income

9 creative ways to boost your income

Oct. 17, 2012 at 7:39 AM ET

Carolyn Kaster / AP file /
A seller works on her hat display at a yard sale, Such sales are one of many ways you can put extra money in your wallet.

So, you're looking to make a little extra cash?

As a parent, any additional income you bring in for your family will definitely be put to good use for, say, a college fund or rainy day savings. You may also need extra bucks for shoes for your toddler, who outgrows hers like she's getting paid to do so.

Because we're probably a little bit too old for lemonade stands, we had to look elsewhere. And guess what? Nowadays, with ubiquitous smartphones and laptops, the easiest ways to earn extra cash are accessible to everyone at the click of a button.

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To help, we hunted down apps, opportunities and projects and chose nine "extracurriculars" that are particularly flexible in nature, so you can earn some cash while the kids are at school ... or maybe even bring them with you.

Download apps

Apps aren't only fun — they're income!

Easyshift is an app that lets you moonlight as a "mystery shopper." When you go on your regular errands, you complete tasks for retailers' research departments like taking pictures or answering a few questions, and you get paid ($2–$4 per task) for the privilege.

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Other apps for extra cash include WeReward and Field Agent.

Multitask your errands

Have you heard of TaskRabbit? It's a website (and app) that lets you outsource chores to willing parties. If you're one of those willing parties, you can earn some extra cash doing anything from picking up groceries to assembling IKEA cabinets.

Use your car

If you have a reliable car (and some great driving tunes), consider bringing in some extra money from a car-sharing service. Services like ZimRide let you sell seats on trips you're already taking for as much as $25, and services like Relay Rides let you rent out your car at your chosen price for the hour, day or week (and provides free insurance).

And what about parking? If you have it, you can rent that out, too, with Parking Panda.

Baby-sit

Almost everyone has dabbled in baby-sitting at some point, but the job only becomes more lucrative as you grow older and are able to offer more skills, like driving, cooking or CPR certification.

Websites like SitterCity or Care.com are great resources for matching sitters with families.

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Charging $12–$15 per hour is pretty standard, but to figure out how much is appropriate for your age and experience, use SitterCity's Babysitter's Rate Calculator.

Spread your availability by speaking with your child's teachers, any friends who work in your community and with real estate brokers, who may work with families with small children who are new to town. If possible, you may even consider an arrangement where you can watch children at your house; it's a built-in play date for your own kid!

(Prefer watching four-legged cuties rather than two? Petsitting.com has you covered.)

Sell your clothes

Another way to finance your habit might be cleaning out your closet — and your child's. It's doubly beneficial: You can clear clutter and make some cash at the same time.

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Start by choosing high quality pieces from the current season without any visible wear and tear. Make sure they're clean and folded, then bring them into your local consignment store.

If it's easier, take well-lit pictures of the pieces and list them on a site like eBay or Dresm, a site specifically meant to facilitate sales of used clothing.

Tutor

Do you have a masters degree in engineering? Are you a whiz in the kitchen? Do you know the ins and outs of Photoshop?

Any skill someone else wants to learn is an opportunity for you to teach it. Depending on experience and whether or not they join a larger organization, tutors can bring in up to $50 an hour (in cash) teaching out of their own homes, or visiting their students (who could be both children and adults).

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In addition to advertising in your community through standard newspaper ads, Facebook posts and fliers in the library, consider applying to be a tutor on sites like Tutor.com, the Princeton Review and Kaplan.

Take online surveys

If you spend hours surfing the Internet, what's a few extra minutes spent taking a paid online survey?

Websites like Free Paid Surveys or Opinion Place allow you to make money from the comfort of your home. If you're looking for something more interactive, list yourself as available for focus groups by joining FindFocusGroups.com.

Become a style entrepreneur

Style blogs don't have to be a guilty pleasure. Instead, they can be the inspiration for a side job as a "style entrepreneur."

StyleOwner is a free site that lets you create your own store by choosing items from a “Master Closet” of more than 2,000 brands. When your friends — sent that way through your tireless efforts on Facebook, Twitter and emails, no doubt — buy from your store, you earn 10 percent on everything you sell.

Host a yard sale

With the right curatorial skills, yard sales can be a lucrative way to make extra cash. To get the most traffic at your yard sale, advertise on Craigslist and in your town newspaper, and consider coordinating with your neighbors to hold a group sale.

If you're lacking a yard (or half-decent weather), there's also the option of hosting a virtual yard sale: The app Yardsale lets you connect with neighbors and friends without setting up a single folding table.

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