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105 Ways I’ve Made Money Without Full-Time Jobs

105 Ways I’ve Made Money Without Full-Time Jobs
Steve Gillman Dec 7, 2019
Want to Earn Some Extra Money?

In my article, “How To Avoid Permanent Or Full-Time Jobs” I revealed that I’ve worked full-time for only a few months in my life (I’m 55), and explained the strategies and choices which made that possible. This article is the rest of the story, a list of the specific ways I’ve made money, to show you how it can be done.

Of course your non-traditional-income path could be very different, since there are thousands of other ways to make money without permanent or full-time jobs. But in keeping with the dictum to “write what you know,” this is my experience, with notes on the advantages and disadvantages of each way I’ve made money.

The list is in no particular order. It has part-time jobs, businesses, investments, and what I call “money projects” (one-time money-making gigs). I skip childhood business adventures, like killing flies in the house for a penny each, or dealing blackjack to my brothers to win their paper-route money, and instead start with…

1. Repo Man

Stealing cars in the middle of the night (and in broad daylight) is fun. And yes, I had a gun pulled on me more than once, and I ran into other “situations.” I never got hurt, but I don’t recommend this work to anyone who is older or who has a family waiting at home.

Typically you’re paid per repossessed vehicle, and you can go long stretches without making anything. But unlike when I did it, you now have online help to become a repo man.

Advantages: It’s an interesting job that combines investigative work with excitement. You get to travel a bit, and drive nice cars.

Disadvantages: The work is dangerous, and the income is unpredictable.

Additional Thoughts: Being the owner of the company is the only way I see to make a decent income, but that implies a more permanent, possibly full-time commitment.

2. Mock Juror

Also called “surrogate juror,” this gig involves hearing the details of a case from both sides and rendering a “verdict” as well as being interviewed about your thoughts. Attorneys use mock juries to test their cases before they go before a real jury.

See my post “How  I Made $150 As A Mock Juror” for more on my personal experience. It’s difficult to find in-person gigs, but there are a number of websites where you can be paid to be a mock juror online.

Advantages: Very interesting work, and you get to render a verdict without the responsibility of it being final.

Disadvantages: It’s hard to find decent “live” gigs. The pay for online gigs is low and the opportunities sporadic.

Additional Thoughts: I enjoyed the day I spent doing the “live” gig, and I would do it again if offered. I can’t discuss the details, but it was a lawsuit for tens of millions of dollars.

3. I Cut And Sold Firewood

One of my first decent jobs was working with a friend to cut and sell firewood. We obtained free permits to cut “dead and down” trees on National Forest lands in Michigan (now there is a fee), then cut, split, and delivered cords of firewood to people who responded to bulletin board ads.

It was 1984, and we made about $6 per hour. The CPI INflation Calculator tells me that’s the equivalent of $15.12/hour today.

Advantages: Being outdoors is nice, and the work will keep you in shape.

Disadvantages: It’s also a sale’s job (there are customers, after all),and it can be dangerous.

Additional Thoughts: To be honest, I hated working with the chainsaw (yes, it is dangerous), but I loved working outdoors with a friend.

4. Busser / Dishwasher

This was my first “traditional” job.

Advantages: These positions are easy to get, and the work is easy to forget when you go home at the end of the day.

Disadvantages: The pay is low, and the work is greasy and sweaty.

Additional Thoughts: The work wasn’t great, but my bussing/dishwashing job at Big Boy did lead to the next part-time job on my list…

5. Food Prep

Job description: Prepare food for the salad bar, or prep food for the cooks.

Advantages: It’s better than dishwashing and it prepares you to be a cook.

Disadvantages: Low pay and sweaty work.

Additional Thoughts: This is another of those low-paying restaurant jobs with possibilities for advancement, as evidenced by my promotion to…

6. Short-Order Cook

It took only a few weeks of showing up on time and doing a good job to work up from bussing tables to doing food prep to cooking, at age 17. That opportunity for merit-based quick advancement is what makes restaurant jobs so attractive for those of us lacking formal education.

Advantages: You’ll learn how to cook fast and efficiently, and it’s better than bussing tables.

