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31 Ways to Earn Extra Income Before Christmas: Donate Plasma (Day 28)

31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas

Welcome to our series on 31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas. In this series, I’m highlighting simple and legitimate ways you can earn extra cash in the next two months for those of you who could use a little extra cash to help you pay for Christmas — or just for your living expenses if you’re in a tight spot right now.

If you’ve found a great way to make extra cash before Christmas that doesn’t require an outlay of cash upfront, please email me your tip. I’d love to hear it and possibly share it during this series!

Guest post by Mary

One easy way to earn an income is donating plasma. Now, before you all say “EWW!” and stop reading, hear me out…

Yes, I realize that plasma collection centers don’t always have the best reputations. And, for some of them, this reputation is rightfully earned. However, most of them (like the one I work at, for example) certainly do not fall in to this category.

Our donor population, for example, is made up of mostly college students, soldiers, and locals who are simply looking for a way to put extra cash in their pocket while doing something that helps people.

Here are a few things you should know if you are interested in earning a little more money in this way.

It is a perfectly safe process.

Plasma donation is highly regulated by the FDA, as well as several other agencies. (Many of our medical staff employees have told us that we have more regulations than hospitals they have worked at).

When you donate, you only come in contact with sterile supplies. All lancets, sample collecting tools, and supplies for our machines are brand new and thrown away after each use, eliminating any possibility of transmission of a disease.

Now, that being said, there are some people who aren’t not suitable for donating due to health reasons. This is why every donor goes through a screening and physical process consisting of medical history, examination, and testing of a sample of blood.

And, for this reason, it is crucial that you are fully honest with the employees so they can be sure you are a suitable candidate. Also, each center is overseen by a licensed physician and there is always a nurse on site.

You are saving lives.

I mean this quite literally. Plasma is filled with proteins and clotting factors. These can be used to help people with primary immune deficiencies, certain protein deficiencies, clotting disorders, burn victims, babies born with hemolytic disease of the newborn, shock victims, and the list goes on and on.

For most of these conditions, there is absolutely no synthetic substitute for plasma, which is why it is in such demand — these people would either die or have a significantly reduced quality of life without these donations.

The money you earn is worth it.

You go through a screening process and then sit in a bed while you read, watch a movie, or surf the Internet for about an hour and get paid for it. The amount you earn per donation varies by location, company, and the weight of the donor, but our center pays anywhere from $20-$50 per donation, and you can do this twice a week! That is quite a chunk of change in your pocket!

Yes, I know this incoming earning ideas isn’t for everyone; but I really encourage you think beyond rumors you have heard about the process and check it out for yourself, for your own good and for the sake of the people you could be helping.

If you are interested, find a plasma center in your area and check it out.

Because plasma centers are run by separate companies, there is no one good way to find a center in your area. But, if you just run a google search “plasma center in (your town)” you should be able to find one easily if there is one around you.

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  • Julie says:

    So they base your pay on your weight? The more you weigh the less you get? I just don’t want to go through the lengthy screening process if I’ll just get rejected or not make that much. Thanks!

    • Sarah says:

      In my experience no. If you weighed under 149lbs you didn’t have to give as much but got paid the same. I want to say you had to weigh more than 110lbs, though.

      The screening process isn’t lengthy when you consider how much you can make.

    • Brandy says:

      You can generally call the center ahead of time and give them your weight and they can give you an idea of what you are going to make. Yes, there is still a chance that you could be rejected for other reasons, but they generally try to rule these out as early in the process as possible.

    • Brandy says:

      And you make more if you weigh more since they can collect more plasma from people who weigh more (based on FDA regulations). 🙂

    • AndreaR says:

      The more you weigh the more you get!! I’m about 180 lbs and I’m considered to be in the highest paying weight category. Check it out–it’s the easiest money I have ever made! I watch Netflix on my phone while I donate; I’m usually done in 40 minutes.

  • Sarah says:

    I used to do it while getting my undergrad. A very very clean facility with friendly and professional staff. I’m looking at getting into it again now that I’m grad school. $40/hr was nothing to sneer at by any means.

  • Keline Williams says:

    My husband & I donated for a couple of years when we got into a bad financial situation. In my experience, most clinics are dirty and there are so many people doing it now that the wait times are horrible. Sometimes we would wait anywhere from 3-5hrs to donate. I never felt like it was unsanitary though, and the $$ was good – we averaged about $10-12/hr. (around $200-300/month between the two of us). If you’ve ever given blood, it’s no different except you don’t feel lightheaded afterwards (because if I understand it right the machine takes your blood & plasma, separates the plasma & gives the rest back to you).

