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27 Ways to Make Money


I’m speaking at the Midwest Homeschool Conference on Saturday about Becoming a Work-At-Home Mom Without Losing Your Sanity.

For the session handouts, I put together a list of ways to make money to help provide some ideas and inspiration if you’re looking to start a business or just find something extra to do on the side to bring in a little income. I thought some of you might find these ideas helpful as well, so I’m posting the list below.

1. Have a booth at the farmer’s market
2. Sell your clutter (or your friends’ clutter!) on eBay or Craigslist
3. Write and sell ebooks or online courses
4. Become an online coach
5. Walk dogs
6. Become a balloon artist
7. Clean houses, offices, or apartment buildings
8. Board pets
9. Proctor testing
10. Become a transcriptionist
11. Babysit
12. Sell plasma
13. Teach classes
14. Provide ebook design services
15. Become a mystery shopper
16. Sell handmade items on Etsy
17. Become a freelance ghostwriter, copywriter, editor, or proofreader
18. Become a virtual assistant
19. Develop and design websites and/or blogs
20. Provide social media consulting for other business and bloggers
21. Become a blogger
22. Set up a bookkeeping business
23. Become a graphic designer
24. Provide party or event planning services
25. Become a tutor
26. Sell books on Amazon.com, Cash4Books.net, and/or MyBookBuyer.net
27. Write for magazines, newspapers, and/or online sites

If you’re looking for freelancing work, check out ODesk.com, UrbanInterns.com, MomCorps.com, and Elance.com for possible contract positions or contract work open in your area of expertise.

What other ideas do you have for ways to make money? I’d love to add to this list!

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71 Comments

  • grace says:

    i work for Alpine Access which is a call center place that has a couple hundred clients. I work on a fortune 500 store found in most malls (name is confidential) its great and they offer great benefits.
    also do writing every now and again for text broker
    I also met someone on craigslist who goes to storage unit auctions and he gives me a bunch of stuff to sell on ebay for commission
    altogether i work probably less than 20 hours a week and make close to 500 dollars a month which really helps we live outside philadelphia which is super expensive so every bit helps (i just wish i ran into money saving mom a few years before i did 🙂 )

  • I sell wool dryer balls and other neat stuff on a Facebook page! I hate all the fees involved with Etsy!

  • Laura says:

    I sell my homemade caramels at our local farmers market, this is our 7th year there! We usually only sell there at the Christmas Market , but this year we are signed up for the Spring Market too, so I am busy making caramels, the house smells pretty awesome when they are bubbling away on the stove. I make Regular Butter Caramels, Cashew Caramels, Toasted Almond Caramels, Chocolate Chip Pecan Caramels and Mocha Caramels!

  • Leanne says:

    I volunteer… my child’s school is always in need of volunteers! I’m getting paid to help with our school’s aftercare program…and I often get gift cards as a thank you for lending some of my services:)
    If you volunteer frequently, paid opportunities have a way of finding you because people know that you are available, willing, and do a great job!

  • Jamie says:

    I need to try some of these. I do surveys and rebates. I only send in rebates when they are money makers and I go thru times where I qualify and cash out often with my survey sites. No I wont be rich doing this but I am able to be a SAHM and have little extra security $ in case an emergency arises that we did not budget for

  • Jessica says:

    2 years before I quit my job, I took on my first freelance client. A year later, I took my second client. Two months after I quit, I took a third client. My average weekly earnings are $222 so far this year. I put in about 15-20 hours per week. I anticipate my earnings to be lower this summer since the weather will be better than in the winter months.

  • Lee Anne says:

    My son goes to Mother’s Day Out twice a week and I use that time to pick up odd jobs. So far I clean a house twice a month, as well as mow one small lawn. I make about $300 a month. Which is twice what tues/thurs school costs. He gets peer interaction, and I get time to think and be by myself which really saves my sanity! I also recommend consigning. We have WAY more than we need or have room for so after keeping a few items (just in case we have another) I consign the rest!

  • jay says:

    home health care assistant/ personal assistant/ health care tech.. If you are interested in helping daily activities with someone who is not able to (ie elder folks, grocery shopping for (or organizing/couponing * I hope to be able to pay my nephews once I get to a point to organize and cut my coupons), etc

  • I work at home for a local search marketing company. I love it not only because advertising is my background but because I can work as little or as much as I want to. One new contact can bring in from $300-$1000. My youngest will be in first grade in the fall and so I will finally have some time to get out there and make some money.

  • I didn’t see data entry on the list. I’m entering mailing list info into an online database for a local business. I also do babysitting, mystery shopping, selling clutter, and a little cleaning. Thank you for this list, because I would like to do more!

