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by sitecore\aholloway on February 12, 2010

With the unemployment rate at 10 percent as cited by the U.S. Department of Labor, you may be looking for ways to earn any income, much less an extra paycheck. Whether you are looking to supplement your current income or looking for ways to make up for a paycheck you are no longer receiving, keeping your mind and eyes open for extra income opportunities can help you earn more. Following are nine creative solutions to the lack of funds conundrum.

  1. Participate in survey research. Survey research and data collection companies look for participants to conduct their research. The hours are flexible and the qualifications to participate are minimal. 
  2. Donate plasma. Because of the time commitment involved with being a regular plasma donor (up to two hours and sometimes longer per donation), donors are compensated for their time. Plasma donors can earn between $20-$35 dollars per donation. Check out for a list of donation centers in your area. 
  3. Sell your photos. Stock agencies look for photographs to sell online. You don’t have to be a professional photographer to sell your pictures, so if you have some skill with a camera, why not give it a shot? Some sites to peddle your wares include and
  4. Turn handmade into profit. If you stitch, build, bedazzle, or paint for fun, why not try to turn a profit on your unique goods?, the place to buy and sell all things handmade, is a great market place for the crafty type. Alternatively, craft fairs and niche stores may be good places to earn some extra coin. 
  5. Participate in a clinical trial. No, this is not advice to be a guinea pig for some mad scientist’s experiment! This is an opportunity to help forward scientific research, plus, participation offers a few perks for you. While some studies do pay, others offer access to new research treatments and free expert medical care at leading health care facilities. offers a list of federally regulated trials with built in safeguards to protect participants. While some trials are for more serious medical issues, some are not. A friend of mine participated in an acne study in college that earned her $400 dollars for applying a topical acne treatment to her face twice a day and keeping a written record of how her skin reacted. Be sure to talk with your primary care physician before participating in a clinical trial. 
  6. Join a focus group. A focus group is a type of research method involving an interactive round-table discussion, usually made up of a small group of people with shared interests who come together to evaluate a product or service. Incentives for focus group participation usually include savings coupons, product samples, or cash. Some companies, like Saurage Strategic Marketing Research, even offer online focus groups so you can earn more from the comfort of your computer. 
  7. Mystery shop. Mystery shoppers or secret shoppers are paid to shop and report back with an evaluation of their experience. While this gig won’t earn you much money, the hours are flexible and the longer you stick with it, the bigger the perks. 
  8. Freelance writing. Word wizards can earn more money by using their talents to score side gigs. Have a portfolio ready to show prospective clients and set your rates with help from a handy resource like Writer’s Market. 
  9. Go green, get green. Recycling may not earn you a ton of money, but you will be doing your part to help the environment. Also, recycling aluminum cans or newspapers can be a great way for your kids to earn their allowance. Visit to find recycling centers in your area.

These are just a handful of ideas on supplementing your income. While many of these gigs won’t earn you a fulltime salary, the extra money can be a great asset if you put it towards an emergency savings account or use it to save for a big purchase, vacation, or retirement. Can you think of any more creative ways to earn extra income? Leave a comment – we’d love for you to share your ideas with us!

Posted in:  Extra Income


Angie says:
January 11, 2012

Wow, Tom, that's a little negative. As a person who considers myself an innovative thinker (especially when motivated by circumstances such as 5 mouths to feed and not enough money to adequately do so) I was pleasantly surprised to find some different, new options in this article for increasing our income. Many thanks to the author.

earn extra money fast from home says:
June 21, 2011

Great point there. Why not give a thought to a part-time writing or typing job, if you have got the skills? It is one of the easy ways to make money online. Of course, there are many freelance sites and job boards which can readily meet your needs if you are looking to make money quick and earn extra money from home.

Edward scott says:
May 31, 2016

that,s really good idea thank you for sharing......

Edward Scott says:
March 30, 2016

that,s really nice idea, thank you for sharing..with me...

Extra Income For Real Life says:
April 07, 2010

These are some great ideas. I knew a family who donated blood, both husband and wife, and made some extra money that helped them out quite a bit. Often times people can do little things like suggested here to make some extra income to purchase things they want or need instead of going into debt and paying twice as much.

gurpreet says:
June 11, 2013

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Jason says:
March 05, 2014

I have made some cash doing online focus groups and mystery shopping. Online focus groups are so easy, and they pay relatively well! It is also convenient that you can do it at home, so it fits easily into your schedule. I have done few online focus groups, which I found through a company called SQM ( ). I was actually looking for mystery shopping deals; I hadn't realized that you can also earn money by doing online focus groups. The focus groups I have done took about an hour each. They asked several questions but it was more like a general group conversation, so I did not feel like I was in the spot or anything. All in all, it was over quickly, but I guess the companies that are doing it get some in-depth insight compared to surveys or other stuff. As for mystery shopping, that can be easy too if you find places that you normally go to or wanna try anyway. That way, it doesn't feel like you are doing something extra; it just feels like you are getting a good deal! That is why it makes more sense to sign up for market research companies that do more than focus groups, so you can know when there are other types of deals as well.

Order Sharelord says:
February 21, 2012

These are such creative ways of earning money. I appreciate your thoughts about this topic. You are such a creative man.

Patty says:
March 06, 2012

Set up a stand at a local flea market(keep it local because you won't pay alot for gas); make sure the rent is "cheap" ($4, $5 or $10/space);don't go over that or else on a "bad" day, all your profit will go toward rent and nothing toward the important things, like food for the week, gas for the car,etc; Keep your appearance of the stand neat,just like a "store";people like to shop at a neat, tidy store;keep boxes, bags you brought your stuff to sell out of sight (makes your stand look untidy, messy);keep plastic shopping bags nearby,like under your chair, so you can grab one quick when you make a sale; get plenty of change night before and place in a zippered fanny pack around your waist the day of the sale, so this is with you @ all times, not lying around your stand ready to be stolen;put a calculator in the fanny pack, too,just in case you make the correct change. At the end of the day,like 2 hours before it ends and your just about getting ready to pack up, start discounting your items and let non-buying customers know. If on a rack"Clothing buy 2 get 1 free" or "Clothing-fill 2 bags for the price of 1"if clothes are sold in a pile. ; Also, in Spring & Summer, you can sell plants (if you start them from seed);grow vegetables that people would normally buy @supermarket, TOMATO,CUCUMBER,WATERMELON, GREEN/RED PEPPERS,put them in cheap pots (see if grocery store,hardware store, or nursery will give you pots their throwing out);I WISH YOU LUCK!!!!!

shirley says:
May 10, 2013

Thank you patty for reminding me that flea markets are a good place to earn some quick money. i have just moved to a new area and haven't seen any around here but i shall look ask around. i have alot of things that would sell well in that venue. plants are a good item. in this state i can sell up to i think it is 250.00 per year without a horticulture liscence. i love making my booth really appealing and charge friendly prices. thanks again patty.

six says:
March 02, 2015

I never heard about every idea on this page, and I appreciated the information. Thank you.

teresa deloach says:
August 21, 2014

I do surveys online to make a few extra bucks. I make around $200 a month or so. It wont make you rich but it is easy.

Tom says:
May 27, 2010

These are tired ideas, shared over and over and over again on the Internet. No offense, but I think that blog writers need to get creative, and move away from these worn out "earn extra income" articles. Just how many ways can a box be described as a box???

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