There are entire sites dedicated to tons of crazy ways to make money in addition to your day job, etc… I’ve read a lot of those sites. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it’s crunch time. A’int nobody got time for a list of the 101 ways to make $5. If you’re wanting to scrape together a few hundred bucks in the next couple months before Christmas, this is your list. (If you want 1,000 more crazy ideas for making extra money online, The Penny Hoarder is your website. He’s got a lot of great ideas for hoarding pennies and such.)
A disclaimer about side hustling from home. It is extremely important to know how much your time is worth. My husband works 50+ hours per week at his job, and if he had time to work on the side, he’d make way more than $25. Swagbucks and User Testing… not worth his time.
Me? I’m a stay at home mom. And while I personally find my contribution to society and my children’s lives very valuable, my hourly rate is pretty low 😉 Not to mention, we have $70,000 to pay off in loans. So, it’s “worth my time” to spend 5 minutes downloading an app that makes me $60 bucks that year, while watching a TV show or drinking a cup of coffee during my kids’ naps.
There’s a funny story in our family that illustrates this well. Someone in our family is a doctor. His family has 2 dogs. It’s a running joke that he gets tired of paying over a hundred dollars, several times a year for the dogs’ grooming. So, he decided to DIY grooming their dogs. It took up a lot of a Saturday, and the dogs looked, well, different. When he reappeared from the dog-grooming task he’d been at all morning, it quickly became clear this was not his favorite way to spend a Saturday. His wife said, “Honey, that was not worth your time.” The point being, had he opened up his office, he would have made WAY more than he saved by grooming his own dogs one time. Our family likes to laugh about that story, but it gets the point across here. Know what your time is worth.
After 5 years of frugal Christmases, these are my top tips for making extra money from home for Christmas while you binge watch netflix. 🙂
Ways to Make Extra Money From Home Before Christmas
Companies (like Amazon or Air BnB) pay other companies (like User Testing) to pay people (like you and me) to test their website. You apply/ sign up at UserTesting.Com. Once you’re approved, you download a screen recording software. Whenever you want, you open usertesting.com and login to your dashboard.
On average, the tests take anywhere from 5-10 minutes. They just pop up and you click accept or decline. I leave my dashboard open when I have some quiet free time (naps/ evening). They pay $10 per test. $1 minute = $60/ hour. Not bad.
There aren’t tests all the time. The more you leave it open, the more you’ll get. Once you’ve taken 10 tests and been rated highly by their clients, they’ll give you the option to do mobile tests too.
This blog post has a list of 11 sites that will pay you to test websites. The only one I have experience with is Usertesting.com.
Ya’ll here are pictures of some of the crap I’ve sold on craigslist.
You definitely have stuff in your house you don’t use or need. If I were to do a massive purging all at once (like, if I needed Christmas spending money ASAP… wink wink), here’s how I would do it.
- 1-2 hours: purge your house and make a giant pile of all your junk.
- 1 hour: individually photograph all of it. Take good pictures. Don’t have extra stuff in view. Put it on carpet or wood floors or a clean table. No glare, no shadows. Better pictures sell junk faster!
- 1 hour: Create separate listings, price it what you’d pay for it.
- Keep an eye on your email for the next week. Staying in touch with people is, in my opinion, the biggest hassle, especially if you have a bunch of stuff for sale. When I have more than 3 things on CL at a time, I write down the name, time and email/ phone of the person who is coming on my calendar. I forgot to do this the other day and someone came while I was gone and Ben was home sick, napping. Woops!
If you do this in batches instead of doing each of those 3 steps for every item separately, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and headache.
Think of it as 3-4 hours of work for hundreds of dollars (depending on how much junk you have and how valuable it is).
Consign Your Clothes & Your Kids Clothes
I’ve sold a few clothing items on craigslist, but mostly I consign stuff I don’t wear anymore or just donate it to Goodwill. Plato’s closet gave me $15 for 5 items the other day. The kids’ resale stores in town are usually looking for good quality toys/ baby gear as well as the upcoming season’s clothes in good shape.
There are also clothes consignment websites that pay for gently used things, especially if you and your kiddos have name brand or designer clothes. I made some money selling to liketwice.com (now ebay valet) and I’ve also heard good things about thredup.com*. (Use my Thredup link for $10 off your first purchase.) 🙂
Pro Tip: The local stores are usually same-day cash. If you have high quality, brand name clothes you are getting rid of, you will most likely make more at one of those online sites, but there’s a turnaround time. You fill out a form, they send you a bag in the mail (that’s free and has postage paid). You send it back (don’t pay postage), they evaluate your stuff and post an offer on your account. It’s probably a 2-4 week turnaround time. So, don’t do it December 10 and hope you’ll have extra money for Christmas shopping… unless you’re celebrating Christmas in January.