Disadvantages: Greasy work, hot work, and it can be stressful when busy.

Additional Thoughts: Having this on your resume means you can get a job almost anywhere and anytime.

7. I Was A Bill Collector

There’s a reason I had to register an alias with the state (Michigan) when I was a bill collector. People tend to get upset with you when you try to collect money, and it’s better if they don’t really know how you are.

You can read about other people’s experiences as bill collectors to get a taste of what the job entails, but I mostly hated the job.

Advantages: The “skip tracing” (tracking people down) part is fun. Also, you’ll know the laws, which can be useful if bill collectors come after you.

Disadvantages: You’ll be unpopular with a lot of people. The pay is low unless you’re really good and get commissions (and work full-time).

Additional Thoughts: I enjoyed the “skip tracing” (that’s what attracted me to the job in the first place), and it helped me land the next part-time job…

8. Process Server

An insurance company decided to get into process-serving as an extra service. They hired me to track down people to serve them their official court summonses. I did a couple gigs before the company discontinued the service, possibly becauseI I worked too fast for them to be able to bill enough hours to clients.

Serve Now has a state-by-state guide to how to get started in this profession.

Advantages: No college degree required and investigative work is interesting. 

Disadvantages: Irregular income (payment is per-papers-served). Some risk when you confront people with their papers.

Additional Thoughts: I liked tracking down the people to whom I served court papers, but they were civil cases; criminal cases might involve more danger

9. I Flipped Land

The first piece of land I flipped cost $2,500 for 2.5 acres. Closing costs (this was decades ago) were just $100 or so. After cleaning the debris and outlining a potential driveway using dead trees, I sold the land for $3,700 a few weeks after I bought it.

Advantages: You can make good money for your time. Land has low holding costs (compared to homes and other real estate) in case you don’t sell right away.

Disadvantages: It’s easy to pay too much when you buy, and land can be slow to sell.

Additional Thoughts: Three things made this deal (and others) work. First, I marked all of the property lines so buyers could clearly see what they’re getting. Second, I cleaned up anything ugly. Finally, I sold it on payments ($250 down, $100/month at 11% annual interest), making it easy for the buyer and more profitable for me.

10. Live-In Babysitter

I watched kids for friends while they completed their education and looked for work. I got paid a stipend and a room in the basement for the few months I did this.

Advantages: Much of the time “on the job” is actually free time, like when the kids are sleeping or watching TV, and a place to live is a valuable addition to the pay.

Disadvantages: It’s really not fun to care for children, and the pay is too low.

Additional Thoughts: This was a valuable learning experience that reconfirmed my decision to never have kids of my own.

11.  I Invest In Online REITs

I prefer investment income to other forms, and I love the new online REITs that are available. Real Estate Investment Trusts pool investors’ money and invest in various forms of real estate or related debt. Here are a few I’ve invested in:

Fundrise is my favorite despite a lower rate of return (around 6% so far), because they acknowledge that the real estate market is near the top and they have strategies to deal with a possible decline.

Advantages: It’s easy to invest, with minimums as low as $500, and there is no need to monitor your investment too closely.

Disadvantages: There are hefty fees (up to 3%) if you cash in early (1 to 3 years), and you have limited access to your investment (quarterly redemptions, which can be suspended).

Additional Thoughts: I like the “invest and forget” nature of these funds. Alos, there is no daily up and down in value like there is with stocks.

13. Payday Lender (Loan Shark)

As explained in my post, “10 Ways To Use Your Friends To Make Money,” I used to play banker with friends and coworkers. For example, I might lend $200 and collect $217 on payday — $15 in interest and $2 as a fee for cashing the check. I eventually ran into problems bringing too many endorsed checks to my bank.

Advantages: This is one of the few ways to make 100%+ annual returns on your money, and we all know people who need to borrow money.

Disadvantages: Unless you’re careful, this can be illegal. And there is a risk of loss (although you can hold collateral — that’s how I got a nice TV).

Additional Thoughts: I later transitioned to lending money only when I thought it was doing some good, like loaning money to a friend to buy tools to get a job (but still with a weekly interest charge). I felt better doing that.

