Ways to Make Extra Money: Share Your Tip to Win $10

By Linsey Knerl on 2 June 2009 70 comments

What’s a great way to make extra money?

We have our own favorite ways, but what would you recommend?

We’ve written on this topic a fair bit in the past, suggesting anything from mystery shopping to selling things on Ebay to having a used book business.  We know that your tips will come largely from your experience, so tell us what’s worked for you!  Are you doing something unique to get by?  Have you found a simple way to scrape up a few bucks during difficult time?

Share your money-making strategies, and be entered to win one of two $10 Amazon gift certificates.  The winning answers will be read live on Wednesday’s Living Large on a Small Budget Blog Talk Radio Show!


Win a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate

We're doing two giveaways -- one $10 Amazon gift certificate for a random comment, and another one for a random tweet.

How to Enter:

  1. Post your answer in the comments below, or
  2. Tweet your answer.  Include "@wisebread" in your tweet so we'll see it and count it.

If you're inspired to write a whole blog post, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.

At the end of the drawing, we'll update this post to include (and link to) all of your helpful responses.

Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends Wednesday, June 3rd at 7:59pm CST. Winners will be announced June 3rd between 8:00 – 9:00 pm CST during our live Blog Talk Radio broadcast, and will be contacted at the conclusion of the broadcast (or you can call in live to claim your prize!)
  • You can enter both drawings -- once by leaving a comment and once by tweeting.
  • Only tweets with "@wisebread" will be entered. (Otherwise, we won't see it.)

 Good luck!


*UPDATE:  We have our winners!

Twitter winner:

timeiscoffee: @wisebread I do tech support for friends and get a lunch or a dinner out of it! Its not technically money but its still saving money!

Blog Post winner:

http://www.wisebread.com/ways-to-make-extra-money-share-your-tip-to-win-10#comment-300923  (comment 56 by simplysarah)


"I work in a university town where there are several teaching hospitals and research institutes. They offer many clinical studies (some involving medications, some just for observation). My friend did one (while she was unemployed) that involved her staying in a clinic for two weeks. They fed her and she watched tv and every four hours they would take a small sample of blood. At the end of two weeks she received $6000!

In addition, the hospital connected to my work has a blood service where they take blood for research purposes and they pay up to $100 for each donation (depends on amount). This is less time consuming than plasma donation and as far as I know doesn't keep you from donating plasma.

The next one is probably a more rare opportunity but I will most likely be doing this over the summer. I have had fire extinguisher training and will be able to make $50 for two hours being a "safety" during a fire performance act at a local amusement park.

Another one, I take advantage of the tuition reimbursement at my work. They reimburse $2500 a year and also pay for books (which I sell at the end of the class if I won't need them). I finished my BA degree last year but now I have moved on to certificate programs, all on their dime. I am currently working on my copyediting certificate and a graphic design certificate. I am developing new skills which could result in a higher paycheck later and I can also do freelance work on the side (I've already done a few small copyediting jobs)."



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70 discussions

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Guest's picture

On line surveys

Guest's picture

I do a couple of things. depending on what I need.

Used to sell plasma.

Sell books I have read to 1/2 Price Book stores.

Enter contests.

Do online surveys.

Shop garage sales/ebay/craigslist and resale via any of the before mentioned areas.

Do computer work on the side for friends and friends of friends.

Guest's picture

I do surveys as well as read emails. It's not slot but last month I made over $100. :)

Guest's picture

I make extra money by selling handmade jewelry!

Guest's picture

I make extra money by writing for DemandStudios. Any freelance writing would do. If I were more dedicated I would work on my blog to write more revenue-generating posts. But I'm not. :) So writing for others does the trick and gives me a bit of extra spending money.

Guest's picture

enjoy reading your website! Thanks for all the "Wise" tips.

