Legit Ways to Earn Extra Cash

Welcome back, friends! In our last post, we discussed that our finances were a bit off track and took a deep-dive into our budget and expenses to make some adjustments. If you missed that post, go give it a quick read (it’s short) then come on back. We’ve been looking for ways to increase our income and earn extra cash, but we’d also love to know your ideas too, so share away!

If you’re like me, you have a good idea where this post is going because you’ve googled “earning extra cash” or other similar searches. These posts are always popular, usually and contain the same recommendations, but they are often full of less-than-helpful ideas that your ‘average person would simply NOT try. I don’t have time to sift through hundreds of suggestions to find one or two that work, and I’m guessing you don’t either.

So, I’m only going to give you ideas that we’ve used with success – or that we will definitely try at some point in the future.

DISCLAIMER: Your mileage will vary based on location, availability, and your time commitment.

Time Vs Rewards

Before jumping into the actual ways we make some extra cash, I wanted to break down each of those ideas into a time/rewards matrix. Anything we do has a time cost compared to a reward cost, and often times an associated dollar cost. 

Our goal is to capitalize on time (to hopefully passively earn cash, or with low effort), so a “high-time / low reward” project likely wouldn’t prove to be useful on our path to Financial Independence and we won’t offer any suggestions in that box.

Here’s a few definitions as we move forward:

Time – Time spent working on the project/job, etc. towards earning the reward

Reward – Potential benefit(s) received from working on the project/job/investment, etc.

low-time-low-medium-reward

Low Time / Low or Medium Reward INVESTMENT

Rating: Low Time and Low/Medium Reward

Scope: Technology, furniture, household goods, etc.

Items we’ve sold:

  • Technology (cell phones, watches, fitbits, etc)
  • Furniture that doesn’t fit our current style
  • Hobby materials 
  • Clothing

How/Where?

  • Facebook Groups & Marketplace
  • Craigslist
  • eBay
  • Poshmark: Use my code IAMALIGHTHOUSE to save $10: https://posh.mk/oGXJXQEkTX
  •  Consignment Store (Like Stuff Etc.)

I put this into the low cost/time investment category because these are items you already have or could be easy to obtain, and depending on how you decide to sell these goods, it shouldn’t take much of your time.

Of course, if you decide to sell 30 items, that will increase your time spent on the project, but you get the idea. This works great for medium-to-big ticket items.

Because we live in a culture that pushes materialism, I know you and I both have stuff around the house to sell. Instead of letting it sit around losing MORE value, clean it up and get rid of it! Look for gently used technology, furniture, or material from old hobbies and sell it in a Facebook Group or Marketplace, or an app like Poshmark!

Rating: Low Time and Low/Medium Reward

Scope: Online or in-app surveys

Rewards:

  • Cash or PayPal payout
  • Gift cards (i.e. Amazon)

How/Where?

  • Hatch by C Space iOS app
    Hatch by C Space Android app
    (Referral Code: E75C-3C63) – this is the one I primarily use and have made quite a bit this year. I don’t earn cash every week but have had good success with it.
  • UserTesting – Mrs. Pocketchange does these about once a week or so. She’ll sit on her laptop and test a few websites while recording her testing.
  • Radio/Local studies – Mrs. Pocketchange has done a few local radio studies where they pay you for a few hours of time. 

Mrs. Pocketchange and I both have done surveys off and on for several years now. In the more recent months, I’ve made close to $100 this year spending very little time working 

med-time-med-high-reward

Medium Time / Medium or High Reward INVESTMENT

Rating: Medium Time and Low/Medium Reward

Scope: Anything 

Items we’ve sold:

  • Technology (cell phones, watches, fitbits, etc)
  • Furniture that doesn’t fit our current style
  • Tools
  • Women’s/Men’s/Baby Clothing
  • Shoes

How/Where?

  • Thrift Stores
  • Second-hand stores
  • Consignment stores
  • Garage Sales
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Retail stores

Related to Selling Your Old Stuff above, but more complex, Flipping items can be a lucrative side-gig if you find the right stuff at the right prices. Essentially, this amounts to buying some good or item for a deal or on clearance, then taking that item and re-selling it for a profit. Some people frown upon this because it sounds like it’s taking advantage of the retail stores, but if someone is willing to part with something for super cheap… that consequence is on them.

