Make Extra Cash

Money Making Ideas: 21 Smart Ways to Increase Your Income

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money making ideas
Table of Contents  
  1. Your Career
  2. Side Hustle
  3. Investments
  4. The Sharing Economy
  5. You Could Be Doing More

    We could all use some extra cash, and there are lots of ways to make it. We found the best money making ideas and smart ways to increase your income.

    At a certain point, you can’t save any more money; there just isn’t anything left to cut. And really, saving money is not nearly as impactful as making more.

    So whether you want to increase your income to pay off debt, save for a home, take a vacation, or retire early, we have ways to do it. What to know how to make money?

    Here are our favorite money making ideas.

    Your Career

    You are already spending a big chunk of your day at your job so you might as well get the most out of it you can.

  1. Fill The Voids
  2. People get hired to do certain things, but they don’t always do all of those things. Every job has parts that no one wants to do.

    Look around your workplace and identify those jobs, even better if they are things your boss doesn’t want to do, and start doing them.

    And don’t wait to be asked to do them, just dive in and do them. Doing the scut work is what makes you indispensable at a job.

  3. Know Your Worth
  4. You’ve been filling the voids, and nothing is happening. Everyone is grateful, but no one is promoting you or giving you a raise.

    It’s time to start looking for a new opportunity. In fact, you should always be looking for a new opportunity even if you are 100% happy with your current job.

    The average raise within a company is a measly 3%. The raise when you move to a new company is 15-20%. If you’re not sure how much you should be making you can check out sites like PayScale to find out.

    Linkedin is probably the best way to find a job or a recruiter who gets paid to get you a job.

    Money Making Ideas: 21 Smart Ways to Increase Your Income

    Money Making Ideas: 21 Smart Ways to Increase Your Income

  5. Negotiate
  6. Once you find that new job, you have to negotiate. Too many people just accept whatever is offered, afraid that if they dare to ask for more the potential employer will just revoke the offer and hire someone else.

    But they want you. You’ve made it to the point of being offered a salary because they want to hire you.

    If you’ve never been on the other side of a job search, it sucks. It’s a pain in the ass. It doesn’t suck as much as looking for a job, but it’s close.

    That means you are not some supplicant grateful for whatever you can get. No, you are in a strong position.

    The other side expects you to negotiate, that’s how this whole thing works. They give you an offer, you counter, and you go back and forth until both parties are happy.

  7. Time for a Change
  8. If you not only don’t like the job you are in but don’t like the industry you are in either, you can do something else.

    You might need to improve your skills or learn an entirely new set of skills, but you can do it.

    A listener who drove trucks for a living decided he wanted a change. He was tired of working such long hours, being away from home so much and just making average money.

    So he went to coding boot camp.

    Fast forward about two years and the guy is making four or five times what he was making driving trucks and doing something he never dreamed of doing.

    Now more than ever there are opportunities, often free opportunities to learn new skills that can put you on the path to an entirely new career.

    Americans watch five hours of television a day. If you don’t like where you are in your career, you can use those hours to learn something that will allow you to pivot.


    Skillshare is an online learning community offering thousands of classes from design to marketing to analytics. Discover hidden passions and explore new skills taught by industry leaders. Or, become a teacher, share your expertise, and make money.

    We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

    Side Hustle

    There are dozens of side hustles, so there is guaranteed to be one of them that you are good at or at least could start doing and get good enough at that people would pay you money to do it.

    money making ideas

  9. Writing
  10. I never set out to become a writer, I just sort of accidentally fell ass-backward into becoming one. Finding LMM was the best and luckiest thing that ever happened to me.

    Every other writing job I got is a direct result of LMM.

    When I decided to leave New York City for New Orleans, I needed to save money for the move. I made profiles for the freelancing sites Upwork and Guru.

    These sites have gotten me a ton of work on both sites because I had such a vast portfolio, the dozens of articles I had written for LMM.

    Other jobs have come to me because potential clients contacted Andrew and he vouched for me.

    As you heard, after five years, I was able to quit working a 9-5 job and write full time. If you aren’t lucky enough to find your own LMM, take Thomas’s suggestion and “create the capital of a different kind.”

    Contact blogs and publications focused on the subject you want to write about and offer to write for free.

