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4 Ways to Make Extra Money

4 Ways to Make Extra Money

Whether you have a full-time job, you’re a stay-at-home parent, or you’re a starving student, you may be looking for ways to make extra money. When it doesn’t make sense to get a new job as an employee, there are still a few ways to pull in some extra cash. 

Here are four types of income generating activities to make some extra money!

Paintbrush with white paint sitting on top of two cans of white paint.
Paintbrush with white paint sitting on top of two cans of white paint.


Freelancing is a broad term to describe work done independently in exchange for payment. Freelancing gives you the freedom to work on your own time, as opposed to the time defined by an employer. The kinds of work you can do as a freelancer are practically infinite, but it can help to hone in on a few of your best skills and market those services accordingly. 

Everyone is free to market themselves independently, but there are a few platforms that freelancers use to help connect them with clients, process payments, and help mitigate client disagreements.

TaskRabbit, Thumbtack, & Zaarly

Websites like TaskRabbit, Thumbtack, and Zaarly connect professionals with clients seeking help with a wide range of services. Mostly, these sites focus on domestic services including: 

  • Handiwork and home repairs
  • Painting
  • House cleaning
  • Furniture assembly
  • Moving 
  • Yard work
  • Grocery shopping and delivery 

When you create a profile on these websites, you set your own rates, and control the time you spend providing services. Like any work income, you will need to pay taxes on what you earn. As an independent contractor, taxes won’t be taken out of your pay automatically, so be sure to set aside a chunk of what you earn for taxes. 

Uber, Lyft, & Via

If you own a vehicle and enjoy driving, working for Uber, Lyft, or Via may be a good option to make extra money. Drivers are needed at all times of the day and night, so you can work on whatever schedule you choose. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons of driving for one of these ride sharing services carefully. In addition to expenses like gasoline and insurance, your car will endure some wear and tear. 

Doordash, UberEats, Instacart, & goPuff

Delivery service is a big business that has only grown after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Requiring no special skills, and transportation as inexpensive as a bicycle or scooter, this type of work has a low barrier to entry. 

Upwork, Fiverr,, & Codeable

For anyone with specialized skills who prefers remote work, these sites will allow you to market your skills at a high rate and complete jobs on your own terms. Clients seek professionals for these services and more: 

  • Graphic design
  • Writing
  • Video & audio editing
  • Copywriting and content writing
  • Proofreading
  • Translation
  • Voiceover work 
  • Music
  • Social media marketing & a i Media

Like delivery services, closed captioning services are in high demand due to social distancing guidelines imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. With so many events, lectures, and performances being held virtually, captioners are needed to transcribe both live and recorded material. While this is certainly not an option that will earn you a full-time salary, captioning is an easy way to supplement your income. 

A dumpster full of scrap metal.
A dumpster full of scrap metal.


You may be familiar with the practice of redeeming soda cans and glass bottles for cash, but did you know that other kinds of recycling can help you make extra money too? Here are a few other items that can be recycled for a profit: 

Cars & Car Parts

Recycling car parts may be one of the most effective ways to help the environment, and can also supplement your income. Here are some ways to recycle car parts and make extra money: 

  • Tires: You can use a site like, or sell them directly on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace 
  • Car batteries: Auto parts stores like Autozone or Napa Auto Parts often buy used batteries, and you can expect to make $5-$10 per battery. Before selling used car batteries, check your state and local regulations.
  • Catalytic converters: These car parts contain up to $1,000 worth of precious metals like platinum and palladium. Alpha Recycling buys catalytic converters across the U.S.

Scrap Metal

Copper, aluminum, brass, stainless steel, and bronze can be sold to your local junk yard. You won’t make a fortune recycling scrap metal – copper sells for between $1.10 – $3.05 per pound – but why leave money on the table (or in the back of your closet), when you can convert it into cash? To find scrap metal recyclers in your area, try Google searching terms like “scrap metal for cash”. You can find a detailed list of the current selling price for different types of scrap metal and other items here


Recycling used electronics can be a great way to make extra money if you know where to turn them in. Best Buy, Apple, GameStop, and Amazon have trade-in programs that earn you store credit. It’s Worth More will buy your used electronics for cash via PayPal or Zelle after you send them in by mail. If you need cash in a hurry and have a cell phone to recycle, you can do so at an EcoATM kiosk. 

