While growing up you may have heard the phrase "Money doesn't grow on trees" a few (hundred) times. While it's a reasonably true idiom -- you can't snap your fingers and make money appear, so you should be prudent about how you spend your money -- making money is also not as impossible as your parents or grandparents might have made you believe. Opportunities abound for easy ways to make money; people just need to be willing to take the important first step.
If you're looking for easy ways to make money, consider these 11 options.
1. Buy a dividend stock
Since we're all investors, how about first and foremost buying stocks that pay a dividend. Not only are a majority of dividend-paying stocks high-quality businesses with positive long-term outlooks, thus removing some of the anxiety investors may face about buying and holding a stock over the long run, but you get money on a regular basis for doing nothing more than owning a stock. If you reinvest your dividends your gains could be even more pronounced over the long run.
2. Rent out your home
Consider renting out all or part of your home on Airbnb. Airbnb offers unique rental opportunities to vacationers; and in return for that uniqueness, you remain in control of the per-night or week pricing of the rental, and the length of time your guests can stay. Plus, Airbnb protects your home with $1 million in insurance protection in case a guest causes property damage or is injured in your home.
3. Join the Uber nation
Among the easy ways to make money today is to consider becoming an Uber driver. Uber, the taxi/rideshare service that is transforming the way we think about transportation, operates in 58 countries and 311 cities around the globe and is expected to bring on 1 million new drivers within the next six months. What you make as an Uber driver will vary by location, but the average driver, according to Glassdoor, nets $15 per hour in base salary and then tips on top of that figure.
4. Get a part-time job
I understand the idea that "working" might not be akin to "easy ways to make money," but if you can pick and choose what few days and hours you work the sacrifice can be well worth it. A quick scan of Snagajob.com, one of numerous job websites you can find online, shows that there are close to 1 million part-time jobs now hiring across the United States. If you want a part-time job, chances are you'll have no problem finding one.
5. Have a garage sale.
You'd be absolutely amazed at how much stuff we Americans accumulate over our lifetime. One of the easiest ways to make money is to have a yard sale. As of 2013, 165,000 yard sales were held across the U.S. each week, with an average of 690,000 people buying an item at a yard sale each week. The total weekly revenue generated from these yard sales: $4.2 million! Over the course of a year we're talking about nearly $220 million generated from selling items you're no longer using.
6. Sell what you don't use on eBay
Along the same lines as having a garage sale, consider reaching a wider audience by using one of the world's largest online marketplaces, eBay, to sell items that you're no longer using. Although eBay does have fees associated with listing and selling an item (and a garage sale does not), according to a Signs.com Yard Sale Signs poll, items that were purchased at a garage sale sell for an average of 462% more on eBay.
7. See if the IRS owes you money
If you've earned some income over the last couple of years, but didn't have to file a federal tax return because you believed your wages were too low, there could be money waiting for you vis-à-vis the Earned Income Tax Credit. As of 2011, the IRS had $1 billion in unclaimed refunds and about 1 million Americans who were owed this money. Filing paperwork with the IRS and collecting this money won't make you rich, but it represents an easy way to make money.
8. Attend a conference or trade show in your job field
Sometimes you have to spend a few bucks to make extra money, but this is one of those instances where the return on investment can be enormous. By taking the time to attend a trade show or conference in your occupational field you can potentially gain knowledge that could give you a leg up on your competitors and/or co-workers. Who knows, the initiative to better yourself could even land you a raise or promotion from your boss.
9. Offer your opinion
If Facebook has taught us anything, it's that businesses will pay through the nose to have as detailed data as possible on consumers. The more detailed the data, the more efficiently a company can market to consumers, and the less money they waste on non-focused advertising. This is why certain websites, such as MySurvey.com, pay individuals for completing online surveys. You're certainly not going to get rich by doing online surveys, but it's ultimately very little work for a few extra dollars.
10. Open a Roth IRA
So I cheated a bit and didn't say what the time frame was to make this easy money. If you're saving for retirement, one of the smartest moves you can consider making is opening and contributing to a Roth IRA. As long as you make no unqualified withdrawals from a Roth IRA, your investment gains are completely free of taxation. Not having to pay taxes on the money you earn in the stock market can be a big money booster over the long run. Plus, since time and compounding are your friends, and a Roth IRA requires you to keep your money in the account over the long-term, it's an investment tool that'll keep you on the right path to success.
11. Ask for a raise
Have you been doing a great job for your employer? If you have the statistics to back up your claims then you should consider asking your employer for a raise. As PeopleHR.com points out, there are a number of reasons why employees don't often ask for a raise. Among them is the idea that talking about income is "taboo," that it's often easier to just find a new job, that regular performance reviews aren't always there for employees, and that employees don't want their employer to think they're arrogant. But, the fact remains that if you're excelling within your company, it wouldn't hurt to ask to be paid more.
As you can see, easy ways to make money are out there. You just have to be willing to take the initiative to go get it.