14. Tram Driver For The Rich

When my wife and I lived in Florida I took a job driving electric trams (oversized golf carts) for the residents of a wealthy community. My route took me along canals full of exotic birds and alligators, between condo pick-up points and the beach/restaurants.

Advantages: Pleasant work. Fun to watch the wildlife, including the people.

Disadvantages: These particular rich people didn’t tip — at all. Also, rainy, windy days suck when you’re in an open-sided vehicle with insufficient plastic closures.

Additional Thoughts: At 49, I was the youngest of the 62 drivers on payroll, so the job must attract retirees.

15. I Collect Bank Bonuses

I detailed this one in my article, “How To Make Thousands Of Dollars From Bank Bonuses.” Open an account, meet the requirements for the “new customer bonus,” collect it, and close the account. I’ve made over $2,000 in many years, and at least $10,000 total by now.

Advantages: Easy way to make some money. Online accounts can be handled without leaving the house.

Disadvantages: You’ll tie up some serious cash (for up to six months) if you do many of these deals at once. You might also have to fight with the bank to get your bonus (four fights and three wins so far for myself).

Additional Thoughts: This is one of my favorites for making a little extra cash, because I like playing with money more than working for it.

16. Fast Food Worker

This was one of my least favorite jobs, but it does have the following advantages…

Advantages: Fast food jobs are about the easiest jobs to get, and they offer a decent chance for advancement.

Disadvantages: Greasy. Hot. Fast. Stressful. Did I mention low pay?

Additional Thoughts: Fast food jobs are plentiful, and they’re even better than other restaurant jobs for advancement if you have limited education but a good work ethic.

17. Fast Food Restaurant Shift Manager

I worked in fast food for a couple months before getting promoted to this position. Most of the work is the same, with a little bit of management and bookwork at the end of the day.

Advantages: An easy job to work your way into, sometimes with free or discounted food and drinks.

Disadvantages: All the same work as a cashier and kitchen worker, with more responsibility. And the pay is still pretty low.

Additional Thoughts: This is a crappy in-between position that (hopefully) leads to the next…

18. Fast Food Restaurant Assistant Manager

This promotion came a couple months after the last. The position still requires working in the kitchen and out front at times, but office work is more frequent, and the pay is more substantial (I made the equivalent of about $600/week in today’s dollars).

This was one of the rare times I worked full-time, at least for a few months. Then I negotiated a Sunday-only schedule (really), so my week was left free to work on business projects.

Advantages: Better pay and less greasy.

Disadvantages: Still pretty greasy, and you may lose friends (coworkers) when you get promoted.

Additional Thoughts: I was offered a restaurant to manage shortly after getting this position (I turned down the offer), which brings up one of the biggest advantages of fast food work: If you want to own a restaurant, working up through the ranks is a great way to train for the business.

19. I Loaned Money Online

This one shows up on my list of ways to make money while you sleep. I used Lending Club, but there are others like Prosper and Upstart. Essentially these platforms make loans to consumers (debt consolidation, add an addition to the house, etc,) and sell off parts of them to us investors, usually for a minimum of $25 per note, although the account minimum may be $500 or more.

Advantages: This is an easy way to invest, and with a better return than any bank account.

Disadvantages: You could lose money, especially if you fail to diversify. Also, liquidity is a problem given the loan terms (typically 3 or 5 years), although Lending Club has a secondary market where you can sell your notes before maturity.

Additional Thoughts: As I said before, I like playing with money. But I gave up on Lending Club after many years, when my rate of return dropped to less than 3% annualized  (not sure why I got so many bad loans, but it can happen).

20. My Wife And Were Flea Marketeers

We spent a summer selling everything from foreign coins to Barbie Dolls and anything that would have gone into a rummage sale. We camped in the van the night before setting up at various flea markets in northern Michigan.

Advantages: It’s fun to meet other marketers (and customers), and flea markets are a great way to get rid of stuff you don’t need.

Disadvantages: It’s tough to make a decent profit for your time (we didn’t even make minimum wage), and weather is your enemy.