Mrs. Pocketchange is great at this! For example, she found a nice pair of women’s boots at a thrift store for something like $6. She did a quick search on the Facebook Marketplace for those and/or similar boots, and realized she could flip them for a few dollars. The boots were purchased, cleaned up, and then listed them for sale and made a profit of over $15-$20! She has had good luck with shoes in particular.

Of course, this is largely dependent upon the inventory at the thrift, consignment, or retail store, and there is definitely an uptick in time spent. In some cases, Mrs. Pocketchange has run to a few thrift stores to check out their selections and may even come back empty-handed. There’s no guarantee of finding a good deal, but that’s part of the treasure hunt! 

This has been a neat way for us to pocket a few extra dollars!

Rating: Medium Time and Medium/High Reward

Scope: Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc.

Rewards:

  • Reinvested dividends and interest to help build wealth

How/Where?

  • Anywhere

You may not have expected to see this here but investing in the stock market can provide some potential rewards (nothing is guaranteed), and we have seen the rewards first-hand. After reading the book in our Recommended Reading section – The Simple Path to Wealth, and in conjunction with putting more into our 401K at work, we opened a brokerage account. The return on our investments in the 401K and brokerage accounts has been between 6%-14% year to date.

DISCLAIMER: I’m not making a recommendation for YOU. I am not your financial adviser nor am I providing you advice, only sharing what has worked for us.

Rating: Medium Time and Medium Reward

Scope: Online checking and savings accounts

Rewards:

  • Cash bonuses

How/Where?

  • Various
  • Capital One offers a $20 bonus if you are a new customer and deposit $250! Here’s our referral link: https://capital.one/32EA5n0

This may be a new concept to you, but we’ve used this in the past several times. Simply put, it’s looking for financial institutions offering online checking or savings account deals that will give you $50-100 or more to open an account.

I’ve done this with US Bank, Ally, Capital One, and Chase in the past.

Here’s a link 

Some places have a caveat that you have to keep your account active for a certain amount of time, or require direct deposits to get the reward. Since there’s some shuffling and logistics that may be required, I’ve rated it in the Medium Time frame.

high-time-med-high-rewards

High Time / Medium or High Reward INVESTMENT

Rating: High Time and Medium Reward

Scope: Anything

Items we’ve sold:

  • Too much to list

How/Where?

  • Your home

If you ever had a garage sale in the past, you probably groaned when you saw this option because of the perceived high cost of time and low reward. However, if you haven’t had a garage sale in a while (i.e. stocking up on goods) then why not give it another shot?

Yes, the time cost is high, but depending on the goods you’re selling, it may be more profitable to sell this way than to take several loads to a consignment store (not accounting for any limits they may have). Let your kiddos sell things like lemonade or cookies while you’re at it for some extra on the top!

Rating: High Time and Low/Medium Reward

Scope: Working a second job

Rewards:

  • Cash

How/Where?

  • Restaurants (bartender, server)
  • Retail / Grocery (cashier)
  • Delivery service (pizza, uber Eats, etc.)
  • Uber or Lyft
  • Online Assistant
  • Consulting
  • Other

Arguably, everything in this post could be considered a second job, but the option of actually working a true second job exists and therefore should be mentioned.

I have worked several secondary jobs in the past, although mostly in college. Of course, it would be painfully hard to do today with a full-time job, but options are out there. Most recently, I did IT work for a couple years for a few select clients, but didn’t have the time or certifications to truly invest in that to make it work.

It is important to note that this will greatly vary by the person (i.e. you work a second job you *LOVE* it may be worth the high-time/low reward cost).

Rating: High Time and Medium/High Reward

Scope: Buying properties (single family, multi family, commercial, etc.)

Rewards:

  • Equity
  • Rental Income
  • Profit after sale

How/Where?

  • Anywhere

As I mentioned in the post introduction, there are a few things we haven’t really tried yet. This is one of those things, but from the ChooseFI and BiggerPockets communities, will definitely be something we look into in the future. We bought our first house last year, and will consider additional properties in the future. The reward for the time spent in this can exponentially increase wealth if done correctly.

We have and know several friends who have gone down this route and are doing well. Of course, it’s a mixed bag (renters, upkeep, etc.) but the reward can be fantastic.

For more information about this topic specifically, you must check out BiggerPockets!

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