No matter where you live, you probably see people making money in strange ways all the time. Some men hold signs on street corners and just wait for change to fall in their cup.
Others perform songs or dances on crowded sidewalks just to make some extra tips. You might see people mowing lawns or digging cars out of the snow for money.
Wherever you can find an extra dollar, you might be able to uncover a whole revenue stream where you can earn extra cash. Here are some options for odd jobs that could turn into new personal business ventures.
Recycling Scrap Metal
While some people make fun of the lady pushing the shopping cart full of aluminum cans, I think it’s safe to say that anyone who spends their time cleaning up a dirty city for just a little bit of change is doing us a service.
You probably don’t want to spend all of your time out on the street digging for metal items like cans, discarded copper, or old workout equipment, but if you can find a consistent source of scrap metal and good buyer, you could easily make hundreds of dollars with each sale.
Some of the best places to find scrap metal are said to be junk yards and dumpsters, but if you’d rather not go spelunking, you can make money off of old, faulty household items that contain metal by scrapping them.
That is, of course, if you can’t get a better price by selling the item for its functional purpose. Call a metal scrapping location near you to hear about the types of metal they can handle, and check out this site for tips on finding the best scrap metal prices:
Selling Items on Craigslist, eBay, or at Pawn Shops
If you’ve got vintage items, collectibles, old cell phones or electronics, records, books, instruments, or other items that could be worth something, you can easily make some cash by posting an ad online, or by taking your item to a pawn shop or thrift store for an estimate.
Pawn shops are usually reliable sources for getting an estimate on your item’s value, since pawn dealers are used to placing prices on all sorts of objects.
To get the most from your stuff, consider bringing it to a pawn shop for an estimate of its value, and then auctioning on eBay, selling it on Craigslist, by starting at the price the pawn dealer gave you.
If you want to avoid excess fees from online transactions or shipping costs, you can keep your stuff local by selling on sites like Craigslist, where people from your area can contact you with an offer, meet with you in person, and give you cash for your item directly.
Be careful when you use an open community forum like Craigslist to sell your stuff, though, there are lot of scammers out there. Just be sure to use common sense and sell in a public place.
Surveys, Donations, and Medical Research
In all major U.S. cities, the medical world is in need of more supplies, the academic world is in need of more information, and the commercial world could use an opinion on their products.
You can get paid to provide valuable insight on new products, or by simply giving basic information in a survey, by signing up at an online survey site. Most surveys pay around a dollar or less, but with the amount of information needed out there, you can easily turn your time spent online into $50 in a week – a bit of an income boost, if you ask me.
You can make money on research offline, too, by looking for paid research opportunities on Craigslist. By participating in a study at an accredited university, you could receive $80 – $200 for just 2 hours of your time.
Some studies require certain traits or faculties from test subjects, though, so you probably won’t be approved for all studies. However, an extra hundred dollars here and there can go a long way, when combined with some other unique jobs.
And finally, as you probably know, you can donate renewable parts of your body that medical patients might desperately need, like plasma, semen, hair, or breast milk, to make a little bit of cash.
Some clinics will pay you around $50 for a donation. Call a medical center near you to find out what you can donate for cash, and where.
Seasonal, Temporary, and Assistance Work
When I was a kid, I had the same bright idea that most other kids have – to shovel snow and mow lawns for cash – but then I found that most everyone in my neighborhood had their own snow-blower and lawn mower (all except for me), so I had to think outside the box if I wanted to make some dough to buy candy with.
By the time I entered high school, I had found a job caddying at a local country club, and since I knew my way around a golf course, I was doing fairly well at it compared to the other kids.
Well, a few years into my new summer job came a new realization on how to make extra cash fast – you need to provide a service (no matter how trivial) and do well at it. The street performers who make real money are the most impressive ones.
While the service you provide can be anything from carrying golf clubs to writing online articles, you should choose something that you can make your own. Here are some options for seasonal, temporary, or assistance-type work that have proven successful for people I know:
- Umpire youth baseball, basketball, or other sports games
- Offer to paint fences, rake leaves, or take trash out for your neighbors
- Become an Uber or Lyft driver, or apply for a bike delivery service
- Search Craigslist for data-entry or other online jobs that you can do from home
- Trail or parks maintenance through your local Park District
- Babysitting, dog-sitting, or house-sitting for local people you know
- Use your knowledge to tutor students in grade-school, high school, or higher
These are just a few suggestions for ways to make quick cash anywhere, so keep in mind that your idea could be the best one out there, and could make you more money than you imagined.
If you’re looking for fast cash from odd jobs, the best results come from trial and error – don’t be afraid to fail at something and start fresh with something new.