Additional Thoughts: My wife and I really enjoyed the process of doing flea markets even if it didn’t pay well. It did lead to my next business venture…

21. I Made And Sold Walking Sticks

I made walking sticks from trees in the woods near me (just a saw and a knife), adorning them with no more than a dollar’s worth of decorations. I sold them at flea markets and craft fairs, and I wholesaled them to vendors at gun shows and pow-wows (selling 10 to 40 at once).

Advantages: The start-up costs are low and it can be satisfying work for some.

Disadvantages: You have to sell them to make a profit, and it’s tough to sell walking sticks since everyone figures they can make their own.. 

Additional Thoughts: Even though I haven’t sold one in many years, I’ve made 40 walking sticks since we moved to Tucson, Arizona. Old habits die hard (and they make nice gifts).

22. House Painter

I worked part-time for a house flipper in Florida, painting houses and other buildings. He hired me with the advice: “Go home and watch three hours of YouTube videos on how to paint, and you’ll be all set.” He was mostly right (but nothing beats hands-on experience).

Advantages: This can be low-stress work, and with decent pay.

Disadvantages: There will be lot’s of paint to remove from your hair, and you may have to invest in some basic tools.

Additional Thoughts: I used to hate painting until I was good at it, at which point it became a relaxing, satisfying, and even meditative job.

23. Handyman

A handyman I hired to help us flip a condo taught me the most important skill: attitude. There is always a solution. Using what I learned I worked for that investor/house flipper installing lights and outlets, tearing down walls, putting up window blinds, and so forth.

Advantages: You’ll have a variety of work and decent pay (on an hourly basis).

Disadvantages: This can be hard work and it can be irregular.

Additional Thoughts: I really enjoyed working for the investor on his own projects, but as soon as he started sending me out to work in other people’s homes I quit. I couldn’t tolerate people watching my every move (especially since I wasn’t a great handyman).

24. We Were Hard Money Lenders

The investor and his wife in Florida, both of whom became friends, needed not just painting and handyman help, but money, so my wife and I became their lender. We typically loaned them $80,000 or more at an interest rate of 9% to 10%, with interest-only payments until his project was completed and sold (usually 5 months or less).

Advantages: This is one of the few ways to get a 10% annual return (or better) on your money. It’s also pretty safe, assuming you get a first mortgage and title insurance, as we always did.

Disadvantages: It can be scary lending large amounts of money. Also, things can happen to delay the payoff, so you never know for certain when you’ll get your money back.

Additional Thoughts: I secretly liked it when our borrower ran into glitches that delayed the sale and closing on his projects, because that meant more interest for us.

25. We Were Landlords

My wife and I have had mobile homes as rentals, plus a condo and half of a duplex we lived in. We always made money investing in rentals, but never enjoyed the process.

Advantages: Real estate offers a better return than bank accounts. Plus, the income is inflation adjusted, since rents go up along with the cost of everything else.

Disadvantages: Plan on middle-of-the-night phone calls, evictions, along with broken heaters and air conditioners.

Additional Thoughts: I never liked being a traditional landlord, but interestingly, the following related money-maker was probably my favorite…

26. I Rented Out Rooms In My Home

I relate some of my room-rental experiences in my article, “How To Pay Off Your Mortgage By Renting Out Rooms.” I liked living with other people, and yes the rent paid off the mortgage quickly — and at least four times over.

Advantages: There’s big profit potential, and this is easier than traditional landlording in some ways. For example, you know what’s going on in you tenants lives.

Disadvantages: This is worse than traditional landlording in some ways. For example, you may have to deal with what’s going on in you tenants lives.

Additional Thoughts: Renting out rooms and quickly paying off the mortgage on my first home set me up for a much more secure financial future than I would have had otherwise. It was one of the best financial moves I made early in life.

27. Real Estate Agent

Some people love being a real estate agent. I hated almost everything about it. But in the few months I lasted I did sell six homes and two pieces of land, which was better than some of the new agents did.

Advantages: There’s big income potential, and you have flexibility in work hours.

Disadvantages: It’s a sales job, and you might not make anything (I saw it happen to the guy who sat at the desk in front of me for months without a sale).

