That first credit card bill after the holidays always comes as a harsh shock, and it doesn’t help if you’re already stressed about affording basic expenses like rent.
If it makes you feel better, we’re pretty much all in the same boat. Still, solidarity doesn’t pay electricity bills.
Trying to come up with extra money to cover your living costs can feel overwhelming, but it’s not impossible. Here are 12 ways to make extra money this month—without selling off any vital body parts.
1. Drive strangers around in your car
If you have a car and don’t mind working the occasional odd hours, you can make plenty of extra pocket money as a driver with a ride-share company like Lyft or Uber. You get to set your own schedule, so you can work when it’s convenient for you, as much or as little as you want.
And if you’re a woman who’s not into the idea of transporting random people in your car (with all of Uber’s bad PR on this issue, who could blame you?!), check out women-only ride-share options like See Jane Go or Safr.
2. Sell your junk
There are apps and sites out there to help you sell just about anything you’re not using. To get rid of old electronics, check out Gazelle, Nextworth, USell or Decluttr, which buy or help you sell old CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray discs, video games, phones, tablets and iPods. For everything else, use letgo, which lets you take a photo and create a listing for your item in under a minute, or go to tried-and-true sites like Ebay and Craigslist.
3. Clean out your bookshelf
If you, like me, are a hopeless bookworm, you’ve probably got a few extra books lying around that you don’t need anymore. Those old university textbooks aren’t doing you any good as doorstops, so why not turn them into income? If you’re an independent type, you can set up an account to sell your books on Half.com or Amazon. Otherwise, check out Bookscouter: you just type in the book’s ISBN, and the site searches dozens of buyback companies to find the best offer for you.
4. Teach English (or something else) online
You’ve probably taken a course online at some point, but have you ever thought about teaching one? You don’t need a teaching degree to lead an online class—just a skill and desire to help others learn. If you want to teach English (or another language), check out Italki, which connects freelance teachers with students all around the world. If you have another specialized skill, look into teaching your own course through a site like Udemy or Skillshare.
5. Take surveys or join a focus group
Answering questions about the last time you bought a blender or switched car insurance isn’t thrilling, but it’s also about as low-effort as it gets. There are tons of options to take surveys on everything from financial and home services to your shopping habits. Consider joining Vip Voice, Focus Pointe Global, Inspired Opinions, Harris Poll Online, Toluna, SwagBucks, MySurvey.com, Opinion Outpost, iPoll and Hiving, and start earning pennies for your thoughts.
6. Get rid of old clothes
Even if you’re not on the KonMari bandwagon, you could probably use a little extra space in your closet. You can go analog and take clothes in good condition to your local consignment store. Otherwise, there are tons of apps to help you sell gently used or like-new clothing, including Tradesy, Mercari and Poshmark.
7. Run someone else’s errands
If you have to go to the grocery store anyways, why not make a few bucks while you’re at it? Sign up for TaskRabbit (currently in 18 cities) or Zaarly (currently only in three cities: Denver, Kansas City and Minneapolis), which connect you with people who are willing to pay you to pick up their dry cleaning or do their shopping for them.
8. Become a mystery shopper
Yes, this is a real thing. Businesses will actually hire you to shop and then report on how it went. Here are more details about how it all works. To help you avoid scams, look for opportunities through the Mystery Shopping Providers Association.
9. Join a street promotion team
Those people who hand out fliers or free wristbands aren’t doing it because they love harassing strangers on their way to work—they’re part of street promotion teams that get paid to help promote products, events or companies. If that sounds like something you’d be good at, take a look at Street Team Promotion for gigs near you.
Are you good at filling out bubbles? Some anxious high school student out there could use your help! Get a jump start on college prep season and join a tutoring company like Kaplan, or—if you know enough people in your personal network—spread the word through the grapevine that you’re offering personalized tutoring and test prep services.
11. Participate in a study or trial
Medical researchers need healthy subjects for all kinds of studies, from sleep studies to control groups for new drug tests. Search for clinical studies at ClinicalTrials.gov, and find out more about how it works from the National Institutes of Health. If you live near a university with a psychology department, chances are they need subjects for experiments, so it’s worth getting in touch to find out. These experiments can pay anywhere from $15-100 for a test, depending on how long and/or complex they are.
12. Sell your hair
This is also a real thing! Got some split ends you can live without? Swing by HairSellon and find out whether your follicles are worth a few bucks, or ask around at your local salon, which may have connections to wig shops in need.
We were not paid to write this story. Our team scours the internet looking for tips, tricks and products that can help you save time and money. However, we may receive a small commission if you make a purchase from one of the retailers mentioned in this story.