Live in New York? We’ve Got 8 Ways to Make Big Money in the Big Apple

hand taking a picture on phone of new york city
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder
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Chock full of skyscrapers and bankers and brokers, New York City is the financial capital of the universe. Money flows down your streets and avenues like water rushing down a river.

So why not try to scoop up some of that money for yourself? The Big Apple might be bustling with commerce, but it’s also a super expensive place to live. As a New Yorker, you could always use a little extra cash to pay rent.

Ways to Make Extra Money in New York City

Luckily, NYC offers a limitless number of flexible money-making opportunities. Here are eight of them.

It doesn’t matter if you already work full-time or you’re just trying to rake in some cash on a part-time basis. There’s something here for you.

1. Drive Around Town (and Get Paid for It)

driving through new york
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

It’s a new day on NYC streets, where cars affiliated with ride-sharing services like Lyft and Uber now outnumber cabs nearly four to one, reports the New York Times.

Naturally, New York City has special requirements for ride-share drivers. You’ll need a license from the Taxi & Limousine Commission, so you’ll need to take a defensive driving course, a driver-education course and wheelchair-passenger-assistance training. WikiHow explains the details.

That might sound like a lot. But once you get that out of the way, you’re free as a bird, and you’re working in a target-rich environment loaded with paying passengers.

Try driving with Lyft. Demand for ride-sharing is growing like crazy and 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.

2. List a Spare Room on Airbnb

airbnb in new york
Photo courtesy of Airbnb

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.

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 stock your place 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 New York City.)

3. Find a Flexible Work-From-Home Gig

man working on laptop in new york apartment
Alija/Getty Images

Working from home has its perks. You don’t have to deal with rush-hour traffic or public transportation. There’s no ice or snow in your living room. You can make money without even leaving your apartment. Heck, you don’t even have to leave your couch.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

4. Rent out Your Parking Space

cars driving through new york
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

Parking is at a premium in this city. It’s a hassle, and it’s expensive. If you have an extra parking space anywhere in the five boroughs, you might be able to establish a stream of passive income.

List your space on Craigslist. A quick look at Craiglist’s page for “parking and storage” in NYC shows more than 1,000 listings.

Note, many of these are commercial parking lots. But we also see spots in private driveways in Queens going for $175 to $300 a month. Parking spots a block or two from the beach in Long Beach are going for $300 a month.

Not bad for a slab of asphalt.

5. Invest in Real Estate (From Your Computer)

new york city apartments
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

New York City is all about real estate. It always has been, ever since the Dutch bought Manhattan from the Native Americans in 1626.

Investing in real estate is hot right now, and why not? As Mark Twain supposedly pointed out, they’re not making any more land.

It’s usually complicated, though. You need a lot of money, and then you have to play landlord. But there’s a new way to invest, and you can get started with a minimum investment of just $500. A company called Fundrise does all the heavy lifting for you.

Through the Fundrise Starter Portfolio, your money will be split into two portfolios that support private real estate around the United States.

This isn’t an obscure investment, though. You can see exactly which properties are included in your portfolios — like a set of townhomes in Snoqualmie, Washington, or an apartment building in Charlotte, North Carolina.

You can earn money through quarterly dividend payments and potential appreciation in the value of your shares, just like a stock. Cash flow typically comes from interest payments and property income (e.g. rent).

(But remember: Investments come with risk. While Fundrise has paid distributions every quarter since at least Q2 2016, dividend and principal payments are never guaranteed.)

You’ll pay a 0.85% annual asset management fee and a 0.15% annual investment advisory fee.

Interested? Get started with Fundrise here.

6. Start Your Own Work-From-Home Business

woman working at cafe in new york
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

Working from home sounds great, but maybe you want to set your own schedule, too. That’s where an online course can come in handy, like Bookkeeper Business Launch.

If you’re interested in bookkeeping, take notes from Daniel Honan. The former military officer decided to start his own virtual business, so he signed up for the free Bookkeeper Business Launch course. It helps folks start and grow their business.

Honan finished the courses in about three months. When we talked with him, he had about 10 clients spanning the U.S. and worked 40-hour weeks. He estimated he’d gross about $50,000 during his first year in business.

The first courses are free, so be sure to check them out.

7. Go Mystery Shopping — and Get Free Beer

People drinking after work
People drinking after work

The craft beer industry is hoppin’, so take advantage of it by, well, getting paid to visit breweries.

When you sign up as a mystery shopper, it’s your job to go to a grocery store, gas station, restaurant or, in this case, a breweries, and provide anonymous feedback.

Now, you can get paid to mystery shop — and drink — at breweries in your area through Secret Hopper. (Clever, right?)

The company is looking for detail-oriented beer-drinkers to hop around to different breweries and objectively rate and review their experiences. One Penny Hoarder gave the gig a try. He paid $16 on his visit to a local brewery. Secret Hopper paid him $20 via PayPal within a few days.

So, no, you’re not going to get rich, but you will get free beer, and that makes us hoppy.

All you have to do is sign up, then it’ll contact you when you’re needed.

8. Find Freelance Work, Small Jobs and Side Gigs

young man working on laptop in new york
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

Still need money? Time to scratch up a side gig.

Look through job postings on sites like these:

  • Upwork: You create a profile and search for jobs based on your talents. There are all kinds of opportunities, from web and graphic design to IT and accounting. When you find a job posting that interests you, pitch for the job. If the client likes you, you’re hired.
  • TaskRabbit: This gig site matches workers with people who need help with odd jobs like cleaning houses, making deliveries or completing tasks around the house. Here’s our guide to making money on TaskRabbit.

Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He loves New York City.