20 Odd Ways to Make Extra Money

Need more cash? We’ve found 20 unusual ways to line your pockets quickly.


Almost everyone can use a little more cash in their pocket from time to time. As we pointed out in the article “50 Ways to Make a Fast $50,” expenses can arrive when you least expect — and often at the least convenient time:

No matter how carefully you plan, money can run a little short at times. Maybe your child needs new shoes. Perhaps your car broke down, or you just want a night out on the town.

While a part-time job may be your best bet for a steady stream of income, delivering pizzas or waiting tables might not be your thing.

Or maybe you just need a little extra fun money to support your designer shoe habit.

Whatever the reason, we have a slew of unusual ways for you to bring in extra cash. Try them this summer, and see how much you can save.

1. Sell your body

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No, not that way!

Instead, sell your plasma or even your hair. Either can be legally sold for money. Unfortunately, the government frowns on you selling a kidney — something about ethics, I hear. (In fact, it’s illegal.)

Plasma will garner you pocket change – maybe $15 to $40 – while there are big bucks to be made with the right hair.

2. Participate in a clinical trial

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Do your part for science and earn some cash on the side by participating in a clinical trial.

Clinical trials are often intended for people who have specific medical conditions in the hopes of seeing how they respond to new treatments. However, some clinical trials also recruit healthy adults as a control group.

If you don’t mind being a guinea pig, you can find clinical trials by searching on the National Institutes of Health database or this Food and Drug Administration page. In either case, use the search words “healthy” or “normal” to find trials recruiting healthy volunteers.

3. Round up scrap metal

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If you have access to a truck or trailer, you can collect old metal items and head to your local scrap yard.

You need to do a little research to learn which items can be scrapped and where to find them. But this can be a lucrative niche for those who know what they’re doing.

4. Walk some dogs — or clean up after them

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Spread the word to family and friends that you are available for dog-walking services.

You can also post an ad on Craigslist or contact local kennels to see if they need anyone to exercise the canines under their care.

At the same time, you can advertise a service to clean up after dogs. Some owners will gladly pay someone else to do the dirty work of picking up their yards.

5. House-sit

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Baby-sitting kids is one way to earn money, but why stop there? Houses are so much quieter, don’t need to be fed and never talk back.

Several websites offer potential sitters the opportunity to connect with homeowners who need someone to keep an eye on their houses for an extended stay. It might be a good way to see the world, even if your compensation is just free room and board.

Advertise locally for people who are willing to pay you to check in on their house and maybe perform some light maintenance – such as lawn mowing – while they’re gone.

6. Get creative and open an online store

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Sites for Etsy, Zazzle and CafePress make it simple to create designs or products and then market your wares.

To get started, check out this article with tips to cash in on creativity.

7. Become a translator

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If you’re bilingual or multilingual, you’re a hot commodity. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that interpreters and translators belong to the fifth-fasting-growing occupation in the nation. From 2012-2022, demand for these professionals was expected to jump more than 46 percent.

Of course, you can still make money off your talents without working full time as a translator. Advertise locally or work on a contract basis through websites of such firms as Elance and Guru. Or check out Gengo, which is solely for freelance translators.

8. Make money with your phone

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You’re attached to your phone 24/7, so why not let it make a little money for you?

We’ve got a big list of apps that can make your smartphone a money machine.

9. Work at home as a customer service rep

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When you dial a company’s 800 number, you may well be speaking to someone wearing fuzzy slippers and sitting on the couch.

Several companies outsource their customer calls to at-home representatives. To do this work, you may need a landline, specific equipment and a quiet, child-free zone.

West at Home and Alpine Access are two of the biggest companies hiring at-home customer service reps.

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