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22 odd and unusual ways to make extra money

If you need some more cash, here are 22 ways to line your pockets that might not have occurred to you.

By MSN Money Partner Jun 18, 2014 1:07PM

This post comes from Maryalene LaPonsie at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyThere comes a time when almost everyone could use a little more cash in their pocket.

While a part-time job may be your best bet for a steady stream of income, maybe delivering pizzas or waiting tables isn't your thing. Or maybe your need for money isn't that dire; maybe you only need some extra fun money to support your designer shoe habit.

Whatever the reason, we have a whole slew of odd and unusual ways for you to bring in extra cash.

1. Sell your body

No, not that way!

I mean, sell your plasma or even your hair. Either can be legally sold for money. Unfortunately, the government frowns upon you selling your kidney -- something about ethics, I hear. A kidney might be enough for you to pay for at least a semester of college for your kid, but the government does have a point. And it's illegal.

Plasma will garner you only pocket change -- maybe $15 to $40 -- while there are big bucks to be made with the right hair. Just check out the asking prices on

2. Participate in a clinical trial

You could also 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 words "healthy" or "normal" to find trials recruiting healthy volunteers.

3. Round up scrap metal

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

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

We'll let Popular Mechanics explain the process in more detail, and then you may want to stop by this scrap metal forum to read tips and advice from people who are already working this moneymaking avenue.

4. Walk some dogs

People love their four-legged friends, but they don't always have time to devote to a daily walk. Spread the word to family and friends that you are available for dog-walking services.

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

5. And then clean up after them

At the same time, you could also advertise a service to clean up after dogs. Some owners don't exactly relish the idea of cleaning up the doggie doo-doo in their yards and will gladly pay someone else to do the dirty work.

Plus, depending on your sense of humor, the opportunity to make puns about excrement  may be a fringe benefit too good to pass up.

6. Baby-sit a house or two

We all know that baby-sitting kids is one way to earn money, but why stop there? Houses are so much quieter, and they don't need to be fed and never talk back.

House Sitters America offers sitters the opportunity to connect with homeowners who need someone to come live at their house for an extended stay. That might be a good way to see the world, but your only compensation is free room and board.

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

7. Get creative and open an online store

Sites like Etsy, Zazzle and Café Press 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.

8. Become a translator

If you're bilingual or multilingual, you're a hot commodity. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that interpreters and translators have the fifth-fasting-growing occupation in the nation. From 2012-2022, demand for these professionals is 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 such as and Or check out, which is solely for freelance translators.

9. Make money with your phone

You're attached to your phone 24/7, so why not let it make a little money for you too? We've got a big list of apps that can make your smartphone a money machine.

10. Work at home as a customer service rep

Sure, you think you're connected to a call center when you dial a company's 800 number, but you could also be speaking to someone wearing fuzzy slippers and sitting on their couch.

Several companies outsource their customer calls to at-home representatives. To do this work, you might 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.

11. Join a focus group

In their quest to obtain and maintain market dominance, companies are willing to pay consumers to provide feedback on their products or share their thoughts on a new idea. Often this is done through focus groups, which typically compensate members for their time.

Opportunities for focus groups are, of course, better in larger metro areas, but many marketers are moving to online discussions that can include consumers nationwide., and are three websites where you can find groups. You can also do a Web search for the words "focus group" and your closest metro area. The pay for participating in focus groups can range from $50 to a couple hundred.

12. Take surveys for cash

Along the same lines as focus groups, but on a much smaller scale, are online surveys.

ather than spending hours on a focus group, you might spend 20 to 30 minutes filling out an online survey. On the downside, you earn peanuts for your feedback -- payments seem to top out at $3 per survey.

Since there are plenty of survey scams on the Web, search for reviews before inputting all your personal information at an unknown site. To get you started, Pinecone Research, Viewpoint Forum and Ipsos are all tried and true survey companies.

