20+ Ways to Earn Extra Side Income (that will actually make you money)

Whether you’re saving up or trying to get out of debt, here are 20 ways to earn some extra side income.

Disclaimer: Some of the following links are affiliate links. I make a small commission from some of the links on this site.

Over the past few months, I’ve been gearing up for a road trip from Indiana to California. I wanted to earn an extra $1200 to pay for the trip – which included dog-friendly lodging, meals, and gas. Then, I’m not sure whether or I’ll stay out there or will head back to the midwest. Either way, it’ll be another bunch of hefty expenses that I don’t want to dip into my savings or my regular income with.

What this list is NOT

This list is not full of scammy “get rich quick” schemes. A lot of similar “make side cash” articles have a bunch of ideas that take years to see money from – like a blog or YouTube channel. I don’t recommend starting either with the intention of making big money, unless you have a strong background in marketing/business. Additionally, a lot of the “survey” options people suggest are good if you have loads of spare time, but they’re time-consuming for a low payout.

This list is to help you consider your strengths to help you make some side cash.

A few general tips before we get started:

1. Know what you’re good at.

I love dogs, graphic design, sustainability, taking pictures, and selling stuff. If kids aren’t your forte, don’t try babysitting. If sitting in front of a computer for hours sounds awful, web design might not be for you. Know your skills and what you’re good at. Capitalize on it.

2. Know the market

With apps like Uber or DoorDash, the key to successfully making money is knowing which gigs to take and knowing the market. This might take time and will vary according to the area you live.

3. Some take more time than others to get started.

Starting a successful online business is hard. With lots of competition, it takes a lot of time. Utilize your specific skills to figure out where you want to pour your time and effort into.

20 Ways to Earn Extra Side Income

1. Sell old items

I’ve always known my current apartment was temporary so have tried living a minimalist lifestyle. Because I’m preparing for moving literally across the country, I wanted to sell as much as I could to recoup some money. In the past few months, I’ve been able to make over $700 between dumpster diving during my dog walks and reselling items and selling old things around my apartment. For selling clothes, I use Mercari. It’s similar to Poshmark but fees and shipping are lower so stuff moves faster. For selling larger items, I use Facebook marketplace.

One of the best ways to earn money is to save the money you currently have. As a general rule, I wait at least 72 hours before impulse purchasing. Borrow from friends instead of buying new for one-time events. Try to get at least 30 wears out of each outfit. See if there’s something in your house that you can make-do with instead of having to buy new.


  • Take good photos! If it’s crumbled up and looks bad, chances are it won’t sell quickly. Even if it’s just a small, single item, taking photos from multiple angles can help the buyer visualize the item.
  • Provide measurements
  • Use old packaging for free shipping materials / Save old boxes and packaging from stuff you buy online to ship out stuff! Eco-friendly and FREE!

2. Dog sit or walk on Rover

I LOVE dogs so dog walking on Rover has been perfect for me. My apartment isn’t great for housing dogs overnight, but I’ve had several gigs dog walking or checking in on dogs when owners are away for a few days. Plus, I get my exercise in and can listen to audiobooks. I’ve made about $700 in the past 3 months on Rover.


  • Create a good bio that sets yourself apart from others. Use correct spelling/grammar. (have someone help you proofread if needed) Upload good pictures of yourself/yourself with dogs.
  • Price yourself competitively at first – check and see what others around you charge.
  • Go above and beyond for your current clients – send them detailed updates, photos, and notes about their fur-babies.

3. Ride-sharing apps

Uber and Lyft are popular options for freelance ride-sharing. Like other freelance apps, making money comes down to knowing which gigs to take and which ones not to. (Take advice from this Uber driver.)

4. Tutoring

If you’re skilled in a certain area – math, science, English, Spanish – consider tutoring locally. If you’re a student, see if your local college or library has tutoring programs.

5. Teach a foreign language

I’ve loved taking Spanish classes on iTalki. iTalki allows people to find language tutors and allows tutors to teach a foreign language online. iTalki is great because there are people from all over the world and of all age ranges which is nice.

6. Photography

If you have an eye for photography, a nice DSLR, and great editing skills: start photographing events! The key to great photography is good angles and editing. I personally love doing product photography and have enjoyed doing this for more experience and to grow my portfolio.

7. Sell stock images

Companies like Shutterstock or DepositPhotos will pay you for your images – a great option for professional photographers. Be sure to read the licenses and terms of use very carefully.

8. Deliver groceries or food

From Uber Eats to Shipt to Instacart, delivering groceries for people can be a great option if you live in a city. Having success on any of these apps requires strategy in choosing which gigs to accept to maximize profit.

9. Use cash back

I only have one credit card, my Discover. I’m a huge Dave Ramsey fan but disagree with only using debit cards. I have a great credit score which has helped me with apartment and house hunting. My Discover card has no fees and 1% cash back that I’ve been able to cash out for both cash and AirBnb gift cards. (Use my link to get an extra $50 when you make your first purchase with Discover!)

Taking advantage of cash back doesn’t require any extra time.

10. Create an Etsy account

Over the pandemic, my friend Hannah opened up an Etsy shop to raise money for a local nonprofit. She’s had over 250 sales! While lots of shops began creating face masks, hers were especially comfy, part of the proceeds gave back, and they had cute prints. Her promotional images are clean and pretty. I love supporting indie creators on Etsy, which is frequently my go-to for gifts.


  • Analyze competitors. How can you set your products apart? 
  • Use keyword-rich descriptions. If someone was searching Google for your item, what are some things they’d type up?

11. Substitute teach

Substitute teaching doesn’t require an official teacher license. Usually, a high school diploma is the primary requirement. If you’re passionate about education, this flexible option might be a good fit.

12. Sell baked goods

You may need a food license, but if you’ve had a knack for baking or cooking, sell your treats! I know a few bakers and cooks locally that create pre-packaged meals and sell them or that make macarons, cookies, cakes, and more.

13. Become a virtual assistant

If you have a background in design, create a portfolio and freelance design. I’ve found gigs on Facebook, but Upwork is a popular option. Working as a designer and virtual assistant (VA) helped me graduate college debt-free.

14. Rent out spare bedrooms

With AirBnb or Furnished Finder (a place for travel nurses), you can rent out spare bedrooms for extra cash. Like many of the other online options on this list, the best way to have positive experiences is by relying on reviews! 

15. Teach English online

I’ve had friends who have taught English online, even without knowing the language the other person is speaking. Check out VIP Kid.

16. Teach workout classes

Have a passion for fitness? Some local gyms and dance studios hire part-time for classes. Becoming a Pure Barre instructor pays $22-30 per class with flexible times.

17. Become a voice actor

If the entertainment businesses for you, through ACX, you’re able to narrate audiobooks. You can choose which payment structure you’d like – hourly or 50% royalties.

18. Babysit

If you enjoy hanging out with kids, check out Care.com for nanny and babysitting gigs.

19. Clean houses/declutter

20. Yard work (lawn moving, etc.)

21. Complete handyman jobs

Use TaskRabbit to find handyman odd jobs, like helping people with moving or assembling furniture. TaskRabbit is only available in major cities though.

22. Bonus: Volunteer!

Volunteering your time might seem counter-intuitive to making money, but if you’re looking for a part-time or full-time job, volunteering is a great way to meet new people that can become leads for jobs. Plus, if you’re needing a resume builder, it looks good on a resume.

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