4 “Totality” Awesome Ways to Make Extra Cash During the Solar Eclipse

photographing a solar eclipse
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For the last few months, scientists have been ramming the significance of the coming solar eclipse down our collective throats.

“I have seen people witnessing their first eclipses. And after totality, they are down on their knees, weeping,” retired astrophysicist Fred Espenak said in an interview with NPR. “It’s just an incredibly moving event.”

I totally get it. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event.

But weeping?

And if you’re really cynical like Penny Hoarder staff writer Desiree Stennett, you’re probably particularly unenthused with all the hubbub around the celestial event.

“Because it happens once in a lifetime I feel like I should I care more,” Stennett said. “But I just don’t.”

4 Ways to Make Money During the Solar Eclipse

Still, if you happen to live in the path of totality, here’s what you should care about: the sweet, sweet moola you can make taking advantage of these eclipse-chasers.

Taking advantage is the wrong word — enhancing the solar eclipse experience, is what I mean.

Try these few ways to make it rain during the solar eclipse.

1. Make Your Own Solar Eclipse Viewers — Then Sell Them

Although there are ways to get free glasses to protect your precious eyes during the eclipse, supplies appear to be running low. And, as we found out this week, there were a few unsavory characters selling fake ones on Amazon.

But with some cardboard boxes, duct tape, foil and a sheet of white paper, you can whip up your own awesome contraption for viewing the eclipse.

Give your DIY creation a cool name (I’m thinking “The Eyeball Guardian” or “The Magic Box of Wonder”), then sell them for $5 a piece.

And if you live along the eclipse path, you should have plenty of people in town ready to plop down some cash for a better viewing.

2. Rent Out Your Backyard to Outdoorsy People in Town for the Solar Eclipse

Most of the people I know traveling the country to catch the best view of the eclipse are your classic outdoorsy camper-types.

So if you happen to have a backyard and live in a town with a mild climate, you can make some extra scratch by renting out tents to eclipse tourists. For real.

California resident John Potter did and made $1,380 a month.

But, you should consider the obvious approach and rent out a room in your actual house on Airbnb, as well. The demand for lodging in totality towns should send prices soaring — and fill your pockets.

3. Throw a Radical Solar Eclipse Viewing Party and Charge for Parking

Here’s another money-making strategy for those blessed with a backyard in the eclipse’s path: Throw an awesome solar eclipse viewing party.

NASA has a handy checklist for planning the best solar eclipse party in the universe.

Unfortunately, most of the games are for kids, but I’m sure you can come up with some fun drinking games for adults. “Drink Every Time The Moon Covers the Sun” is a classic.

Here’s a recipe for a solar eclipse cocktail, but we recommend a shot of Jägermeister on top of peach schnapps. Sounds terrible, but it’s like the perfect representation of an eclipse, right?

And if you throw your party on a budget and charge $20 a vehicle for the event, you should be swimming in quick cash. All thanks to the solar eclipse.

4. Photograph the Solar Eclipse for the People Who Want to Actually Want to Watch It

You only have a few minutes to take in the solar eclipse, so it’s probably a bad idea to try to snap pictures and miss the real-life experience.

That is, unless you don’t give a hoot about the whole thing.

Charge attendees at your viewing party for digital prints of the eclipse, or sell your pictures online. It won’t matter if you spend the whole eclipse trying to snag the perfect capture.

Espenak, the retired astrophysicist from earlier, has a wealth of tips on photographing the event. I tend to trust him, as he’s witnessed 27 eclipses in his lifetime.

And even if you don’t want to make money from the solar eclipse, there are also lots of deals out there on everything from stamps to donuts and beer. Because it’s saving money on Earth that truly matters, right?

Alex Mahadevan is a data journalist at The Penny Hoarder.

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