Guest's picture

I've been donating plasma for about a year now. If you don't mind needles, and can take a couple pin pricks a week, you can make some pretty decent money over time. Obviously the pay rate varies from donation center to donation center. The one I go to has a two-week cycle: $15 for the first donation in a week, $30 for the second donation in a week, $15 for the third donation in two weeks, $35 for the 4th donation in two weeks. If you go as often as you can (twice a week with at least 48 hrs in between donations) anyone over 110 lbs can make at least $190 a month. The center I go to also gives bonuses for your 8th, 9th and 10th donation in a month ($5). In addition, if you weigh over a certain amount (I think like 160lb) you can donate the full measure (900g) of plasma, which gets you an extra $6 every other donation at my center. My plasma center also has drawings and contests about once a month to encourage people to donate in the week they need to make their quota (push week). When I manage to donate every opportunity in a month, I bring home between $200-$250 a month, more than $2400 in a year. This really brings things into perspective when you're wondering why you're spending an hour and a half of your time for $15. I missed going for the better part of a month because of illness and I can tell you I missed the extra income.

Guest's picture

You can make a decent profit by buying things cheap at garage sales and reselling them on eBay and Craigslist. For the most part, people selling at garage sales either moving soon, are trying to clear out their junk, or are clearing out a deceased relative's house so they can sell/rent it out. They want to just get rid of stuff, so they'll sell it cheap. In some cases, they'll even give it away. You can make a few extra dollars by taking an entire box of old books and selling them to a used book store like Half Priced Books. Granted, you won't get a lot, but every little bit helps.

You should also be on the lookout for some really good deals. Just the other day I missed out on buying a nice weight bench ($20) and a punching bag rack with heavy and speed bag ($30) at a yard sale. I was pondering how I was going to store them in my apartment until I could sell them when a guy came and scooped them. I probably could have made at least $50 profit selling them on Craigslist, probably more since they were in good condition.

So general tips: Go early, get the good stuff before others do, come back later, get the leftovers for free or dirt cheap, learn to haggle, sell small stuff on eBay, sell larger stuff locally on Craigslist.

Guest's picture

I have three kids, and we're at the doctors office too much, especially through the winter. I scrounge all the weekly ads (Kmart, Target, CVS, Rite Aid) and save any coupons for "$10 gift card with a new/transferred prescription). My local CVS takes competitor's coupons, so I always fill the Rxs there. I can get a $10, $25, even $30 gift card each time. Then I use The Drugstore Game to stretch those CVS dollars even further.

Guest's picture

You may have a gold mine hidden in your closet. Many of those books that you thought were useless may be worth something.

How do you tell? Locate the 10 digit or 13 digit number located on the first few pages of the book or on the back above the barcode. This is known as the ISBN number.

Go to the Amazon.com website and enter the number into the Amazon.com search box. When the book comes that corresponds to that ISBN number check the used prices for the book to see if the book is worth selling.

You can then sell your book by signing up at Amazon. It takes only a few minutes and is a great way to earn extra money.

Guest's picture

I use Half.com to post old video games that my girls have outgrown and books that are in like new condition!

Half.com takes a small commission but they allow the item to be listed until it is sold or you eliminate it from your selling queue!

When the item sells, you pack it up and ship it! Half.com will reimburse the shipping costs to you along with the money paid by the buyer (minus their fee, of course)!

It's an easy way to make some extra cash from unused or unwanted items.

Guest's picture

I LOVE yodlee.com. It's so helpful for setting up my budget and tracking expenses. I'm able to categorize all of my spending and analyze where I can cut down, where I'm spending too much. It also allows you to track all of your accounts. I love the charts and graphs that you can create. Getting a visual of your expenses really shows where the money is going.

Of course, this works best when you put everything on your credit card. I'm responsible with my card and never have to pay interest. I pay in full every month while still putting almost EVERYTHING on credit. It's like a free loan. And again, having it electronically done means that I can see exactly where and what I spent. Don't do this if your not good with credit cards, but for those who are, get a rewards card and don't carry around cash. I know that many sites say cash is the way to go, and for some people, it is, but me for me, I like to be able to see and track the details, even those small $2 coffee charges.

Guest's picture

I tutor. Almost any college graduate can probably do this. I make $30 an hour, and it's fun.

Guest's picture

I do several things to make a little bit of extra money, but the thing that has been the most profitable so far is pet boarding. I have a friendly dog, a good-sized house, and a fenced yard, so this works out really well. I advertise primarily on Craigslist, and charge $20/day for dogs and $15/day for cats. It's generally not that much work, and it can be a lot of fun. In busy months, I've made up to $600 from pet boarding alone.

