The 11 Best Ways to Make Extra Money in 2020
When it comes to padding your bank account, there’s no time like the present.
Whether you’re saving for a rainy day, planning a major purchase, or just need to relieve some financial anxiety, there’s nothing wrong with looking for new income streams.
And you’re in the right place, because we’ve got an updated list of ways you can make extra cash this year.
How to Make Extra Money Right Now
Here are some of our favorite tips for making money online. There are a lucky 13 of them, so you can split them up throughout the year. Maybe try one or two per month and see how they work for you.
Hope they help!
1. Make Money Completing Simple Tasks
Remember the Nielsen company? The one that’s always tracked TV ratings? Well, now it wants to know what’s in your fridge.
Once you sign up to be on the Nielsen Consumer Panel, you can either use your smartphone, or the company will send you a free barcode scanner. Every time you go shopping, you simply scan the UPC codes on the back of each product and send your data to Nielsen.
Nielsen will reward you with gift points, which you can redeem for free electronics, jewelry, household items or even toys for the kids.
The longer you stay on the panel, the more opportunity you have to earn points toward prizes. You’ll also receive entries for the panel’s many sweepstakes. Prizes include vacations and brand new vehicles.
2. Let Someone Borrow Your Place for the Night
Have you got a spare room? Might as well list it with Airbnb to try to make some money with it. If you’re a good host with a desirable space, you could add hundreds — even thousands — of dollars to your bank account that way.
Airbnb lists guest houses, apartments and single rooms, but you can also list a couch, if that’s all you’ve got available.
Taking a few simple steps can make the difference between a great experience and a less-than-satisfactory one. Here are some tips:
- Make your space available during high-demand times in your area. Think: concerts, conventions and sporting events.
- Be a good host, and make sure your place is stocked with the toiletries you’d expect at a hotel — toilet paper, soap and towels.
Enter your information into Airbnb’s calculator to receive a free income estimate.
(Hosting laws vary from city to city. Please understand the rules and regulations applicable to your city and listing.)
3. Turn Your Stash of iPhone Photos Into Cash
Are you a savvy photographer? If you have an iPhone and a photographic eye, you’ve got a chance to make some extra money without being a full-time photog.
Oh, yeah – you’ll also need access to marketable scenery.
There’s an app called Foap that allows you to turn your iPhone photos into cash.
Here’s how it works: You download the free app and sign up for an account. You take a quality photo and upload it to Foap’s marketplace. Someone buys the license to your photo for $10. You make $5.
If your photo sells 20 times, you make $5 each time and end up with $100 in your pocket, all for about 5 minutes of work.
Sound too good to be true? It’s not, but there are some limitations.
For one, your photo must be accepted by the Foap developers. If it’s too small, grainy or boring (think: not marketable), it won’t make it to the marketplace. And those cute Instagram shots? They don’t accept those either.
Here’s the full run-down.
4. Get Cash Back From Your Credit Card
If you’re not using a rewards credit card for everyday purchases, you’re missing out on free money.
You just have to be sure you don’t get too carried away with those purchases — and that the card is paid off at the end of each billing period.
Here’s an option we like: It’s the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. Its claim to fame? You’ll earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases plus a $150 bonus after you spend $500 within your first 90 days after signing up.
There’s no annual fee, and the cash-back rewards don’t expire.
Get signed up — and 0% intro APR for 15 months — here.
*The information for the Chase Freedom Unlimited card has been collected independently by The Penny Hoarder. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. The Penny Hoarder is a partner of Credible.
5. Help Small Business Owners
Does earning $60 an hour sound appealing? How about the freedom to work remotely while helping others succeed?
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 through his online course, Bookkeeper Business Launch.
And no, you don’t have to have 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.
6. Invest Like a Hedge Fund (You Can Start with $500)
Hedge funds are considered to be an elite, aggressive, strategic and sophisticated way to invest — and out of reach for most of us. Because you have to invest at least $250,000 to join most hedge funds, they act as exclusive clubs for the wealthy, with a velvet rope keeping out everyday investors
Titan says you can still get in on the action, even if you don’t have a spare quarter-million dollars sitting around. In fact, all you need to get started is $500.
Titan is a simple, user-friendly investment app that mirrors the financial moves of top hedge funds. It puts its investors’ money into a portfolio of the top 20 stocks, based on what all those hedge funds have been buying. Titan believes these stocks have the best prospects for long-term growth.
All three of Titan’s co-founders are former hedge fund guys who are now heavily invested in their Titan portfolios — the same stocks they’d be investing your savings in.
The company earns a 1% annual fee on what you invest.
7. Get Paid to Participate in Clinical Trials
Some people make thousands of dollars each year getting tested for allergies or trying out new vaccines. They often do this kind of “work” as a side gig on weekends or around their work schedules — and it doesn’t require any special skills or education.
