5 Flexible Side Hustles That Can Bring in Big Bucks

by Maurie Backman | Updated July 17, 2021 - First published on March 3, 2020

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Here's how you can boost your income without uprooting your schedule.

Whether you need extra money to boost your savings account, pay off some credit card debt, or afford the vacation you've been planning for months, it's often a lot easier to work extra and boost your income than it is to cut back on existing expenses. That's why side hustles are so popular today. In fact, 61% of women and 54% of men with side hustles say that they'd struggle to pay their bills without one, according to recent research by The Ascent. 

Of course, there's one problem with getting a second job -- the time commitment. When you work full-time already, squeezing in another gig can be challenging, not to mention leave you with a very poor work-life balance. 

The good news, however, is that many side hustles these days are surprisingly flexible. Here are a few to consider if you're hoping to make extra money this year. 

1. Driving for a rideshare service

If you're willing to spend a little extra time behind the wheel, you could pad your income nicely by signing up to work for a rideshare company like Uber or Lyft. The best part? You can do so on your own terms. Don't feel like working weekends? Drive during the week. Need money for an unplanned bill? Drive a little extra. The choice is yours.

2. Walking dogs

Love animals? Walking dogs is a great way to boost your income while getting yourself some exercise. You'll usually have to commit to some type of schedule in advance to do this gig, but unless you're dealing with a special needs animal, owners are often flexible -- meaning, as long as you can walk their dogs within a certain window of time, you're golden. Sites like Rover.com can help you explore local opportunities.

3. House-sitting

House-sitting is a great way to earn money for doing what is, frankly, very little work. In many cases, all you'll need to do in the course of a house-sitting gig is watch over the place, bring in packages and mail, or, in the case of longer-term gigs, mow the lawn on occasion. Otherwise, you're basically getting paid to spend time in someone else's home, all the while doing the things you'd normally do in your spare time. To get started, you can create a profile on sites like HouseSitter.com

4. Tutoring

Are you great at math, a science whiz, or fluent in a foreign language? If so, you may be able to line up a job as a tutor on evenings or weekends. Sites like TutorMe make it easy to connect with clients who can benefit from your services while you enjoy that added income.

5. Writing, editing, or anything you can do online

These days, you can earn a decent amount of money on the side simply by having access to a computer and internet connection. There's a host of online jobs you can explore, from writing to editing to web design. Freelancer sites like Upwork make it easy to find remote opportunities, and from there, you can accept those assignments that work for your schedule.

It pays to boost your income

There are many reasons for starting a side hustle -- you may be struggling to get by on your current income, want extra money to meet financial objectives, or simply bring in more cash to enjoy life more. Whatever your reasons, a side hustle is a great way to boost your cash flow and buy yourself more flexibility. The one thing you do need to be careful about, though, is taxes. 

Generally, you'll be paid as an independent contractor in the course of your side gig, which means you won't have taxes taken out of your earnings. As such, it will be on you to keep track of your side income, report it to the IRS, and pay taxes on it. 

If your side hustle earnings are modest -- say, under $100 a month -- you may be just fine paying taxes on that income when you file your annual return. But if you're looking at a more substantial sum, you'll generally need to make estimated quarterly tax payments to the IRS to avoid penalties for underpaying during the year. Estimated taxes can be paid online, and there are calculators available to help you determine how much to pay.

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