As the economic downturn drags on, more Americans are looking for ways to make a few extra bucks. And more and more are turning to moonlighting.
According to Department of Labor statistics, 8 million Americans pick up extra jobs and seek outside work.
Personal finance guru Jeanette Pavini has uncovered ways to find reliable employers who actually pay people to eat chocolate, go shopping or even to dine at a high-end restaurant.
Companies are paying people for their opinions on everything from potato chips to computer chips. It's not enough to survive on, and the work comes in spurts, but it can help with some of those monthly bills. Pavini calls it "moonlighting money," and it can be a great way to earn a few extra dollars while having fun.
Here are some moonlighting jobs Pavini says are available now:
Companies want to test new products and services on consumers before financing a new launch. Creating, making, manufacturing, packaging, labeling advertising is a very expensive proposition for companies, so they're going to test things out before they do anything.
For more on focus group opportunities:
Before heading to the courtroom, some attorneys test their cases on a mock jury. These mock trials are done in person through market research groups paying about $250 a day.
For more on mock jury opportunities:
A variety of businesses, from restaurants to clothing stores, hire mystery shoppers to get an idea of what their customer's experience is like. Many times, in addition to pay, you get to keep the merchandise.
For more on mystery shopper opportunities:
Visit your county's website for more information. Some counties even have programs for students, and some pay as much as $200 for a day's work. They offer training, and some counties want you to commit to two years of work.
For more on poll worker opportunities:
- Check your local county's website
One big warning: Don't get scammed. There are a lot of unscrupulous companies out there. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Here are some tips to avoid the scammers:
- Never pay fees to become a mystery shopper or participate in a focus group.
- Never do a wire transfer of money for a mystery shopper job.
- Open a separate email account to handle the emails pertaining to your work etc.
- Never give your social security or bank information.
- Avoid pop-ups asking for your opinions when you are online.
- Don't buy a list of mystery shopping jobs.