    Or make low ball bids on freelancing sites. These things will allow you to build up a portfolio and in the case of freelancing sites, get good feedback from your clients.

    This body of work, even if it wasn’t paid or well-paid, can be the foundation you base a career on. You can really make a lot of extra money and it can also turn into one of the best business ideas for freelancers.

  11. Social Media Person
  12. Most businesses recognize the power of social media these days, but that doesn’t mean they know how to utilize it. If you do and can convince them that harnessing that power can make them extra money, they will pay you money to do it.

    There are plenty of these kinds of positions available on freelancing sites, but you’re up against a lot of competition.

    I think you will have better odds pitching yourself and your skills in the area of social media to small, local businesses in your city.

  13. Virtual Assistant
  14. People only have so many hours in the day, and they have to assign value to their time.

    Is it cheaper to pay someone else to do things like return emails, schedule appointments, invoice customers, dispute charges on their credit cards or to do it themselves?

    If their time is valued at $100 an hour and they can pay a virtual assistant $20 an hour to do them, then the choice is obvious.

    It makes sense to outsource those tasks. You can find these kinds of jobs on freelancing sites.

    You and your employer don’t have to be in the same place. Some VA’s never even talk to their boss on the phone; everything is done via email or texting.

  15. Real World Assistant
  16. Real world assistants do all the same kind of tasks a virtual assistant does, but you are working in the same place.

    You can find these jobs in all of the traditional job finding places but if you are aware of some entrepreneurial people in your city and you can somehow wrangle a meeting, pitch yourself as their assistant.

    This is a good strategy particularly if the person is involved in an industry you are interested in.

    You can use your time as their assistant to learn what they know and if you’re lucky, develop a mentoring relationship with that person.

  17. Task Rabbit
  18. Task Rabbit is a website where people can hire taskers to do just about anything for them.

    Apparently, the number one job on Task Rabbit is putting together Ikea furniture so if you’re good at that; you could really clean up.

    People hire taskers for the same reason they hire VA’s because their time is too valuable to be spent doing things like picking up dry cleaning, dog walking and putting together Ikea furniture.

    But also because people are lazy, really, really lazy.

    Their time might not be worth jack shit, but Chipotle doesn’t deliver the bastards. But they’re too lazy to put on pants never mind actually go outside and walk or drive to fetch their own tasty burrito.

    So they hire a tasker to bring them a burrito. And a Diet Coke.


    Task Rabbit connects you to people who need help with their everyday to-dos. Services include moving, shopping, cleaning, and even assembling furniture. Create a profile, find jobs you love at rates you choose and set your schedule.

    We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

  19. Teach Something
  20. There is something you’re good at that other people would like to be good at. And they will pay you to teach them how to be good at it too.

    This can be done online or in the real world. You can tutor online at sites like Wyzant. You can teach English to Chinese kids at VIP Kid. 

    You can create online courses for Udemy or Skillshare. And you don’t have to find students; those sites do that for you. You just have to create good content.

    You can tutor in an academic subject, give music lessons, dance lessons, cooking lessons, dating lessons. There is a market out there for all of those.

    You can advertise them on local Facebook groups or Nextdoor.

    Those tiger parents will pay a pretty penny to ensure their special spawn gets a place in the premier pre-school and that requires a very expensive tutor who is you.

    These jobs are especially good side hustles because if you’re good, you can get so many word of mouth clients. Could even turn into your full-time gig.

  21. Sell Stuff Online
  22. The great thing about selling things as a side hustle is that there are so many things you can sell and so many places to sell them. Whatever your particular interest is, there is a market for it.

    Like books? Sell them on Bookscouter. Like antique toys? Sell them on eBay. Like thrifting and clothes? Sell used clothing on Poshmark.

    Laura is practically running a business doing this at Finders Keepers.

    If you have a lot of kids stuff, toys, books, clothes, their multitude of gear? Facebook parenting groups are a good place to unload all of that.

    If you’re trying to get rid of big, bulky items, use Craigslist, so you only have local buyers willing to pick the items up.

    You can start with your own stuff both as a way to declutter your house and life and because you don’t need to invest any money.