I make smaller amounts of money by buying up used books--I seem to have a good eye for those that will have good resale value--and then selling them on Amazon. I don't think I make a good hourly rate doing this, but I love looking through books so it's something I enjoy.

Guest's picture

i mow a couple elderly neighbors grass when i am doing mine. doesnt take very long and a couple bucks never hurt anyone.

Guest's picture

Offer a workshop on your expertise and add in demonstrations, valuable information, reading materials for people to bring home, and maybe cheap odds and ends that support your workshop as gifts to attendants.

For instance, my expertise is complementary (alternative) medicine and holistic health. I'm offering a valuable workshop that's dedicated towards balanced health. I'm offering mini-acupuncture balance treatments, teaching yoga/stretching poses, offering fun healthy recipe ideas and samples of them, meditation ideas, talk about motivation and ideas on why and how to live with joy and gratitude, reading material on how to enhance life, etc. For this 3-hour workshop (not too long, not too short), charge a cost of attendance of $40-$60 per person or according to the value of your workshop. I'm going to rent out a large room with comfortable chairs and plenty of floor space. All the information and itinerary will be planned and practiced ahead of time. Even if you only have 5 people in attendance (market, market market), that's $200-$300 for three hours.

At the end, I collect their contact information, pass out my business information (other services I offer be it yoga classes, acupuncture, in-home massages), and shoot them an notice if I have another neat and valuable workshop coming up such as giving Reiki attunements. If your workshop turns out to be a success, you may want to plan another holding one next month or as interest conducts.

Guest's picture

I do surveys, babysit, get seasonal jobs, and sell stuff on CraigsList or Ebay- it depends on how much money I need and whether I want little spurts of money or steady income.

Guest's picture

Because I know very well the city I live in, touristic attractions, cool and nice restaurants, hidden shops and so on, I proposed to some of my friends who are top managers, if they need a personal shopper or a "trend guide" for special contacts or clients visiting them to think of me. It depends on the "mission" but price can be betwwen 150/200€ for 5/6 hours.

Guest's picture

When I was a grad student I would do some short (45-90 minute) babysitting sessions in the middle of the day when most other sitters are not available. I would just call it an extended lunch break and earn a little extra money.

Guest's picture

I sell items around the house that I don't use anymore on ebay. And I enter contests like these!

Guest's picture
Chad D

I look forward to reading everyone's comments.

Professionally by day, I to tech consulting for small businesses. We don't support home users. So I pick up some side jobs by helping home users, which pans out rather nicely.

Guest's picture

I sell used clothes to second hand shops. I also have a coin jar and throw all my loose change in it... usually amounts to 20 bucks a month.

Guest's picture

I do surveys, freelance graphic design, sell on ebay, babysit and perform light housekeeping by word of mouth.

Guest's picture

When I was in college, I signed up to participate in studies the university was doing. It was mostly filling out surveys and questionnaires, but it paid a small honorarium and it was something that easily fit into my class schedule.

Guest's picture

Looking forward to finding some way to seeing your ideas but over the years must say that I have heard them all. Most every opportunity is to give what little money I have to someone else. So many scams, so little time.


Guest's picture
martha in mobile

I knit a lot and will take on knitting assignments; right now it's Christmas present time. Scarves, Christmas stockings...the hourly rate is low, but heck, I would be knitting anyway...

Guest's picture

I do tech support for friends and get a lunch or a dinner out of it! Its not technically money but its still saving money!

Guest's picture

I rent out my text books for classes I've completed, then when the college changes books, or I hear a new edition is coming out, I sell the book on ebay or amazon.

I once made a profit of over 150 dollars on one book alone. After I had used it for my class, I was able to rent it out twice before it had to be sold.

Guest's picture

I pick up every single coin or bill I see on the street, on the floors of stores, etc.

I sell old books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, and video games to the used bookstore.

I sell old clothes and accessories to clothing resale stores.

I use up any GCs I have around or sell ones I can't/won't use to sites like plasticjungle.com or swapagift.com.

I do online surveys and participate in surveys, focus groups, taste tests, and mock shops for local market research firms whenever possible.

I have garage sales annually or every few years depending on how much stuff I have.

