By Andrea Slaydon
Many of us go through times when a little extra cash could really help out. Believe it or not, it’s not that hard to bring in extra income, you just have to know where to start.
Nora Kapche, otherwise known as the “Coupon Contessa,” has a knack for using coupons, doing DIY projects and stretching a dollar any way she can.
“I enjoy sharing fun ways of being frugal with families trying to save money,” said Nora.
Besides cleaver coupon advice, Nora encourages others to use the talents and resources they have to bring in an extra income. The fastest way to make quick money: sell items you already own.
1. Sell Your Stuff Online
Check for community garage sale groups, like bookoo.com. BooKoo divides communities into sections so you can easily post pictures and sell items according to where you live. Another option for selling your items is craigslist.org. Nora points out that selling websites like ebay.com is an option, but you will have to pack and ship the item, so there is an added time and expense. Totspot (totspot.me) is a mom-to-mom mobile marketplace for buying and selling gently used or new children’s clothing. All transactions are handled in-app.
2. Have a Garage Sale
If your neighborhood allows it, a garage sale is probably the easiest way to make extra money. Nora’s top tips: organize items in clear view on tables and place in categories like clothing, kitchen items, etc. She also recommends not putting price tags on everything, sometimes people will offer more than you had in mind. Another option is to hire someone to help you. Grand Slam Garage Sales (grandslamgaragesales.com) is a company that manages the garage sale for you, and they keep part of the profit.
3. Sell Handmade Items
Do you have a talent such as watercolor painting or sewing? Consider selling your homemade goods on ETSY.com. You can open a virtual store on ETSY and sell your items. There is no fee to join, but the website will take a cut of your sell.
4. Consignment Shops
A consignment shop takes everything from clothing and handbags to scarves and shoes. Typically you drop off items at a consignment shop and return later after the items have been sold to collect your cut of the sale. Depending on where you go, the consignment shop will
keep part of the profit, usually it’s between 20-40%. Some resale/consignment shops like Once Upon A Child, Plato’s Closet and Buffalo Exchange will give you cash on the spot for your items.
5. Thrift Store Flip
Thrift stores are full of items that you can’t buy anymore. While you may pay $1 for a random plate, someone in Chicago could be looking for that one plate to complete a set and be willing to pay big bucks for it. Stop by thrift shops and pick out items you think may sell on EBay.com or in the vintage/antique section of ETSY.com. Items that work great for flips: dishes, tupperware, old toys, paintings, shoes, jeans, graphic T Shirts, gadgets, tins, clocks and books.
6. Sell Your Old Books
Empty out your bookshelves and fill up your wallet! bookscouter.com compares book prices from 58 different book-buying websites and finds the one who will pay the most for your books! You can get paid easily through Paypal, print out the free shipping label and mail your books straight to the buyer.
7. Pet Sitting
Consider walking dogs or pet sitting. DogVacay.com is an online bank of pet sitters.
Rachael King, with DogVacay, tells us there is a huge need for dog sitters in the Houston area. Potential sitters go through a five-step vetting process that includes a phone interview, background screening, references and training.
“They get to set their own rates and schedule. Millions of dollars have been paid out to DogVacay sitters — our top sitters make over six figures a year!” said King.
If you have kids of your own, this may actually work great for you. You already have toys and probably have a great idea of what kids need, so why not get paid to help out another family? Advertise your babysitting services for free on care.com or sittercity.com. You can also post your services on your own social media sites, you never know someone else who may need help.
9. Pick Up a Side Job
Have professional skills you can put to work? All About People (allaboutpeople.net) is a company that helps people find jobs. Owner Ray LaStrape says there are options that fit just about any schedule.
“We have clients who may host a weekend training or marketing event and need professionals to help out on a Saturday and/or Sunday,” said LaStrape, “We may have a client who has a heavy workload and need someone to come in a few hours each day to help catch up. Many of our clients present opportunities that are ideal for someone looking to earn some extra income with limited availability.”
Some of the hottest jobs out there for the holiday season include: executive assistant, payroll manager, property manager and call center workers.
10. Work from Computer
The freelancing website mturk.com pays you to perform very simple tasks on your computer. “HITS” or Human Intelligence Tasks are things computers have a hard time doing. HITS could be things like transcribing audio recordings, checking an ad for spelling mistakes or watching a video and picking out your favorite. Rates vary, but some tasks pay as low as 1 cent, others a few dollars.
11. Drive People Places
Get paid just for helping people get around town by using Uber (uber.com). You use your own car and set up appointments to drive people around. The pay is $15 per hour, but you have to pay your own tolls and gas bill.
12. Deliver Packages
Think Amazon delivery meets the Uber model of business. With Amazon Flex, you can earn $25 an hour by delivering packages your neighbors order from Amazon.
13. Get Paid to Lose Weight
DietBet and HealthyWage are websites that pay you money to lose weight. In a recent “Diet Bet” members paid $35 to join the bet, agreeing to lose 4% body fat to win. If you lose the weight, you are guaranteed to get your original bet back. The exact amount depends on how many other people win. For the $35 buy in example, winners ended up taking home $52.35 total. You must take pictures to prove your weight loss.
14. Answer Surveys
There are a lot of companies that will pay you for your opinion. Nora recommends: Swagbucks, Opinion Outpost, American Consumer Opinion, Nielson Digital Voice, Pro Opinion, Harris Poll Online, and Inbox Dollars. Nora says if the survey company asks you to pay money to join or use, don’t do it.
15. Sell Your Photos
If you have a good eye for taking pictures, consider selling your pictures online. The website foap.com allows you to upload your own pictures and sell them. You can make $5 per photo. (Some businesses pay a lot of money buying stock photos for ads, websites and other campaigns. This is a way for the average person to take part in the “stock photo” world.)
Other websites that offer a similar selling option: shutterstock.com and smugmug.com.
In late 2015, the Houston Police Department established “Safe Havens” for people to meet up to buy and sell items. Houston Police Department parking lots can be used as meeting locations. but police say they will not get involved. For example, they won’t run a serial number on something to make sure it’s not stolen. Police just hope meeting in the parking lot will deter crime and keep people safe. For details, click here.
Andrea Slaydon is an Emmy award winning journalist and freelance writer based in Houston, Texas. A former TV producer, she now enjoys writing content, editing video and rocking social media for various businesses around town.