    Use your stuff as your learning curve. Figure out what sells and what doesn’t before you spend money buying stuff to sell. You always have a garage sale too!

  23. Community Activities
  24. When you see kids’ little league games or adult inter-mural games being played, there is always a ref or an umpire, and those people are getting paid.

    This can be a fun way to get outside, get some activity, and meet new people while you earn extra money part-time.

    But if you want to do this, I would try to stick to the adult inter-mural leagues and steer clear of kids’ games. Their parents are like savages and officials have been assaulted by irate parents.

    Sure you might get the occasional heckling from a softball player who had one too many before the game started or even during the game but those parents are out for blood. Avoid!

  25. Make extra money with online surveys
  26. Want to get paid for your opinion? Using Survey Junkie you can share your opinion to help brands deliver better products and services.

    After you create your profile, they will start matching you to online surveys you can take online anywhere, anytime, and on any device.

    Completed surveys earn virtual points that can be redeemed for PayPal or gift cards. Survey Junkie is great for anyone who is interested in earning money from their couch.

    Survey Junkie

    Want to get paid for your opinion? Survey Junkie lets you share yours to help brands deliver better products and services. After creating your profile, they'll start matching you to online surveys you can take anywhere.

    If you have some free time during your lunch break or commercials it’s a great way to make money fast. There are a lot of survey sites out there but we like Survey Junkie. Check out our review here.

    Sign up to make some fast money online. Most of the online surveys are pretty easy and you are not required to sign-up for other services so no annoying spam mail.

    For starters, it’s completely free, and you earn 25 free points when you create your account.

    Want to get your money under control?

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    If you’ve listened to the show for any length of time, you knew we weren’t going to let an episode about how to make more money go by without talking about investing.

    Investing is the best way to grow your wealth, and it’s not hard to get started.

  27. Fundrise
  28. Fundrise is crowdsourced real estate investing. You couldn’t make these kinds of investments on your own, so you pool your money together with other investors through Fundrise.

    They invest in things like apartment complexes, hotels, and retail complexes.

    Fundrise pays quarterly dividends, and they have a new Starter Plan that only requires $500 to start investing.

  29. Buy Turnkey Properties Online
  30. Andrew started investing in real estate using a turnkey rental property strategy.

    This approach requires that you don’t have to be a hands-on landlord, so your lack of plumbing knowledge won’t stop you from making passive income.

    It also means you can own properties nowhere near your city, which may be too expensive for you to buy in.

    You can invest in homes with a low cost of living in areas like Indiana, Georgia, and Ohio.

    He even created a course documenting his experience that focuses exclusively on turnkey rental property investing: Rental Properties for Passive Investors.

    You’ll learn his criteria for finding (and closing) the right property, the foundations of a successful rental business, the advantages of shielding your assets in an LLC, and more.

    Rental Properties for Passive Investors

    Our proven, data-driven approach to building a portfolio of income-producing rental properties that perform in the long-term.

    Learn his approach here.

  31. Lending Club
  32. Lending Club is a peer-to-peer lending platform. People can go there to borrow money for all sorts of things, paying off credit card debt, paying for a wedding, or home renovations.

    They don’t have to go through all the trouble and paperwork involved with getting a bank loan, and they get a better interest rate than a bank would offer.

    The lenders make loans for the same reason banks make loans because it’s a good way to make money. Lenders make money each month on interest and the principle of the loans they make.

    Lending Club Investor

    The banks had a monopoly on personal loans until Lending Club arrived. Now you can invest in and get loans sourced from normal people. If you're looking to refinance, there's no better place.

  33. Dividend Aristocrats
  34. Not all stocks are created equal. Some stocks pay dividends, and then there are the stocks that are considered dividend aristocrats.

    An aristocrat dividend is a company that has continuously increased the number of dividends it pays to its shareholders.

    To be categorized as such, a company must typically have increased dividends for at least 25 years.

    Coca-Cola and McDonald’s would be two examples. The S&P 500 has a fund called The S&P 500 Aristocrat Fund that has over the last five years had returns of 17.56%.

    Dividend Aristocrats Portfolio

    This is an index fund of the most consistent dividend-paying companies in the S&P 500. It has historically outperformed the S&P 500 long-term. Over the past 10 years, it has returned 10.98% on an average annual basis whereas the S&P 500 only returned 10.53% during that same period.