  • Bargain Becky says:

    I think this is a totally plausible idea, but wouldn’t this more accurately be called “selling plasma”? To donate is to give a gift without expecting something in return.

    • Crystal says:

      From what I understand, you cannot legally sell plasma. So places are paying you for your time to donate plasma — which is why it is referred to as “donating”.

      • Brandy says:

        You are right, Crystal. You don’t get paid for your plasma, you get paid for the time it takes to donate the plasma.

  • Courtney H. says:

    I first discovered plasma donation while an undergrad at UNT. I had friends that did it and earned lots of extra money. I mentioned it to my husband and he started doing it. He was making at least $60/week. They often had huge bonuses, like for holidays or referring friends. I did it for a while too but then I got pregnant so I was ineligible.

    The first visit and every few months after that, you are required to do a physical performed by the resident physician. Each visit, you are required to complete a questionnaire about your health to make sure that nothing has changed. You also get your vitals taken and a blood sample tested so they know you’re fit enough to donate.

    It was a very simple process but it was time consuming. After the physical appointment, which was usually around 4 hours, a typical appointment was around an hour or so. My husband found that the more water he drank, the faster he was able to donate so the appointments went by faster. Every facility he has been to, which is about 3, has been great in regards to cleanliness and polite staff. We started with Biolife (Denton, TX) and after we moved, we had to start using Biomat (Ft. Worth, TX).

    Overall, I would definitely recommend donating plasma. One of the biggest things that I don’t like about it is that he will always have a scar from the needles because he would go so often. It’s not a big deal and he doesn’t mind it at all. It just bothers me. After a while, he said he didn’t even feel the needle anymore because of the scar tissue. That’s just something to consider if you want to do this long time.

    • Laura says:

      I am a registered nurse and I have been donating plasma regularly twice a week for the past few months. The facilities at the plasma center where I live are very clean and the employees are impeccable with their sterile technique.
      Their name badges may not reflect it, but I personally know that many of the technicians are nurses.
      Donating plasma is very clean and sterile and it is a great way to give back.
      I know I had many pediatric patients in the hospital who required plasma transfusions regularly each month and other children who required it as a life saving treatment for an illness, such as Kawasakis Disease, (a particular virus which anyone can get which affects the blood vessels of the heart)..
      The center where I donate does weigh you each time, but this is to determine how much plasma and the rate at which the machine can operate. You get paid the same regardless of your weight.
      I have found that it is an easy way to make some extra money and to give back to my patients.

  • brittny says:

    I donated plasma to make money in college at a biolife and always thought that it was a clean, wonderful place but stopped when I got a full time job.

    Six years go by and I meet and marry my husband who has an autoimmune disorder and requries treatments of igg (which comes from plasma) every three months just to live. The important or donating came back to me and I started again for that reason.

    As luck would have it, about 5 months into it DH lost his job and had to take a new one making less. They extra ‘fun money’ that I had saved up and continue to make from donating has helped us keep up with the change.

    Now that most centers have switched to electronic questions, the process is much faster and I have donated over 150 times in the past 1.5 years and have only stayed longer than 1 hour once.

    Find a center that is electronic and takes appointments and you’re good to go. I make $70 per week!

  • Jessica says:

    This would be great for my husband but not for me! He has excellent veins and donates to the Red Cross as soon as he is eligible. However, I think if you donate to the Red Cross, you might not be able to do both? Does anyone know?

    I have terrible veins that are teeny tiny and roll away. They have trouble getting a tube of blood from me for routine blood tests that I need for my thyroid and for pregnancy stuff. I used to donate to the Red Cross when I was younger. Anyone with bad veins have experience with plasma?

    • jenn says:

      Donating blood and donating plasma are two different things. You can donate both.
      I believe a whole blood donation is every 8 weeks, since it takes so long for the body to recover afterwards. If a person does a platelet/plasma donation, it is every weeks.

      Blood Donors who donate one unit of whole blood will be eligible for plasma donation after 8 weeks (or 56 days) from the date of donation.

      Donors who donate a double unit of red cells will be eligible for plasma donation after 16 weeks (or 112 days) from the date of donation.

      • Jessica says:

        Ok. My husband did a “double” the last time he donated to the Red Cross. He has a rare blood type (A-) so they LOVE him there.

    • Mary says:

      I have awful veins. And I am not able to donate plasma. They need a decent vein to hold the needle. But I could never give blood either.

