21 Simple Ways for Women to Make Extra Money in Their Free Time
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Despite what my alumni association and dozens of credit card offers — so cordially addressed to “Mr. Kohler” — would have you believe, I, Carson Kohler, am in fact a woman.
And I’m a woman who likes to make money.
Sure, I have a full-time job with a solid salary and benefits. But I can always use extra cash to help out with rent, groceries and unnecessary splurges.
In my search for income, I found a ton of ways women can make money (without necessarily welcoming unknown humans into your car), including starting a work-from-home business, investing in real estate online and even becoming a mermaid.
21 Ways for Women to Make Money
In the words of Shania Twain: “Let’s go, girls.”
1. Get Paid to Enjoy Spa Treatments
Spa day, anyone? Sign me up. Get paid for it? Heck yeah!
Wondering how? Two words: Mystery shopping.
Mystery shopping is the act of posing as a customer but secretly reviewing services and products — and getting paid to do so. You can get paid to go mystery shopping for just about anything, including spa treatments.
Penny Hoarder contributor Steve Gillman put together a list of mystery shopper jobs, and, yes, one includes going to the spa.
2. Fill This out While You “Watch” a Movie With Your Kids (Again)
Surveys aren't our favorite way to make money, but if you're just vegging out on the couch — or sitting through “Moana” with your toddler for the 27th time — why not click a couple buttons and earn a few bucks?
3. Support Women-Owned Businesses
Traditional investing companies have never really considered the fact that women statistically get paid less, yet live longer. That’s why Sallie Krawcheck, a former Wall Street CEO and an adamant proponent of women’s financial power, founded Ellevest.
It’s an investing platform designed for women, by women and in support of other women. It uses a unique algorithm designed to help you better plan for the future.
Once you sign up for free, Ellevest will issue you a free personalized investment plan. Play around with the numbers. See how much you could save depending on how much you’d contribute each month.
Ellevest’s “digital” plan is designed to be accessible. There’s no minimum balance, and you’ll pay an annual fee of 0.25% of your assets under management to Ellevest. For context, that’s $25 on a $10,000 account.
4. Get Paid to Get Fit
Listen. Losing weight and getting fit is easier said than done. (I’ve been saying this for years now, and I haven’t gotten it done…)
But will a little bit of money motivate you?
It’s motivating Marcie Hagner, who has placed a bet on her weight-loss goals through HealthyWage. If she can lose the 50 pounds she bet she could, she’ll pocket $862.
“Money is a huge motivator for me,” she says. “Especially because I don’t have a lot. I don’t want to give somebody $500, especially for something I can control and do.”
Read more about how she’s finding motivation to lose weight through HealthyWage.
5. Stock up Your Coins
Acorns is a simple savings and investment app that rounds your credit or debit card purchases up to the nearest dollar and invests the digital change.
You can connect the app to your credit or debit card and let it automatically round up all your transactions, or manually round up only the ones you choose.
Contributor CJ Reid does the latter, accepting roundups of less than $0.50, such as her $3.60 cup of coffee.
“Rounding up 40 cents here and 25 cents there moves me swiftly enough to $5 so that I can begin investing without putting myself into the red,” she says.
Once your round ups reach $5, that amount will be transferred from your bank to your Acorns account, and invested into your chosen portfolio.
“Acorns makes it easy to invest by removing the responsibility of choosing individual investments or worrying about trades,” Reid explains. “You don’t need any previous investment knowledge or history.”
And once you get the process automated, Acorns investments make your digital change work for you.
“With a conservative portfolio,” Reid says, “I turned $15 into $19 within a few weeks.”
Bonus: Right now, Acorns will give you $10 after you sign up and make your first investment.
6. Stop Deleting Your Emails
It turns out deleting your emails could be costing you money. Intrigued?
One of our secret weapons is called Paribus — a tool that gets you money back for your online purchases. It's free to sign up, and once you do, it will scan your email for any receipts. If it discovers you’ve purchased something from one of its monitored retailers, it will track the item’s price and help you get a refund when there’s a price drop.
Plus, if your guaranteed shipment shows up late, Paribus will help you get compensated.
7. Start a Work-From-Home Business
Working from home is the dream, right?
But sometimes you don’t want to slip into any ol‘ customer service gig. Try striking up your own home-based business. You’ll truly get to set your own hours and determine your week’s workload.
If you’re not sure where to start, this free online workshop from Proofread Anywhere will lay it all out for you.
Joanna Kelley, a mom of three, discovered Proofread Anywhere and decided to give a free introductory course a try. Now, she works five to 20 hours a week and makes up to $1,200 a month in her own time.