Additional Thoughts: Being in the middle of the largest financial transaction most people make in their lives is too much responsibility for my tastes.

28. We Were Website Creators

My wife and I started creating websites in 2004, and we were making over $100,000 annually within a few years. Any hobby or interest I had, from backpacking to brainpower, became a website. I even had a site on how to remove carpet stains, and another on metaphors.

Advantages: You get to work from home, and you can choose subjects that interest you.

Disadvantages: It’s tougher than ever to get traffic to a website now, and if you don’t enjoy writing you’ll have to pay for content.

Additional Thoughts: We loved writing about whatever we wanted and making money doing so, but a change in the Google algorithm caused a 50% drop in traffic (and therefore revenue) in one day, and over the following years competition brought it all to an end for us. SEO (search engine optimization) skills have become more important than content.

29. Author

Partly because of my 45,000 subscribers to various online newsletters I published, Wiley and Sons Inc. asked me to write “101 Weird Ways To Make Money.” It took me six weeks or so to complete the book. It has made a little over $20,000, but royalties still trickle in.

Advantages: You work at home, and writing a book can be rewarding even if it doesn’t sell.

Disadvantages: It can involve a lot of tedious work, and your publisher may have different ideas than you about how your book should be written.

Additional Thoughts: I’m happy about the project, but next time I would write the book first and then find a publisher. That way any deadlines are my own and I wouldn’t have anyone telling me what to put in the book.

30. Freelance Writer

Creating and monetizing my own content was great while it lasted. On the other hand, writing for others for a set fee means I get paid upfront. I’ve written speeches, blog posts, presentations, and some marketing materials.

Advantages: You work from home and you can choose the clients you like.

Disadvantages: It can be tough to find clients. Also, the pay varies and can be low.

Additional Thoughts: When I stopped doing anything for less than $100 I enjoyed writing much more, because I felt comfortable taking the time to do things right.

All The Rest

Here’s a quick rundown of the other ways I’ve made money without full-time or long-term jobs, with a few thoughts on each…

31. I Did Online Surveys

You’ll find several articles about making money with online surveys on this website, and I’ve tried it numerous times. Other than one survey that paid me $25 for a few minutes work, I struggled to make anywhere near minimum wage.

32. Pizza Delivery Driver

If you work weekends in a busy place you can make a good hourly rate delivering pizzas. I’ve done this part-time twice.

33. Pizza Restaurant Assistant Manager

I took the job on the condition that I could still do deliveries for most of each shift. Otherwise the “promotion” usually involves a pay cut.

34. E-Book Marketer

I wrote short e-books (usually in a few days or less) and sold them via my websites and using the ClickBank platform. When our website traffic was at its best I made a few hundred dollars monthly from e-books.

35. Chauffeur

I was paid $50 ($100 in today’s dollars) to drive an attorney on long trips, so he could work (reviewing files, doing dictation, etc.) while I drove, and bill his clients more in the first hour than what I cost for the day.

36. Convention Worker

Handing out party favors and brochures and pointing people to bathrooms is not tough work, but smiling all day gets old fast.

37. I Invest In Savings Accounts

You can’t make much in bank accounts, but several pay over 2% now, and some pay up to 5% if you want to jump through hoops.

38. I Invest In Bank CDs

My favorites are the “no penalty CDs” (you can Google them that way), which are effectively just savings accounts, but with a higher interest rate.

39. Direct Mail Product Packager

But wait! There’s more! Just pay 45 separate shipping charges and you’ll get these 45 extras for free… And I was the one putting everything in the packages for shipping (tedious work).

40. Construction Worker

I did more of the “extras” in construction, like cleanup or, even better, demolition (now, that’s fun).

41. Restaurant Equipment Installer

Now I know how to install fryers and industrial-size ovens, but what will I do with these skills?

42. I Sell Scrap Metal

Whenever I round up enough soda cans or broken aluminum lawn furniture, I cash in. I’ve never made more than $20 from a scrap metal sale, but the whole process is like a fun treasure hunt.

