Need More Money? Here Are 30 Ways to Earn Extra Cash in 2021
It’s simple enough: You. Need. Money.
But deciding how to make money — or how to make more money — can get complicated.
As Penny Hoarders, we have plenty of experience sharing ways to make bank, and we’ve compiled 30 ways to do it quickly in 2020.
Whether it’s online, offline, at your job or by doing nothing (OK, not nothing, but through passive income), we’ll tell you how to find moneymaking opportunities and how much you can expect to take in.
What are you waiting for? Let’s earn some quick cash!
How to Make Money Online
Although there may be plenty of ways to make money online, that doesn’t mean they’re all worth your time. We’ve researched the effort vs. reward for these online options — from earning a few bucks for completing simple tasks to making enough dough to quit your day job.
Read on for more ways to earn extra cash on the web.
1. Trade Unwanted Gift Cards for Cash
What to do with all those gift cards from well-meaning relatives who either don’t know your interests or don’t take your location into consideration? (Thanks for the In-N-Out Burger gift card, but I live in Brooklyn.)
Sell them for cash (or a gift card you’ll actually use).
The Penny Hoarder’s Branded Content Editor Dana Sitar analyzed five gift card exchange sites that swap for cash or other gift cards.
Although you can make some fast cash this way, know that you won’t get the full face value of the card. Sitar suggests checking out two or three sites to find the best deal.
She also warns people to be wary of fast-cash offers through mobile payment sites like PayPal, which charges additional fees.
How much money can you make? The site Cardpool offered Sitar $21 cash for a $25 Target gift card.
2. Find a Side Hustle on Upwork
Hey there, fast fingers. You might be feeling low with the news that ”typist” is among the dying occupations, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still find a way to make money hitting the keys (at least for now).
Upwork is a freelance site that lets you indicate whether you prefer short- or long-term projects and the number of hours you wish to work. You can narrow your search to specific jobs like “virtual assistant” or “data entry” within categories that include design, writing, administrative support and customer service.
Improve your chances of finding jobs that fit your skill set and fit into your spare time by being as precise as possible in your profile title and focusing on just a few keywords.
You’ll get paid by the hour or by the project, minus a percentage that Upwork charges freelancers.
How much money can you make? One Penny Hoarder earned $40 per hour on Upwork as a virtual assistant.
3. Freelance on Fiverr
Looking to pad your bank account by writing articles, designing logos or translating text?
Check out Fiverr, an online marketplace for freelancers. You can set up your platform for free, but Fiverr collects 20% of the transactions made over the site. Then it’s just a matter of choosing your gig.
Jobs tend toward the creative types, but there’s a wide range of categories, including graphics and design, digital marketing, writing and translation, video and animation and music and audio.
How much money can you make? Pay starts at $5 per project, but Charmaine Pocek told The Penny Hoarder she earned $30 to $800 on Fiverr as freelance writer creating resumes and cover letters and optimizing clients’ LinkedIn profiles. In the past six years, Pocek has added to her to total and has now made $2.3 million from work she’s found on the site, according to Abby Forman, spokeswoman for Fiverr.
4. Teach ESL Online
You love kids, but at a distance — because, you know, those sticky hands. So snag a work-from-home job teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) to Chinese students ages 4 to 12 through services like VIPKID and Qkids.
Both online platforms require a bachelor’s degree, a six-month commitment and the ability to work a minimum of six to seven hours per week. Teachers fill time slots by posting their availability — and since China is on the other side of the globe, your schedule will need to accommodate the time difference. (If it’s 6 p.m. in China, it’s 5 a.m. in New York).
After quitting her full-time job, new mom Kirsten Cherry of Twin Falls, Idaho, found part-time work teaching students through VIPKID.
“I got hired in June. Within two weeks, my schedule was 97% full,” said Cherry, 26. “In the first month, I earned over $1,000.”
How much money can you make? Qkids states on its site that the base pay is $8 per 30-minute lesson, plus attendance and performance incentives. Cherry said she makes up to $22 teaching two lessons in an hour through VIPKID.
