8 Underrated Ways to Make More Money
by Maurie Backman | Updated July 17, 2021 - First published on April 17, 2019
The more money you're able to earn, the more you'll manage to boost your savings and meet your various financial goals. And while snagging a raise at work is an easy ticket to higher earnings, your employer may not be so quick to comply. Therefore, making more money might boil down to getting creative with a side gig. Here are a few potential income-boosters it pays to consider, especially if you're eager to start putting more money in the bank.
1. Participate in focus groups
Usually arranged by marketing firms, focus groups allow companies to gather feedback about a new or existing product or service. Just google the term "find focus groups near me," and you'll be taken to several sites where you can sign up to participate. Earnings from focus groups can vary, but to give you some context, back when I was getting married, I signed up for a 90-minute focus group that involved looking at various bridal magazines and answering some questions -- and I came out $150 richer.
Heads-up, though: Some marketing firms like to have "fresh" focus group subjects, so you may not be able to participate more than once every few months.
Here's a little secret you should know about parents: Those without family nearby are generally desperate for help with childcare, which means they'll often pay a pretty penny for a chance to escape their homes for a night. Take it from me -- I'm one of them. Babysitters in my neck of the woods can usually make anywhere from $12 to $20 an hour, and if you think you're not good with kids, remember that often, parents want to go out at night, and if you're lucky, those little critters will be asleep half the time you're there anyway.
3. Hold a yard sale
It might sound a little old-school, but spending a few hours with your unwanted possessions displayed across your front lawn might yield you some serious bucks. Granted, you'll need to invest a little time into advertising your yard sale to ensure that you get enough foot traffic to make it worthwhile. That's what my neighbors did when they held their yard sale last year, and in less than a day's time, they took in about $500 in cash and got rid of a lot of junk they didn't need anyway.
4. Become a product tester
You don't necessarily have to attend an in-person focus group to give companies paid feedback about their products. You can sign up to be a product tester and do that same work from the comfort of your home. While the pay generally isn't as generous as it for live focus groups, you often get to keep the products in question, which you're then free to sell for -- you guessed it -- more money. Again, a basic Google search will open the door to different opportunities. Better yet, if there's a company out there whose products you're a fan of, try visiting its site directly to learning about testing opportunities there.
5. Participate in medical research
Participating in medical studies or trials is a great way to earn some serious cash. That said, there are certain physical and health-related requirements you'll need to fulfill to land this sort of gig, so not everyone will qualify. And the notion of putting questionable medications into your body may not sit well with you. But if you're not concerned about serious health consequences, check out ClinicalTrials.gov and see what's out there, because the pay could be huge.
6. Sell your hair
Human hair is hard to come by, but it's needed for natural-looking wigs. As such, some manufacturers will pay quite a premium for your extra locks. Of course, the better condition your hair is in, the more money it'll earn you. And if your hair has been bleached or dyed, that might disqualify you from selling it. But know this: A friend of mine sold about a foot of her hair last year and made well over $100 for it. Considering that she was planning to cut it anyway, it was pretty easy cash.
7. Become a coach or referee
Those kids' sports leagues you see taking over your local parks don't run themselves. Sometimes they're staffed by volunteers, but often, they rely on part-time workers to come in and act as coaches or referees. If you have the patience for this sort of gig, you might rake in some serious dough on weekends. Our kids' soccer league, for example, pays referees $20 per hour-long game.
The problem with babysitting is having to deal with other people's children. If that sounds unappealing to you, an even better gig to pursue is house-sitting. Generally, all you need to do as a house-sitter is take in people's mail, water their plants, or do basic tasks to ensure that the place is well-kept in their absence. You can find gigs on sites like HouseSitter.com.
Having more money gives you more flexibility to do the things you want or need to do in life. If you've been hitting a wall on the earnings front, think about these less conventional ways to give your income a push in the right direction.
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