43. Product Demonstrator

Handing out samples at a Sam’s Club isn’t tough work. Of course it also doesn’t pay well. It is, however, a part-time position when obtained through a temp agency.

44. Website Evaluator says you can make up to $60 reviewing/testing websites, but I typically got the 15-minute, $10 jobs when I did this. It’s not bad work, but the gigs are not frequent.

45. Search Engine Evaluator

This was tedious work, but I liked that I could work from home at any time or on any schedule I preferred. See my post for more details: “How To Make Money As A Search Engine Evaluator.”

46. House Cleaner

I worked for a cleaning company as well as doing house cleaning on my own. Not my favorite work (clients tend to follow you around).

47. Car Parts Assembler

I lasted just three days assembling muffler brackets. I was faster than the long-term employees, but factory work is too tedious and dirty for my tastes.

48. Affiliate Marketer

When our websites were busy I was able to make a few hundred dollars monthly linking to affiliate products that paid a commission. My favorite was a set of meditation downloads, which paid me $30 of every $80 sale.

49. I Sold Links

Google prefers that websites don’t buy or sell links, but it’s legal, and I made thousands of dollars selling links on our websites to Fortune 500 companies (they buy through brokers to hide their activity).

50. Newspaper Deliverer

I liked delivering papers. I filled coin-operated boxes and dropped off bundles of newspapers in the pre-dawn hours, using my employer’s van, and I made about $15 per hour.

51. Phone Book Deliverer

Five cents per phone book doesn’t sound like much, but when you drop off 100 at a time at places like real estate offices it adds up. The key to making the most with this temporary gig was getting an early start to claim the best routes.

52. Self-Published Author

My self-published books are no longer available, but they made thousands of dollars, and I got a $2,000 advance for one that was picked up by a Japanese publisher. It’s even easier (and cheaper) now with Amazon Publishing (my wife had hard copies of her book in hand before she had spent $50).

53. Mover

I’ve worked moving offices and a home. Hard work, low pay, and not good for the back. I won’t do it again.

54. Drywall Installer

I did a month-long stint hanging and finishing drywall in a new apartment building. This is another job that’s not good for the back, but the pay is decent.

55. Truck Unloader

When working for Manpower I got gigs unloading trucks (typically at Home Depot) for $9 per hour (in 1991) which is the equivalent of $17 per hour today.

56. Blackjack Dealer

This was the only job I’ve had that lasted more than a year. It lasted ten years, and I hated it, but I could work part-time and it paid well. I give more details in my post about how to become a casino dealer.

57. Roulette Dealer

This was my preferred position in the casino, and it’s where I saw a player make $80,000, which I write about in my post “10 Ways To Make Money At A Casino Without Gambling” (see number 7).

58. Poker Dealer

I didn’t enjoy dealing poker nearly as much as playing it, but I held this position briefly. See 10 Ways To Make Money At A Casino Without Gambling for more on poker (at least from the player’s perspective).

59. Real Estate Researcher

I was paid to find large plots of land and tack down contact information on the owners, so an investor (who split and sold the land) could approach them with offers. This was before everything was online, so I spent a lot of time in the vault at the county building.

60. Highway Construction Flagger

I thought I would relax on a lonely highway with a sign. But when I was stationed at the busiest intersection in the county during massive construction, and without a radio, I made this a one-day gig.

61. Closet Grocer

When I was renting out rooms in my home I kept two shelves stocked with snacks and quick dinners that my tenants liked. I bought the items on sale and sold them at a reasonable price for a decent profit.

62. Carpet Cleaner

Hard, sweaty work, but it was my brother’s company and he let me work only when I wanted to.

63. Pet Sitter

Taking care of pets and plants is a nice part-time gig and a good way to make new friends. I washed dogs for money as well.

64. Self-Employed Taxi Driver

Long before Uber existed I collected a couple dollars each from coworkers who needed rides to work (when I was a blackjack dealer). Sometimes I had four passengers each way.

65. We Did Rummage Sales

My wife and I have had a number of garage sales. The extra cash is nice, but rummage sales are better for getting rid of stuff than for making money.

66. Thrift Store Worker

I sorted and priced things at Goodwill, and even snagged a few good deals for myself. It was tedious, low-paying work.

