Five Simple Ways to Generate Income in Your Spare Time

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?

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.
  • The National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER) is the nation’s oldest and largest higher education finance trade association. NCHER’s membership includes state, nonprofit, and for-profit higher education service organizations, including lenders, servicers, guaranty agencies, collection agencies, financial literacy providers, and schools, interested and involved in increasing college access and success. It assists its members in shaping policies governing federal and private student loan and state grant programs on behalf of students, parents, borrowers, and families.

  • Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.