8. Rent out Your Car
With the Getaround app, you can safely rent out your car to people in your community and neighborhood. The company insures your car for each trip, offers 24/7 roadside assistance and screens drivers for a safe driving record.
That’s more assurance than you get when your teenager gets behind the wheel…
Here’s how it works:
- Sign up with your Facebook account to rent out your car here.
- Set your own rates and availability.
- You’ll get a notification when someone books your car.
- Your car will be equipped with a Getaround Connect™, so renters will be able to locate, unlock and lock your car from their mobile phone during the trip period. No need to meet in person to exchange keys.
Like many side gigs that involve your car, some car owners worry about the costs for things like gas and wear and tear on the vehicle. With Getaround, renters are responsible for refilling the fuel used on the trip.
We also checked in with the company to see what it’s doing to address car owners’ concerns, and the CEO Sam Zaid told us, “Fortunately, customer feedback is one of the best ways we can learn and grow. We take feedback seriously and prioritize product updates based on our conversations with owners and renters.”
So don’t be afraid to share your experience to make this an even better platform for car owners and renters.
9. Serve as a Mock Juror
Like every other person these days, I’ve become obsessed with true-crime podcasts. “My Favorite Murder,” anyone?
If you want an insider look at what happens when a case hits the courtroom, you can serve as an online mock juror. As a mock juror, you’ll help lawyers prepare for real cases. You can earn $10 to $60 for about an hour of your time.
From your computer, you’ll review evidence including documents, videos and photos.
10. Swipe for Cash Back on Everything
If you’re looking for a passive way to earn some money throughout the year, a cash-back credit card is perhaps one of the easiest methods.
You just have to be sure you don’t get too carried away with those purchases — and that the card is paid off at the end of each billing period.
Here’s an option we like: It’s the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. Its claim to fame? You’ll earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all your purchases. Plus, if you spend $500 in your first three months of opening the card (hi, groceries), you’ll pocket a $150 bonus.
There’s no annual fee, and the cash-back rewards don’t expire. We checked Credible’s annual rewards calculator, and it estimates $417 in annual rewards based on our spending habits.* (You can enter your unique spending habits and see what you’d earn, too.)
Get signed up — and 0% intro APR for 15 months — here.
11. Deliver Takeout
Sweet, sweet takeout. Sure, you love it. You probably spend too much money on it. Don’t we all? Earn some of those expenses back by delivering orders to others through Uber Eats.
For Uber Eats, requirements vary by location but tend to require you to:
- Be at least 19 years old if delivering by car.
- Deliver via car (must be a 1997 or newer with at least two doors), bike, scooter or foot depending on your area.
- Pass a background check.
- Have a valid driver’s license and insurance (if you deliver by car or scooter).
For all the information you need, head over to the Uber Eats sign-up page.
12. Invest in Real Estate (Online)
Want to try real-estate investing — without playing landlord? We found a company that helps you do just that.
Oh, and you don’t have to have hundreds of thousands of dollars, either. 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 interest payments and property income (e.g. rent). You’ll get paid via quarterly distributions, plus extra periodic distributions if properties are sold.
Katie Smith, a recent grad from Georgetown University, was looking for a way for her money to earn more than the 0.01% interest her savings account offered. Real estate was appealing, but she didn’t have “buy a house” kind of money.
Instead, she invested a couple grand with Fundrise.
“I’ve been really pleased with the results,” she says. “I own a piece of an apartment complex in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Property on the West Coast. Bits and pieces of apartment complexes in Texas and Denver, a construction loan, a mixed-use property.”
(But remember: Investments come with risk. While Fundrise has paid distributions every quarter since at least Q2 2016, your payment is never guaranteed.)
You’ll pay a 0.85% annual asset management fee and a 0.15% annual investment advisory fee.
13. Cash in on Minimalism
Living that #Minimalist lifestyle is all the rage right now, so why not use this mentality to your advantage?
Start taking a good hard look at your belongings. What do you actually need? What can you make money from?
- Clothes: If you have clothes you haven’t worn in the last year, why do you hang onto them? Try selling them to folks in your area through an online marketplace like Letgo. It takes about five minutes to create your account and list an item, and it’s free.
- Technology: About your overcrowded entertainment center, likely full of outdated music and movies… Consider selling these items to Decluttr. It’ll buy your old CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, video games and even cell phones and tablets. Shipping is free, and Decluttr pays you within 24 hours of retrieval.
- Books: Bookshelf collecting dust? We love books as much as the next person, but see whether your treasures are worth anything by listing them on Amazon. With Amazon Trade-In, you can trade in your used textbooks, plus other items, like electronics, in exchange for an Amazon gift card.