Guest's picture

I guess "I make money" by doing online surveys and product reviews. But my biggest tip, is to find the best ways to "spend your money wisely." We all can't make money on the side, but there are ways to spend it smart. Grocery shopping (combine sales with coupons), taking lunch instead of buying it at work, take advantage of all discounts through your employer (most offer cell phone service discounts), and by not going out to expensive restaurants.

Guest's picture

I was doing my laundry one night in a laundromat when this guy comes in with a long skinny wooden pole. He drops to one knee in front of the washing machines and slides the pole around underneath.

Out comes dust, lint balls and about $5 in quarters.

I talked to the guy and apparently his 'job' is going around to laundromats and fishing lost quarters from under the machines.

He said he likes it because he sets his own hours, doesn't have a boss and it's pretty much legitimate.

He said on a good week he can make $80 - $100.

Guest's picture

I earn extra cash by sharing my knowledge with other people. I write "how-to" articles on eHow.com. I also write articles about Filipino people, businesses and communities in the Bay Area.

Check out my Examiner article.

I earn decent amount of money especially from eHow. Enough to cover monthly expenses for my teenage daughter and currently I'm saving the money I earn to pay for church expenses for my wedding in August.

Guest's picture

I do online surveys to voice my opinion.
I donate plasma because I can do it more often and help more people overall than whole blood donation.

It doesn't give me much, but as a student paying my own way through grad school, every little bit helps.

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I do surveys and do paid-to-click.

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I sell cakes to family and friends.

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Like many people, I do a lot of ebaying - I pick up things in sales, thrift stores, etc., and resell on ebay. In a good month, I can easily earn up to $700 net profit!

Guest's picture

I've started taking in alterations and doing sewing for anyone who needs it. I've actually had some luck sewing for cross dressers and fetish folks.

Guest's picture

I'm a ChaCha.com guide at the moment. You have to pass their tests first before you can become one. The amount you make depends upon the type of questions you answer and the amount of time you want to dedicate.

I do freelance graphic design projects here and there.

I take a small portion of my money sources and place them into a low risk investment of some sort. Currently an online Money Market Account is the best way to go. My CDs have good rates too. I have some investments in Ibonds which won't gain interest until the rates get out of the negatives. Low risk investments don't make as much as they used to, but it's still a bit of income without any work at all.

The rest is not spending money I don't have with DIY, reuse & recycle projects. A Penny saved is a penny earned!

Guest's picture

Participate in marketing research. I live near Boston which has several marketing firms that do in-person research. Also online works as well.

Guest's picture

I sell old clothes to places like Plato's Closet. I'm planning on selling old gold jewelry for cash. I take advantage of all the $10 giftcard for a transferred Rx coupons. My goal is to get an extra income of $20-$30 month doing little things like that.

Guest's picture

I'm in college, and I do work around the house for my parents. Detailing their car, cleaning window screens - anything they'd rather not do! My dad will occasionally hire my boyfriend for jobs that require heavy lifting.

Guest's picture

For extra income I recycle cans and bottles. Every one I see I pick up. I earn about $25 extra a month. It's tax free and there really is no limit to the amount of money you can make. I suppose it all comes down to how much effort you want to put into it.

Guest's picture

I take my canvase grocery bags with me to the grocery store and get 5 cents per bag per trip.
5 bags x 5 cents x 40 = $10
Coupons add to that, of course, and most of the coupons that I use now are printed from the MyPoints.com site so using them adds points toward next $25 Amazon.com gift certificate (and I only print coupons for things that I already use, and watch for them to go on sale, of course).

Guest's picture

The used book store near me (Half Price Books) buys magazines in the current and previous month.

I sign up for just about every free magazine subscription I see on the web, even if it's not something I'm interested in. When the magazines come, I black out my name and address, toss them in a bin and every 4-6 weeks take them to the store to sell them. I generally get between $10 and $20 per trip. It's not a lot, but it takes very little time and effort. Of course, you have to stay in the store while they go through your stuff and make you an offer. It's rare that I don't buy anything while I'm there, but I still usually end up ahead.

