It seems everyone is talking about having “side-hustles” these days, in which you can make some extra cash on the side. There is definitely a wide variety of options available to the average person, and all of them have the potential to help you make some extra cash, but how much time is involved? What would your approximate hourly wage be? I tried a few ideas I read about online or heard about from others, and I made money with each, but there are drawbacks.
Any Tightwads Out There?
Years ago I read a book called The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn, and although some of the ideas are a little dated now, one of the most valuable ideas was called “Calculating Payback Time” or figuring out an hourly wage if you were to pay yourself for tasks you do at home. For example, if I calculate my payback time for making blueberry gelato (detailed in another blog post about frozen berries), I would receive a pretty decent hourly wage.
Payback Time for Making Gelato
There is one store in my town, other than a grocery store, that sells gelato. A large serving sells for $5.50. I figure that each 1.5-quart batch of gelato contains about 4 large servings. $22.00 per batch would be the cost. How much time does it take me to make the gelato? It only takes me about 15 minutes of hands-on time, and about 15 minutes of freezing in my handy Cuisinart Pure Indulgence Ice Cream Maker. 30 minutes times 2 equals 60 minutes, so if I multiply my 30 minute gelato process, which is worth $22.50, by 2 to make one hour of effort, my payback time is $45.00 an hour!
Clean Out Your Closet for Some Quick Cash
I don’t have the time to make gelato all day. I also don’t have the money to buy the equipment it would take to make enough gelato for a crowd. What are my options for earning some quick cash? The easiest, quickest cash I made this summer came from a visit to Plato’s Closet, which is a second-hand clothing store that pays cash on the spot for clothes you bring in. They buy clothes with teens and twenty-somethings in mind. I wasn’t sure if they would be interested in the two pairs of jeans and a top that I brought in.
As a 50-year-old librarian, I felt a little nervous, but I had my favorite pair of vintage Converse All-Stars on, so I felt “hip”. The polite young lady at the counter put my items in a bin, asked for my cell phone number and identification, then I was sent a text with a link. When I clicked on the link, I could see the progress of my items through the system. I could tell when they were being evaluated, and I was notified when to go to the front counter for payment.
To my delight and surprise, all three of my items were accepted, and I was paid $11.61 cash. The whole process took less than 10 minutes. As an added bonus, I noticed that I was not the oldest person in the store. It was a great experience, and if you are cleaning out your closet, I highly recommend it.
Get Paid to Answer Questions
Another way I earned some quick cash (not as quick as the previously listed idea) was to join Survey Junkie and take some online surveys. At Survey Junkie, a person is able to earn points for each completed survey, and when a minimum of 1,000 points are reached (worth $10), cash may be deposited into a person’s PayPal account. There are also gift card options a person may choose instead. There is one main problem with Survey Junkie. In order to earn points for completing a survey, a person has to answer a series of screening questions. You might not qualify for the actual survey. That can be a big time-waster.
At first, the system sends email messages with links to enticing bonus offers if a person does not log in during a 24-hour period. A person can earn up to 8 points just for trying to qualify for a survey. That’s only 8 cents for perhaps 15 minutes of your time. Also, by clicking on one of these enticing links, a person could earn 25 extra points for completing a survey, in addition to the base points offered.
I quickly learned not to visit the site unless I received one of these special offers. It happened almost every day. Over the course of time, (a year), I earned over $50. I no longer receive those special emails with bonus offers. I haven’t attempted a survey in a couple of months. If you are really bored, Survey Junkie might be an interesting way to earn some cash. I wouldn’t classify it as quick.
Get Cash Back for Buying What You Normally Buy
Another way I have earned some extra cash this past year was by signing up for Ibotta, which gives you cash back for purchasing certain items. I mainly use it to get cash back for groceries purchased. I have also uploaded receipts from in-store purchases at Best Buy and JoAnn Fabrics, among others. There is one big drawback with Ibotta. I sometimes end up purchasing items I don’t usually use or need just so I can get cash credited to my account.
Once $20 dollars has been earned in your account, you may choose to get the money deposited into your PayPal account, if you have one. The deposit process is very easy. So far, after having the app on my phone for about a year, I’ve earned just over $170. Often, I get a 25 cent rebate just for uploading my receipt. Cash back is posted to your account within 48 hours.
Another Great Cash back Site
Rakuten: Formerly Ebates, similar to Ibotta, good for getting rebates if you order online a lot. A person can earn up to 12% cash back at selected stores by purchasing through the Rakuten app. So far, in about one year, I earned just over $25. If someone does a lot of online shopping, there is definitely potential to earn much more. Payments are made to Ebates users once every three months. The catch is you have to have earned at least $5 in rebates in order to get cash posted to your PayPal account or in the mail as a “Big Fat Check”. If you don’t have enough, the balance carries over into the next quarter. There is a $10 sign-up bonus, so right away you qualify for a Big Fat Check or PayPal payment. You just may not get your money right away.
Make More Grocery Purchases for Easy Money
Checkout 51: Similar to Ibotta as well in that you select cash back offers for grocery items, purchase the items, then upload your receipt to verify your purchases. For some reason, I earned cash a lot more slowly using this app. I stopped using it about three months ago, after I had earned my first $20. It was confusing to try to keep track of which grocery cash back offers were for Ibotta and which were for Checkout 51. You might be more organized than I am, though. This program also offers the option of receiving a check or using PayPal to receive your money.
If You Like to Answer Questions, This One’s for You
Inbox Dollars: This is an online survey site, and I was really addicted to it for a while. Whenever you fail to qualify for a survey, you get spins on “Billy’s Spin and Win”. You can earn a few extra cents or chances in a drawing to earn money. The minimum amount you need to earn before cashing in your earnings is $30. As soon as I earned $30, I deleted the app. I was just wasting too much time. If you like taking surveys, this might work for you. When I remembered to calculate my payback time, it just wasn’t worth it to me to keep going.
Find What Works for You
Plato’s Closet is the only money-maker that is not an app. I hope to be able to visit the store again someday to deliver more clothes. The other sites work best as apps on your phone. The only ones I still have on mine are Ibotta and Ebates. If any of you have stories you would like to share about these cash-earning programs, I’d really like to know about them. There are many free sites out there. If you like what you’ve read today, please consider subscribing and becoming part of the Fluxing Well tribe. You will receive fresh ideas every week, plus access to a library of free printable resources. There are many freebies for bloggers, cooks, gardeners and teachers. May you find many opportunities to earn some extra cash in 2020!