Five simple ways to generate income in your spare time

Brian Russ is a writer who frequently delves into ways to save and make more money.

In order to balance your budget, you might think that all you can do is trim spending. And while it's certainly a good idea, there's another strategy to consider - income generation. There are plenty of ways you can pad your income without too much extra effort, and many can be done from the comfort of your own home.

1. Sell Your No Longer Needed Stuff

If you have digital cameras, cell phones, camcorders, or iPods you no longer use, sell them on Amazon or eBay. When you list items, include pictures and a description of all blemishes and defects, and ship them promptly and securely to reduce returns. If you get questions about your listings, respond quickly to ensure faster sales. Use Craigslist for larger items, such as furniture and large appliances.

2. Join a Paid Market Research Website

Check out market websites, such as Delve and FG Global. In most cases, you need to travel to a physical location, but some research groups allow you to participate exclusively online. If you qualify, you may get compensated considerably for your opinions, sometimes as much as several hundred dollars for a few hours of your time.

3. Put Your Smartphone to Work

Smartphones are convenient for doing a wide range of things. Fortunately, they're also a great way to make a little extra cash. With the explosion of available apps, companies have found opportunities to market and collect data and will pay you for getting involved. Two apps that offer money-making opportunities are Field Agent and Locket.

4. Complete Surveys on the Internet

Completing online surveys will only net you a few dollars per hour, but can make sense if time is something you have in abundance. Look for websites that do not guarantee an exorbitant amount of compensation and avoid any that charge a fee or ask for your credit card or social security number. Two worth considering are Pinecone Research and Lightspeed Research.

5.Sign Up For a New Checking Account

Banks want your business and some are willing to pay as much as $200 with checking account promotions for opening an account. You'll likely have to set up direct deposit and may need a minimum balance, but for that kind of money it's worth it. Just understand that opening a new account involves a credit check, which could ding your score, especially if you have too many in a short period of time.

Before you start generating extra income, decide what you intend to do with it. If you intend it for a specific purpose, such as retirement, to buy a home, or for an emergency fund, open an account in which to save the money separate from your other funds. If you intend to pay off debt with your earnings, keep track of exactly how much you make and send that in as an extra payment every month. If you don’t have a goal, start thinking now about where some extra money will do you the most good.

What other ways can you make money in your spare time?

Jesse Campbell is the Content Manager at MMI. All typos are a stylistic choice, honest.