Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.
You need extra money, but you’re not sure where to start (or what’s legit). Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
NerdWallet rounded up 25 legitimate ways to earn some extra income — at home or out and about — and listed each option based on how fast you can get started and get paid. While most people prefer fast cash, don’t discount the “slow” gigs, as they may pay more in the long run.
How to make money online and offline
[Due to the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, some of these suggestions may not be currently viable, given measures in place to control spread of the virus.]
1. Sell your gently used clothes
Selling clothes you no longer wear is a quick way to make some money. Start with local consignment shops for faster cash or use sites like ThredUp and Poshmark to find buyers. If you go the online route, be sure to take clear, well-lit photos of your pieces and research similar items to set competitive prices. Get tips on how to sell your clothing.
- You can sell used clothing and accessories several ways, but they’re all pretty quick to start.
payment: fast to medium
- Fast: A brick-and-mortar consignment store like Plato’s Closet will give you cash on the spot.
- Medium: Other in-person and online consignment shops pay you when your items sell, or when they receive and inspect your items. Either way, allow at least a month for your payout.
- Gently worn shoes, clothing and accessories.
2. Trade in old phones, electronics for cash
Have an old phone, iPad or gaming system lying around? Sell it on a site like Swappa or Gazelle. Check out Amazon’s trade-in program, which pays participants in Amazon gift cards — and eBay, too. If you’re in a rush, try an ecoATM kiosk, which offers cash on the spot for your device. Learn more about selling used phones.
- Selling directly (Swappa, Letgo, Craigslist): In most cases, you take photos of the phone, verify the electronic serial number (ESN) is clean and post your listing. Some sites review and approve postings, but the time is minimal.
- Selling to reseller (Gazelle): Answer a few questions online for an instant quote.
Payment: Fast to Medium
- Selling directly: When you get paid depends on how quickly your phone or device sells. Once the item sells, payment is fast.
- Selling to reseller: First, you need to ship your phone to the reseller, which will then inspect it before payment is sent via methods such as check, PayPal or an Amazon electronic gift card, depending on the reseller.
- A used phone, laptop, gaming system, etc.
- Cell phones: You need to verify the phone is not stolen or under a repayment plan.
3. Drive for Uber, Lyft
Join Uber or Lyft (or both) and earn money by driving passengers around. Just don’t forget to factor in gas and maintenance costs. You need an eligible car in good condition and must agree to a background check and a review of your driving history. Learn more about what it takes to drive for Uber and Lyft.
- Allow a few weeks for the application process, background check and car inspection.
- Lyft and Uber can pay you instantly through a debit card or transfer earnings to your bank account pretty quickly.
- A car with four doors. It must also meet other requirements, such as year, physical condition, etc.
- Let your car insurance company know of your plans before you start driving.
Monitor your money during trying times
If you’re facing financial anxiety, NerdWallet can find ways to save.
4. Make deliveries for Amazon, Uber Eats
Take advantage of the growing delivery trend and sign up for a service like Instacart, Uber Eats, Postmates, DoorDash or Amazon Flex. You get paid per delivery, in most cases, and can even earn tips. A car isn’t always required — Postmates and, in some cities, DoorDash, lets you use a bike or scooter to make deliveries. However, a background check almost always is part of the deal. Learn more about how to get started with Amazon Flex, Uber Eats and Instacart.
- The background check can take up to five days, although that timing can vary.
- Instacart pays weekly. DoorDash pays weekly or, for a fee, daily.
- Amazon Flex pays twice a week.
- Uber Eats pays out weekly or daily, depending on the option you select.
- You’ll need a way to deliver items. It could be a car, scooter or bike, depending on the service.
- A smartphone is necessary to accept and process jobs.
- Each delivery service has a minimum age requirement, but it varies by service.
5. Become a dog walker or dog sitter
Love dogs? Consider becoming a dog walker. Apps like Wag! and Rover offer on-demand dog walking, so you can pick up walks when your schedule allows. If you have space (and your landlord’s permission, if you rent), you could offer overnight dog boarding. Read the fine print if you sign up for these services
- It can take up to five business days for your Rover profile to be reviewed and approved.
- The application process for Wag! can take from one to three weeks, and you must pass a quiz.