They’re taking part in clinical and research trials of new drugs, devices or medical interventions. In return, they get compensated with a good deal of cash.
To do this, you should be between 18 and 60 years old with no history of major diseases or medication issues. Even if you don’t have the particular disease or condition that the trial is analyzing — from acne to high cholesterol to cancer — you could still qualify for the study as a control (healthy) subject.
Payouts vary depending on the duration and invasiveness of the procedures — the “ouch factor” plays a big part in your earnings.
Most trials are divided into Phase I, II or III studies. Phase I studies assess the safety of a treatment, while Phase II and III studies investigate the efficacy of a treatment. Because most drugs in Phase I trials haven’t been tested on humans yet, be sure to only sign up for Phase II and III trials if you’re concerned about suffering any adverse effects.
Here’s our complete guide.
Here’s where to find opportunities:
- CISCRP.org, the Center for Information & Study on Clinical Research Participation
- ClinicalTrials.gov, a site run by the National Institutes of Health
- PhRMA.org, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
- Local universities, hospitals and medical schools
8. Post Videos on YouTube
Do you have a video camera or a smartphone? Great — you have everything necessary to start making money on YouTube.
Make a video, load it up, click a couple of buttons to monetize it, and start telling all your Facebook friends about it. Lather, rinse, repeat. You might not make millions, but perhaps you’ll develop a nice stream of extra income.
Years ago, writer Steve Gillman and his wife created a 10-episode show on ultralight backpacking, starring Steve. They already owned a camera, so it cost them nothing. The videos never went viral, but they’ve slowly and steadily generated more than $1,000 of income over the years.
It costs nothing to open a YouTube account and upload your videos. To make money from them, just join the YouTube Partner Program and set up Google AdSense. It automatically adds advertisements to your videos, and you earn money every time someone clicks on or, in some cases, even just sees the ad.
Take a look at Google’s video monetization criteria for an idea of what kinds of videos qualify. Generally, they have to be family-friendly and your own content.
As for your topics, go with something based on your hobby or passion.
How much money you make depends on whether you know (or learn) how to market your videos, what topics you cover and, to be honest, whether you get lucky and have a video go viral. To make big profits, you’ll need heavy traffic.
9. Sell Your Plasma
Have you ever considered selling your body? Not like that.
You can make money selling your plasma. It’s a way to get paid, and it also helps others in need.
The process takes about two hours and, yes, it involves a needle, but the process is simple. You’re free to read or watch TV while a machine draws your blood and separates the plasma.
Interested? Search “plasma center + [your city]” for options, and ask your friends for referrals — many centers offer referral sign-up bonuses.
To qualify, you should:
- Be at least 18.
- Weigh at least 110 pounds.
- Be in general good health.
How much can you make? It’s common for plasma donation centers to pay between $20 and $30 per visit, up to twice a week.
10. Sell Handmade Jewelry or Craft Goods Online — the Smart Way
Earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings — jewelry designers make all kinds of amazing products. Whether you work with metal, felt, old Scrabble tiles, origami cranes or even deer antlers, you’ll likely find a market for your work.
How much can you make? It depends on what and where you sell. For example, if you list your items online through a marketplace like Etsy, you’ll face some fees, including a 5% transaction charge. However, Etsy also sees millions and millions of shoppers, so it could be worth the exposure.
Whatever you do, just remember not to price your pieces too low. Cover the costs of materials, time, shipping, listing fees and other expenses.
You can sell all kinds of other crafts, too — but you have to be strategic about it.
When Lena Gosik-Wolfe started her first craft business selling custom 3D-printed cookie cutters, she noticed some sellers had difficulties growing their businesses. So she started a second business aimed at helping crafters thrive at selling products online. Here are some of her tips:
- Know your target audience. Figure out what type of person will be interested in buying your products.
- Build your brand. Having an Etsy page that has a unique look, complete with an original company logo and cover image, colors and design makes all the difference.
- Photos and product descriptions matter. Clear, brightly lit images highlighting the details of the items make a huge difference to the customer.
11. Write an Ebook
If you’re a subject-matter expert or have an intriguing life experience, you could write a book. But there’s no need to send it off to all the major publishing houses in New York City.
You can self-publish ebooks through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform. Once again, we turn to writer Steve Gillman, The Penny Hoarder’s man-of-a-thousand jobs, who wrote a book in a week. Note: Ebooks don’t have be hundreds of pages long. Gillman found many books as short as 6,000 words.
After publishing on Amazon, he started making $350 a month. The best part? He continued to make money, even months and years later.
How much you make hinges on a number of variables, including how much you list your book for and how many copies sell. For reference, Amazon pays writers up to 70% royalties on ebooks priced between $2.99 and $9.99.