5. Test Websites and Apps
For all the sprinters out there, website and app testing could be your path to fast cash.
Start by filling out a registration form with a testing service. Once approved, you’ll receive access to projects as they become available. Testing involves interacting with a site and completing a series of tasks while providing feedback for market research.
Most testing requires you to work from a computer rather than your cell phone, as you’ll speak your feedback out loud as the company records your experience through the testing interface.
Cherry said she tried three different testing platforms and found the most success with Userlytics.
Most tests only take five to 15 minutes to complete, she noted, but you have to be ready to test at a moment’s notice.
“A lot of them I can actually do, as long as I click on them and follow the link on time,” Cherry said. “Sometimes even within 10 to 15 minutes after you get the email, they’re already full; they already have enough tests done.”
How much money can you make? Banking $10 to $20 per test, Cherry has earned $200 for taking a total of 18 tests.
6. Become a Search Engine Evaluator
Use your attention to detail to make money as a search engine evaluator.
Evaluators analyze the relevance and quality of ads and news feeds — think: deciding if those Google search results make sense. The guidelines are fairly strict for these kinds of jobs, and testing can be extensive.
You’ll need in-depth, up-to-date knowledge of the topics you cover and of the web in general, according to Prathima Tothempudi, senior human resources business partner at Lionbridge, a company that regularly posts openings for search engine evaluator gigs. In exchange, you’ll get a job that typically offers a flexible schedule.
How much money can you make? Lionbridge pays $10.80 per hour, Tothempudi said.
7. Sell Free Stuff on Craigslist
The online classified site Craigslist lets you sell stuff for cash, including items you get for free. And you don’t even need to leave the site to find those freebies — there’s a “free” listings section right there on Craigslist. Convenient, right?
Penny Hoarder Steve Gillman picked up six boxes of floor tiles he found for free on Craigslist, then sold them to the first flooring company he passed on his way back home.
How much money can you make? Gillman made $10 off of the pile of tiles.
8. Sell Thrift Store Finds on eBay
Selling your possessions on the auction site eBay is one way to pocket some cash quickly.
You can also make money by buying designer clothes for cheap, then selling them on the site to the highest bidder. If you have an eye for fashion — or at least the most popular labels — you can track down inventory at local thrift stores.
Create listings for your items, making sure to include well-written item descriptions and quality photographs to give your listings a professional polish (and get top dollar). Check out similar items to get a sense of where to set your starting bid, and be sure to incorporate the costs of shipping and eBay’s seller fees into your price.
Penny Hoarder Kat Tretina resold designer jeans by starting with a minimal investment — packaging tape and a scale to weigh packages for shipping — and ended up more than tripling her money.
How much money can you make? Your profitability depends upon what you’re selling, but for working 10 to 15 hours a month, Tretina made $500 to $800.
9. Sell Handmade Goods on Etsy
If you have a knack for crafting, you probably are already familiar with Etsy, aka the crafters’ paradise.
And if you’re considering making the leap from selling your wares at the farmers market to earning your money online as a crafty small business, starting out on Etsy is fairly simple. When you set up your site, you’ll pick a name, choose the items to list (the site recommends starting with at least 10) and set up payment and billing.
The site charges 20 cents for your first item, and you’ll pay transaction and payment-processing fees when you make a sale. To turn your shop into a viable moneymaker, take advice from those who’ve gone before you.
Lena Gosik-Wolfe, who followed up on a successful Etsy store with a second business advising people how they can sell on the crafty site, offered the following tips for ways to make money on Etsy:
- Treat your shop like a brick-and-mortar version.
- File necessary tax documents.
- Design a professional site to attract customers.
- Develop a clear, cohesive marketing strategy.
How much money can you make? Your Etsy profitability depends on what you’re selling and how much time you put into your business. Crafter Beth Gates told The Penny Hoarder she made $400 during her first six months selling Southern-style sundries and crochet items. After dedicating more time to her business, she made more than $4,000 in one year.
10. Do Online Transcription
Those listening skills you honed by eavesdropping on your roommates’ conversations could finally pay off with a job in online transcription.