Guest's picture

I have tried to earn extra money by entering contests and giveaways like this one.... but so far no luck... maybe this will be my lucky day

Guest's picture

Sell scrap to scrap metal dealer. If your home has a garage, and you have lived in your home for a good number of years, I bet you have a collection of metal items that you never threw away. Sell them to a scrap metal dealer rather than tossing them into the trash.

Guest's picture

(It's been a pleasure reading all the great ideas.)

We're trying to take daily walks. Since we're out anyway I pick up aluminum cans and coins along the way.

I do surveys. The proceeds go towards "mad money" and Christmas gifts for family.

We bring our books to a local flea market vendor.

Most of our other strategies involve cost cutting.

Guest's picture

I sell used books on Amazon. I have developed a system for selling books with almost no overhead and it takes very little time, so my Amazon money is basically "free money." I usually average $10-$20 a month this way. It's not much, but as a grad student, it certainly helps.

Here's how it works:

First of all, I don't pay for my inventory. There are several ways to get books for free. for example, I collect unwanted books from family and friends. Also, there is a section in my library for discarded books. Etc...

Secondly, I don't pay for packing material. I save all packages and mailers I recieve in the mail and use them to repackage my items. Also, I get paper bags when I go grocery shopping and sometimes I use those to wrap my packages.

Postage is not an issue because Amazon has set shipping rates for items (books are $3.99 for standard shipping, etc.) that are added to the list price and that always more than covers my shipping costs.

Thus, my only investment is time spent collecting items, listing them, and shipping them. I can combine those with other jobs and errands though, so I save my time as well. For example, the post office is right next to my bank, so I can just ship my books when I go to the bank.

Guest's picture

If you live near a university or medical center, check the psychology or sociology department to see if they are running any experiments that require human volunteers. The experiments are usually fun surveys or computer-based tests, though some are group-interaction studies. Pay is anywhere from $5 to $100.
If you are especially daring, check the medical department and see if you can qualify for any clinical studies. My university wanted healthy volunteers to participate in sleep studies and in pulmonary (testing a breathing apparatus or chamber) studies.

Guest's picture

Make a cup of coffee, put it in a small thermos BEFORE leaving the house, every time - This saves buying a cup, it's green, saves calories (if you're interested in that - no temptation for treats at the counter). You can drink it anywhere - in a lovely spot and not in a crowded, noisy/annoying coffee-place. If you don't drink it - when you get home - pour into a mug, put it in the fridge for ice coffee later. This has got to save at least $1.00 and maybe up to $4.00 and beyond EVERY day.

Guest's picture

Most people in the area where I live just about live in blue jeans. And it is often difficult to find blue jeans that are the proper length. I shorten blue jeans ~ it only requires a sewing machine, scissors, thread and an iron, and takes about 15 minutes (or less) per pair. I charge $4 a pair. Easy, quick, and some extra cash.

Guest's picture

focus groups and medical studies! (where I'm not being injected with anything)

Guest's picture

I've recently started entering online sweepstakes and instant win games. I've already won $60 and several prizes!

Guest's picture

I found out who runs local focus groups and signed up to be in their "pool." You don't have to go very far and some of the groups will give you $100 or more for a single afternoon. The only downside is that you can only do them every 2 months or so.

Guest's picture

Etsy. I'm going to make things regardless, so I might as well try and sell them when I'm done!


Guest's picture

I work in a university town where there are several teaching hospitals and research institutes. They offer many clinical studies (some involving medications, some just for observation). My friend did one (while she was unemployed) that involved her staying in a clinic for two weeks. They fed her and she watched tv and every four hours they would take a small sample of blood. At the end of two weeks she received $6000!

In addition, the hospital connected to my work has a blood service where they take blood for research purposes and they pay up to $100 for each donation (depends on amount). This is less time consuming than plasma donation and as far as I know doesn't keep you from donating plasma.

The next one is probably a more rare opportunity but I will most likely be doing this over the summer. I have had fire extinguisher training and will be able to make $50 for two hours being a "safety" during a fire performance act at a local amusement park.

Another one, I take advantage of the tuition reimbursement at my work. They reimburse $2500 a year and also pay for books (which I sell at the end of the class if I won't need them). I finished my BA degree last year but now I have moved on to certificate programs, all on their dime. I am currently working on my copyediting certificate and a graphic design certificate. I am developing new skills which could result in a higher paycheck later and I can also do freelance work on the side (I've already done a few small copyediting jobs).

