This is How to Make Extra Money When You Already Work a Full-Time Job
You just got off work.
It was a long day.
Emails. Meetings. Paperwork. Presentations. Co-workers. Coffee. More coffee.
When you work a full-time job, it’s hard to get motivated to do much after a long day. All you want to do is flip your shoes off at the door and kick your feet up on the nearest couch. Netflix doesn’t even have to be on. Let’s just be quiet for a minute.
So when finances start getting tight and bills need to be paid — or maybe you just want some extra money to invest or use toward a much-needed vacation — the mention of a part-time job or side gig probably makes your eyes roll.
No, no, you don’t have the time or energy for that.
But what if a side gig doesn’t have to be so demanding? What if you could sit on the couch and earn some extra money? Or, better yet, make extra money while you’re at work or even while you’re sleeping?
We’ve rounded up a few ways you 9-to-5 folks can make some cash on the side. Nope, it’s not necessarily going to be a ton of money, but at least you’ll be able to stick to that 8 p.m. bedtime.
1. Sit on the Couch and Watch TV Online
You won’t earn thousands after your first night of watching these (not always) riveting videos, but it’s kind of fun watching those cents and dollars add up — without having to leave the couch.
Try signing up for InboxDollars. There, you’ll earn cents for views.
You can pick your station. Into sports? Go that route. What about cooking? Watch a how-to video on maple-glazed butternut squash. Yum.
Each less-than-two-minute video earns you a few cents. You’ll also get virtual scratch-off cards, which you can play and earn up to $10.
2. Answer Some Questions From Your Computer
Survey sites are another popular way to bank some extra cash. Again, you won’t come out rolling in dough, but you won’t have to leave your couch.
If you’re that 9-to-5 employee who simply wants to save extra money to take a vacation, this is perfect. The site rewards you in points for hotels and flights for doing simple tasks, such as taking surveys.
You can redeem your points for flights with major airlines, such as American Airlines, United and Southwest. If you’re not much of a traveler, you can also use them at Amazon or Starbucks.
By just spending an hour on eMiles, consumers can save $20 to $30 on their next trip, the site claims.
Signing up takes approximately 10 seconds. You’ll just need an email address and to be a U.S. resident. Plus, for a limited time, you can nab bonus points.
3. Rent Your Extra Space (or Couch, If You’re Not Sitting on It)
Have a spare room? Might as well list it on Airbnb and make some money.
If you’re a good host with a desirable space, you could add hundreds — even thousands — of dollars to your savings account with Airbnb.
Taking a few simple steps can make the difference between a great experience and a less-than-satisfactory one.
Here are a few tips:
- Make your space available during high-demand times in your area. Think: concerts, conventions and sporting events in your area.
- 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.
- Be personable. A lot of travelers turn to Airbnb for the personal touch they won’t find at commercial properties.
Here’s the link to sign up as an Airbnb host.
(Hosting laws vary from city to city. Please understand the rules and regulations applicable to your city and listing.)
4. Make a Commitment to the Gym
OK, yes, we’re talking about being lazy after work and doing nothing. But do you know what could make you feel better about life? Working out.
We get it. Forcing yourself to go to the gym before or after work is a challenge. Bring money into the picture, and, well, it might get easier.
HealthyWage is an online program that allows you to place a bet on your weight loss. For example, Angie Richards bet she could lose 40 pounds in six months. She lost 52 and won $1,200.
Unfortunately, the program doesn’t come with a magical diet or sweatless workout routine; you’ll have to figure that part out on your own. But see if that extra cash might motivate you.
For an estimate of how much you could win, go to the HealthyWage Prize Calculator.
5. Extend Your Commute and Give Some Rides
My cohort, Dana Sitar, recently told the story of Paul Pruce. After losing his job, he opted to drive for Lyft and banks about $750 a week.
In some cities, that’s rent.
Signing up to drive for Lyft is super easy; it’s all online. You work when you want, keep a portion of the ride fees and bank 100% of the tips.
If you’re curious to see what you’d make, Lyft has an earnings calculator. Type in how many hours you’d want to work and your city. In my town, I could earn $300 a week for 15 hours of weekend work.