67. Medical Research Volunteer

As reported in my post, “How To Get Paid To Be A Human Guinea Pig,” I only did this once, and for just $40 (testing a new aspirin for side effects). Some people make a living as test subjects.

68. Mail Sorter

I worked part-time for the Post Office for two Christmas seasons (September through December). It’s boring work, but the pay is okay.

69. I Collect Credit Card Bonuses

In some years I’ve made thousands of dollars from credit card signup bonuses. It’s easy money if you’re organized and have a decent credit score.

70. I Make Cash Back On My Credit Cards

Who doesn’t right? But I take it to the next level, organizing my cards to maximize the rewards (use one for grocery that pays 3% back, another that pays 5% back on office supplies, and so on). And then I go one step further…

71. I Do Manufactured Spending

Putting everything on credit cards to earn rewards makes sense, but you can do even better if you “spend” money that goes right back into your bank account after earning those rewards. See my post on manufactured spending for more information on this.

72. I’ve Done Credit Card Arbitrage

As explained in my post, “Make Money With A Credit Card,” credit card arbitrage involves taking advantage of credit card offers to get low-interest money that you then invest at a higher rate. I’ve done this several times, usually as part of a broader strategy to make money with the card.

73. Newspaper Inserter

Sunday papers have some of their ads inserted by machine, and humans do the rest. I was paid $100 ($145 in today’s dollars) every Saturday night, and we worked until done, usually between 4 and 9 hours. Walking distance from home and good hourly pay were the draws.

74. Special Needs Caretaker

When my wife and I moved to Montana (we owned a home there briefly), I took a part-time job supervising adults with developmental disabilities. My employer said I did a great job, but it was too much responsibility for me.

75. I Flipped Cars

I put up the money. A partner found the deals and did the buying, cleaning up, and selling of the vehicles. Then we would split the profit.

76. Sign Holder

One of the worst minimum wage jobs out there is holding a promotional sign while standing in the hot, humid Florida sun.

77. Security Guard

This wouldn’t have been so bad if not for the outdoor security stations being in Florida. I got to see a lot of alligators and other wildlife.

78. I Invest In Stocks

I’m occasionally tempted to invest in stocks, and so far I’ve made money when I’ve done so, but it feels so much like gambling.

79. I Invest In Stock Options

By themselves, options are a gamble, but trading strategies like “covered calls” (buying the stock and selling a call option at a higher strike price), made my stock and options trading less risky.

80. I Invested In Futures Options

Futures options are a good way to make money fast, or lose it even faster. I’ve done both, usually betting on silver futures options.

81. I Invest in Silver

When the price is low I like to invest in something real. Of course, when the price goes higher I’m tempted to sell, so I’ve taken a few profits in this way.

82. I Invest In Gold

This is another “insurance” investment; something real to hold onto in case the world falls apart. But I’ve cashed in my gold for a profit a couple times now.

83. I Invested In Old Coins

If I’ve made any money from old coins, it’s usually the ones that I pulled out of circulation, like pre-1969 silver quarters and dimes. I also save pre-1983 pennies, to eventually cash in for copper value (see #5 of “11 Ways ToMake Money With Banks”).

84. I Invested in Cryptocurrencies

This doesn’t properly belong on the list because I haven’t made money with cryptocurrencies… yet. I invested $200 into three different currencies on, and now I wait and watch as their values drop.

85. I Rented Out My Shed As A Bedroom

I built a shed, for a total cost of around $200, with a window, carpet, bed, and electrical outlets, and then I rented it out as a bedroom for $50 per week (tenants had to come inside to use the kitchen and bathroom).

86. I Published Online Newsletters

I had one about brainpower, one on real estate, one on lightweight backpacking, and six or seven others. The best one (brainpower) had over 40,000 subscribers. I monetized the email newsletters with affiliate links and links to the pages of my websites.

87. I Switched Long Distance Carriers

Long distance carriers used to pay for customers to switch, with no time commitment, so you could switch again the next month to get yet another bonus. I made from $40 to $100 repeatedly (the equivalent of $75 to $185 in 2020 dollars).

