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Five Simple Ways to Earn a Little Extra Cash


Wanting to have a cash-only Christmas this year but struggling to come up with the cash?

Here are just a few ideas you might try:

1) CoinStar–Gather up all your loose change and take it to the nearest CoinStar machine to be converted into gift cards or cash. If you can come up with $40 worth in change, you can get an additional $10 bonus. Read more here.

2) Cash4Books–Look around your home and find used books you no longer need or use and sell them to Cash4Books. They pay promptly through Paypal so you can quickly have your money in hand after shipping off the books.

3) Turn your "trash" into cash–Sam's Club, Amazon, and Costco all offer programs of rewarding you gift cards for old electronics, cell phones, and so on. Read more details here, here, and here.

4) Etsy–If you're skilled in the area of arts and crafts, consider setting up a simple shop on Etsy and selling some of your handmade goods. Read this article here for ideas on getting started.

5) YouData–You won't make a lot of money off of this, but if you have some extra time to view some commercials online, you can earn a few dollars each week through YouData. Best of all, they pay via Paypal at the end of every week so it's a very quick turnaround. More details on this are here.

Those are just a few simple ideas I had for quick ways to generate some cash. I'd love to hear ideas from the rest of you–especially if it's something you are personally doing this year to help shore up your Christmas budget.

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  • Costco sells giftcards for different stores at a discount. You can get a $20 giftcard for Starbucks for $16. You can even get them on-line on the Costco website.

  • Jessica says:

    craigslist! I have made $150 in two days – I spent maybe 4 hours organizing and listing items and then people came by the house to pick up the items.
    I find craigslist makes more money than yard sales, and yet my prices were very reasonable.
    From books to clothes to movies to toys to unused furniture… our home is being purged 🙂

  • April says:

    I had never heard of Cash4Books–I’ll definitely have to check that out! I took our change jars to our local Coinstar location the other day, thinking we had $10 or $15 in there. We had $53!! I was practically jumping up and down in the store!

  • Davonne says:

    Instead of trying to make extra money for gifts, we’re simply cutting our gift list!

    My husband and I are buying for each other, our daughter, and our parents. That’s it. No siblings, no friends, no nothing. I’ll take some homemade cookies or cookies in a jar to Lily’s teacher and such, but we’re working on getting out of debt and decided that our Christmas budget must be cut. So far, one person has complained, and the other eleven people on our normal list have been relieved and are now cutting their lists too!

    Any extra money we make will go towards debt instead of going towards gifts, YAY!!

  • LANA says:

    If you have stuff that you would put in a yard sale, but don’t have the time for a yard sale, use Also a great place to find things second hand in your area.

  • Trixie says:


    I love the Coin Star bonus; what a great deal! We are cash only at Christmas and usually do a combination of saving and earning extra money.

    In case anyone’s interested, here is a link to several things we’ve done.

    Take Care,


  • Valerie says:

    I wrote an article on this:
    How to earn extra money from home.
    You can work as a ChaCha guide, check out mTurks from Amazon, design merchandize for CafePress, write for eHow and more! See the article for more info.
    Frugal Family Fun Blog
    Good times on a budget!

  • Ramie says:

    I like craigslist too….have 4 boxes of stuff to list this weekend!

  • Nikki says:

    wow! This is a great idea! 🙂

    speeking of saving money, I am having a giveaway over at my blog, I would love for you to come check it out! 🙂

  • Letty says:

    I sell my kid’s gently used items to children’s resale shops. I just made $29 from two small shopping bags I took into Children’s Orchard this week. This is a good way to clear room for new Christmas toys!

  • zsera says:

    I just sold a book I havent used for a year for $6! Not much but enough to get me some scrapbooking supplies on ebay 🙂 Thanks for the tips! The coin star idea is a great one too!!

  • Jan says:

    How do you feel about Craig’s list and safety? It makes me very nervous to advertise for strangers to come to my house. But it seems very inconvenient to arrange to meet somewhere.