    The Sharing Economy

    People don’t necessarily want to own certain kinds of things, cars for example. But they still need cars from time to time.

    And some bright people realized that they could make money with their spare time or their spare things by renting them to those non-buying types of people.

    And poof, the sharing economy was born.

    You can rent out your car and driving services with Uber and Lyft. You can rent your car to Uber or Lyft drivers who don’t have cars of their own up to those companies’ standards with Hyrecar and make more than $1,000 a month.

    For doing nothing! Be sure to check into what kind of insurance is required to do this, or it can cost you many more times than you could ever make.

    The core of my being is making money doing nothing.

    Rent a room in your house or your entire house on Airbnb. Depending on where you live, even doing that one weekend a month could pay your mortgage.

    Airbnb: Become a Host
    Rent out a room or an entire home to travelers. Airbnb hosts, on average, make more than any other gig workers and are raking in an average $924 per month. Nearly half of hosts make more than $500 per month.

  35. Optimize Your Expenses
  36. It’s true that making more money is more impactful than saving money, but that’s not to say you shouldn’t save money when you can.

  37. Earny
  38. Have you ever bought something and then seen it cheaper soon after? Sometimes you can get the difference back either from the retailer or your credit card company, but most of us don’t bother. Now you don’t have to.

    That’s what Earny does for you. If you are entitled to a refund or rebate, Earny does the legwork and gets the money for you.


    Earny is a Chrome extension that provides 24/7 price tracking and gives real-time price alerts. Shop online, activate cashback and earn up to 20%. You'll get a refund if prices drop after making a purchase.

  39. Trim
  40. Trim goes through your credit card and bank statements looking for recurring charges, things like gym memberships and subscription services like Audible, Pandora, or Emma and Chloe.

    The app will send you a message asking if you want to cancel these services.

    If you do, you haven’t been to the gym in months, you meant to cancel Emma and Chloe after the introductory period and forgot, Trim does it for you.

    I love Trim. I used it, and they saved me almost $70 a month.

  41. Billshark
  42. Whatever you’re paying for things like cable, internet, and your cell phone service, you’re probably paying more than you should be.

    But it’s such a hassle to comparison shop to say nothing of having to actually call those companies up, spend a lot of time on hold and then try to negotiate a better price.

    With Billshark you don’t have to do any of that. They handle all of it for you. I used their service, and they saved me about $60 a year on my cable and internet bill.

    Not a ton of money but $60 I didn’t have before.

  43. Seated
  44. I loved this app and was using it all the time, but it’s not available in New Orleans anymore which really sucks. If someone from Seated is reading this, PLEASE come back to New Orleans.

    All we do is eat and drink down here so I don’t know why you left but I want you to come back!

    All you have to do is use the app to make a reservation at participating restaurants, complete your reservation and you will get $10-$50 in rewards from Amazon, Lyft, or Starbucks.

    You lucky ducks in the 14 cities Seated is available in should definitely use this app!


    It would help if you used Seated when dining out. Every time you complete a reservation (book ahead or walk-in), you get up to 30% back. Use your rewards on in-person experiences or redeem for gift cards with brands including Amazon, Uber, and Target. Laura and I almost exclusively eat out with Seated because it saves us so much.

    You Could Be Doing More

    Almost none of us is at peak capacity. We could be making more money. Your assignment this week is to start doing one thing on this list, just one.

    Look around your job and notice what everyone avoids doing and start doing it. Go on Payscale and see if you are being paid what you’re worth.

    If not, start looking around for a job that will pay you that.

    Go through your bookcase or your closet and sell the books or the clothes you don’t use. Take $500 and open a Starter Account with Fundrise.

    We could all be doing more to grow our wealth and achieve financial independence.

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Candice Elliott - Senior Editor Candice Elliott is a substantial contributor to Listen Money Matters. She has been a personal finance writer since 2013 and has written extensively on student loan debt, investing, and credit. She has successfully navigated these areas in her own life and knows how to help others do the same. Candice has answered thousands of questions from the LMM community and spent countless hours doing research for hundreds of personal finance articles. She happily calls New Orleans, Louisiana home-the most fun city in the world.
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