Monday, April 14, 2008

Earning Extra Money

Lots of sites talk about earning extra money. I thought I would try it from a real person's perspective. I searched web sites, collected ideas, and thought about what would work for me, my schedule, my goals, and my life in general. Here are the ideas that I came up with to start, focusing on jobs that do not require too much skill, and how I executed each or didn't:

Babysitting- I rejected it. I was an au pair right after college in Germany for a year, but I chose not to pursue it now for two reasons- when people need babysitters (evenings and weekends) is when clients are available for my "real" job- real estate and six cats and kids just won't mix well.

Bamboo- it is taking over my backyard. I am going to research what to do with it and how I can sell it off.

Clean houses- I rejected it. However, I have several friends who do well with their own cleaning businesses.

Collecting pine cones- it seems these are in demand for crafts. I found that a basket of 100 would sell for about $10. If I find a place to collect them, I'll give this a try.

Consignment- I pulled all the clothes out of my closets and drawers. I was diagnosed with a thyroid problem about a year ago and have lost a lot of weight since getting on medication. Some clothes can be donated, generating a tax write-off, or sold at consignment. I sent a St. Johns outfit to Rodeo Resale for consignment. The other stuff, I'll try to sell locally or donate.

Freelance writing- I tabled it for now. I'd like to try this blogging thing first and see how it develops.

Gardening- I had high hopes to sell produce when I started my garden this year. We moved from DC to Alabama and now have space to put a square foot garden. I worked it out on an Excel spreadsheet and found that I'll have enough to feed my family for a year and some to give away as client gifts and to friends and neighbors, but not enough to produce a farmer's market. I got a little wild on this one :). I'll take a look at what I have in yield at the end of the year and see how I can better plan for next year.

Merchandising- I have two companies that I signed up with. That provides flexible scheduling and better money than most local places pay. The best list of merchandising companies is at I'll bring home $1,600 next month with this one. This is largely due to a reset at a local drug store that will take 32 hours for five weeks. I also picked up a smaller ongoing job for 10 hours/month total.

Mystery shopping- Fun stuff, but not much work in my immediate area. I signed up and if something comes up, I'll take it. I'll get $15 pluse lunch from a shop done last month. Not much, but it helps. I did find out that my roommate paid $100 to sign up with a company. No way! You can sign up for free. As with merchandising, go to for a great list.

Paper route- Tabled it for now, but still considering it. Do I really want to get up that early? I made a note on my calendar that if I don't have a real estate listing by mid-May that I will pick this up.

Pet sit- I posted an ad on I registered at I bookmarked these sites for future reference: I also make ten flyers to post around town, using a template for used cars. I thought this is a good article on pet sitting business,,h1zm-3,00.html

Survey Sites- Excellent for snowflaking. I have had the most success with MySurvey and Pinecone Research. MySurvey sends a check. Pinecone Research pays by PayPal. I get about $10-25 from each per quarter. Just got $5 from PayPal this morning for about 10 minutes of work.

What I'll do with the extra money- meet my monthly budget while rebuilding my real estate business in a new city and snowflake my debt with anything extra

What have you done to earn extra money? Was it successful? What was the outcome?

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