    • Jessica says:

      Elizabeth,
      would you be willing to give more information about the company you work for? I am very interested. Thanks Jessica

  • Gina says:

    Thank you for posting this list, I currently work full time but so wish I could be home with my 14 month old daughter. I have been trying to come up with a way to have an income at home, but am nervous to get started.

    Is anyone a virtual assistant that could offer some advice? I’m an administrative assistant now, so I know I have the skills, I’m just not sure how to get started.

  • jay says:

    I thought I clicked the “Submit button” so if this appears twice, I apologize.

    I found through craigslist that people are always looking for someone to help with family members. Since I have worked in offices where rehab was preformed, I was able to help with “unable” people… paralyzed, paralyzed by disease (i.e. stroke), etc. I worked probably no more than 20 hours a week, but that was great because I was able to go to school on such a flexible schedule (and not pay taxes… some families may put you as a tax though). I was able to do for them some grocery shopping, home health stuff/daily actives/ prep for my area of work- rehab). In some cases if this aide/healthcare tech/nursing assistant/personal assistant was good to the family, housing was bartered, a house was “loaned” to someone and or I have even heard of being put in a will.

  • RuthS says:

    Can’t wait to hear your talk! I’ve already got more work-from-home work than I know what to do with 🙂

  • One freelancing writing site that I use to make some extra money is Helium.com (http://www.helium.com/users/377330/show_articles). Joining is free and you can write to virtually any topic you want. Some titles will earn you money upfront if you are chosen, others are an accumulated revenue share (every article you write will generate pennies a day, some more than others based on how many views they get). There is also a Marketplace where outside publishers request specific titles for a greater payment. It’s a “Don’t quit your day job” position, as freelance writing takes effort and beginners won’t make very much, but at this point in my life, my day job (and night job) is as a SAHM, so it’s a raise financially. 🙂

  • Crystal – just wanted to let you know that I’m praying for you as you head off for your big speaking engagement this weekend. I know you’ll do great!

  • Jackie says:

    I make hair accessories for little girls. I sell them on Etsy and Facebook. Until last month, it was a part time job. We recently moved to CO where I am a SAHM and work the hair bow business, Bows So Sweet, on a daily basis. Excited for it to grow!

    • Angie says:

      I have a friend who makes hair ties and does great. I suggested Etsy, but she thought too many people were already doing it, and decided not to pursue it. I didn’t know you could sell stuff like that on Facebook.

      She’s really talented though. I wish she would do it. I read somewhere, I think from a MSM guest poster, that competition signifies a market.

      • KC says:

        “competition signifies a market” Great quote! I wrote it down.
        I like your can-do attitude! I think it’s great you’re encouraging your friend. It sounds like she may need to make a switch mentally — to see her value and optimistically look for opportunities. Some people just won’t do it no matter how much we encourage them.
        Our thoughts will limit us or propel us.

  • Lecia says:

    My teenage boys make and sell soft pretzels every April in order to earn the money they need to go to football camp. It’s $325 and they’ve always made enough to cover it.

  • Ashley C. says:

    I tutor for an online tutoring company, Tutor.com. They are a legitimate web-based tutoring business. If you have the skills to tutor an academic subject such as Englih, science, math, or social studies, and you have a college degree or are pursuing one, then it is definitely a great option. They are very flexible with the hours available, as they are open 24 hours a day. I highly recommend checking them out. They have allowed me to be able to stay at home and homeschool my four children.

    • Joni H says:

      I am so interested it this!! How long have you worked for them?

      • Ashley C. says:

        I have worked for them now for around 5 years. I love how I can schedule to work whenever I want to, and I can work as many or as few hours a week as fits with my schedule. It is really a fantastic job! I’d love to answer any other questions anyone may have about working for them.

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Ashley – how much can you make working with Tutor.com? I’m a FT teacher right now who is trying to find a way to stay home with my toddler next year. Any information you can provide about your experience with them would be great! Thanks!

      • Ashley C. says:

        The best thing I can tell you is to check out the company’s website. It really answers everything better than I could. Here is the info specifically about becoming a tutor. http://www.tutor.com/apply

        I will say, you’re likely not going to be able to make as much as you could teaching FT. But when you factor in the cost of daycare, gas to get to work, clothes you have to buy to wear to work, I think it starts to look pretty good!

  • Ashley C. says:

    Another option that I forgot to mention is to check out your local community centers. Most offer a wide-range of classes, and many are flexible about bringing your kids along if you need to. If you are able to teach art, tumbling, music, dance, sign language, etc, this might be another great option for making a little extra money.

