Recently, we shared some unusual side jobs people do to earn extra money. And in the comments, people added even more interesting ideas that I never would have thought of. Here's what they had to say, plus a few more ideas from Reddit:
1."I run pay-to-play Dungeons & Dragons games. I do it a few nights a week. It makes me a little extra cash, and I could up my prices easily and still be in the standard range people charge. It takes preparation and work, but it is fun, and I am amazed at how many people will pay for it."
2."I rent out my custom wedding gown for plus-size brides at a fraction of the cost of mainstream gown rentals. I charge $50 plus a cleaning fee."
"I also make collage videos for my friends' events. I started at my bestie's college graduation, then her engagement/bridesmaid announcement, then her bridal shower, and thanks to that, I started getting gigs for bar/bat mitzvahs, engagements, and other important events. I charge $75–$150 per video, depending on how long/complicated it is."
3."I referee youth soccer games. It was a $70 class, and you can make between $40 and $60 a game as a center referee and $30 as an assistant referee (linesman). I did a tournament this past weekend. Eleven games netted me almost $400. I usually make around $100–$150 a week during the fall and spring seasons and do three or four tournaments a year. If you know the game, can put rowdy parents and coaches in their place, and are reasonably fit, it's a great way to make money."
4."Confession time? I've written about 20 erotic novellas under a pen name that net me between $100 and $150 a month. While this is not a huge amount, it allows me to buy a few luxury items."
5."My ex used to clean bongs for stupid rich boys. Twenty dollars a damn bong. They would always be so wowed — if they only knew it just took a nickel’s worth of acetone."
6."On garbage nights, I drive around and see what people put out at the curb. Sometimes people throw away perfectly good stuff, so I take it and put it in my garage. When I have enough, I have a garage sale. Whatever doesn’t sell, I put it at my curb with a free sign or else donate it."
7."In college, I was a line waiter. Every time there was a new video game, console, or phone release, I would go to the store and offer to wait in line for someone. I could make $100 in a night, and I would bring a book or some homework to keep me busy."
8."I work as a librarian full time at a community college. I just started tutoring for our English classes for 10 hours a week. It pays $30 an hour. I'd encourage anyone living near a university to check their 'Help wanted' ads for similar positions. A lot of places want professional tutors, so any bachelor's degree in a certain subject matter (English, math, social studies, computer science, etc.) may fit. There may be flexibility with scheduled hours, and it may be a remote position, so you'd just have to be available on Zoom or Teams."
9."I flip furniture and don't always actually paint it. I like the ones with minimal effort that just need staging or a change of handles. I get it all for free on Facebook or the side of the street, or sometimes I will pay $10. For example, someone was throwing out a peacock chair. I screamed at my partner to turn around and get it on a busy street. I sat on it; it was good. Next day, at daylight, I saw it was a little broken but still very usable. Cleaned it up, posted it. Made $150. I do this often. Ikea dressers sell well on resale!"
10."I lead ghost tours! It only runs March to November, and it's generally only two or three tours per month (except for October, which can have upward of a dozen). But my current company pays $65 plus tips for around an hour and a half of work that consists of dressing in a fun costume that you put together yourself, checking people in, and taking a short walk while telling stories. I've been with this company for 14 years now and was with a different company in another city for a couple of years before that while in college."
11."If you are good with your hands and have tools, people always need stuff fixed. I make side income doing repairs on boats. Currently, I have so many jobs that getting to them all is challenging."
12."I've done stock photography part time for about 15 years. It was far more lucrative then than it is now, but it still gets me about $100 a month. Doing that got me hooked up with an agency for whom I now do food photography, at about $125 per recipe, one recipe per month. I have to buy the ingredients, but it's basically like being paid to cook dinner for myself with someone else's recipe. And I retain copyright, so I can license the photos elsewhere."
13."I do pet sitting, and I can’t even keep up with the demand at this point! I never thought it would be as lucrative as it is!"
14."If you live in or near a vacation town, you can make bank doing vacation photos for tourists during peak seasons! I started out this way, and demand grew so much that I made it my full-time job for a few years. Thinking about picking it back up again!"
15."I work at my apartment complex as an event coordinator. I work between 20 and 30 hours per month (yes, month, not week), get 20% off my rent (plus any sort of rent discount being offered), $16 an hour, and free parking. I don’t do anything in the leasing office; I essentially get paid to party with my residents."
16."I clean office buildings in the evenings. It pays by the job, and as long as it gets done that night, you have no set start time. It’s an easy, mindless thing where I can put my headphones in and listen to my podcasts or music and knock it out."
17."I use the Bonavendi app to sell my used books. I have a phone app where you scan the ISBN, and they have about a dozen buyers who will bid on them. Shipping is free; you just pack them up and print the shipping label and drop them off at FedEx. Of course, you never get what you paid for them, but it's something."
