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

A woman laughs as she watches something on her iPad.
Getty Images
Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We provide you with accurate, reliable information. Learn more about how we make money and select our advertising partners.

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. Get Paid $225/Month While Watching Movie Previews

If we told you that you could get paid while watching videos on your computer, you’d probably laugh.

It’s too good to be true, right?

But we’re serious. By signing up for a free account with InboxDollars, you could add up to $225 a month to your pocket. They’ll send you short surveys every day, which you can fill out while you watch someone bake brownies or catch up on the latest Kardashian drama.

No, InboxDollars won’t replace your full-time job, but it’s something easy you can do while you’re already on the couch tonight, wasting time on your phone.

Unlike other sites, InboxDollars pays you in cash — no points or gift cards. It’s already paid its users more than $56 million.

Signing up takes about one minute, and you’ll immediately receive a $5 bonus to get you started.

2. 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.

3. 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.)

4. Offer to Babysit

An older woman reads to two girls.
Getty Images

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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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?

9. 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!

10. Participate in a Clinical Trial

Senior man sleeping peacefully while lying in bed
Getty Images

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.

11. 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.

12. 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.