The Internet is chock-a-bloc full of easy ways to earn extra money. I won't be providing you with ultra-specific, this-can-only work-if-you-jump-through-ten-hoops type ideas. Instead, I want to highlight three ways of thinking that could easily lead you to a significant amount of extra cash in your wallet.
Some of these I have tried, others I haven't personally. All have yielded varying levels of success, and -- most importantly -- all offer a ton of flexibility. That's key, because many who are reading this likely already have full-time jobs and don't have an extra ten hours per day to develop the next killer app.
Get paid for decluttering your life
It might sound cliché, but we Americans have so much crap sitting around our house that it's almost embarrassing. While cleaning up and decluttering your house might sound like an arduous task, the possibility of actually getting paid for it can be a double win -- get the mental and spatial clarity you desire, and earn a pretty penny in the process.
The easiest way to dispose of your goods is via donation-based businesses like Goodwill. While you might think there's no payoff for dropping your stuff off, you are forgetting about tax breaks that come along with donating goods. Technically, you can deduct an amount up to half of your adjusted gross income for charitable contributions to colleges, religious groups, and public charities (and thirty percent for other organizations).
Just make sure that you get a receipt when you donate your goods, and make a list of what you've donated. When it comes time to deduct those items, TurboTax has a handy app called ItsDeductible to help you keep track of the overall value.
If you're looking to make some hard cash for your goods, using services like Craigslist.com or eBay can easily get the job done.
Utilize the under-utilized
Think about the biggest purchases in your life: your car, your home, and various machines you own like lawn mowers or snow blowers. Think about how often you're not using these things. When you go on a long vacation, your house sits empty. If you live in a city, your car could go weeks without being used. And those machines in your garage might get a work out just once per week.
In the new sharing-economy, utilizing these types of things creates a triple win: eliminating waste, improving efficiency, and helping people get paid. Consider some of these ideas:
- If you live in a popular tourist destination, or if there's a time of year when people like to visit your city, consider listing your home on VRBO.com or Airbnb. In the end, renting out your house could actually pay for your vacation.
- Consider utilizing that car by driving people around via Uber or Lyft. Or, if you're willing to let others drive your car around, use a service like RelayRides.com, which allows you to rent out your car (and provides insurance) in return for cash.
- Neighbor having trouble with his/her lawn mower? See if they're willing to just rent yours out for a small fee.
It's not so much the specific ideas above that matter, but the shift in thinking: focus on the under-utilized, and leverage those things to bring in passive income.
No, I'm not talking about prostitution here. Instead, I'm talking about the many ways that you have something that's valuable to others, value that's relatively easy for you to cash in on. There are two large buckets that fall under this category.
The first is offering up physical parts of yourself: by donating plasma, sperm, or eggs, you can be compensated handsomely -- especially for the latter two.
The other bucket comes primarily in the form of tutoring.
You may not think you are a specialist in a certain area, but to many students and wannabe professionals, you are. Consider the skills you use on a daily basis at work, and you'd be surprised at how lucrative tutoring students -- especially in wealthier areas -- can be.
In the end, focusing on these three broad ways of earnings cash could help put a lot of extra money in your pocket.
Brian Stoffel has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends eBay. The Motley Fool owns shares of eBay. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.