18."I have a completely manageable medical condition that makes me a valuable case study. I've made thousands of dollars by volunteering for studies, even all-expenses-paid trips to DC and Boston. The procedures can be invasive, but I feel good that I am helping others with the same condition by offering myself up as a guinea pig."
19."I give respite care. Adults with disabilities need people to take them out to do things. I take them to lunch or doctor's appointments or we go shopping. I take one fellow fun places. On Sundays we go to eat pizza and watch football games. I took him to a professional baseball game. He likes the country club outdoor pool, so his parents hooked me up with guest passes, and we go do that in the summer. I’ve taken him to the beach, the lake, festivals, all kinds of fun stuff, and I get paid gas money and $15 an hour! It’s fun, I get paid, and I always have someone to do things with. It’s a cool gig. Been doing it for 16 years."
20."I proofread on Fiverr. I got my first gig in a couple of days. It was only $10, but pretty simple. It took a while to build up regulars, but now I have a few authors who bring me their work. If you like reading and have an eye for that kind of thing, it's pretty enjoyable. It's not completely mindless, but it's not all-consuming, either. I tend to fit it in during my commute or whenever. Proofreaders with good profiles and endorsements can make a surprising amount of money. Other hustles in this vein are writing reviews, writing essays, and ghostwriting."
21."I pressure-wash people’s homes. It pays between $150 and $250 and takes less than an hour. Also, I operate a bike taxi in the downtown of a major city, which brings in about $200 a night, but only on weekends."
22."I started a vending machine business. Was pretty easy and didn't require too much start-up capital. The business is high cash flow, has great margins, and is passive, so it is easy to scale up. I have learned a lot by trial and error, but Reddit and YouTube also have some gems."
23."I worked as an overnight nanny for a while, and it paid $200 a night. The client was a doctor who worked the night shift but had two kids (5 and 8). All I had to do was show up around 6 p.m., help tidy up a bit after dinner, play with the kids, do their bedtime routines, and then sleep in the guest bedroom until maybe 6:30 a.m. Get up; get the kids' lunches/breakfast ready; wake them up; get them fed, dressed, and ready for school; and then hand them off to Mom when she gets home from work around 8 a.m."
24."I had a second job assembling bikes a few years ago that paid my rent/mortgage and got me deep discounts on cool stuff if I wanted it."
25."I make and sell costumes to reenactors, LARPers, and Ren Faire people. Most pieces go for between $100 and $200, and there's no shortage of buyers. Basically, if I have the time to make it, it will sell. Other than getting better at my sewing skills, the most work went into social media and establishing myself in the community. The raw materials are expensive! But I keep my costs down by scouring the internet and estate sales for secondhand (but unused) fabric. Little old ladies die with hoards of it (me one day, LOL). Helps keep costs down for buyers and profits up for me. Also helps the environment."
26."I'm a stay-at-home mom, and I do home delivery laundry. I posted an ad on a few local Facebook groups that I have a home laundry service. I didn’t, but I have a washer and dryer and fold well, so now I do. I have eight clients within a 15-mile radius of my home. They leave their dirties in a laundry bag on their front porch; I pick it up, wash, dry, fold, and redeliver to them the next day. I charge by the pound. It’s simple enough and has plenty of downtime, during which I can do other things. This brings in anywhere from $700 to $1,100 a month."
"One of my laundry clients is an older woman who just asked me to start cleaning her apartment twice a month as well, and she told her friends who live in her building about me, so I just gained four more clients, $50 per clean, and each takes about an hour. Approximately $400 more per month, for a collective eight more hours of work per month. Easy peasy."
27."I’ve worked as a 'mother’s helper' for years. It’s a sweet spot between nanny (because you usually don’t have to watch the kids) and house cleaner (because you don’t have to deep-clean). Mostly kids laundry, dishes, tidying up, and making lunches. I make $25 an hour, and it barely feels like work."
28."I’m a backpacking guide. People will pay well for someone with backcountry first aid certificates and knowledge of an area. It could be a weekend-only job, though I do sometimes take four-day trips as well. I work for a tour company, so fortunately, the marketing is done for me. As a guide, I get paid a daily rate (this year I have 18 trips scheduled and will make around $20,000) and get discounts on my own gear. The company provides gear for my hikers. I would certainly make more money operating individually, but not worrying about marketing and liability is worth it for me."
29."I'm a brand ambassador for liquor store promotions. Each promo is usually three hours, and all you do is sample out the product of liquor that you’re representing for that event. Usually pays $25–$35 an hour and pays for gas if you have to travel. Bonuses include getting to take home the leftover booze you’re sampling. Been doing these for years, and always a nice change of pace and a great way to make an extra $120–$140."
Do you have an unusual way of making extra cash? Tell us about it in the comments!
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.