  • Denise says:

    Half.com is another great site to sell books, movies, and CDs you don’t want/need anymore. I sold (and bought) most of my textbooks on there throughout college and grad school!

    I’m tutoring 2 little girls Spanish right now! I used to teach high school Spanish but decided to quit for a less stressful and demanding job when I got married. Now I’m a part-time bank teller! I’m hoping to pick up more homeschool kids to teach/tutor Spanish though!

    Out of curiosity those of you who tutor how much do you charge? I’m only charging $10/half hour for these 2 siblings that are 5 and 6 but mostly because I don’t think the family could afford to pay me more than that and I love the idea of anyone learning Spanish…

    • Kristin says:

      I am a 1st grade teacher and I also tutor on the side to pick up some extra money. I am currently tutoring two different ESE students, both in kindergarten, to get them ready for 1st next year. I make $30 an hour and tutor a total of 4-6 hours a week. During the summer I will be tutoring more and also doing an enrichment “camp” with 3 gifted kids so I will be making even more. I love it and it is a really simple way for me to make some extra much needed money. 🙂

  • Melissa French says:

    Crystal, it was so great meeting you tonight. I could have stayed and talked all evening (adoption, homeschooling, Compassion) but I know everyone else wanted to too. Looking forward to your talks tomorrow. You will do a GREAT job!!!!!

  • nichole says:

    That’s a good list but I have to really disagree that “become a graphic designer” is a good option for anyone. It’s hard for trained designers to find work. It’s a completely oversaturated market where you are often paid pennies for time consuming work. I would suggest trying other ideas before diving into this. I speak from personal experience. My husband graduated top of his class from design school 8 years ago. He hasn’t worked in design for the last 4.

    • Crystal says:

      I know many, many people who are looking for good blog designers and most of the good designers have a long waiting lists… so from what I’ve seen, there’s a lot of graphic design work available out there, especially for those in the blogosphere.

      • Shannon L. says:

        My husband, brother in law, and friend are all gd’s and worked very hard to train in this field, including getting college degrees and constantly doing prof. development . Just don’t downplay the work that goes into learning to be really skilled at this work. I feel it is misplaced in this particular list.

  • Marlana says:

    What about being a network marketer? A lot of bad companies out there, but a lot of good ones! doTERRA is amazing.

    If anyone wants to be an employee from home, I score the ACT and stuff through Pearson. It pays very well. Here is a link to apply online. http://www.flexiblescoring-hse.pearson.com/index.cfm?a=cat&cid=914

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Marlana – I am a FT teacher who wants nothing more than to be able to stay at home with my 2 year old. How much money can you make scoring for Pearson? Any details you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much!

      • Marlaan says:

        Your are paid by score, not by the hour. The ACT pays 50 cents a paper, and it takes 1-2 minutes to score each essay and give the feedback to the student. So that’s why I said the pay is very good.

        Short scoring such as elementary tests means it takes seconds to grade each essay so the pay may be as low as 5 cents a student, but you can potentially do 100s in an hour. (I prefer the ACT and high school scoring because I lose my attention span with short essays. I just want to be clearly, however that there is something for everyone to score. Math, science, English. If anyone has a music degree, they are always looking for music scorers.)

        Most scoring, though is only around four months a year because that is when state testing is. sooooo not so sure you will pick up year around work at least instantly. Prove an accurate and reliable short term scorer, and maybe they will give you a long term job. Or maybe you will hit gold mind immediately. who knows. But they’ve probably hired all the scorers for this term anyway.

        • Marlaan says:

          oh, and you can score up to 40 hours per week. Scoring is open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., and you can score your 40 hours any time during those windows, up to 12 hours a day. Occassionally they open the doors to score 50 or 60 hours a week if they are low are scorers.

    • Joy says:

      Marlana,
      Do you have to have a teaching degree or teaching experience to do Pearson? I have a bachelor’s in communications with a minor in English, but no teaching experience. Thanks.

      • Marlaan says:

        No, I don’t have a teaching degree though I have taught college. I don’t know what kind of experience you have, or what exactly they are looking for. But I know they have all kinds of scoring in different jsubject. For example, anyone could score third grade reading. All it was was checking to see if the kids gave the correct answers.

        But online application is easy to fill out. If they are interested in you, they will email you back a more detail application. I think they emailed me back six months later. It was well worth them having my email on file.

  • Perfect timing as always – I have a stack of books here on my desk and was just about to do a search on how to sell them . . . thanks!

  • Lisa says:

    Crystal,
    Can you give more information about the “good blog designers”. My daughter is interested in graphic design (she is 17) and I would like to give her some examples.