Guest's picture

I forgot one...

We have several farmers markets in my area and many of them need volunteers either to help with redirecting traffic if roads are blocked off, or at the beginning and ends of the markets to help do paperwork collection from the vendors, etc. In exchange, they offer gift certificates to be used at the market. The shifts are usually about 2 hours and I get a certificate for approximately $20. Many of the market vendors appreciate the service of volunteers and give extra large helpings of products, samples and items not sold.

Guest's picture

I make extra money by doing online surveys and working at 2 jobs. Also, I sell everything I dont need, or have several of, on ebay and amazon and profit. Anything you think is garbage can be someones biggest desire!

Id love to win the $10 amazon gift card.



Guest's picture

Selling unused stuff on Craigslist.

Guest's picture

I sell jewelry I make (although that hasn't made me much yet), and am thinking of doing freelance writing and/or starting a website.

Guest's picture

Several people have mentioned buying things at garage sales and thrift stores and then reselling on craigslist or ebay, but I would add if they are nice vintage items, you can sell them on Etsy for a good fixed price (plus the listing fee there is only $0.20 for 4 months).

A relatively easy way to make a small amount of money without too much effort is to just re-sell wholesale items online for a little less than retail. Start by applying for a business license/tax id number with your city. This qualifies you to deal with a lot of wholesale only companies, many of whom don't care how big of a business you are and don't have large minimums. Buy something at wholesale that you know will sell and resell it on ebay or etsy. I made a full-time living doing this for around 2-4 hours of work a day. You have to know lots about and like what you are selling, though, and do a few hours of market research before you decide what to sell (many categories like electronics are saturated, but there are still niches here and there). For instance, if you like beading (like I did), sell beads.

Guest's picture

After tightening up my spending, I have made extra money by selling items at my local consignment store - these are items of clothing that I don't wear anymore or don't fit me anymore.
Thanks to everyone for their ideas, I have seen quite a few that I could easily incorporate into my life style to add a few more $$ on a regular basis!
Part of my philospophy is to give back. I give regularly to our local food pantry. Last year they served about 44 clients a month - this past month service increased to 248 clients! My extra $$ will go directly to the Pantry.

Guest's picture

Giving a share of your profits to a food bank or pantry is an excellent move. When I was a kid, my best friend mother was divorced and diagnosed with schizophrenia. There was literally nothing to eat in their house. She was on all kinds of aid, but her kitchen cupboards were as vacant like she she just moved in. My friend's diet consisted of pancakes and candy (bought with change scrounged from around the house). She had 3 kids, and the medication gave her tremors (shakes) that caused her to drop and break things all the time.

There are people out there whose situation is really, really bad, who aren't just scamming the system out of laziness. Frugality is an admirable path to self-responsibility, and then we give a little back so the less fortunate have a shot at some dignity too.

Guest's picture

I bake bread for our own use, and now some family members buy it from me. With regular practice, I've gotten pretty good at it. I make enough money to cover the materials cost for *all* the bread I bake, plus a bit more. So essentially I get my bread for free and cover the utility bills. Doesn't that seem wise?

Guest's picture

You can earn cash and FREE Prizes like gaming gear and Amazon GC's by using PrizeRebel! It doesn't cost anything no credit card needed, and it's a nice little way to earn some extra dough!

Guest's picture

I use a website called Cashle, you basically do the short online surveys you can use fake info, but I earn at least $10 a day doing this. Usually more but every little bit helps!

Guest's picture

I love opinion outpost. In a few short months I've made roughly $150 through their surveys.

Guest's picture

I collect all the money on the street, even if it's a penny.

I work anywhere I can, even if its $7/hour.

Also I sell whatever i dont need.

Guest's picture
Candace Smith

My husband and I just went through all of our old cds this past weekend and entered their isb numbers onto a website called SecondSpin.com - and we're going to make $180 this week! if you put most of your music on the computer nowadays - it would be worth it to look into. They paid $10 for an old Pink Floyd cd and decent prices for many others. ;-)

Guest's picture

You can sell your shirts and other goods on a garage sale.hehe NO NEED for investment.