$100 bills growing in grass © REB Images, Blend Images, Getty Images13. Enter contests and sweepstakes

It's unconventional, for sure, but some people apparently make extra money from sweepstakes. It's probably only a marginally better option than hitting the casino, but at least you won't be losing any money.

If you want to give it a try, you could search for sweepstakes to enter in your spare time or head to a site like, which categorizes all the sweeps by date, prize and how often you can enter. There's also a forum where you can connect with other sweepstakes fans.

14. Find some gigs online

Another option if you have some free time is to head to or Amazon Mechanical Turk.

At TaskRabbit, you can bid on work that may include real-world jobs like running errands and weeding gardens. At Amazon Mechanical Turk, you might do something like entering a few bits of data. It's easy work but, in some cases, you'll be paid literally pennies.

On other hand, if you have a talent that you think is worth $5 to someone else, you could post it as a gig on

15. Return items you've never used

How many times have you bought something and then had buyer's regret before you could even get the tags off?

Don't leave those unwanted items to languish in your closets and drawers. If you haven't used them yet, take them back to the store and see if you can get your money back.

16. Rent a room

It's probably not as unusual as it was a few years ago, but lots of people make extra money by renting out a room in their home to travelers. is the biggest name in the business, but other sites offering to facilitate room rentals include and

17. Rent your space

Maybe you don't have a room to rent, but you do have space.

For example, if there is a local festival and public parking is at a premium, charge a couple dollars for people to park in your driveway or on your lawn. Or you could rent out space in your pole barn or garage to those who need to store items.

Keep it legal by checking with your municipality first to make sure it's allowed.

18. Rent your friendship

Of all the things you could rent out to others, your friendship might be the strangest. However, it is one more odd way to make money.

Sites like allow people to rent someone's companionship for a day. Supposedly, it's all on the up and up and outings are strictly platonic. It seems a little creepy to me, but apparently it works for some people.

19. Be a tutor

You suffered through all those long years of algebra, geometry and grammar. As a tutor, you get a little payback for all that knowledge contained in your head.

Local schools or, depending on your credentials, colleges might be a good place to look for tutoring opportunities. Otherwise, you can find online gigs at websites like and

20. Flip items on eBay

The 50-cent finds you discover at a local thrift store or garage sale might be worth a whole lot more on the global marketplace of eBay.

It might take a little trial and error to learn what's worth money online, and you can search for "flipping on eBay" or "reselling on eBay" to learn the tricks of the trade.

21. Become a mystery shopper

Many years ago, I worked as a mystery shopper. It was an excellent way to eat for free at high-end restaurants and earn some nice side cash. When gas prices went up and shopper fees went down, I got out of the business.

Still, it can be a fun way to earn extra income. Just be aware that mystery shopping isn't nearly as easy as you might think. My experience was that some shopping scenarios were a bit contrived (i.e., ask strange questions or make returns immediately after a purchase) and once you get done shopping, you typically need to whip up a narrative of your experience, so good writing skills are a must.

If you want to give it a try, head to, which has a comprehensive list of legitimate mystery shopping companies as well as an active shopper forum.

22. Crowdfund your dreams

Finally, you could simply ask for money from others. Crowdfunding sites are available to let you solicit money from others for nearly any reason.

Check out this infographic from Inc., which highlights 22 crowdfunding sites. Then you can read this article with advice from Kickstarter on how to run a winning campaign.

What do you think? Are you going to try any of these unconventional ways to earn money? Or maybe you already are.

More from Money Talks News

Jun 18, 2014 4:26PM
I joined a focus group, but then I got distracted.
Jun 18, 2014 2:02PM

Jun 19, 2014 8:56AM

It's kind of a pain in the butt sometimes, but I collect cans and bottles. I don't make much but it comes off the total of my grocery bill. I make about $30.00 per month.

I had a homeless friend that used to pick up cans and bottles from the street. His mindset was this:

"If you were walking down the street and you saw a nickel laying there, wouldn't you pick it up?"

