A lot of the financial advice that you’ll read involves saving more money. Of course, that’s good advice, but saving more isn’t always practical when it feels like you’re barely able to cover the bills.
Thankfully, there are a number of ways that you can find extra money if you’re willing to put in a small effort. Making a load of cash isn’t the goal with these methods, but you can make something extra that allows you to start saving or increase your savings.
1. Get paid for things you already do
We’re all busy, and sometimes finding ways to make or save money simply doesn’t work with our schedule. Fortunately, there are some ways to make money with things that you’re probably already doing.
Let’s take a look at a few specific ideas:
I’m sure you’re aware of the popular ride-sharing apps like Lyft that can be a great way to make some extra money. But you might not be aware of Lyft’s destination mode, which allows you to give rides that are on your way or will allow you to reach your destination by a certain time. This can be a great way to make some extra money on trips that you’re already taking.
There are a few ways to make some extra money watching videos. First, you could use apps like Swagbucks that allow you to earn points for watching videos, and then redeem those points for cash or rewards. Second, you could use any number of different survey apps to take surveys and make money while you’re watching TV.
How many photos do you take with your phone on an average day? The Foap app makes it possible to earn some extra money with your photos and videos.
2. Use cash-back apps
One of the easiest ways to save money on the things you need to buy is to use cash-back apps. Many of the purchases you make on a regular basis will qualify for cash-back with one of several different apps.
There are a lot of cash-back apps out there, and the best ones are simple to use and won’t take very much of your time. Here are a few that you should definitely try:
Rakuten is probably the most popular cash-back app, and that’s partly because it’s so easy to use. Just sign up and install the browser extension and you’ll be notified whenever you’re browsing a website that participates in Rakuten’s cash-back program. Just click a button in the notification and you’ll earn cash-back for your purchase.
Ibotta has thousands of cash-back offers for specific products and stores. You can browse by store to see which offers you want to redeem. It’s possible to save a lot of money on your grocery shopping with the help of Ibotta.
Drop is one of the easiest cash-back apps to use. When you sign up, you’ll pick five of your favorite stores/restaurants that participate in their program. You’ll also link your credit or debit cards. Then whenever you make a purchase at those stores using one of your linked cards, you’ll earn cash-back.
3. Take advantage of free money offers
There are a number of different ways to get free money. Here are a few of my favorites:
MissingMoney.com makes it easy for you to search for money that’s rightfully yours, and it takes just a couple of minutes. With just five minutes of my time, I was able to track down an old PayPal account that I’d forgotten about. Shortly after that, I had a check for more than $150.
Bank account bonuses
Some banks will offer a cash bonus for opening a new checking or savings account. To qualify, you may need to deposit a certain amount of money or set up direct deposit. If you’re able to qualify, it’s extremely easy money, and some of the bonuses are pretty significant.
Many businesses will offer you some sort of bonus for referring a friend.
4. Sell stuff you don’t use
One of the easiest ways to boost your savings is to sell things that you don’t need anymore. We all have stuff around our house, in the basement, or in the garage that we don’t use, and some of that stuff has value.
Of course, if you have enough things to sell, you could host a yard sale and get rid of a lot in a day or two. If you only have a few things to sell or if you have more valuable items, a yard sale may not be the best option. Thankfully, resources like Craigslist and the Facebook Marketplace make it very easy to sell things.
With just a small amount of effort, you can declutter your house and make some extra money. And as an added bonus, things that were just sitting around at your house can be very useful to others who might not have the money to buy the item new.
5. Rent out some of your things
Another similar option is to rent out your things instead of selling them. You may be wondering who would want to rent your stuff, but there are actually a number of items that have a strong rental market. Just a few of the options include:
STOW IT allows you to rent out a garage, barn, or land for storage space.
Turo allows you to rent out your car when you’re not using it.
You can rent out your bike (or snowboard or surfboard) with Spinlister.
Instead of getting rid of baby items after they’re outgrown, use BabyQuip to rent them out to families traveling to your area.
6. Donate plasma
If you’re looking for an easy way to make some extra money that fits into your schedule, getting paid to donate plasma can be a great option.
Almost every city has at least one plasma donation center and you can make up to $300-$400 per month just by being a donor. Each donation will take about an hour of your time and you can donate up to twice per week.
7. Get a weekend job
Assuming you work a traditional Monday through Friday schedule, picking up a weekend job is one of the best ways to significantly increase your income and allow you to save more. Of course, that will mean less free time, but it could be just a short-term solution if you don’t want to do it forever.
There are a lot of different weekend jobs that might interest you, but here are a few options:
Restaurants need a lot of help on the weekends and some of them are willing to hire servers (or other positions) just for the weekends. Not only will it fit with your schedule, but busy weekends give you the best earning potential from tips.
Weekends are also the best time to make tips as a bartender.
Many babysitting gigs are on the weekends and with some word of mouth, you might be able to pick up a few regular clients.
Parking cars at a hotel, restaurant, or any event center that offers valet parking is another excellent way to make some extra cash.
Head to some yard sales on a Saturday morning to find low-priced wood furniture, then give it a new paint job, and resell it for a profit by listing it on Craigslist or the Facebook Marketplace.
As you can see, there are a lot of different ways that you can find extra money to save. Pick a few of these options that seem like a good fit for you, and the end result may be well worth the time and effort.
Marc Andre is a personal finance blogger at VitalDollar.com, where he writes about ways to save money, manage money and make money. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and their two kids.