6. Spend Time With Some Good Dogs
If you work a high-stress job, dog-walking or dog-sitting could be the perfect way to decompress during your lunch break or at the end of the day.
You don’t even have to post flyers around your neighborhood. With apps like Rover or DogVacay, you can find pet-owners in your area who need a hand.
You’ll get to set your own rates and your availability. If someone’s too far away? Skip. If you find the cutest dog you’ve ever seen? Sign up!
7. Go on a Grocery Run
The best time to make a grocery run is after work. Grab what you need for dinner that night. In and out. Done.
But you could also make some money out of this weeknight habit.
You’ve got two options:
Second, you could simply go about collecting your own groceries and earn money back on certain purchases with Ibotta. Sure, you’re spending money just to make sure money, but use these tips to make the most out of the experience.
You could earn a decent chunk of money on items already in your cart, like 25 cents back on ground beef or $3 back on Bud Light.
Plus, you’ll get a $10 sign-up bonus when you bank that first rebate.
8. Deliver Food Orders
We’re not telling you to go apply to be a Pizza Hut delivery driver. That’d require you to stick to some sort of schedule, and isn’t what you full-timers are about after 5 p.m.
Instead, try signing up to deliver food through UberEats. You pick and choose when you want to make a few runs, like after you’ve had your own dinner and you get that weird spurt of energy.
The nice part is, you don’t have to chat with people — making small talk at the water cooler is enough for one day. Just pick the food up and drop it off.
9. Write Your Heart Out
If you have a knack for writing, you could consider entering the freelancing world, taking projects here and there.
But sometimes even that kind of commitment is a lot to promise after a day of work. Try something more fun: like entering a writing contest.
There are a ton of different contests out there that accept everything from poetry and fiction to fantasy and nonfiction.
Many of these contests are free and come with cash prizes — thousands of dollars in some cases.
We’ve found some of the best writing contests at Write Jobs.
10. Partake in Detective Work to Spice Up Your Evening
Ever heard of mystery shopping?
This is a tool companies might use to secretly check in on how their businesses are running. For example, mystery-shopping company BestMark will pay you to go out and test-drive cars, which means you’ll have to listen to the sales pitch and report back on your experience.
Or there’s Secret Hopper, which says it’ll pay you to grab a drink at your local brewery and rate your experience.
11. Earn $5 By Doing a Potentially Really, Really Random Thing
We don’t love the word “thing,” but in this case, it fits.
Have you heard of Fiverr? It’s an online platform that’ll pay you $5 to complete a task. These tasks — or random things — range from providing unique gift ideas to forming telepathic messages to writing a message on your chest while playing a kazoo.
OK, so sometimes it’s more serious, like drawing a quick logo or writing up a paragraph of content.
Either way, you’ll probably find something you can do. Hey, it’s $5.
12. Capitalize on Your Favorite Creative Hobby
There’s really nothing better than coming home after work and doing what you love, whether it’s painting, woodworking, cross-stitching or jewelry-making.
At a certain point, though, your abode might become overrun with extra crafts — because you can only hang so many of your works on the walls. Why not sell the ones you’re not attached to?
Consider signing up to sell on Etsy, a creative marketplace with millions of buyers. You’ll have to pay 20 cents to list an item, then hand over a 3.5% transaction fee and a 3%-plus-25-cent payment-processing fee. But that’s only a small amount when you get to advertise to all those eyeballs.
And, hey, if you’re not creative, you could always opt to sell supplies on Etsy Studio.
13. Commit to Starting Your Own Business
Let’s count this as a bit of a bonus — a suggestion for those of you who have a ton of energy after work and love committing to big projects.
Why not just start your own freelance business?
Don’t throw yourself to the wolves. Rather, take a free introductory course.
We wrote about three online classes that’ll help you get started, including Learn to be a Bookkeeper. Once you get established, you’ll be able to dictate when, how often and where you work — just like Daniel Honan, who said he grossed about $50,000 in his first year after the program.
So what do you say, full-timers? Earning money on the side of a full-time job doesn’t have to add an extra exhausting layer to your life.
Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. Currently, her side job is napping (for free), but she aims to start freelance writing soon!