  • laura says:

    I made $4.08 in about 30 min on was easy. Will help toward Christmas shopping on ebay!

  • Elizabeth says:

    Jan: I just try to plan to meet people somewhere I am already planning to be. That could be outside the library or at a store. I’ve even met outside my church. Or sometimes I add a stop and treat my Craigslist sales as another stop in my errands. Hope that helps! I too do not feel comfortable having people come to my house.

  • Oh thank you so much for sharing. I am so excited to check out these sites.


  • Kelly says:

    We’re making most of our gifts…one idea is a leaf candle, which I listed the instructions to on my blog–really beautiful.

    We tore down an old barn recently and my husband is making beautiful barn-wood frames for all our family (with a picture of us)…

    Next week we are going around to local businesses (where lots of women work) with samples of sweet potato pies. We will take orders and deliver the pies for Thanksgiving (the day before). We made several hundred dollars like this one year.

  • jackie says:

    $4.08?! how did you do that?? I have $.61 and thats as high as its going haha

  • Chris says:

    I used to deliver pizza for a living, so that Coinstar machine was my best friend after a 10 hour shift.

  • Bethany says:

    I tired out books4cash and after trying about 30 ISBN’s I only had 1 that they would buy – and they only offered $1.71. I guess you have to have the kind of books they want!

  • Kelly says:

    What great ideas! I’m already at $6.11 on Youdata. Keep the ideas coming.

  • Stephanie says:

    Thank you so much for the Youdata information. I spent 30 minutes and got $6.22! It started off with only $2 worth until I filled out the surveys (so don’t forget to do that!) I tried the Cash4Books and didn’t have much they wanted either. I’m very pleased with all these great ideas though! Keep them coming everyone!!

  • Denise says:

    Don’t forget these are great sites where you can trade in your dvds, books, cds ….. and get others for free. I use all of them to weed out my stash of books I don’t want and then get new ones for the price shipping. I wrote about my three favorite ones on my blog

  • Finance Girl says:

    I love the CoinStar idea – I’m definitely going to do that! I have $32 in change so far…

    Also, if you have prescriptions, you can easily transfer them to other pharmacies for gift cards (where you can often buy all sorts of other gift cards).

  • I agree that Cafepres is a good site to raise money. It’s mostly lots of fun, but they’ve got great quality, and you don’t have to do anything but design the products. They take care of the rest. I’ve used them to self-publish a sewing book I wrote and to market my ideas for homemaking t-shirts:

    And If you like to write and have some articles, Associate Press is also a great way to make a little quick money. So far, it’s the biggest online money maker I’ve tried, by far. One caution though… you can republish your articles if you submit them as non-exclusive, but you can’t get upfront payment if you’ve published before submitting to them. So if your articles do double duty on your blog, you’ll want to keep that in mind when writing for them:

  • My hubby & I save our change throughout the year. We went to our bank the other day (which offers free coin counting for members) and we came up with $103 in change! So awesome! We may even try it as a fundraising idea for our church.

    My best friend’s mother-in-law always uses cash & saves ALL her change – a few years ago she was able to purchase a new stove with the money she saved that year.

  • BookScouter says:

    For those of you who have tried cash4books without success, try putting your books in at It checks about 30 different book-buying websites (including Cash4Books) to see which are buying your book, and how much each one is paying.

  • Suzanne says:

    Of course there is eBay! But, you don’t have to sell a product. You can offer services like consulting, graphic design, virtual assistant services, artistic services…the opportunities are endless.

    And you’ll notice that I write for ehow like another commenter, and it does pay well.

  • ruby says:

    I’m getting a security warning on the youdata site. I could override it, but I don’t think it’s worth it. Just wanted to warn others out there that there could be a problem there.

  • Mario says:

    I have tried several survey sites and free bucks site is the only survey site I personally prefer. you receive $ 0.50 just for signing up and you can cash out at any time and receive your earnings within 30 minutes once you have accumulated a minimum of $0.50 or more. I recommend this website to anyone that’s looking to earn extra money online. just use the below link to sign up

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