Transcription jobs usually require an assessment test to gauge your typing speed and accuracy. Depending on the service, you could be listening to a car commercial or court hearings, so find out what you’re getting into before you apply.
Cherry wishes she had known that tip before she signed up for her first transcription gig, which brought in $85.15 over six months for a job that required extensive testing and a lot of studying to follow a strict style guide.
“For that first transcription job, oh my gosh, I spent hours on that, and I got paid so little,” Cherry said. “I wish I would have just, in the beginning, told myself, ‘Hey, this just isn’t going to be worth it. Find something else.’”
Cherry had better luck after discovering the transcription service Rev, which offered a user-friendly platform and more lucrative projects.
How much money can you make? Making 40 cents to 75 cents per minute of transcription at Rev, Cherry earned $87.45 in one month for less than four hours of work.
11. Incorporate Affiliate Marketing Into Your Blog
Hey bloggers, there’s money to be made through affiliate marketing.
The basic process for making money through affiliate marketing goes like this: Write reviews about products on your blog and include a specific tracking link. When readers click the link and make a purchase, you receive a commission.
The more readers you have, the better your chances for making money, so attracting more eyeballs to your site is essential. One way to do that: Pitch articles to other blogs that allow you to link back to your blog.
How much money can you make? The affiliate marketplace ClickBank, which offers products and services to promote in your blog, says commissions range from 1% to 75%. The maximum commission on a single sale is $150.
12. Take Online Surveys
Looking to make a few bucks from a task that doesn’t require much effort? Taking online surveys could be your jam.
The Penny Hoarder reviewed six online survey sites, noting that some paid out cash directly while others paid in gift cards or even sweepstakes entries. So do your homework before you sign up.
How much money can you make? Swagbucks surveys pay anywhere from 40 to 200 SB (100 SB equal $1), according to our Swagbucks review. Earn 300 SB to cash out for $3 gift cards to places like Amazon or Dunkin Donuts.
How to Make Money Fast (and in Person)
What if you need money fast and you want to do something that calls for less face time with your screen and more face time with actual, live human beings (or animals)?
Read on for ways to make more money in person.
13. Drive for Uber or Lyft
Need a fun, flexible way to earn money while also meeting lots of new people?
Try driving with Lyft.
Demand for ride-sharing 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.
Best of all, you can do it on your own time. You can work days, nights or weekends — it’s up to you.
Because it’s easy to switch between apps, Lyft drivers often also sign up to drive with Uber.
14. Do Household Tasks Through TaskRabbit
You’re the person Aunt Peggy always calls to fix a faucet or assemble a bookshelf.
It’s time you stopped getting paid in oatmeal cookies. (Sorry, Peg).
Instead, use your household know-how to earn extra cash on TaskRabbit, which connects you with clients who need help cleaning their house, hanging pictures and making deliveries. In exchange for getting paid for your work, TaskRabbit deducts a 15% service fee.
How much money can you make? The company has stated you can make up to $2,000 per week — but no cookies.
15. Start a Pet-Sitting Business
If you prefer your coworkers to be the four-legged variety, snagging a job as a pet sitter could be the job you’ve been begging for (as if you thought I wouldn’t go there).
Posting notices on your local social networks will help you find owners in need of walkers, sitters and general companions for their fur babies.
Want to improve your rate of hire as a newbie? Instill trust by snapping a few photos of the pet when you’re with them, then send them to the owner, according to Lisa Peddicord, who has a pet-sitting side gig.
How much money can you make? Peddicord told The Penny Hoarder she made just under $10,000 in 2018.
16. Walk Dogs With Rover
If you’re looking for a flexible, independent way to earn money — and you love hanging out with dogs — Rover might be your perfect gig.
The online network connects dog walkers and sitters to local dog owners through its 4.9-star-rated app, so you don’t have to staple flyers on every utility pole across town.
Rover says top sitters earn an average $450 per month.
Rover dog-sitter requirements vary by location. In general, you must:
- Be 18 years or older.
- Pass a background check.
- Have access to the Rover app (iOS or Android).
Here’s how it works: You’ll create an online sitter profile where you’ll answer questions about your experience with puppers and your schedule availability.
