13 Leisurely Ways for Retirees to Make Extra Money in Their Spare Time

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We write about a lot of work-from-home jobs, side gigs and ways to make money online, but we get this question a lot: How can seniors make extra money from home?

Depending on your skills and ease with technology, you have tons of options. (Really, my two grandmothers are almost more tech-savvy than I am at this point.)

You just have to be sure you don’t get caught in a scam.

Earlier this year, we listed the top 10 types of online jobs for seniors, but here are some more specific opportunities you can take advantage of right now.

1. Take Online Surveys

Now, you’re not going to rake in a ton of bucks doing this, but you can make a little bit of extra cash. Plus, it’s a fun way to pass some time.

Start by using a site like Swagbucks. It’s pretty easy to navigate, and honestly, it’s a bit addicting.

You’ll get selected for surveys and earn SBs (Swagbucks) for each one you complete.

The exchange rate isn’t bad. For example, earn 500 SBs, and you can score a $5 Amazon gift card.

If you’re at all confused, here’s a beginner’s guide to Swagbucks. It’ll walk you through the platform and how to get the most money for your time.

Sign up here, and you’ll snag a $5 bonus when you earn 2,500 SB within your first 60 days.

2. Watch Videos Through This App

InboxDollars is another well-known site, and allows you to earn money for completing tasks, which you can exchange for gift cards.

You can watch videos, take surveys or use coupons through the app.

I wrote an ultimate user’s guide to InboxDollars if you want more step-by-step details.

If you sign up through this link, you’ll automatically get $5 to start you off.

3. Drive for Lyft

dashboard and gps in the interior of lyft driver's car
Jessica Kourkounis for The Penny Hoarder

If you want to make more substantial money on your own time, consider signing up to drive people around with Lyft.

I’ve met several Lyft drivers who have retired and now drive as a way to earn extra money and get out of the house. It’s also a great way to meet new characters.

Pro tip: If you’re like my mom, who can’t see anything, try running the apps on your iPad or tablet. I’ve seen several folks do this and say it makes navigation much easier.

4. Rent Out Your Extra Room

If you haven’t made the decision to downsize in retirement, chances are you have a spare room.

Consider listing it on Airbnb. You’ll be able to make a decent amount of money (the most of any sharing economy platform, according to this survey).

If you’re not sure where to start, here’s a guide on how to transform that extra bedroom into cash.

And if you want to see whether the venture is even worth it, go ahead and use Airbnb’s calculator to find out how much you could be making.

(Hosting laws vary from city to city. Please understand the rules and regulations applicable to your city and listing.)

5. Offer to Babysit

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I bet you’ve got some experience with kids. Offer to babysit for your friends, family or neighbors.

You could also sign up with SitterCity, which makes the whole process a lot easier. You’ll create a profile, then you’ll be able to easily find babysitting gigs near you.

Families will review your profile and run a background check before connecting with you. If you want to see some examples of listings in your area, you’ll find a few here.

6. House Sit

If kids aren’t your thing, you could always just watch houses. You can make a good chunk of change doing this — plus it could fund your travels if you plan right.

These platforms make finding housesitting gigs easier.

7. Sell Your Art on Etsy

OK, honestly, one of the big appeals to retiring — in my opinion — would be that you actually have time to spend on whatever you’re really passionate about.

And you can make money from that.

For example, I’d love to be able to cross-stitch full time and sell my pieces on Etsy. Or you could capitalize on your woodworking abilities or knitting or whatever you love to do.

8. Write Greeting Cards

Various handmade cards arranged on a table.
Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

Got a way with words and feelings? Get sappy (or sassy) and write greeting cards.

We compiled a list of eight companies that’ll pay you to do it. Plus, scroll to the bottom, and you’ll find a bonus platform where you can make your own cards and earn a percentage of the income.

9. Get Paid to Lose Weight

Self care is all the rage right now, and now that you finally have time to focus on yourself — and can get away from a desk — you can get fit and maybe even shed some pounds.

If you need extra motivation, check out HealthyWage. Basically, you’ll place a bet on how much weight you can lose in a certain amount of time, and you’ll get paid if you meet your goal.

Take, for example, Teresa Suarez, who lost 68 pounds and pocketed $2,415.28.

Nothing’s more motivating than money, right?

10. Clean Out Your Closet

Over the years, you tend to collect items you might not need. I took a hard look at my closet the other day and wondered how in the world it had exploded with such random things.

It’s time to take some notes from “The Minimalists.”

Comb through your items and, if you haven’t used them in a while, sell them and make some money.

You don’t need to go through the hassle of having a garage sale, either. Try selling your items online. Market clothes and other random knickknacks to folks in your area through an app like Letgo.

You might be surprised by how much money you can make just from cleaning!

11. Participate in a Clinical Trial

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Ever thought about donating your body to science?

OK, you don’t really have to do that to participate in a clinical trial. You can get paid to do basic things — like sleep. Or, if you have any particular ailments, you might find a match for a paid trial to treat them.

Use this guide to start your search.

12. Find Flexible Work-From-Home Jobs for Seniors

We know, we know. You’re retired. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take on a flexible work-from-home job.

We found a whole list of places where you can some.

Bonus: We also post a ton of opportunities over on The Penny Hoarder Jobs Facebook page.

13. Enter a Writing Contest

If you enjoy writing — fiction, nonfiction or poetry — try monetizing your skills

Find writing contests online and enter them. One of our favorite sites to find a variety of free contests is Write Jobs.

Some contests pay $500 or more!

Add to your skill set without going back to school. We have great deals on courses you can complete from home.

Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder.