If you’re trying to make travel (or any other financial goal) a priority this year, you’re probably thinking, “I need to make more money.”   With a wedding party and travel coming up, I hope that my entrepreneurial spirit will teach you how to make extra money on the side starting this month!

Saving money each month is one part of the equation, however a clever side job that makes you extra money might be enough to treat yourself to a vacation, a shopping trip, a new apartment, or even a spa visit.

Keep reading for my craziest side jobs that I’ve done for extra money and some other ideas on creative ways to make money from others.

Many of the side jobs that I see listed on the best side jobs lists require a lot of expertise, experience in a field, and/or a blog.  This is meant to be a guide to making more money this year!

This may shock you readers, but I don’t have a trust fund and I pay for my travels MOST of the time.  I remember well what it’s like to be broke as a graduate student.  All of the side jobs here are real jobs/secondary sources of income that I’ve had or someone I know has had in the past.

Step 1: Set your monthly goal

I absolutely love traveling and I like to come up with a small goal to fund that is easily attainable with some extra hours.  I typically focus on funding a weekend away away with one night staying at a nicer hotel ($80+) where we can relax, have a good meal, and do some sightseeing.

A lot of the blogs that I’ve written about the Netherlands are the result of these relaxing trips. Just be realistic with your planning.  At the bottom, tell me your financial goal!  Note, you’ll find no mention of MLMs or blogging here. Any comments promoting a course or MLM will be removed. 

Without further ado…Ideas to make more money


Not all jobs have this, however in certain fields, overtime is an option as soon as you go over your set number of hours.  This is typically the case for government jobs.

Volunteer for an extra day or extra week after classes end (for teachers).  I realize it cuts into your vacation time, but the income from just one day from your full-time job might allow you to fund a vacation if you do it once monthly.  Just ask your manager and see if it’s possible to pick up a few extra hours.

I worked a job with overtime where I got paid 40%  higher than my normal hourly salary for every hour that I worked over forty hours.  I ended up working sixty hour weeks, which was exhausting, however it funded my Eurail backpacking trip after I saved over $8,000 this way.  The only major downside is that you’re probably tired/cranky after working extra hours, but you’ll save on going out and shopping.

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Medical Research for extra money

I’ve done A LOT of medical research for cash.  Crazy? Maybe, but some medical studies pay so well that you might want to reconsider your aversion to doing it.

Keep in mind that medical research pays really well, however the payment for medical research depends on a few factors, including how invasive the research is.  Similarly, you’re contributing to science!

Finding good medical research is easiest if you live in a city/town with a medical school, research hospitals, or many universities.  Experiments need a control group to compare their outcomes to and they’re often looking for healthy adults with no health problems and no medications taken (birth control can be an issue for women).

However, depending on your medical issues, you might be able to find a niche well-paying study that will pay you to study your unique medical issues.

Medical research often pays the best out of various research studies as it requires agreeing to samples being taken and/or invasive tests.  One medical study that I did required a DNA sample, a blood sample, questionnaires about my habits, a pain tolerance test (I’m serious), and an examination every couple months/year.

However, every step paid very very well and when I saw research published by the authors aimed at helping people with my condition, I was thrilled to see a medical breakthrough.

Medical research studies tend to be fairly short in terms of time spent although if you’re queasy about your biological data floating out there, doing medical research for extra income is probably not for you.

For one medical study that I did (that included the pain test), I was paid $350 for each one hour examination, not including extra income (at least $200) for each additional test that I had to do.

There are many websites that you can register at, but I find it easiest to find medical research studies to participate in while looking on college campus bulletins or at a coffee shop (or something similar with a bulletin board) near a medical school.  You can also look online as I found one on Craigslist (USA).

University Studies for extra money

Looking to make money for travel? Ideas to make money for any financial goal with creative ways to make money with side jobs!

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As a graduate student, I hunted down university studies on a daily basis.  Even now, I keep an eye out for studies performed by a local university.

Check the website of your local university’s psychology department and/or research website to see if they list ongoing studies.  Most don’t require much work beyond one hour on occasion while others require going back at fixed durations (these pay better).  At minimum, apply and see if you qualify.

One research study paid me to eat a free lunch, play games, and read the newspaper after reciting my dietary intake for a week.  This took about 30 minutes and I got free lunch every Wednesday in addition to getting paid to eat lunch.  Not bad, huh?

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My husband did a research study where they installed a device in his car to understand how people drive.  It paid $1,000 per month.  He simply had to drive as he normally would.

Remember that it’s not JUST the psychology department that is recruiting, but it includes economics, engineering, and biology/physical therapy. Keep an open mind when considering studies.

Marketing studies for extra money

I was also part of a few other research panels for market research in the US.  Some require going in person, which are easiest if you’re living in a big city, while others can be done online.

I have been part of the Nielsen panel for quite some time after receiving a random digit dial although you’re statistically likely to be selected if you live in a “swing state” if you live in the US or a less populated state.  Not all pay and avoid panels that involve sweepstakes instead of cash.

If you want to join a panel, look up major market research companies near you and see how to join their panel.

Some of the best paying market research studies involve being part of communities that give their opinion on products and/or coming in for qualitative discussions for your opinion on a new product/service!  I tend to avoid online-only panels as many haven’t turned out to be legitimate.

Tutoring for extra money

If you have a Masters or Bachelor’s degree, this is one of the easiest way to earn money online or offline.

Similarly, if you have language skills for a language in demand, you might find a willing student  In the past, I tutored students taking statistical coursework and my husband tutored undergraduate students taking mathematics courses.   It was very good money at the time ($30-50 per hour).

As I was very familiar with the material, I never had to do too much prep work besides just reading through the student’s textbook to see what material is the focus.  I typically tutored for two to three hours at a time, so making at least $100 from three hours worth of work is definitely worth it.  I’ve read about native English speakers teaching English online for good money, but I haven’t done this myself. 

Reselling clothes for extra money

There’s almost unlimited possibilities for what you can sell online if you have the right eye.  I paid for a trip to London by attending a sample dress sale by an up-and-coming indie English dress designer with a cult following online.

In addition to buying one dress for myself, I ended up selling around seven different dresses to women all around the world using a dedicated Facebook group for reselling dresses from this brand.

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This is not possible with all clothing brands, but do your research beforehand to see what the market is like for secondhand merchandise from designers prior to purchasing an item.  I came into the sample sale with a PDF of the most popular styles, which helped me choose the right dresses.

If you’re looking to make some easy money, look in your closet for A-name brands and look up groups that focus on that brand/store (e.g.Modcloth BST [Buy Sell Trade]).  Similarly, you can use phone apps to sell clothes (such as Poshmark) to resell designer clothing.  Just be aware that it’s often worth the extra money to dry-clean the item if it’s wrinkled if the value is over $50 and to take a good photo!  There’s also groups for Anthropology…Ikea…name it and you’ll find a whole world of reselling.

If you’re living in a town with a university, I recommend checking the local advertisements in the last weeks of the academic year.  Typically, students will be moving out and I find that you can get some amazing steals on clothing, furniture, and household goods that you might be able to resell.

I was able to snag a gorgeous vintage dress at one of the consignment stores near my old apartment by checking it close to the end of the academic year.  I bought this vintage dress for $3 and I sold the dress for $80.  Similarly, you can always try to hold your furniture onto it to sell it when there’s more of a demand: furniture (January/August if you’re by a university).  (Just be careful about bedbugs!)

Reselling electronics and camera gear

Have almost-new electronics you don’t want? You can send your stuff to Amazon in exchange for a gift card that you can use for Prime Pantry (which you can order groceries from in the US).  Similarly, if you have spare camera gear, you can sell it online to fund your next vacation where you can take photos.

Reselling books

Bookstore by greencandy8888, on Flickr
Bookstore” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by greencandy8888

When I moved abroad, I had a massive collection of books.  I wanted to bring them all, but it wasn’t possible.  I ended up selling my books to a local used bookstore shop, however it’s best to bring some of your higher value books to have them appraised prior to selecting a shop as some shops offer pennies/credit while others offer the kind of money that will pay for a week’s meal. Condition matters.


Think beyond babysitting.  If you can pick kids up from school and drop them off at school, consider having your house as the local pick-up/drop-off spot.

Expat needs / Handyman jobs for extra cash

Photo of carpenter. Feel like I need to make money? Tips on side jobs for extra money that pay with tips on how to make extra money on the side!

Photo copyright AntonioDiaz / Bigstockphoto.com
Whether you’re a local or an expat, there’s often a demand for little services that make life easier.  For instance, in the Netherlands, you don’t get screens on your windows.