You can choose to offer a variety of services, including dog walking, overnight boarding at your home or theirs, and daycare. Boarding is the app’s most popular service, so offering it can get you more gigs. You set your own rates. (Rover keeps a small percentage as a service fee.)
Dog owners will reach out to you. Accept which gigs you want, then start snugglin’ pups. As soon as you complete a service, you’ll be paid within two days.
17. Deliver Groceries Through Shipt and Instacart
Enjoy spending money but still need to make some? You can pocket cash if you’re willing to shop for other people — particularly for their food — and drop it off at their homes.
To get started, you’ll sign up for an account, then select your schedule based on your availability. Instacart lets you pick between shopping and delivering or just shopping in-store, so you don’t even necessarily need a car.
You’ll receive orders through the company app and can communicate directly with the customers in case the store is all out of their preferred brand of pickled pig’s feet.
How much money can you make? Instacart shoppers in larger metropolitan areas can make $25 per hour during high-demand times, according to Instacart Boston city manager Nima Zahedi. Shipt notes on its website that shoppers make an average of $22 an hour, and Shipt shopper Destiny Firth told us she made approximately $600 per week (including tips) working 35 hours per week.
18. Sell Your Old Video Games
That old Mario Kart at the bottom of your video-game bin could be making you money instead of collecting dust.
Penny Hoarder Staff Writer Adam Hardy used GameStop’s rather stingy buyback policy to his advantage by swapping store credit for gift cards and maximizing his profit.
How much money can you make? GameStop originally offered Hardy $72.40 cash for his games, but he opted for the $111.14 Shell Gas card instead, which he could then trade on CardPool for $95.58 cash.
19. Become an Airbnb Host
Have a spare room? Might as well try to earn some money by listing it on Airbnb.
If you’re a good host with a desirable space, you could add hundreds — even thousands — of dollars to your savings account with Airbnb.
A few simple steps can make the difference between a great experience and a less-than-satisfactory one. We talked to Terence Michael, an Airbnb superhost based in Los Angeles.
Here are some of his tips:
- Break out the labelmaker. “I have the entire house loaded with labels,” Michael says. “They look nice; they’re modern. This helps people feel less helpless.”
- Be a good host, and stock your place with the toiletries you’d expect at a hotel — toilet paper, soap and towels. Here’s a little hack from Michael: “I order on Amazon and have it delivered when people are there.”
- Be kind to your neighbors. “I say, ‘I’m not going to put anyone here who I think won’t be good for you,’” Michael explains. “And I turn a lot of big groups away, especially in Nashville. I don’t want anyone going to the cops or the city.”
How much money can you make? Figure your potential earnings with this Airbnb calculator.
(Hosting laws vary from city to city. Please understand the rules and regulations applicable to your city and listing.)
20. Rent Out Your Ride on Getaround
It doesn’t seem fair: While you toil away at the office all day, what is your car doing?
Living the sweet life in a parking garage.
Make that freeloader earn its keep by renting out your ride during your workday. (You can also do it on weekends you prefer to stay in and binge watch “The Good Place.”)
Peer-to-peer car rentals let you lend your car and pocket the cash. Getaround, available in New Jersey and 13 cities in other states, allows you to list your vehicle for free.
How much money can you make? Getaround says users can make up to $800 a month.
21. Find Baby-sitting Jobs on Care.com
You can recite the names of every Paw Patrol member, you knew Doc McStuffins when she was just a resident and you can sing every verse of “Baby Shark” — with a smile.
You were born to baby-sit.
If you’re the responsible type and love kids, baby-sitting can be an easy gig to pick up on the side, starting with your own friends and family
And services like Care.com can expand your client base beyond your inner circle — plus, it lets you choose other caregiving options like pet sitting or senior care.
How much money can you make? The average baby-sitting rate was $16.20 per hour, according to a 2018 Care.com Cost of Care Survey.
Make Money on Social Media
You already spend a lot of time on social media, so why not make some fast cash there, right?
Most people who make big money do so based on the size of their audience (hello, Kardashians). But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to make some bank — especially if you have a loyal following that has the potential to grow.