- Gift cards: While you’re digging out those stiff winter coats, check the pockets. You might come across a gift card or two in there. If you do, sell it for rent money through a gift-card exchange site like Raise.
Ready, set, purge.
14. Swim out Your Lifelong Dream as a Professional Mermaid
Y’all. Childhood dreams do come true.
Various parks, aquariums and bars/lounges around the U.S. employ women to perform as mermaids.
The only catch? You’ve got to be a strong swimmer. You’ve also got to be willing to make at most $12 an hour as a Florida state worker.
But, hey, for some, living out a lifelong dream is worth it.
(Note: The park also employs princes.)
15. Teach English Online
If a classroom full of grimy squealing kids isn’t your scene… we get it. You can still work as a teacher. Better yet: You work as a teacher, set your own hours and work from home.
There are several online-learning platforms focused on teaching English as a second language to students in other countries.
Angela Brumbaugh is a QKids teacher. She teaches 36 half-hour sessions a week and makes up to $20 an hour.
“The curriculum is set for you before class, and your job is to simply guide the children through the lesson, offering guidance, smiles and tons of encouragement,” she says. That’s a big perk for many: No lesson planning.
“The students are hard-working, curious and light up the classroom with their smiles,” she says. “Class time actually goes by fast, and the only con I can see is sometimes I wish I had more time to spend with them!”
16. Become a Work-From-Home Disney Travel Agent
Obsessed with Disney? And want to work from home?
One Penny Hoarder contributor caught up with Kari Bonnes, who is a big fan of Disney and the founder of Marvelous Mouse Travels, a travel agency that specializes in (you guessed it!) Disney vacations.
Although the business is based in North Carolina, work-from-home agents are based across the country as independent contractors. The pay depends on dedication and hours.
“I offer generous commissions to my agents, plus referral bonuses,” Bonnes says. “I have some agents who make $35,000 to $40,000 a year working part time. But I also have others who just book a trip here and there and bring in some side income.”
A major requirement? Be familiar with Disney parks. Fill out the online application for a chance to join the Marvelous Mouse Travels team.
17. Get Paid Just for Walking into Stores
No extreme physical activity or pulled muscles required for this money-making trick. All you need to do is download the Shopkick app.
Once you sign up, the app pays you in “kicks” for walking into certain stores (including Walmart, Target, TJMaxx and more). You can redeem them for gift cards to a number of retailers, including Amazon, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, Sephora and Best Buy.
It pays you even more “kicks” for photos of receipts that include qualifying items you purchased in-store with a connected credit or debit card. You can also earn kicks for online purchases. You don’t have to do anything; your linked cards will automatically apply your kicks.
But don’t make the mistake of buying things you don’t need just for “kicks,” you know better than that.
18. Make Money via Amazon
Sure, you might spend a lot of money on Amazon, but you can also make a lot of money on the platform, too.
Consider: Selling products, becoming a work-from-home customer service agent or delivering packages through Amazon Flex. The options are endless… well, until you hit 11 because we rounded up 11 ways to make money on Amazon.
19. Sell Your Doodles
If you have a knack for designing and drawing, you can submit your creations to become rubber stamps through an online retailer like Azeeda, formerly Stamp-Press.
As a stamp designer for Azeeda, you’ll submit your designs and, if accepted, you’ll get paid on commission.
Learn more about submitting your designs for stamps, stencils and gift tags.
20. Strike a Prose
I cannot tell a lie: I’ve spent way too long in way too many greeting card aisles.
If you’re struggling to pick out the perfect prose, why not just get paid to write some new cards of your own?
21. Rent out Your Old Baby Gear
Are you a mom?
You’ve probably got a lot of baby gear. Think: a crib, a car seat, a playset. Don’t let them collect dust when your kid starts growing out of all that stuff. You can rent out those old baby necessities to traveling parents. Because it costs how much to check a stroller on a plane?!
Check out this peer-to-peer rental site called goBaby. There, parents who are traveling can hit you up for that stroller or car seat so they don’t have to travel with the cumbersome gear.
And you can make some money. Sounds like a win-win.
OK Now Ladies…
Whether you’re looking for ways to make rent, start investing or even just treat yourself to a vacation, it’s time to make some money.
See you at the next mermaid tryouts.
*Annual Rewards amounts will change based on the amounts you enter. The monthly spending category names and definitions may vary among issuers, and categories may not align one-to-one.
The information for the Chase Freedom Unlimited card has been collected independently by The Penny Hoarder. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. The Penny Hoarder is a partner of Credible.
Carson Kohler ([email protected]) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s humming along to Shania Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like a Woman.”