Looking for a little extra income without the commitment of a part-time job? There are flexible gigs that let you work when you want, and all sorts of ways to make an extra $5 or $10 on the side. There are even ways to make money while sitting on a couch or during a weekly shopping trip.
A few stunning photographs shot with a smartphone or DSLR camera could lead to extra dough. Sites such as Shutterstock, iStock Photo, and Big Stock Photo let people who upload and tag photos earn licensing fees when someone buys the images. The payout can be well over $100, although some sites charge subscription fees that lower the profits a bit. Shutterbugs can also enter photography contests -- Photo Contest Insider lists many -- or try to sell prints at local coffee shops or galleries.
Instagram offers another outlet for smartphone photographers to make money. Those with thousands of followers can sign lucrative branded-content deals, but there's no requirement on the number of followers to list Instagram pics for sale on Twenty20 (where photographers might get $2 to $32 for a photo) or MobilePrints (where photographers can sell prints for whatever price they want, over what the site charges to make and send an order).
Many sites pay consumers to complete surveys, which might take anywhere from a few minutes to more than an hour and usually pay based on the time invested. Some companies are more reputable than others. Good places to start include Opinion Outpost, which hands out rewards or cash, and the invite-only site Pinecone Research, which pays $3 for each survey (invitations often are available online).
Many companies sell data about their users and customers. Datacoup cuts out the intermediary and compensates people for information they elect to share. It anonymizes data from bank accounts, credit cards, social networks, and the like and arranges payment. A sample account on the site suggests that users who link their Facebook and Twitter accounts and a credit card could get 70 cents a week.
Head to a few local garage sales and look for discount items, then sell them for a higher price on eBay or Craigslist. Head out first thing in the day to get the best merchandise and consider a second run toward the end, when sellers might be more open to negotiations.
Advertise services on Upwork or Freelancer.com and pick up a side gig for extra money. Designers, programmers, writers, and marketers are often in demand. Freelancers may also be able to find job boards that cater to their specific skill set. At Upwork, freelancers set their own rates and the site takes a 5 percent to 20 percent commission.
All too often, a tax refund, pension payment, savings bond, uncashed check, dividend, utility bill refund, or other payment goes unclaimed by its proper recipient. The state collects and holds onto the money, and will send it upon request. Check Unclaimed.org to see if there's money out there with your name attached.
Consumers shopping offline can earn cash back on grocery and household items using apps such as iBotta, Shrink (where cash back is only for first-time purchases), Shopmium, and Checkout 51 (which sends checks at every $20 step). Users accept offers at certain stores, send a picture of the receipt, and sometimes scan a product's barcode.
Love shopping at a particular ecommerce site or know of a great service? Many companies pay out cash or store credit for referring new customers. Tell friends, family, and strangers through word of mouth and social media posts, or get offline and hang up fliers or pass out business cards with a referral link.
Pact is an app where users put money on the line to meet weekly goals, such as working out more or eating better. Those who don't keep their promises have to pay up; those who do (proving it by checking in at the gym or snapping pictures of their meals) get a cut of the proceeds collected from other players. There are wager-free alternatives, as well. Use an activity tracker and connect it to Walgreen's Balance Rewards, Leap4Life, and AchieveMint to earn points and redeem them for cash, store credit, or other prizes.
Related: 14 Ways to Earn Discounts and Free Money for Working Out
The sites HealthyWage and DietBet have betting systems with a weight-loss focus. Contestants declare how much weight they're going to lose and place a bet. If they don't meet the goal, they pay up; if they do, they get a cut of the pot holding everyone else's ante. Combining the weight loss and exercise bets can leave participants fitter, slimmer, and richer.
Amazon's Mechanical Turk is a marketplace for small tasks that need a human touch, which could be anything from transcribing text from images to visiting and classifying websites. Sign up to be a Turk and earn extra money online whenever the mood strikes. Reddit users have compiled a useful start-up guide and clue people into the highest-paying gigs.
Street performing (busking) is a tried-and-true way to collect a few bits. Some people make a living from busking and even gain international recognition. The Naked Cowboy, based in New York City's Time Square, has appeared (in animated form) on "The Simpsons" and inspired many copycats. Playing music, telling jokes, making street art, posing as a living statue, doing acrobatics, and a host of other activities are well-known forms of busking.
Have a creative story to tell or a passion you love to talk about? Consider writing down those thoughts and self-publishing a book via Amazon or Barnes & Noble (or both). Writing and formatting the book takes some time, but the marketplaces have a built-in audience, and once uploaded, an ebook can earn passive income for the foreseeable future.
Short, one-off jobs are a good way to earn extra income. Let the neighbors know you're willing to dog walk, housesit, water plants, rake leaves, etc. This could be particularly effective during the winter holidays or when families take vacations in the summer.
In-person focus groups can pay hundreds of dollars to people who fit the desired profile. Most often participants need to live in or near a major city, because that's where many companies are based. Some reputable focus group companies are Plaza Research; Fieldwork, where pay starts at $75; and Ingather Research, where studies last from 10 minutes to three hours and pay starts at $40 (and might exceed $500).
Everyone has a little clutter they'd like to clear out of their home. Hosting a garage sale is a good way to sell unwanted items, although you may not get top dollar for your goods. Join with a few neighbors to organize a block sale and attract more shoppers.
If a garage sale is not an option or the weather isn't cooperating, there are online opportunities for selling wares. In addition to Craigslist and eBay, Etsy is an option for some items. Krrb is an online marketplace specifically for furniture and vintage goods in select cities.
To sell stuff online but keep things local, join a buy/sell/trade Facebook group, advertising goods and making arrangements to trade for cash with a neighbor.
Old gift cards can pile up, particularly when they're for a rarely visited store. Turn the store credit into cash by selling gifts cards on websites such as Raise, GiftCardZen, and Cardpool, which advertises a cash return of up to 92 percent. Better yet, start by checking GiftCardGranny, an aggregator for current buying and selling prices for used gift cards (which confirms that Cardpool's maximum returns are the highest).
Check local ordinances and see if you and your vehicle qualify, then sign up to drive with Uber, Lyft, or another ride-sharing service. Often there's a big bonus for first-time drivers of up to $1,000, according to the blog the Rideshare Guy.
Related: Thinking About Becoming an Uber Driver? Read This First
Apps such as Instacard and Postmates let people order groceries and other goods online and get them delivered. The companies pay people to do the deliveries on their own schedule (Instacart pays extra for working Sunday). Even people who don't have cars might be able to work as a shopper or cashier.
Medical research studies often pay hundreds or thousands of dollars. Studies may involve taking drugs that are still in development, but not every study requires medication. For example, some people get paid thousands to participate in sleep studies.
People older than 18 and weighing at least 110 pounds may be eligible to donate plasma. Donors may need to undergo medical screenings and examinations. Once cleared, they can earn about $20 to $50 per donation, depending on how much plasma is collected.
Mystery shoppers get paid to buy items at local stores and are reimbursed for their purchases. Sometimes they're even allowed keep the products. Shoppers are sent to clothing stores, gas stations, drugstores, and even restaurants. A few well-known mystery shopper employers include BestMark, Sinclair Customer Metrics, and Market Force.
If you're an expert on a topic, teach others through an online course. You'll need to know how to create and edit video, or at least a slide show, and use recording equipment. You can submit a class to Udemy, which takes a cut of each sale and provides instant access to thousands of students. Or, if you want to market the course yourself, host it on Teachable.
Making money on YouTube isn't easy, but it's doable. Enlisting the help of cute children or kittens can help, as it's all about the views -- and the ads before the video starts. Expect to earn a couple of bucks for every 1,000 views.