5 Money Making Activities You Can Do Today

By David Ning on 4 April 2011 (Updated 3 June 2014) 17 comments

Living below your means is the only way to long lasting wealth, but cutting expenses can only get you so far. At some point, earning a bit more money is just the ticket to a much merrier financial picture and best of all, some of these ideas are actually not that hard. Here are five such money making ideas that you can start doing today. (See also: Ways to Make Extra Cash)

1. Offer Your Services to Your Neighbors

Even the least skilled person can offer services that are valuable to someone else. Are you a handyman? Do you own a lawnmower? Can you babysit? Any of these skills can bring income, and there's no better way to start than telling your neighbors that you are available for hire. If you do a good job, bringing extra cash home might just become a regular event!

2. Rent Out Your Room

Whether you rent out one of your rooms for the long term or by the night, I'm sure you will welcome the income that it brings in every time someone writes you a check. With services like Airbnb.com, doing so is much easier than you think. List your property, and start enjoying the extra money that your space can generate! (See also: 7 Steps to Market Your Extra Space as a Vacation Rental)

3. Take Out a Mortgage, and Invest the Rest

This isn't for the faint of heart, but with the favorable tax treatment of equities, the returns of a well diversified and tax efficient portfolio will have an extremely high probability of outpacing the interest you are paying for a mortgage, especially after you consider the tax consequences.

I caution you though that this is only for people who can tolerate short term volatility. For most people, I recommend paying off your mortgage early, let alone taking out a bigger mortgage than necessary. If you choose to go this route, you absolutely have to stay on track with your investments even if you might seem like a fool in the short term, so think carefully before you take this advice.

4. Line Up

You can sell your own stuff on eBay, but eventually, you'd run out of everything! However, if you are able to get in line on all those hot gadget releases and be one of the first few to purchase one before it's sold out, you can almost guarantee yourself a tidy profit. All you have to do is line up ahead of time and buy the product, and when it is out of stock, you put it up for sale at a higher price than you paid for it.

Don't get greedy though, because if the product happened to become readily available, you might have to sell what you lined up for at a lost.

5. Start a No/Low Cost Business

Remember all those services you offered to your neighbor? You can probably turn that into a side business without putting up a ton of capital once you figure out that your expertise are in demand. You can start out of your home and grow from there. Who knows? It might turn into a multimillion business one day, which could transform your finances!

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Guest's picture

Lining up is a no lose proposition (except for time)

If you can't sell for more than you paid, just return it (and hope there is no restocking fee)

Guest's picture
Suzanne

The best thing I've done to make more money is to exhibit at a flea market and sell things I was going to donate to goodwill. Then I thought "hey, what do they have at goodwill that I could sell." I went to goodwill and found all sorts of things I could resell.

Guest's picture
Richard

Not sure how ethical that is to buy from Goodwill to sell for profit. Isn't the purpose of Goodwill to provide a cheap source of goods for those who can't afford otherwise? If people like you are buying to resell, what will they buy? They prolly can't afford your markup if they're trying to buy from Goodwill.

Guest's picture
Guest

Wait a minute, why not go to soup kitchens, and then open a food cart business? Or join freecycle to sell the items? Or buy from a church flea market, and resell? Buying from Goodwill is always fine, as it benefits their good works. Buying from a charitable organization, in a store meant to help out lower income folks, to sell at a profit, is tacky, tacky, tacky. Goodwill gets the same amount either way, but this gives me a visceral reaction that says "skeevy and greedy".

Guest's picture
Dr Dean

I think all but the mortgage tip are great. The problem with the refi-ing is the money from your investments may drop 30-60% as with our recent stock market downturn. It may take years and an ulcer to earn your money back, much less make money!

Guest's picture

Dr Dean - I agree with what you are saying to a degree...but the stock market has long recovered from the downturn, it's housing that we are still waiting on, and most likely will for years to come.

Guest's picture

I rent a room in my house to one of my friends... it's a lot easier when you know the person though.

I also blog about personal finance, not a huge money maker at the moment, but decently moving along.

Guest's picture

Here's a money saving activity:

Ask employees to set their computers to go to sleep automatically after 30 minutes of inactivity and to turn them off at night along with printers and copiers. According to the EPA, this can save anywhere from $50 to more than $150 annually per device (depending on the type of machine and its energy consumption). And don’t let screen savers fool you: Most screen savers keep monitors running at full power. So screens should be black.

Guest's picture

I hope to sell on Ebay. I hear you can set up what you want to sell and "launch" the sale on a separate day. I use to sell on a regular basis. Has anyone tried Squidoo? I hear you get paid to write.

Guest's picture
Ross

Here's a spin on #4 if you don't mind a little extra work.
Spend a little time on EBay looking at things that you know a decent amount about. "Watch" some items that are for sale and see what they end up actually selling for.
Then, look for these items being sold on Craigslist, find an item that is at or below what most of them are selling for on EBay, and then offer the seller a lower price than what they're asking.
Be sure not to go too low, as this can be insulting to the seller, but shoot them an offer low enough that will still net you a profit after factoring in the expenses of shipping and EBay fees.
The thing that makes this work is the fact that Craigslist is a marketplace where people are allowed to barter and negotiate.
I made several hundred dollars a month doing this and enjoyed it for the most part. The best part was seeing your items get bid after bid.

Guest's picture
WantToWorkFromHome

Does anyone know if these are legit?
http://www.consumer-reporter-news.com/careers7.html?=

Guest's picture

Starting the No/Low cost business method is the way forward especially in these challenging times - with web hosting being so cheap and wordpress blogs so easy to install, it's pretty straightforward to make some extra money talking about what you love.

I'll not retire on my blogging income, but it really does help out!

Guest's picture

Also wondering if anyonw has tried to be a Yahoo Contributor?

Guest's picture
Mary

I can't fathom doing #3! Our home is almost paid for - I could just see getting a mortgage, investing that money in the stock market and then watching a) Greece tank
b) home values continuing to decline or worse - both!

On a more positive note, I've heard young parents discussing what they pay baby sitters to sit and watch TV while their kids sleep. That's some serious money!

Guest's picture
J Marie

I agree, I cannot imagine taking out a mortgage now that ours is paid off. I love the security of knowing that my home is safe!

Guest's picture
D

Another way to earn a few extra bucks is to share referral links to product/service websites you like with friends. Many sites (like Groupon) have "refer-a-friend" programs and will pay you something like a commission for any new business you send their way. Usually all you have to do is register with them and don't even have to buy anything yourself. Depending on the business, they will compensate you with a credit towards future purchases or in some cases cash! They'll provide you with a link that you can share via e-mail or social networks. Of course there are NO SPAM ways to do this. For example don't e-mail anyone that you aren't sure would welcome such a message. Also, post to your own Facebook wall, not other peoples! I've taken it a step further and created a seperate Facebook page just for deals and promotions. This way only friends who've liked the page will see them.

Guest's picture

I really like the offering of services to neighbors - especially if you live in an aging community. Now that the weather is getting nicer (at least in New England) there are a ton of people looking to get their yards all cleaned up. As far as renting a room I guess you have to be really careful but that might work and lastly as a home-office based kind of guy I'm all for low overhead business models :) Great post and I hope it gets people motivated!