These are only a few ways how recycling can help you make extra money. And if you want to keep it simple, you can always stop by your local grocery store and redeem your empties.

Antiques sitting on a turquoise table at a flea market.
Antiques sitting on a turquoise table at a flea market.


Flipping is a big business, and the internet has much to say about it. This overview only begins to scratch the surface, but it is certainly worth exploring if you’re looking for a fun and flexible way to earn extra money. For inspiration, check out this story of a couple who actually makes a full-time income flipping discarded items. 

Flipping simply refers to the practice of purchasing an item at a low price, and re-selling it for a profit. You may have heard about people who “flip” houses for a living (or a hobby), but it can be done just as well with everyday items.

In order to generate a profit, it’s important to purchase items at a low price, or start with items you already have on hand. You might also consider sprucing up the items you intend to sell, whether that’s by cleaning them, or performing repairs. 

Many people comb through flea markets, second hand stores, and yard sales, or bid at estate sales for potentially profitable jewelry, furniture, clothing, and shoes. It’s even possible to bid on estate sales online. Try Everything But the House for some intense bidding wars on coveted items. 

When you’re ready to sell, you can set up shop online on platforms like Etsy or Shopify. These platforms allow you to display your items with appealing photos or curated in sets, which can maximize your profits.  

Be creative – there are lots of ways to flip! There many online resources, and even online communities available if you want to learn more. Here is a more in-depth look at how to get started. 

A woman touching her hair


There are a few things that simply can’t be manufactured, and that’s where we’re asked – as humans – to step up and pitch in. 

Blood Products

If you meet the weight and height requirements and don’t mind a quick needle stick, donating blood products could help you make some extra money, and save lives to boot! 

The most profitable blood product to donate is plasma. It’s safe to donate about once per month and compensation averages at about $50 per donation. Donating plasma is similar to having blood drawn. For 30-60 minutes, you’ll sit in a chair while blood is extracted through a needle and spun in a machine to separate out the plasma. Then, your red blood cells and platelets are returned to you. Plasma donation is not compensated in every state, but it is still possible to be paid for donations in many places. Octapharma has a large number of locations across the U.S.

Even if you live in a state where plasma donation isn’t compensated in cash, you may still be able to make extra money in the form of gift cards, or other prizes, from some blood donation organizations. The Red Cross sometimes offers incentives like Amazon Gift cards and rewards programs for certain types of donations. Local blood donor centers like New York Blood Center may offer rewards as well. Donating blood products is a worthwhile endeavor, with or without compensation, but a gift card every so often is an excellent perk. 


Healthy human hair is in high demand because it makes for the highest quality wigs and hair extensions. Hair that has been dyed, bleached, cut into layers, or subjected to harsh processing (like perms), can’t be sold. It also must be at least 10 inches long. You can use this calculator to find out how much your hair could be worth. If you do choose to sell your hair, you can do so online, on sites like,, and

Clinical Trials & Research Studies

Clinical trials are research studies performed on people to test new ways of preventing, detecting, and treating disease. Every trial or study requires human subjects who have the condition being studied, as well as healthy volunteers. Due to ethical considerations, you won’t be handed huge amounts of money to participate in clinical trials, but it is still an interesting way to make extra money, and help others at the same time. It’s a good idea to sign up for mailing lists like this one to stay informed of clinical trials you might qualify for.

These are only a few ways to supplement your income. When you’re looking for new ways to make extra money, be creative, and don’t be afraid to try something new!

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Catherine Hall, LMSW is a therapist at a small group practice in New York City. She earned her master of social work degree at New York University.