How can you earn extra money?

That question, posed at a popular deals and coupons site, prompted an avalanche of suggestions from readers.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 5, 2011 8:55AM

This post comes from J.D. Roth at partner blog Get Rich Slowly.


The realm of personal-finance blogs is large. It's filled with general money blogs like FiveCentNickel and The Simple Dollar and Get Rich Slowly. But there are many smaller corners of this world where writers cover smaller pieces of the personal-finance puzzle.


For instance, there are:

But one of my favorite corners of the PF blogosphere is inhabited by the (mostly) women who call themselves deal bloggers. At sites like Savings Lifestyle and Deal Seeking Mom, these bloggers share daily links to coupons, recipes and other deals. These sites have huge followings, and are more profitable than you might expect.


For me, one of the highlights of 2010 was speaking at the Savvy Blogging Summit, where nearly 100 deal bloggers gathered to share their secrets. (I liked meeting these women so much that I'm going back next month to mingle with them again.)


That's a long lead-in to today's "ask the readers" question, which was actually posted at Money Saving Mom. Earlier this week, Crystal took a break from writing about coupons and deals in order to share a question from one of her readers. Pamela wrote to ask:

I am in a situation where I need to increase my monthly income by about $1,000 per month. We already eat as frugally as we can and try to buy only when something is on sale. We economize at home with utilities.
I don't think there is much else I can do besides actually increasing my income from home. In addition to selling online, which I already do, what other work-from-home opportunities are there that would enable me to see a $1,000 increase in income in a short time?

Now, my blog is called Get Rich Slowly for a reason. I don't believe there are any quick paths to wealth. That said, I get questions like this all of the time. People want to know what they can do to make quick cash.


I've written extensively about ways to make more money. I believe that boosting your income is probably the most effective way to reach your financial goals in the long term. Remember, personal finance involves two fundamental skills: spending less and earning more. As Pamela has learned, once you've cut costs, the only thing left to do is increase your income. Post continues after video.

Because the audience at Money Saving Mom is different from the one here at Get Rich Slowly, the 300-plus suggestions there for making more money are different from the ones we normally discuss too. Here are some common answers:

  • Become a virtual assistant.
  • Provide day care and/or baby-sitting.
  • Answer online surveys. (Donna Freedman often recommends that, but I know nothing about it. Has anyone tried it?)
  • Start a blog. (This is a fine idea, but Pamela should realize that blogging is often a demanding task with few rewards, especially for new bloggers.)
  • And, of course, some readers urged Pamela to get a job outside the home.

But it's the less common responses to Pamela's question that are more interesting. One woman builds child-sized picnic tables to earn extra cash. Another suggests working as a housekeeper or "home assistant" or sewing for money. Some folks sell handmade items on Etsy. And Suzy from Love to Save makes $1,800 a month delivering newspapers.


The entire discussion at Money Saving Mom is a gold mine of moneymaking ideas. If you've been frustrated trying to come up with ways to boost your income, spend an hour reading through the comments. There's sure to be something there to provide a spark of inspiration.


Meanwhile, I'm curious to poll you about your own efforts to make more money. Have you increased your income in the past? If so, how? Can you give some tips to other readers?


If you've never tried to increase your income before, how would you do so if you had to? How would your choices differ if you had to make more money soon? (And, out of curiosity, why aren't you doing these things already?)


More on Get Rich Slowly and MSN Money:


Jul 6, 2011 9:10AM

Old advice (...and from a Democrat!) - Do what you can (or know how to already do) with what you have (use something you already have access to), where you are.


Look around, no matter how silly, and just do something - anything.  ANYTHING is better than nothing.  As a matter of fact, NOTHING is the absolute worst you can do.

Dec 20, 2011 9:53AM

Speaking as a man who retired at the age of 26 through Amway and live an amazing, honest, happy life, I'll laugh at your cynicism regarding the company. You pay $70 to get started with Amway, which gives you a business license to operate in all 50 states and 80 countries and territories; you'll cry about that, but not the $1.2 million required to start a McDonalds that's not really yours?


You do realize that EVERY business takes investment to make money. I was a Systems Analyst in Washington DC for 2 years, working 70 hours a week with a 1 hour drive to and from work, and I still succeeded with Amway. If you're willing to listen, there are over 50,000 people making $80k+ in North America alone with Amway Global. They'll show you how.

Jul 6, 2011 10:30AM
I work part-time so I can be home with my kids more. When I need extra money I take on extra work on a freelance basis. Right now I am just doing billing for a small law office every month. For me this is a zero investment option, minus the time I spent in college to get into my career field. I also do freelance ghost writing when I can find it.

Note, there is something worse than doing nothing and that is investing time and money into something that will never make you money. If you want to take a risk, then take it with raw materials you already own and can part with.

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Jun 10, 2012 4:30PM
I've tried the selling stuff route, but that doesn't seem to net very much.  People are cheapskates in this economy and often want to pay so little for a decent item, even one that's heavily discounted, that it's easier just to keep it.  Garage sales are a lot of work, too.  Sigh. 
Feb 7, 2012 3:07PM
I've been taking surveys online for years to make extra money. I leave the investments to the pros. I personally use and they pay in cash unlike those rewards places.
Jul 6, 2011 7:28AM
Do what most people do now. Lie, cheat and steal. Thats how most became wealthy. And the ones that chose to be honest have now drown. Sorry, I had to say this. Speaking from experience on the losing side.

Jul 6, 2011 10:53AM
for David Johnson and the ? on Amway! you cant do that and keep your job if you want to make money with it and it coasts money to make money! you have to pay to be a part of Amway! it takes to long to start it up!

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