88. I Flipped A Domain Name

I have a friend who has made hundreds of thousands of dollars flipping domain names. I’ve done it just once, buying a catchy domain name for $100 and selling it a year or so later for $700.

89. I Sold A Website

Selling a developed website is something else entirely. I’ve done this  just once as well. I sold a failed website for a nice chunk of money, but still less than it used to make in a month.

90. I Got Paid For A Checkup

My insurance company paid me $50 to get a checkup, and another $50 to get a flu shot. They have other cash rewards I’ll be checking into.

91. I Complained And Got Paid

As explained in my post, “Your Seven Step Guide To Profitable Complaining,” I’ve been paid from $20 to $2,000 as a result of complaining.

92. I Joined A Buyers Club

PFS Buyers Club arranges for large purchases of limited-edition (“one per customer” etc.) coins and collectibles by paying people like you and I to buy items and immediately sell them for a profit to them, so they can sell to their clients. If all goes well on my current deal, I’ll invest about $86 and get $200 in a few weeks.

93. I Rented Parking Spaces

When I rented out rooms they came with parking for one car. Second cars (and a jet ski) had to pay rent for the space. You have to maximize the profit from each tenant, right?

94. Apple Picker

I picked apples part-time for two seasons. It’s back-breaking work, but I like fresh air and unlimited apples to eat. Being paid by the box means working fast to make a decent wage; I made $13 per hour in 1999, the equivalent of $20 per hour in today’s dollars.

95. I Invested In House Flips Online

I love Their platform allows you to invest in home flips and other real estate investments around the country for as little as $25 each, and to make up to a 16% return. See my Groundfloor Review for more on this opportunity.

96. Banquet Setup Worker

This wasn’t a terrible job, but I lasted only a few days setting up tables and flower arrangements and such.

97. I Was A Chess Hustler

The key to making money playing chess isn’t to play tournaments (they cost money and you play tough competitors). The “secret” is obvious: Just play weaker players. That’s how I used to win a few dollars now and then.

98. I Played Poker

Here too, the key to making money is to play against weaker players. That’s how I consistently came out ahead when I was younger.

99. I Take Advantage Of Casino Promotions

As I explained in “10 Ways To Make Money At A Casino Without Gambling,” casino promotions can do more than just save you money. My wife and I used to go to a little casino and eat a free dinner while making a few dollars from promotions. We made money every time we went.

100. I Participate In Class Action Lawsuits

I’ve received checks from class action lawsuits a couple times now. Most recently I got a few dollars in a settlement with a snack food company that had been shorting their peanut jars for years. It’s easy to sign up now using websites like and

101. Craft Show Vendor

Flea markets led us to craft shows. I sold my walking sticks, my wife made and sold figurines glued to interesting rocks and seashells, and we sold basic necklaces made from foreign coins and other objects.

102. Junk Picker

I pulled a table from our condo dumpster and sold it on Craigslist for $50. That was one of my better finds, but as you can see in my post, “How To Make Money Dumpster Diving And Junk Picking,” some people have done far better.

103. Treasure Hunter

I’ve found a few interesting items with my metal detector, but mostly just enough coins to pay for the batteries. My previous posts on the subject include, “10 Ways You Can Go Treasure Hunting And Earn Money,” “10 Ways to Go On A Treasure Hunt Without Leaving Home,” “7 More Treasure Hunting Strategies And Locations For Finding Free Cash,” and “30 Places To Find Coins Around The House & Outside Areas.”

104. We Flipped A Condo By Accident

My wife and I bought the condo above our own as a rental when we lived in Florida. After the frustrations of fixing it up we impulsively decided to sell it, and we managed to make a small ($4,500) profit.

105. We Flipped Our Own Homes For Tax Free Profits

The IRS says you owe nothing on the capital gain from selling your home (up to $500,000 per couple) as long as you’ve lived in it for at least two of the last five years. We’ve managed to stay just past two years in several homes, so we could take our profit tax-free when we sold and moved on.

If you’ve made money in various ways, without a full-time job, please share your stories with us below… and keep on frugaling!

Steve Gillman

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