Smart Panel App
There are several companies that will pay you for your data. I just learned about this. (On the aforementioned Penny Hoarder site. I’m tellin ya, that guy has a boatload of ideas!) Anyway, the one on his list I had good success with was the Smart Panel App. You sign up, download the app on your phone, and make $15 for the initial download, as well as $5/ month for every month you have it downloaded. If you did it now, you could make $25 by Christmas, and $60 next year. Depending on how much you spend per person, that’s 2 people’s gifts or a new holiday party dress for 5 minutes of work. They pay you through paypal or in Amazon Gift Cards.
This should really be a post by itself because there is definitely a way to maximize your swagbucks time and effort. But the easiest way to start earning swagbucks is: sign up, install the search bar on your browser, and set it as your home page*. If you do nothing else, you’ll earn swagbucks just by searching the internet or shopping online. For example, I just ordered a mixbook product for $50. Swagbucks is installed on my computer and they pay 4SB per dollar spent. That’s 200SB which is equal to $2.00 Tons of money, no? More money than I would have made not using swagbucks? Yep.
If you shop online a lot, Swagbucks is a super-easy no brainer. Once you have it installed, if you’re on a site where there’s a SB promotion, it just pops this up so you know. You click “activate” and that’s it.
I also do some of the mindless swagbuck gimmicky things (5 question surveys, daily poll, sign up for junk mail etc…), to earn extra swagbucks. I’ve earned a few hundred dollars in a year on Swagbucks. You can convert your swagbucks to giftcards that can be used online (Amazon, Walmart.Com, Target.com, Visa, etc…) or you can purchase gas gift cards that get sent to you in the mail. Like I said, this is a post all on it’s own. Another day 😉 A couple other sites you can look into that are like this are Cash Crate and Inbox Dollars. I’ve tried both but mainly focused on swagbucks. I hear good things about those.
Grocery Savings Apps
I use 4 grocery-savings apps that save you money after you shop.
Most weeks, I make around $5.00 back after my grocery trip. It takes a couple minutes at first until you get the hang of each app. I can do all of them in less than 10 minutes after a grocery tip. It’s not a ton of money, but if you go every week, you’d make $260/ year. They have several great offers on name-brand products, but since we mostly buy fresh + generic brand foods, there are only a couple offers that work for me each week. You’d probably save more if you buy name brand foods.
Amazon Shopper Consultant
This is very strange. A friend referred me to this program. This is how it works. They send you an email telling you to buy a specific book on Amazon. You buy the book, and send them your receipt as well as your shipping confirmation email. Two days later, they reimburse you (via paypal) for the book + pay you $10.00. You can’t return the to Amazon, but you can sell it on ebay or at Half Price Books. They’re always pretty new books, so I tend to make an extra $5.00 selling the free book I was paid to buy. The books come at random intervals, not all the time. I’ve bought 11 so far this year. The big perk of this program is the free Amazon Prime Membership. They reimburse you for it annually. In addition to the shipping perks of having an Amazon Prime Membership, we get to watch a lot of shows and movies for free, and even read some books for free. We definitely wouldn’t spend $100/ year on Prime while getting out of debt, so that’s a nice side perk. Plus the additional $180/ year I make buying/ selling the books. Weird? Yes. Tons of money? No. But it covers $40 Christmas gifts for 7 people. 🙂
You can apply through this link. Click “apply,” and put my name in the referral box: Renee Cook. Often they only accept applicants from referrals 🙂 (If a screen says there is an insecure connection, you can click “advanced” and then “proceed” to bypass that… I’ve never had a problem with this site, so I don’t know why that comes up.)
Okay, this one technically isn’t “side hustle from home,” but…. Is there anything you can do at your current job to make some extra dough? Overtime. Extra project. Tutoring. I recently quit teaching piano to focus on blogging, but if I was teaching piano still, here’s an example of something I could have done. I could offer a Gift Card package for Piano Lessons. 6 Lessons for the price of 4. Grandma can buy her kiddo a gift card to your studio (before Christmas), give it to the child for Christmas, and it’s an easy risk-free way for a family to test out lessons without committing for a school year. Plus, you get a potential new student (or several) in the middle of the year. PLUS, you get they money before Christmas. (Then you have to be the most awesome teacher ever for those 6 lessons so they’ll keep coming back!)
Think outside the box & get creative about ways to step up your income at your current “day job,” whatever that may be. You will probably get the most ‘bang for your buck’ working harder at your extra job!
Do you make money from home? Any other ways you’ve had success making money online? Or, do you have other ideas about side jobs people could pick up last minute before Christmas?
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