Considering 70% of teenage YouTube subscribers say they relate to YouTube creators more than traditional celebrities, there’s plenty of reason to believe that even smaller social media influencers can attract advertiser dollars.
If you’re among that group of influencers, there are ways to grow your audience, build a professional profile and thus attract more money. Online platforms like Kred, Klear and GroupHigh can help you connect with companies that will pay you to mention their brands to your audience.
Ready for the spotlight? Check out these ways to make money on social media.
22. Stream on Twitch
Your mom was wrong. Playing video games might not be a waste of your time after all.
Cory Michael started streaming his gaming sessions and over four years attracted 29 million people to watch him tackle Destiny and other multiplayer online games. As a result, Twitch accepted his partnership application and agreed to pay him to play.
How much money can you make? Michael explained to The Penny Hoarder that there are three ways to make money streaming on Twitch: tipping, ad revenue and subscriptions. Top Twitch streamers can earn hundreds of thousands of dollars per month.
23. Produce Videos for YouTube
Put that camera phone to work by making some bucks logging your life, times and cat videos on YouTube.
But you’ll need more viewers than your biggest fan (thanks, grandma!) to make money on the video streaming site. To be reviewed for the YouTube Partner Program, your channel must have at least 4,000 watch hours in the previous 12 months and 1,000 subscribers.
Linden Wolbert, who makes a living performing as a mermaid, said she loves teaching kids about the ocean on “Mermaid Minute,” an educational web series she launched on the YouTube channel in 2012. But after YouTube raised the bar for its Partner Program in 2017, “It’s become a lot more challenging,” she said.
To help attract more eyeballs to your site and reach the threshold, the YouTube Creators channel advises vloggers to post new videos consistently and frequently — think Monday through Friday at 3 p.m., no matter what your cat did that day.
Your channel can make money through advertising, subscribers and Super Chats — that’s where fans can pay extra to add a highlighted message to the chat as you live stream.
How much money can you make? Wolbert made four figures a month before YouTube updated its algorithms, but YouTube indicates there are opportunities to earn even more money. Its press page states that the number of channels earning five figures per year grew 50% year over year.
How to Make Passive Income
Even if you don’t have the free time to take on a part-time job, you can still make money by putting in a little front-end work.
It’s called passive income, and we’ve found ways to help you pad your bank account without lifting a finger (or at least maybe not all of them).
24. Earn Cash Back on Purchases With Ebates
Instead of handing over all your hard-earned money when checking out, how’d you like to earn some of that cash back?
Ebates lets you earn anywhere from 1% to 25% on purchases you make at its retailers; (there are 2,500, so lots of options). You can sign up for free using your Facebook or Google account.
By clicking the “shop now” button before you check out, a percentage of the price goes back to your Ebates account.
How much money can you make? On its site, Ebates says you can earn a $10 Walmart gift card or Ebates cash bonus by spending at least $25 and making your first purchase through the site within 90 days of signing up.
25. Upload Your Receipts to Ibotta
You’re already a coupon cutter (right? right?!?), so discover another easy way to make cash back on your groceries with the Ibotta app.
After you sign up for an account, click the little addition sign next to the products you can save on (just like couponing, but without the scissors). Then upload a picture of your receipt, and Ibotta deposits the amount saved into your account. You’ll get a $10 sign-up bonus after you upload your first receipt. Once you reach the $20 minimum, you can cash out through PayPal or Venmo.
Even better, the app isn’t limited to grocery store purchases — you can earn cash back on other shopping and travel, too.
How much money can you make? Penny Hoarder staffer Colleen Rice earned approximately $45 from Ibotta during one road trip by finding cash-back deals on Hotels.com.
26. Invest in Real Estate
Even if you’re not exactly the handy type (hand raised) or you don’t have cash to sink into million-dollar properties (both hands raised), you can make passive income from real estate through online investment options like Fundrise.
For as little as $500, you can join the crowdfunding-style real estate investment platform, which invests in American properties. Learn more in The Penny Hoarder’s review of Fundrise.