    Thank you for this list. I will be forwarding it to my son who graduated in December from college. He has a great part-time job with full health, vision and dental benefits as well as 401K, etc. He is trying to develop a home-based business to supplement that part-time (20-25 hrs/week) income. It is such great opportunity since he has full benefits at that job.

  • Andrea Fuller says:

    Keep the ideas coming y’all – pipe in! I’m going to try some of these! I’ve been looking at everything for a good fit for me.

  • Shannon says:

    Hi Crystal, I’m also wondering about the blog designer. How do you find out about or advertise? I am tallented and have all the right computer programs (photoshop, illustrator, painter, etc) but currently do cleaning. The art is a hobby that want to earn income from. I would love to get into design work. How would i get started?

  • Anna Hettick says:

    These are awesome! My husband is #6 and he makes very good money at this!!

  • Samantha says:

    Another idea is party companies – I sell Gold Canyon Candles (www.MyGC.com/SamD) and I hold 2-3 catalog parties a month and earn around $300 a month. I could earn more, if I put more into it – but I’m happy with the hours I spend right now.

    I sold books on Amazon for years – it’s an oversaturated market. Too many people willing to sell their books for pennies (literally) that it can be hard to make real money. Book sellers have scanners now to show the good books from the bad. So, unless you’re selling from your own personal collection – except to spend money to get started selling books and have the space and organizational skills. It can be alot of work!

    I just started babysitting – just 2 days a week and will get $75 a week for doing so. I’ve thought about cleaning houses – but I don’t like cleaning my own that much, I can’t imagine I’d like cleaning anyone else’s house! =)

    Garage sales are big right now in the midwest. We had ours last month and made over $500 just selling stuff around the house – no big items. Of course, that’s not a steady paycheck – but it was a nice extra amount of money.

    Mowing yards to a good one too. My hubby and I did this two summers ago. He worked his 40 hours on fri/sat/sun – so we had the week open and we mowed 7 yards a week. It was a TON of work, but we made a killing that summer!

  • Cindy says:

    ME and my husband are selling the Body by Vi shakes, with the ViSalus company..We love it, never seen a product just sell it self. Love watching people change there lives! We have been doing it for about two months, and already have income coming in, people selling under us, and lots of pounds shed! Our goal is to be out of debt by the end of summer, and for him to be home more to spend time with the family!

  • Rachel says:

    What about helping your husband with his business? My husband is an adventurous entrepreneur, and is currently starting another enterprise. So along with juggling my house w/ four little children, I’m also helping him design a brochure, working with a logo design company, critiquing other details, doing bookwork & lots of etc.

    In peak farming season I do lots of running back & forth to the fields, bringing parts, lunch, running him to another field, etc.

    When he’s updating records on the cows, I help with that too.

    When I go shopping I often make extra stops to get business items, and save him a trip to town.

    I don’t actually get paid for any of these things, but if they help our business to prosper and move forward, then I consider myself to be contributing to our income.

    Honestly, other than Swagbucks & some surveys, I don’t have time for any other work-at-home ventures!! 🙂

  • Deanna says:

    Here in PA I’ve been cleaning houses, and depending on the job I make anywhere from $12 to $25 per hour. I also have done a bit of elder care combined with dog walking for $12/hour also. That one’s fairly easy; I just keep someone company, make sure she eats her breakfast and lunch and I get to knit while I’m there. My husband also does interior/exterior painting periodically, I think he charges $15 an hour for that. These little odd jobs we’ve been able to pick up here and there really do add up. Oh, and I also have been knitting dishcloths during any waiting time (riding in the car, stopped at a red light, kid’s programs) and I sell them periodically.

  • Tracey says:

    I know this is small, but it recently came to my attention that people sell their used magazines on Ebay. I get a few free subscriptions, thanks to Crystal’s posts, and plan on listing them soon instead of throwing them away or putting them in the free pile at my garage sale.
    I also have been selling my kid’s clothing in lots on Craig’s List and have made over $100 so far with very little effort. Since I usually buy their clothes from garage sales, I am actually making more money than I spent by selling them this way.

  • Amie says:

    I do a number of fun things – I have 3 boys who even now being school age I enjoy being able to volunteer at school and be home for them as they need me 🙂

    – I sell Pampered Chef but, I have branched out a bit and offer classes like Kidz Cooking – and 5 meals in 50 minutes.
    – I sell on Ebay – half.com
    – I do Mystery Shops not a huge money maker but, we get to go to the movies or out to dinner that we wouldn’t have done otherwise.
    Ive learned to be creative and do what works for my family – being a stay at home mom was very important to me.