    • Erin says:

      I have terrible veins and had a not so wonderful experience. The vein rolled about 5 minutes in and blood started pooling in my arm. They still paid me the full amount. I tried again a week later and found a worker that was very experienced and he had no problem centering the vein. I became pregnant so wasn’t able to continue. If you’re a stay at home mom this is a great opportunity though. Bring a book and headphones and enjoy the ‘solitude’ while you wait.

  • Dee Wolters says:

    Long ago and far away my husband did this to earn food money while in college. He was working 2 jobs and going to school full time, and just needed some extra $. This was before we met. He has had no desire to do it again, but I am sure if we were in bad shape we would.

    • April W says:

      I did this a long time ago just once. I had such a hollow empty feeling when I was done. I am very sensitive, though. I got depressed temporarily. If you are moody, you may want to prepare for that possibility.

  • Michelle says:

    This actually really disappoints me. Blood and plasma are something so desperately needed – it can save a life and it’s so easy for someone to give it but to do it for money? Why not just donate? I live in Canada and all of our blood banks are by donation, you get nothing but the knowledge that you helped save a life and they are always full of people content with that. I think that’s amazing and that’s what they need, if they need to pay $20 to get people to donate, then yes, they will get more people but they will also be able to help less people because of the costs they have to pay. I don’t think we should be encouraging people to take money for selling their blood, but I do think we should be encouraging people to donate blood and save a life!

    • august says:

      I see it from your side as well, but if I need to feed my family, by no means am I going to turn down the money!

    • brittny says:

      I honestly have not heard of a center in the us that takes plasma donations without pay. As a family who benefits from getting the plasma, I am just happy that they have enough donors to keep a supply for those who need it.

    • Tammy Collier says:

      Michelle, what you need to know about the US is nothing is free. Someone, somewhere is paying for it. Perhaps patients in Canada also have to pay when they need blood and you just are not aware of that. Absolutely in the US if we need blood or plasma we pay for it. Those organizations supplying blood and plasma sell it to hospitals and other institutions that need it. Whether we get paid to donate or not, whoever is taking our donation is selling it; whoever needs what we donate is paying for it. If you feel better donating for free…….please donate for free. If you feel better getting paid to donate……please donate with pay. Botton line……..blood and plasma are much needed. PLEASE DONATE!!!

    • Tony says:

      You ARE donating it. In the beginning, people didn’t start going to the plasma centers demanding to get paid, the plasma centers sell the plasma to research facities and the medical arena for 100s to 1000s of dollars, so what’s wrong with them paying you for your time. Even IF they were buying it from you, what’s the big deal? It’s not our fault Canada doesn’t pay you for your plasma, so don’t condemn others for doing what you’re incapable of. I can almost guarantee you that if you came to the US with a desire to just sit there and give your plasma, that the center would probably be more than happy to keep the money if you refuse it.

  • Lynn Oyama says:

    I have been doing this for a few years now. The facility that I go to is clean, professional and safe. I used to buy into the rumors as well, but once I checked out the new facility in our town, I was sold. It takes getting used to, but it is well worth it. You are doing good and earning money.

  • Stephanie says:

    This is a great way to safely earn money and it helps people like my husband. He has hemophilia b, it is a clotting disorder. Factor is extremely epensive and if people do not donate he would need to move to man made the is a greater risk in our body rejecting the factor by developing an inhibitor. PLEASE DONATE it helps to save lives. This is different than donating blood.

  • Kay says:

    Check your laws. It is illegal to get paid to give plasma in my state, although you can still donate.

    I almost donated plasma, because I apparently don’t have some bad antibodies in the blood most people have. After donating my O+ blood, I received a note from the center asking me to consider donating plasma because it is needed by kids with limited immune systems. I went, but because I had been in India too recently, they couldn’t accept me. I did get a nice halloween T-shirt though, which read “Starve a vampire – donate blood.” 🙂

  • tara says:

    I donated years ago when I was single. My friends and I went on a regular basis. I had always given blood regularly and have “good” veins. It was no big deal at all and the centers I used were very sterile.

  • Vanessa says:

    I am so thankful for people who donate! My son has Primary Immune Deficiency and received his second dose of IVIG yesterday. This is antibodies gathered from donated plasma. This treatment gives my son a much more normal immune system and protects him from many potentially devastating illnesses.

    • Jo Ann says:

      My husband has been donating plasma for over three years now. Overall it has been a great experience (clean facilities, professional staff, etc.) and provided us with a way to relieve some stress in our finances. He earns about $50 a week for 2 hours of time. It helps us, but we also know that it’s helping others. Talk about a win/win.

      It’s my understanding that the plasma is used in different medicines/treatments…so I would think some company somewhere has to be making money off of the donated plasma. Very different from blood donations.

