Big State, Big Opportunities: 14 Flexible Ways to Make Money in Texas
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Yeah, yeah. You’ve heard it. We’ve all heard it.
Everything is bigger in Texas.
If that’s the case, why aren’t your savings bigger? We get it. Saving money is no easy feat, especially when you’re living paycheck to paycheck. One way to break the cycle is to find ways to earn extra money.
How to Make Money in Texas
Because everything is bigger in Texas, the money-making opportunities should be bigger, right?
We put together a list of ways to earn extra money in the Lone Star State.
1. Find a Work-From-Home Job
One of our favorite ways to earn a little extra money (without leaving the comforts of home, sweet home) is to land a work-from-home job.
You can find one of these opportunities in almost any industry — from customer service to graphic design to health care. If you’re not sure where to start, we recommend searching for work-from-home jobs at ZipRecruiter.
ZipRecruiter automatically geo-targets your search, meaning it pulls up opportunities available in your area. (Yes, even work-from-home jobs have state restrictions.)
Spend some time perusing the listings. If you want even more options, scroll through our list of work-from-home job search sites.
2. Get Paid to Share Your Opinion
Surveys aren't our favorite way to make money, but if you're just vegging out on the couch — or shielding your eyes while being forced to watch “Final Fantasy 113” — why not click a couple buttons and earn a few bucks?
VIP Voice surveys are relatively quick to complete and reward you with points you can redeem for cash or gift cards. Plan to login a few times each week. You’ll have no trouble earning an extra $30 this month with almost no work.
MyPoints lets you earn gift cards for taking polls, answering surveys and other things you do online — a great way to cash in on long lines or an endless commute. You’ll earn a $5 bonus when you complete your first five surveys.
3. Get Paid to Watch Videos
Yup, Swagbucks pays you to watch videos! You won’t earn a lot (up to 150 rewards points per day), but the videos are in all sorts of categories — entertainment, home, travel — so you’re likely to find something that appeals to you.
Or, try this trick: Just turn off the sound on your computer, open a new tab, and keep the videos going in the background while you work.
You can also download the Swagbucks TV app, which plays videos back-to-back on your phone. Again, just plug in your phone, make sure you’re connected to Wi-Fi and set it aside to play videos — and earn rewards — while you do something else.
You could earn up to $90 a month watching videos through Swagbucks!
4. Share What’s in Your Fridge
Remember the Nielsen company? The one that’s always tracked TV ratings? Well, now it wants to know what’s in your fridge.
Once you sign up to be on the Nielsen Consumer Panel, you can either use your smartphone, or the company will send you a free barcode scanner. Every time you go shopping, you simply scan the UPC codes on the back of each product and send your data to Nielsen.
Nielsen will reward you with gift points, which you can redeem for free electronics, jewelry, household items or even toys for the kids.
The longer you stay on the panel, the more opportunity you have to earn points toward prizes. You’ll also receive entries for the panel’s many sweepstakes. Prizes include vacations and brand new vehicles.
5. Earn Extra Money as a Bookkeeper
Does earning $60 an hour sound appealing? How about the freedom to work from home while helping others succeed?
Those are the perks of working as a bookkeeper, says Ben Robinson, a certified public accountant and business owner who teaches others to become virtual bookkeepers.
And no, you don’t have to have a CPA to be successful in this business. In fact, all you really need are decent computer skills and a passion for helping business owners tackle real-world problems.
It’s a great opportunity for moms who want to work part time, millennials who are just out of college and anyone who wants to bring in real money while working from home.
We talked to Robinson about what it takes to become a virtual bookkeeper, as well as tips and advice for making this career track work for you. You can read the full interview here, or check out his website for more information.
6. List Your Extra Room (or Tent or Couch) on 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.
And there's no reason you can't be creatfive. We found a guy who earns $1,380 a month listing a backyard tent on 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.
(Hosting laws vary from city to city. Please understand the rules and regulations applicable to your city and listing.)
7. Get Paid to Watch Movie Previews
Most of you already know about InboxDollars, but did you know that it will pay you to watch movie previews, celebrity videos, the latest news and dozens of other videos? Plus, you'll get a bonus $5 just for signing up.
You need to watch all of the shows in a specific playlist to earn your bucks, so be prepared. InboxDollars lets you know how long the playlist runs before you start watching, and playlists range from a few minutes to about a half hour.
The availability is subject to change, but it's possible to earn up to $225 a month watching these videos!
8. Save a Horse, Drive a Lyft
Need a fun, flexible way to earn money while also meeting lots of new people?
Try driving with Lyft!
Demand for ride-sharing has been growing like crazy, and it 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.
