratulations! But it gets even better.
You’re about to receive a generous check you can spend on a celebratory dress in your new size, use stock up on household necessities or wisely stick into your savings -- all just for losing weight!
It’s not a fantasy. If you wager on your own commitment with HealthyWage, this could very well happen for you… as long as you stick to your guns and lose the weight.
Here’s how: Sign up for HealthyWage, and define a goal weight and a timeframe to achieve it. Place a monetary bet on yourself, between $20 to $500 a month.
HealthyWage’s calculator will consider how much weight you have to lose, how much time you give yourself to do it and how much money you wager to determine your reward. You could win up to $10,000!
24. Start a Freelance Business
Freelance life is simply the best.
If you’re dreaming of setting your own schedule, working in sweats most days (or even your underwear, we won’t tell) and letting your facial hair fill out without consequence, freelancing could be perfect for you.
It could be your full-time job or a part-time side gig -- the beauty of freelancing is you get to choose your work and how much time to put into it.
You can start a freelance business based on any skill you want, but these are some of the most common areas:
- Graphic design
- Social media
But don’t just start a business doing what sells!
You’re going to put a lot of time and effort into this, so it should probably be something you love. Find the service that fits what you enjoy doing, what you do best and what people are willing to pay you for.
Once you know the kind of work you want to do, follow our ultimate guide to starting a freelance business to take the next steps.
25. Earn Money Off Your Psychic Abilities From the Comfort of Your Home
I see working from home in your future.
Do you have experience and skill in any of these metaphysical abilities?
- Dream interpretation
- Medium or channeling
Psychic Source has openings for advisors for its phone or chat readings. You’ll get to work from home and set your own schedule, anywhere between eight and 40 hours per week.
You’ll receive support and promotion from Psychic Source, and pay is a base rate per call (not specified), plus a per-minute bonus depending on the length of your calls.
To apply, access the application process here. Or just apply telepathically (just kidding, don’t do that).
26. Make Music Videos for YouTube
Then you ought to make money doing it!
Want to make money playing music? You can do it without leaving home by putting your music on YouTube.
There are two primary ways to do this. First, simply make and monetize YouTube videos. If you get enough traffic, you can make some serious money.
Second, create YouTube music lessons.
If you’ve been playing a while and know how to explain the basics to beginners, set up some video lessons. Some YouTube music lessons get millions of pageviews. Monetize your videos, and that kind of traffic can translate to serious money.
27. Write Songs (and Sell Them)
They’re pretty much always coming to you.
You may have heard the music industry isn’t the best place to make a living these days. That’s not totally wrong -- but it’s not totally right, either.
While the move to digital downloads has made record deals less lucrative for artists than in the heyday of rock ‘n’ roll, flexible musicians know there are still smart ways to cash in.
Songwriting is one of them.
Selling songs outright isn’t common, because it’s not a great deal for the writer. If you sell all the rights to a song, you’ll only make a few bucks, even it becomes a huge hit -- or, even better, gets played in a movie or TV show.
A better plan is to set up a royalty deal. That way, the amount you earn is based on the song’s success.
Mechanical royalties earn you a statutory rate of 0.091 cents per song, per manufactured unit (such as a CD). If the song you wrote is on an album that sells 10,000 copies, you would make $910.
Performance royalties are a separate deal. To collect royalties for the right to perform your song, join one of these three performing rights organizations:
If you can’t break into the music industry in the usual ways, you can always look for contests to enter. For example, the International Songwriting Competition (ISC) hands out cash, prizes and recognition to 71 winners.
ASCAP maintains a list of songwriting competitions.
28. Earn Cash Back for Shopping Online
Don’t you love cracking open the mailbox to see a package inside?
Yeah, we can come up with a lot of ways to save money when you’re shopping. But isn’t it better to get paid to go shopping?
When you shop through a cash-back site like Ebates, you’ll earn cash-back rewards you can redeem for gift cards.
Even better, it’s giving away $10 gift cards if you sign-up as a new member and earn your first cash-back rebate. You can choose either a $10 Target, Walmart, Macy’s or Kohl’s gift card.
You do have to wait 30 days. But, it’s free money so can you really complain?
29. Do Some Freelance Proofreading
Classic proofreader humor.
If you’ve got a keen eye for grammar and formatting, freelance proofreading could be your next great gig -- one that pays about $17 an hour.