- Rover: Your payments will be ready for withdrawal two days after completing a service. If you use PayPal to receive your payment, you’ll be able to redeem it within an additional one to four days and incur no fees. If you’d rather be paid via check, that can take up to five business days to process, up to 20 days to arrive and cost you a $5 fee.
- Wag! walkers get paid weekly; some are eligible to be paid instantly to a debit card for a small fee.
- For Rover or Wag!, you’ll need to live in an area where the service operates.
- If you want to pet-sit, you’ll need an apartment or house that allows pets.
- You’ll have to pass a background check.
6. Get a babysitting gig
Everyone from college students to recent retirees can make money by watching other people’s children. Word-of-mouth referrals from friends and family are still a great way to get started, but you can also create a profile for free on Care.com or Sittercity to expand your reach. Note any specialized skills, such as CPR certifications or experience with special needs children, to make yourself more marketable.
- You can create a profile on Care.com or Sittercity in a matter of minutes.
- You typically get paid when you complete your gig.
- You usually need to be at least 18 to list as a caregiver on Care.com and Sittercity.
LISTEN: The Smart Money podcast answers the question, “How do I get my hands on some money?”
7. Find work as a housesitter
If you’re willing to watch someone’s home — and maybe feed the pets, water the plants and take out the garbage — become a housesitter. Tap your personal network for referrals or try out HouseSitter.com, which connects homeowners with housesitters. People often make $25 to $45 a day, according to the company’s website.
- You can create a profile on HouseSitter.com in a matter of minutes, though it may take time to secure your first housesitting gig.
- You typically get paid by the homeowner when you complete your gig.
- Most sites have an age requirement.
8. Sell unused gift cards
Sell unused gift cards on a site like Cardpool, CardCash or Gift Card Granny. These websites say they will pay you up to 92% of the card’s value. On CardCash and Gift Card Granny, you can also trade in your card for one you’ll use. Cardpool and Gift Card Granny also have kiosks and cashier-assisted locations so you can get cash on the spot. Read more about what to do with unwanted gift cards.
- You can get an instant offer or quote via sites like Cardpool, CardCash and Gift Card Granny.
- You can sell gift cards at kiosks and participating retail locations to get cash the same day, or try to sell it online. The latter takes longer, but you may get a better offer for your gift card.
- Your gift card may need to meet a minimum balance to be resold. Not all cards will generate offers.
9. Pick up freelance work online
Websites such as Upwork, Fiverr and Freelancer.com offer opportunities to do a variety of freelance jobs, such as writing, programming, design, marketing, data entry and being a virtual assistant. Fluent in a second language? Check sites such as Gengo or One Hour Translation, or drum up business through a site of your own. No matter what kind of freelancing you do, keep track of the going rate for the kind of work you provide so you know if you’re charging too much or too little. Learn how to get started on Upwork.
- Upwork will approve your profile within 24 hours. But keep in mind it can take time to land your first freelance gig.
- Payment varies by site. On Upwork, you’re paid after you and the client review the work, 10 days after the billing period ends. On Fiverr, you’re paid when the work order is complete, but you can’t withdraw funds for another 14 days.
- Upwork requires users to be at least 18. Fiverr sets the age requirement at 13. And Freelancer.com requires users to be at least 16.
- Some sites require you be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
10. Test websites and apps
Sites such as UserTesting.com will pay you for your thoughts on how well — or not so well — certain websites and apps worked. You’ll have to pass a short test to be accepted, then you’ll be paid $10 for each 20-minute test, which involves a recording and answering four follow-up written questions. Or you could earn up to $120 to participate in a video conversation with a customer after your test.
- You typically need to complete a sample test as part of the application process.
- You will start receiving testing opportunities after your application is approved.
- The timeline for approval can vary.
- You get paid seven days after completing a website or app test.
- Payment is issued via PayPal.
- You need to be at least 18.
- You need a computer, internet connection and microphone.
- Mobile app testers also need an Android or iOS mobile phone or tablet.
11. Pick up tasks on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk
Even in the age of automation, some jobs still require a human touch. Companies often outsource those jobs via services like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. As a “worker,” the tasks you’ll be assigned can be tedious — tagging images, transcribing videos, classifying receipts — and can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. Temporary employers or “requesters” set the price for each task and get to approve the finished product before paying you. That can leave room for scams, so do your research, and join a community like the MTurk Crowd forum, or the MTurk and Turker Nation subreddits, which…