Best of all, he does it on his own time. You can work days, nights or weekends — it’s up to you!
Because it’s simple to switch between apps, many Lyft drivers also sign up as a driver partner with Uber.
As a partner driver with Uber, you’re an independent contractor. You set your own schedule and work as much or as little as you want.
If you want to give it a try, here are a few things to keep in mind: You must be at least 21 years old, have at least one year of licensed driving experience in the U.S. (three years if you're under 23 years old), have a valid U.S. driver's license and pass a background check.
Finally, your car must be a four-door, seat at least four passengers (excluding the driver), be registered in-state and be cover
9. Get Paid to Hang With Cute Pups
Love dogs? Find dog-walking gigs through Rover, an online network of dog walkers. (Ahem, also backed by the beautiful Ashton Kutcher.)
When you create a Rover profile, you’ll gush over how much you love dogs. Then you’ll set your availability and rates. You can commit to a full-time gig or earn a few bucks during your lunch break.
As for income, you can set your own rates. You might want to start with a lower rate, like $10 per 30-minute walk. Then, once you become an established walker, you can start increasing it to match your market’s demand.
Before we get too carried away, note a few requirements:
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Have the latest Rover app for iOS or Android (It’s free!).
- Pass a background check.
- Be available to work on weekdays.
Ready to snuggle every single dog?! For more information, check out our guide to Rover.
10. Find Unclaimed Money
Did you know state treasuries throughout the U.S. have more than $43 billion in unclaimed funds? Just sitting around!
In 2017, one South Carolina man hit the jackpot. He got a phone call from his state treasurer letting him know he was entitled to $763,000 in unclaimed money. That’s, like, 63 years of rent.
We advise you to be careful of calls like this. Chances are, it’s a scam. But you can take matters into your own hands and see if you have any unclaimed money floating around.
11. Become a Taco Journalist
OK, this one might be a bit cliché, but you guys have the best tacos, so why not write about them? Ever heard of a taco journalist?
According to Eater, Texas has a designated taco journalist, Mando Rayo. Fun fact: In 2017 Rayo, along with state representative Gina Hinojosa, crafted a bill that’d make tacos the official dish of Texas (instead of chili).
If tacos aren’t your thing, trust us when we say you can get paid to write just about anything. Plus, as a freelancer, you can work as much or little as you want, so this makes a nice side gig.
Here are some of our favorite freelance writing resources.
12. Get Paid to Go to Football Games
Or attend concerts, conventions, plays and other public events.
Mystery shopping company BestMark is recruiting “shoppers” to attend “sporting events, concerts, conventions, plays and many other public events.” As a mystery shopper, it’s your job to pose as a consumer and to take notes of the products or services you’re reviewing.
To qualify as a shopper at BestMark, you must:
- Be 19 years old or older.
- Have reliable transportation.
- Have good written communication skills.
- Be detail-oriented.
- Have full access to internet (at work or home).
“If you’re fortunate enough to snag an assignment where you get to cover a concert, football game or another public event, you’ll be tasked with making note of how facilities are operated from the perspective of a patron,” the company says.
Check out other mystery shopping opportunities (including test-driving cars).
13. Work With Horses
We get it: Not everyone in Texas is a cowboy who saddles up a horse and rides to work each morning. Loud and clear (though it is fun to picture that). But according to the American Horse Council Foundation, Texas leads the herd in horse-count, with about nearly 800,0001 million in population.
You can get creative and capitalize on these beautiful creatures in a number of ways. One of my former roommates, who’s a Dallas native, suggested cleaning stalls. And, sure, that’s an option. But you can also earn good money as a horse braider.
Take notes from Kat Tretina. She wrote about her experience braiding horses’ manes and tails before shows. In her first attempt at the gig, she made $500 in about six hours. From there, she worked her way up, charging up to $150 per horse. She averaged about $1,000 a month in profits, which helped her pay off student loans.
14. Find a Job Through Amazon
If you follow our work-from-home job opportunities, you’ve probably seen the ever-so-popular Amazon work-from-home customer service listing that pops up every few months.
You’ve also probably seen that it has state requirements — and Texas doesn’t make the list. Womp, womp.
That’s OK, though. There are plenty of other ways to make money though the retail mogul. Here are all your options for how to make money on Amazon, including selling items, delivering through Flex or self-publishing a book.
Plus, hey, Austin and Dallas made the shortlist for the company’s new headquarters, so even more opportunities than you think might be coming your way.
See Also >> Make Money Online (From Anywhere)!
Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Her brother attended the University of Texas at Austin and was probably (definitely) one of those rowdy tenants landlords didn’t want to deal with.