Ways I’ve Made Money

Hey everyone! I am currently in St. Thomas (WOOHOO!) and have some wonderful posts lined up for while I’m gone. I always love finding new blogs, so I hope you enjoy these great writers who were actually willing to guest post for me 😛 Don’t forget to read Sunday’s guest post on Why She Loves Her Budget, Monday’s post on New York City travel tips, and yesterday’s post on Money Saving Tips For Your Vacation.

This is a guest post from eemusings, a writer from Auckland, New Zealand. Visit her blog NZ Muse for straight talk about all things personal finance and lifestyle (career, relationships, food, travel); she also tweets as @eemusings.

I’ve gotten to grips, sort of, with the fact I’ll probably never feel properly financially secure. It’s never enough, and I know how easily things can go pear-shaped.

Since I moved out at age 17, I’ve always cultivated multiple income sources. It’s hard for me to sit still when I could be side hustling and padding the bank account a little more – money gives you choices, and the more options you have in life, the better, IMO!

I’ve eased off on this recently (I wanted more free time) but now I’m getting back into it with an eye to reaching some hairy savings goals next year.

Here are some of the random ways I’ve brought in extra money (aside from my main job) over the years:


My English skills actually come in handy for students whose writing isn’t so crash hot. I tidy up their essays and reports, and they pay me for it! Even better, I can do this from anywhere – preferably the comfort of my own home.


Unlike the former, this usually requires getting out and actually meeting students face to face. Depending on your skill set and experience, this can be pretty lucrative. Tutoring someone in law or chemistry pays much better than plain old English, unless you get a seriously desperate and seriously loaded ESOL exchange student. You gotta factor in things like transport costs and time into your hourly rate, though.

Surveys/market research

I do a lot of online surveys, though they generally pay out gift cards or vouchers rather than cash. It’s slow going, but I think it’s worth it for the amount of time I actually devote to it – which is a hell of a lot less than I waste cruising Twitter and Facebook. I’m funding Christmas presents with earned gift points this year.

Putting up promotional posters

After finishing up an admin job with one company, they hired me for a temp gig going around campuses and putting up flyers advertising their services (which they paid me a higher hourly rate for, even though it was way easier than what I did as their admin assistant!). And I got a workout while doing it.

Mystery shopping

My mother used to do this when I was a kid, so when I struck out on my own I signed up for the same companies and got my own account. Over the years the money has gotten worse and competition fiercer, but there are still a lot of freebies to be had (which is often what I do it for, rather than cash profit).

One of the easiest things I’ve ever done to make money on a hourly basis was bus surveys; I had an unlimited monthly pass anyway, so I would jump on a series of different buses, checking things like whether the driver followed protocol, was on time, and how well maintained the bus was. I planned this out so that I was super efficient and never had to wait long between rides, doing assignments around the CBD where buses are frequent. (Plus I lived in an area that was well-serviced, so I could catch all kinds of different routes home on different days and fit even more surveys.) At a pinch, I could do four or five in a hour – on my lunch break, or on a weekend afternoon – and make $40 or 50.

Focus groups

But the easiest money I’ve ever made hands down is via focus groups. I’ve done everything from taste tests to being hooked up to electrodes to test my brain’s reaction to various TV ads. You can bag up to about $80 an hour if you’re lucky, and I’d say an average rate is about $40. Sadly, market research opportunities don’t come along that often (and they don’t like you to have done any other focus groups recently).

What wacky things have you done for money over the years?

What’s the easiest money you ever made?


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