Got your attention? Yeah, we thought so.
Typical pay for proofreading is about 35 cents per page, so how much you earn depends on how efficiently you can work. To earn $17 an hour, you’ll have to proof about 49 pages each hour, which you’ll need experience to work up to.
Proofreading is a great gig for Type A personalities -- perfecting grammar, punctuation and formatting and getting paid for it? That’s much better than just keeping a pencil in your nightstand to mark up your library books.
30. Help Companies Improve Their Websites
Please spread the word.
Have you ever clicked on a link because it promised valuable information, but bounced off the web page immediately because it was so unpleasant to look at?
Some websites are just so annoying to use or difficult to navigate that users don’t want to hang out on them.
You can help change that -- and get paid to do it.
With UserTesting, you’ll help companies determine how customers use their websites.
You’ll make about $10 for spending 20 minutes evaluating websites or testing apps. The best part? You’ll be paid via PayPal within seven days.
This opportunity is available in the U.S., and we’re hearing there are a also ton of jobs in the UK, Canada, Germany and Australia right now!
31. Rent Your Designer Clothes
Can’t get enough!
Have a pricy dress you bought and only wore once wasting away in your closet? Earn your money back -- and more -- renting it to others looking for a good deal.
You can make money renting clothing through sites like Loanables or Style Lend.
If you’ve got lots of special-occasion or high-end clothes, you could practically be running your own Rent the Runway from your closet!
Rent the Runway is popular with frugal fashionistas, especially around the busy wedding season. People can rent your designer dresses for just a few days to save on cost of buying a new one.
You get to cash in on the demand. Plus, it takes the sting out of splurging on that designer dress for your friend’s wedding last summer you’ll never wear again -- it’s just an investment!
32. Test Drive Cars as a Mystery Shopper
Here’s your chance!
Working through a mystery shopping company like BestMark, you can go to car lots and pose as a potential buyer.
So you get to test drive a car, which is pretty cool.
It also means you listen to the sales pitch, which is less exciting. But then you report back on your experience and get paid. Joke’s on them...
The Penny Hoarder founder, Kyle Taylor, used to do automotive mystery shopping, and reports earning $60 for each dealership he visited. Not too bad for less than an hour’s work acting like a P.I., not to mention the chance to drive a new car!
33. Work From Home as a Bookkeeper
We don’t hear that too often. This is a perfect job for you, Ashlee.
Does earning $60 an hour sound appealing? Duh, of course it does. How about the freedom to work remotely with small business owners?
Those are the perks of working as a bookkeeper, says Ben Robinson, a certified public accountant and business owner who teaches others to become virtual bookkeepers.
And no, you don’t have be a CPA to be successful in this business. In fact, all you really need are decent computer skills and a passion for helping business owners tackle real-world problems.
It’s a great opportunity for moms who want to work part time, millennials who are just out of college and anyone who wants to bring in real money while working from home.
34. Sell Your Weirdest Stuff
And, oh, those summer nights… selling them online.
If you want to work directly with buyers, you can list your most unique treasures to sell on Ebay.
Seriously, when we say “unique,” we mean it. Did you know you could sell dentures on Ebay? What about old -- sorry, vintage -- panties?
If you’ve lived in one place for a while, you’re bound to have a few odd items stuck in the back of your closet. Those could be valuable to someone.
You can also cash in on your location through Ebay. If you live by the beach, collect bunches of seashells and driftwood to sell to crafters. If you live near the woods, collect pine cones. Don’t underestimate the value of those things you see everyday!
35. Take Care of Someone Else’s House
House-sitting is a killer way to make money for introverts, travelers and anyone who just wants to make a little extra money in their free time.
It’s like a sleepover you get paid for. Just water some plants, mind the temperature and keep the lights on at intervals that alert potential ne’er-do-wells that the place is occupied.
When you’re traveling, house-sitting could mean free lodging -- and it’s usually cushier than a cheap hotel and more private than couch surfing.
House-sitting in your own town is a way to make money just for stopping by a couple times a day, or even spending the night in a place that’s probably a step up from your own.
Read our guide on how to find house-sitting gigs to get started.
Your Turn: Do you live in San Francisco? Will you try any of these ways to make extra money?
Advertiser Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. We’re letting you know because it’s what Honest Abe would do. After all, he is on our favorite coin.