  • I would also suggest checking Craigslist for telecommuting jobs. That’s how I found work as a sales analyst for a local marketing firm. It’s perfect for me because I am NOT an entrepreneurial person. I’m much more comfortable working for someone else, and earning a fair hourly wage.

    I really hit the jackpot – my boss doesn’t care when I work, or how many hours (up to a certain point, that is!), as long as I get my work done. I do 90% of my job either before my toddler gets up, or while he’s napping. I may take a phone call or answer an email during the day, while he plays nearby, but for the most part, my job doesn’t interfere with his life at all.

    I know this may sound like some kind of fantasy job, but the truth is that there IS work like this out there. I would recommend combing Craigslist every day, for both your city and the surrounding areas. Lots of small business owners are saving money on office space by working from home, and hiring virtual employees. It’s a win-win for all involved!

  • Jamie says:

    I already am a consultant for two different direct selling companies but I LOVE the information that was provided about transcriptionist/typing jobs from home. Many of my jobs as a teenager were typing jobs for school districts and universities and the idea of doing it from home to make some more money is awesome. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Melissa says:

    Well…I use inbox dollars and if I place orders online I use Ebates…I have a questions for you money making mommas or pappas….There is a small fair in October in my town and I wanted to make some items to sell…My brain is in overload as I sit on pinterest all day…..and googling ideas….

    I would like to have items for everyone…I thought of dog treats. My youngest who is 12 loves to cook and loves animals..I thought this would be so fun for her. But I was wondering do I need a disclaimer?..I could only imagine someone coming to me saying I fed my dog one of your treat and they died! omg….people will do anything for money….

    any ideas thanks…

  • Julie says:

    I have recently started doing online resale on Amazon. I basically go out and buy items either used (mostly books) or cheap/clearance/coupon using a scanner program on my smart phone, and then resell them online through Amazon’s FBA program at a mark-up. It is surprising how different the market prices can be. You pack the stuff up and send it to their warehouse, but you maintain the prices online. When it sells, they ship it out and handle all the customer service, and you get about 2/3 to 3/4 of the selling price after fees. If anyone is interested I recommend reading “Retail Arbitrage” by Chris Green to learn more about this. Over time you can really grow this business to however large you want it, and you can go on vacation (or get busy) and just let it run on autopilot. I really love it! And I get to go shopping and get paid for it 🙂

    • Danielle says:

      Julie, do things sell pretty well/fast. I’m interested in doing something like this, but worried that I won’t see much come out of it with so many people doing the same thing. I don’t have any experience with selling on line other than Craigslist. How do you get started and how does the payout work? Thanks for any info or advice! I have a job, but as a mother of 4, I really need extra money coming in. Just trying to figure out the right/quickest way to go about it. ?

  • Sarah G. says:

    My sister and I have just started first item on that list – a booth at the farmer’s market! We now have 3 weeks under our belt, woohoo! 😀 It’s been interesting, seeing what everyone is buying. My sister sells soap, lip balm, etc. and I sell baked goods and candy. Still trying to figure out what to do with leftovers….I’ve called many a cafe/coffee shop/small store to see if they would be interested, and no go so far. The freezer is getting a tad full. Heh.
    But anyway, after just 3 weeks, my profit is already up to -386! Maybe in another few weeks, my beginning expenses will finally be paid off, and my profit will be on the positive side. 🙂

  • Charlotte says:

    My niece has lined up a job for proofreading from home.

    In Georgia, you can apply to become a tutor to children in foster care if you have a teaching certificate and degree. I don’t know how much it pays, but I know of a teacher that does this to make extra money on the side. You would google Georgia EPAC and just call the numbers to find out how to apply.

    My sister -in-law has an accounting degree and makes most of her money doing accounting work from home. She drummed up business on her own. She does have to go out to her clients at times.

    My brother started a side business with flyfishing and built a website about it online. He started about ten years ago and the side business has really flourished. His wife and children helped him out over the years. I only post this one because doing something you love and building a website to post a hobby that can become a business is worth it!!! He is proof!!

    I am a tutor for a GA school system. It just requires six hours a day for four days a week at a school. You only start in October and it runs until the beginning of April. You make about $15 an hour. Its a temporary part time job and not a stay at home job…………but it really helps with the bills.

  • Barb C. says:

    Thanks for all these great ideas! I am a single mom and sole provider. I am a nurse, but have so much difficulty with shifts and babysiiting it always causes huge problems. My car recently broke down and its a huge headache. Working from home makes so much more sense!

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