      • Tammy Collier says:

        It’s not different in that regard. The American Red Cross sells donated blood to hospitals for use in their patients. They make money from the selling of your donated (for free) blood. The patients pay the hospital if they need blood. The only difference is you donate for free to the American Red Cross, and you get paid to donate plasma at the plasma collection centers. No one needs to feel bad for getting paid for much needed plasma, no one needs to feel superior for donating much needed blood to the American Red Cross for free. Blood and Plasma are needed, they are essential…….either way, please donate!!

  • laura says:

    In my experience, if you go to a center that pays you for your plasma they use it for everyday things such as cosmetics, lighting, neon signs, etc. it is not used for hospitals. However if you go to a center in which you DONATE your plasma and you are not given money, this does go to hospitals for use. There is a big difference here. My husband donates his plasma, many times they will call him because there is a direct match with someone that needs it. It is going to good use. So, if your donated plasma, is really donated as in you get paid, you are helping us with cosmetics, lighting, etc. If you are donating and not receiving anything but a thank you, then you are helping a human:) Hope that helps understand a bit about plasma.

    • katie says:

      That was my understanding as well. The blood banks in my state are the only outlet for platelet and plasma that will be used medically. The plasma centers send that plasma to be used in cosmetics/shampoos/conditioners. The center near my home tells people when they call that it is not plasma used for medical purposes. Not that it matters, the line is out the door on their open days.

  • J says:

    I had considered this, but never tried it. I also have small veins and have been pricked so many times during my three pregnancies ( 1 of of which I developed gest. diabetes and had to prick my finger 4 x a day). I am needle phobic so much now that the thought of being pricked makes me feel anxious and like I am going to have a panic attack. Sounds silly maybe to some, but I can’t help that is how I feel.

  • thankful mom! says:

    my younger sister has donated plasma for years. Some people have an extra supply of platelets naturally in their body and she is one of them so the centre loved her. Ironically, my oldest as a newborn baby, was on the verge of needing a blood transfusion since he was only born with 5% of his platelets which clot blood. I was very thankful that there are people out there who can and do donate their plasma and blood and that had our son’s condition deteriotated more, that a literally lifeline (blood/plasma) would have been available to save him from hemmoraging.

  • Karen Johnson says:

    I have actually been donating plasma for about 6 months and find it a very easy way to earn some extra money. The location I donate at gives you $20 the first time and then $30 the 2nd time in a week. It only takes me about an hour each time so I am able to make about $25 an hour which is very good pay. I can normally earn about $200 extra each month.
    Each time I have to answer some health questions and get a quick blood, heart rate and temp check and if everything is ok then I go back and start donating.
    It is not really any different then giving blood except that after the blood and plasma has been separated and the plasma removed, they mix saline solution in with the remaining blood and put it back in to your vein,when that happens, I tend to get a little bit of a strange tasty in my mouth and get a bit colder but it only lasts for maybe a minute.
    Everyone at the location are really nice and friendly and if you have any questions or concerns, they are all available to help out.

  • maureen says:

    I donated once and only once to the Red Cross and was not paid-I wanted to donate plasma. I regularly donate blood and have never had an issue with that. After donating plasma once, I would never do it again. I was freezing cold by the end of the procedure – they separate your blood and plasma and pump your blood back into your body imersed in a saline solution that is room temperature. They put blanket after blanket on top of me in the heat of summer. I was exhausted for two days following this procedure. I weighed around 112, so maybe that’s why it was so terrible for my body. Just trying to inform those who are debating doing this that it is a lot more invasive than donating blood.

  • Nicole says:

    Do you need to be at least 18? I’m 17 years old, and the money I’m making from my part-time job isn’t working out very well. Is there any way you can donate plasma and be younger than 18?

  • Ghettochef says:

    I donate plasma quite frequently and had no problems, the money is ok with the promos, however if you need extra cash quickly yet legal then donating is the way to go.

  • Tammy Collier says:

    So I see some comments that people feel it is not right to call it “donating” when folks are being paid to do so. You all need to know, that even when you “donate” blood to the American Red Cross, or any other organization they “sell” your blood to hospitals for use in those who need it. No one is given blood for free, they are charged for it. If you need blood, and have not donated specifically for your use, you will have to pay for it. Same with Plasma. So the bottom line is, the choice you need to make, do you want to do something that helps those in need, or not. They don’t get it for free, but it is available. If you get paid, or don’t get paid to donate, the person on the other end is still paying for what you have donated. The amount they pay has nothing to do with whether you were paid or not. Choose to donate, period. The blood and/or plasma is much needed by others. Just choose to donate please.

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