How to Make Money (Legally)

It's a joke. Get it?In this economy, who couldn’t use some extra bucks? (BTW, there should be a drinking game where you have to do a shot every time you hear the phrase “in this economy.” My friend overheard a little girl in a toy store begging for a dollhouse. Her mom replied, “In this economy?” I’m sure that made perfect sense to her 5-YEAR-OLD!!)

Anyway, back to making extra money. Here are some ways to earn a buck or two that I or my friends can personally vouch for. And—bonus!—none of them involve pyramid schemes or anything illegal.


Sell anything you can think of on eBay or Craigslist. I have a friend who has sold loads of stuff on Craigslist, including a scrap of iron railing. Another furnished her entire nursery from Craigslist stuff she got dirt-cheap or free (including an awesome wooden rocking chair) and made $300 selling her kid’s old clothes. On eBay, another friend has sold shoes and toys and old furniture. Apparently, people will buy anything! Personally, I haven’t done this because a) I’m lazy and b) I don’t spend all day on the computer, but obviously my savvier friends are raking it in.

Consign your kids’ stuff. My sources tell me consignment shops take as much as a 50% cut, so you’re better off trying one of the above options first if you’ve got the time. If you don’t, consigning may be the way to go, especially for nearly new and/or popular clothing brands, toys, and baby items.

Sell your used books.
We recently cleaned out our basement to make room for the constant influx of toys and baby paraphernalia. We loaded up several boxes of old college textbooks, paperback mysteries, and random self-help books (“The All-Kiwi Diet!”) and sold them to our local used bookstore. We only made $25, but compared to throwing them in the recycling bin, that’s not too shabby.

Market research. A few times in the past year, I participated in phone surveys that earned me anywhere from $10-$60, depending on the amount of time involved. I have also done in-person focus groups, like the time I taste-tested toddler pudding snacks. McCormick Spice Company is one place around here that does it, but market research firms abound throughout the country. Also, I hear you can make a few G’s from selling your eggs but, yikes! I’ll pass on that one.


Blog ads. If you have a blog, putting ads on your site is a no-brainer. I have not maximized these opportunities yet myself, but I do make some decent latte money each month from a combination of Text Link Ads, Google Adsense, and Amazon Associates.


Mystery shopping.
This gig sounds like a dream come true, and it’s relatively easy to get signed up with a mystery shopping company. (Just Google it.) After just one assignment, however, I realized the time and effort far outweighed the pay. I had to drive 20 miles to IKEA, spend 2 hours completing an 8-page checklist of tasks, and then fill out an online report at home. Plus, sometimes you have to make purchases and returns on your own credit card. My pay was something like $40. Not worth it, IMO.

It’s also worth noting that in addition to making money, you can make a fair dent in your monthly expenses by SAVING money. I am by no means the queen of coupons, but I do use bonus cards regularly, which save me money on groceries and earn me free milk from my local supermarket. Also, I always, always use the diaper coupons I get in the mail and try to find free shipping whenever I buy something online.

If anyone’s got other suggestions for making or saving a few bucks, I’d love to hear them. But no spamming me with “fabulous timeshare opportunities,” please!

LINK O’ THE WEEK: More tips on how to save money, plus a coupon for $5 off a $25 purchase at Rite Aid (expires 3/13/09).


Dooneybug said...

Mypoints.com is a nice way to earn gift cards for major retailers and restaurants. Especially if you shop online. You just go through their website first and log into your account before you make a purchase. You also don't have to spend any money if you click on their ads they email you, you earn points that way too. I just let the page load and then close it. Each click takes about 20 seconds total. I have been hoarding my points for a few months and I almost am at a $50 Target gift card.

Also, if you are disciplined enough, you can use point earning credit cards for regular purchases (gas, groceries) and cash your points in for gift cards. I use Citibank Rewards and we usually get around $400 a year in gift cards (one year we even got $800). Like I said, you have to be disciplined enough to pay the balance in full each month, otherwise the finance charges negate your rewards.

Doing surveys online also earn you gift cards. Surveyspot.com and Opinionoutpost.com are a couple of my favorites. And lots of times they even offer product testing. I just did a baby lotion test and got to keep a full size bottle of lotion and earned $10 just for answering a 5 minute online survey.

Oh, I could go on and on but I'll hand your blog back over now! :)

Mom2Miles said...

thanks for the tips, Dooneybug! I should've known you'd be a font of knowledge on this subject. :) I'd actually forgotten about the credit cards, but we got $100 or so in gift cards that way, too.

Darrin said...

Nice tips. A buck is a buck, and I will try a couple of these. Thanks!

Allison said...

Nice post.

Here are a couple of my favorites for making/saving the bucks.





Millionaire Maker said...

Fantastic post, wonderful breakdowns. Simply put ………. Very useful. Thanks heaps for sharing your experiences and knowledge.

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