8 Easy Ways to Make Extra Money

moonlighting myster shopper
Who doesn’t want a little extra cash lining their pockets? Moonlighting jobs give you the chance to make extra income without giving up your 9-5, and you get to have a little fun in the process! From acting in films to acting in a doctor’s office, there are all types of moneymaking opportunities.

Focus Groups
Get paid for your opinion. Oftentimes companies want to test out products before they hit the market. That means you can get paid to taste foods, rate product packaging, try new clothes and more. Sometimes you will get paid even more if there is a homework assignment. For example, keeping a food diary or making a collage before you come on site for the focus group.
Pay: It varies. It can be as little as $30 for 15 minutes and as much as $300 for longer, take-home studies.
Get Started: Search for market research companies in your area. Sign up for their database and they will contact you when they have a survey that looks like a good fit.

Mystery Shopper
Businesses hire mystery shoppers, so they can get an idea of what their customer’s experience is really like. Sometimes mystery shoppers will be asked to do certain things like make a return. Afterwards, you fill out a report, often it consists of simple yes or no questions. You typically get paid more if the study requires a niche type of shopper. For example, must own a Cadillac to check out service at a dealership.
Pay: In my area, I found assignments for $15 – $105.
Get Started: Mystery Shopping Providers Association for a list of mystery shopping jobs and information on how to apply.

Poll Worker
Every election, thousands of people are recruited to serve as poll workers. Some counties even have programs for high school students, which is a great way to get your kids involved in the voting process and make a little cash in the process
Pay: Amount varies by county. In San Francisco, poll workers are paid between $142 and $195 for working on Election Day.
Get Started: Visit your county’s website or contact their Department of Elections to find out more information about applying in your area.

Movie & Commercial Extras
Some projects require hundreds of extras and you don’t have to live in Los Angeles to be a part of it. Find out if your city or state has Film Commission Office. They don’t do the actual casting, but these sites will keep you up-to-date on productions in your area and alert you to potential need for extras.
Pay: Non-union pay is typically $80-$120/day
Get Started: Look for open casting calls in the entertainment section of your local newspaper and check with local casting agents to see if they have a movie extras database.

Standardized Patients
Everyday people (no acting experience required!) get paid to portray patients as a teaching tool for medical students. Standardized patients present the same set of symptoms for each student so teachers are able to assess on an even playing field. In some cases, standardized patients will be asked to give feedback and evaluate student performance.
Pay: $15-$20/hour (and typically paid for training time)
Get Started: Find a medical school in your area and ask about their application process.

Dog Boarding
Pet lovers can make some extra money and give dog owners an alternative to the kennel. You set your own rate, choose when you can board, and which dogs you’ll accept. It’s free to sign up and create a profile, but sites will typically take out a 15% fee every time you get paid for hosting.
Pay: Starts at $10-$15/night, but charging $30-$50/night is common
Get Started: Sign up at DogVacay.com or Rover.com. Add plenty of pictures to your profile. Hosts with at least three photos of their home get 95% of business on DogVacay.

Micro-Consulting & Freelance
Capitalize on your expertise with websites that connect companies with freelancers and consultants. You’ll find all types of work on these sites from the more ordinary like data entry or app development to the more obscure like wedding speechwriters and voice talent.
Pay: Micro-consulting company, Maven, suggests charging 2-4 times your current hourly salary. Use their rate calculator to determine.
Get Started: Create profiles on Maven.co and Elance.com and be sure to build a digital portfolio to showcase past work.

Final Word: Believe it or not, market research companies want to pay for your opinion. Sign up for focus groups and get paid to eat chocolate, test video games, or even participate in a mock jury. These gigs are sporadic but it’s a lot of fun and you can sometimes get hundreds of dollars for a day’s work. Click here to find a focus group near you.