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As someone who is very prone to mosquito bites AND who has a cat, I find the summer hard as I don’t open the windows to prevent the cat from getting outside and the mosquitos from getting in.

I had seen a similar complaint in an online expat forum and I weighed in that it’s possible to build your own screens. Together, I built screens for our apartment and honestly, it’s very easy.  However, five different people messaged me asking if I could build them screens for $100 per screen.

Similarly, my husband has done some carpentry work and IKEA furniture assembly when someone is looking for extra help. I realize it’s not a windfall, however a few tasks over a course of a month can mean a nice weekend away funded by your hobbies.

Secret Shopping for extra cash (Thanks to Lia!)

As a mystery shopper, your job is to evaluate the strategy of a retailer or business. You’ll analyze things like the visual appearance, customer service, assortment offering, or quality of a given set of products or items.

Every shop is a little different. Sometimes you’ll have a checklist, other times a script to follow. The job requires a bit of acting (aka lying). You may have to pretend you’re looking to buy a new car, or try to buy cigarettes without an ID (those always pay the best). Immediately after you execute the shop, you’ll fill out a survey to record every tiny detail of your observation – this bit is what takes the longest.

There are tons of mystery shopping companies. Each works with different retailers and businesses. You’ll sign up, and receive regular emails or requests for “shops.” I recommend designing a route and completing several shops at once, whether it’s in one area or on one route.

I’ve paid for road trips by completing gas shops along the way, for example. You’ll have a deadline by which you need to submit your paperwork so be sure you’re able to be timely and detail oriented! I find mystery shopping to be a lot of fun.

Giving blood for money

Giving blood (specifically plasma) for money depends on the country as not all countries provide money if you end up giving plasma.  You can only do it once a month (depending on weight), but for students looking to pick up a little extra cash, an extra $50-70 per month adds up.

Gardening (Thanks to Laura)

Photo of woman gardening for extra money. Read innovative ideas on how to make extra money on the side, so you can make more money for travel!

Photo by AlterPhoto/Bigstockphoto.com
There are many ways you can make money from gardening including selling your plants, produce, or cut flowers. At farmer’s markets, you can sell garden fresh tomatoes and herbs, but you can also sell vegetable plants for home gardens.

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If vegetables aren’t your thing, you can pot up and sell shrubs, lilies, and house plants, or indulge your creative side and make gorgeous porch planters, miniature fairy and succulent gardens, and indoor herb gardens. Search for a farmer’s market near you or set up an Etsy shop where you can sell your goods. The start up costs are minimal, and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time.

Become an Airbnb host

If you own your own house, consider renting your house out via Airbnb during your vacation.  A lot of people abuse Airbnb, however if you’re using it as intended: renting out your home while you’re on vacation, you can make money to fund your trip while you’re away.

Keep in mind that some guests expect the perks of a hotel (at least in terms of cleanliness and moving your stuff out of the way), however Airbnb has recently started a service to help owners connect with other hosts who are happy to help with cleaning, check-in, and check-out.

Pet sitting for extra money

If you love animals and you’re often home during the holidays, consider doing some pet sitting.  I’m usually the one hiring help, however there’s a number of apps that connect pet owners with pet sitters.

Just be aware that there’s quite a bit of competition on these apps, so the more references, the better.  I love Pawshake as it includes pet insurance, so if anything goes wrong during the visit, you can bring the pet to the vet without worrying about the bill.

Style Consultant (Thanks to Caitlin)

Are you stylish and looking to earn a little more money?  Caitlin earns a little extra by moonlighting as a style consultant.  She says, “I charge an hourly fee to go shopping with clients and offer advice, outfit ideas and many times serve as emotional support.

Some clients just need help locating the perfect outfit for a party or social function, while others might need guidance defining their personal style and may end up purchasing an entire wardrobe! I love getting to work with different clients of varying ages and styles and seeing the look on their face when they find something they truly love.

There are virtually no overhead expenses for this, unless you want to get business cards or make a website. I’ve found social media accounts are enough to look legitimate and gather attention to your service.”

Have you done any of these creative ways to make money?  Any others you recommend?

​*NO MLMs, courses, or blogging related comments.*

Looking to make money for travel this year? 15 creative ways to make money to afford your dream trip. NO MLMS or courses, only real side jobs that make you cash! #Money #Finances #SaveUp

Looking to make extra money on the side? 15 clever side hustle ideas to make more money this year. No BS! #Money #Finances