Jun 18, 2014 4:46PM

My Son's house was robbed by the Baby sitters son
Jun 18, 2014 8:40PM
Most all auto dealers need drivers to transfer cars between dealers. All used car dealerships need drivers to deliver autos to auctions and to pick up cars that they buy at auctions. Normal pay in Alabama is $9.00 hour.  
Jun 18, 2014 4:35PM
I made a bunch of money selling wet-naps to the middle school kids. Told 'em they were condoms.
Jun 18, 2014 4:43PM
In my area, I see women who are out to sell their body.  I guess you could say they are renting thier friendship too.  But, sometimes when John don't pay, the friendship is strained and they fight.  But, you can spot them easlily.  They are the ones in short shorts on a cold, rainy, snowy January day.  The ones who wave at you even if you've never seen them before.  The ones who yell at you from the traffic corner "will you give me a ride?"  Or something similar.  I guess renting their friendship and buying their body is all one price though.
Jun 18, 2014 2:43PM

no lawnmower?

about the same as walk the dog.

Jun 19, 2014 10:50AM
If you do anything that involves other people like house sit or be a tutor etc, please double check and triple check with your insurance probably homeowners, to see if you are covered, for liability and anything else that could transpire. Chances are you are not. The whole world is sue crazy, be sure you protect yourself.
Jun 18, 2014 1:34PM
Stupid article....Let us comment on real news MSN!
Jun 19, 2014 7:47AM
A lot of good ideas. I like selling your body.
Jun 19, 2014 10:20AM
This is a classic example of what's known as "being conditioned" sheeple, and it gets closer and closer to the bottom of the cesspool with each and every article. Who owns this media outlet that is attempting to try and condition us to get used to living in squalor? That's exactly right sheeple! The very sons of bitches who are a big part of being responsible for relegating us to that very same life of squalor. If you think it's tough, bad, hopeless right now, well you ain't seen $hit yet. Best advice? Beans, rice, bullets, and band aids, but so sorry, you're already SOL on the bullets, the very sons of bitches who are putting you into this pig sty full of $hit have already taken care of that one. They don't want you fighting back. They are scarfing all of the bullets up just like they are all of the money.
Jun 19, 2014 9:32AM
Blacks are the plague of Alkkkebulan........T​he BBC is an instrument of the DEVIL......Go back to your tribe and click at each other......
Jun 18, 2014 9:05PM
If you have it in you be a caregiver,it a hard job but very rewarding and the pay is not bad.Good Luck 
Jun 19, 2014 10:49AM
I'm reading all the comments here, and I agree with what is being said. My issue is that I am a single parent of two, and my bf is a disabled vet whose PTSD keeps him from leaving the house. I don't make enough to support us, he doesn't get disability, the state barely helps, and I just honestly don't have the energy to get a second job. So something like a mystery shopper or surveys would be great. I wish these things weren't so hard to get into, or weren't mostly scams.
Jun 18, 2014 4:47PM
Were the special agents in South America whom the lady reported to her local police buying her body or renting her friendship?  Either way, I'm glad she turned them over to her local police.  Had she complained to American authorityes, we would most likely have never known they were trying to help the lady by buying a bit of her body or helping her by buying a night of her friendship.  She was a smart lady!  The secret service agents just thought they were smart ashies.
Aug 26, 2014 2:29PM
Try Amazon Turk if you absolutely cant get out of the house and are forced to work on line.. You can make a pretty decent part time job out of it- its not great pay? but its somewhat mindless work : 0

Aug 26, 2014 2:27PM

If you cant leave the house you can always try amazon turk.. Its not huge money but the work is somewhat mindless and its through amazon which makes it trustworthy.. They don't advertise and most folks don't talk about it because there's no referral money to be made but its certainly worth a long if you need a few hundred. It wont replace a 'real' job tho but..

Aug 23, 2014 5:57PM
Well you can find more legitimate sources on they have some really good guides on those sources.
Jul 17, 2014 10:00AM

I heard that by selling your used panties on can make us women loads!

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