How much money can you make? Fundrise has seen historical returns of 8.7% to 12.4%. (Note: As with any investment, past performance isn’t indicative of future results.)
27. Earn Interest on Savings Accounts
Will you get rich quick putting your money in a savings account? No.
But if you’ve been leaving your money to waste away in a traditional savings account with its minuscule returns — or you don’t have a savings account at all — high-yield online savings accounts can offer you at least some passive income.
Here’s an option we like: a mobile banking app called Varo.
The FDIC reports that the average savings account pays a paltry .08% APY*, but when you open an online checking and savings account with Varo, it will pay you more than 20 times that amount on your savings account.
Oh, and there are no monthly fees.
We know opening a new bank account isn’t exactly everyone’s idea of fun, but Varo makes it easy. You can open an account with just a penny, and more than 750,000 people have already signed up.
How much money can you make? Like we said, you won’t get rich, but you depending on how much you’re able to stash in your savings account, you could earn a nice passive chunk of change to your account!
28. Use Credit Card Points
Wait a second, you say, I’m trying to make money, not spend it!
But you do have to spend money on some essentials, right? Like groceries and gas?
I can speak from personal experience that collecting points on these purchases can help you earn cash back and gift cards.
The key to this being worthwhile, though, is that you must pay off your credit card each month. Otherwise, the interest you’re paying on the balance negates any profit you’re making through point accumulation.
How much money can you make? I received $250 in Target gift cards last year by using points I earned on my Mastercard.
How to Make More Money at Your Job
This may seem like an obvious option — you’re already making money at your job, right? (If not, find another job.) But since your employer is already a source for earning cash, why not consider it as an option for making more money?
29. Ask for More Hours (and More Money)
If you’re working a part-time job, one way to make more money is to ask for more hours.
In addition to the extra cash, a full-time position may offer more benefits, like paid time off and health insurance coverage.
Make your case for more hours with a list of current accomplishments and ways you can further help the company, suggests career strategist Emily Kapit of ReFreshYourStep.com.
“You set yourself up for the best chance of success… if you go in prepared and also positioning it as helping the manager,” Kapit said. “You’re going to feel more empowered.”
Check out this article for more tips for turning your part-time gig into a full-time job.
How much money can you make? It depends on how many additional hours you can snag. And since benefits account for 31.8% of an employee’s total compensation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, be sure to check out this article to figure out your total compensation package.
30. Ask for a Raise
Wouldn’t it be great if your boss just said, “Hey there, superstar, how’d you like a big pile of money for being awesome?”
That probably won’t happen. (And if it does, don’t do the humblebrag thing on Facebook. It’s annoying.)
If you want to ask for a raise, you should first know whether you’re in a good position to negotiate, according to Michelle Tillis Lederman, CEO of Executive Essentials and author of “The Connector’s Advantage.”
“Are you getting good assignments? Are you getting good feedback?” Lederman asked. “What was your performance-review comment? Did you exceed expectations, or did you just meet expectations?”
Before scheduling a meeting with your boss, arm yourself. Check out salary-comparison calculators on sites like Glassdoor, and document your work wins — and the approximate value they add to the company — to prove your worth. And don’t forget to check out what the competition is offering someone with a job similar to yours.
How much money can you make? Chad Busta told The Penny Hoarder he used a competing offer to negotiate with his current employer for a 6% pay raise and the ability to work from home.
More Ways to Make Money
Here’s the thing to keep in mind about making money: No matter what the flimflam artists may claim, you generally don’t make money without any effort.
But instead of dreaming about making a million dollars by posting videos of your cat on YouTube, you can realistically expect to make extra cash by putting in some time and effort.
That’s been Cherry’s experience. She says that by working a few hours every day, she’s earned money to help her family — and to enjoy a few perks.
“If I earn a certain amount of money, I say I’ll give myself 10%, and then I put it toward what I want,” she said. “It just makes me happy that I’m earning something and that I can buy myself a little extra.”
And if you’re looking for even more ways to make bank, check out our post on side jobs to make extra money.
Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a writer/editor for The Penny Hoarder. Find her on Twitter @TiffanyWendeln.