In these uncertain times, finding your financial footing can be tough—and stressful. Maybe you have student loans to pay, a

In these uncertain times, finding your financial footing can be tough—and stressful. Maybe you have student loans to pay, a family to take care of or just want to sock away some extra cash for your own peace of mind. 

If you’re looking for ways to make extra money, we’ve got you covered. Whether you can work from home, have a certain expertise you can monetize or are just willing to take any paying gig, the following compiles the best of the best ideas for generating extra cash—on your own schedule. You might be ready to start your own website or your own pet sitting business as a side hustle, fill out online surveys, or even take the leap into a passive income opportunity. However you make that money is up to you. 

Whatever your specific circumstances are, there’s a way to make more money that will work for your lifestyle and goals. Take a look at these different means to earn extra money, and in just a few minutes you may be inspired to get to work!

What is passive income? 

When people talk about the ways to make extra money, the conversation usually includes the term “passive income.” 

Generating a passive income is when you make money without having to exert a lot of effort over the long run. You put in some time upfront and then you continue getting paid after the initial time investment is over. 

One way to create passive income, using a big-scale example, is by having a rental property. You buy a second home, fix it up, and then post it to AirBnb or another platform. While you will need to do occasional upkeep or property management, you won’t have to put in a lot of time day after day to make some good money. 

Passive income can help you make money without a lot of time investment, allowing you to do other things, like spend those hours making extra money doing something else or relaxing. Typically, the higher the investment in time and money on a passive income project, the higher the reward (and, also, the higher the risk if things don’t work out as planned). 

There will be more ideasbelow to show some of the different ways to make a passive income. 

What’s the difference between passive income and a side hustle?

To learn how to be successful you need to know this difference. The opposite of a passive income is a side hustle, or an active income. In a side hustle, you’re working hourly or project to project to make extra money by providing goods or services to other people. 

This could be working at a grocery store in your spare time for a few dollars or flipping pokemon on the internet. The point is, with a side hustle, you can’t just sit back and let it run in order to make money. You need to actually do the thing to keep the cash flowing in. 

Side hustles can be lucrative because you get to decide how many hours you work or how many projects you take on. While there is a finite amount of time each week, you can typically set your parameters for work time versus downtime and play with that balance until you find the right schedule for you. 

As you establish yourself in your side hustle, you might be able to increase your hourly rate or flat fee as you get more experience, meaning you can make more money the longer you’re doing it.. 

What should you use your extra money for?

When you make extra money, you want to make sure it’s going to good use and building your savings account. While having extra spending money is great—and you should reward yourself with fun purchases from time to time—when you earn cash on the side you should have a dedicated use for it worked into your budget. This will help you understand how much money you want to ideally make and keep you focused on a specific money goal. 

Here are some of the best ways to put that extra money to use:

Taking care of everyday expenses 

For many people, any extra cash you make will just go toward life. There’s no shame in this game—when your job and your side hustle take care of your day-to-day, you’re making life happen for yourself and those who depend on you. 

Tackling student loans

Oftentimes, student loan debt looms large with high interest rates and long repayment periods. Use your extra money to start chipping away at these loans so you can get your principal down, meaning you’ll pay less interest over the lifetime of your loan. 

Paying off debt

Speaking of debt, if you have credit card debt, car loans—any money you owe that’s earning interest—use your extra money to get these down to zero. 

There are two schools of thought for going about this: One method suggests paying off your loan with the highest interest rate ASAP, so that you don’t end up owing more money over time. The other method is to pay off your smallest loan ASAP so that you can feel like you’ve accomplished something. No matter what you choose, paying off loans is always a good idea.

Building emergency fund

If you don’t have any debt or you feel solid as far as paying off loans goes, make money to create a just-in-case fund, and build those bank accounts. Typically, financial advisors will suggest tucking away three to six months of living expenses, but this is usually out of reach for most people. 

Put away as much as you can comfortably so that you can cover unexpected expenses, like a pet getting sick, needing new tires on your car or a home repair you weren’t expecting. 

Saving for a big ticket item

If you’re looking to buy a home or a car, your extra cash could get funneled directly into an account to save money for that high-cost item. By making extra money on the side, you’ll get closer to your goal even sooner than you might have initially expected.  

Investing your extra money 

You can make your extra money work for you by investing it. Open a no-fee checking account with a high interest rate or put your money into bonds, low-risk mutual funds or any investment that offers a fixed rate return. This way, the extra money you’re making and saving can turn into even more extra money. 

How to balance making extra money with your current job

When you’re working a job (or two) and then want to also make money on the side, it’s easy to get burnt out quickly. Before you dive in and bite off more than you can chew, decide how many hours a week you can devote to your extra endeavours. 

Will you work at night? On the weekends? Early in the morning? Once you’ve figured this out, start off with half of those hours devoted to your side gig to see how working this extra time actually fits into your current schedule. This way, you don’t let logistics, or exhaustion, keep you from success. 

Another thing to consider is if there are any conflicts of interest with your current gig and your side hustle. If you’re a writer working for a magazine in your day job, for instance, you may have a clause in your contract that says you can’t sell your work to other magazines or even to any other publication. 

Make sure to read all of your onboarding paperwork to ensure that you won’t get into any kind of legal trouble with your side gig work. Ending up in court, or without a job, would be a poor way to make extra money. 

Easy ways to make money from home 

There are a number of ways to make extra cash and never have to leave your own home. (If the current pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that many jobs can actually be done from the comfort of our kitchen tables, wearing sweatpants.)

If you make money from home, that means you don’t need to pay for an office space or store front. When you don’t need to use too much of your own money to get started, you’ll end up with more extra cash in your bank account. Here are some ideas to think about if you’re interested in taking on a side gig:

Become a virtual assistant

These days, you don’t need to be in-person to assist someone with their business. A virtual assistant can take calls, plan schedules, upload content to websites or social media—you name it. 

ways to make money on the side
(d3sign / Getty)

This kind of job can also give you valuable experience in a field you want to break into. So, if your current 9-to-5 isn’t your passion, you can use a virtual assistant position to start planning for your dream career, build your resume and skills, and make extra money at the same time.

Teach virtual classes 

There are a number of online platforms for teaching, so if you have an expertise in a certain subject you can get paid by sharing your knowledge with others. Teachaway provides a platform for remote teaching positions while sites like Udemy allow you to create your own online course that other people can take. 

You can also create a YouTube channel with how-to videos and build an audience to collect revenue from ads.  Building a library of classes that people can take is a form of passive income: You make the initial time and financial investment in creating the courses, then you put them online for people to see. Since these classes can be taken again and again, you don’t need to do anything further to reap the financial benefits. 

Give language lessons

Teaching people a language online has become a great side hustle nearly anyone can do to earn money. Various online platforms seek out English speakers, bilingual speakers and more, allowing users to learn a new language or refine their skills. 

Consult or do freelance work

Whatever your expertise is, chances are that you can get paid to do these special skills hourly or on a per project basis. If you’ve worked in a particular field for a long time, you can do consulting work and help new companies and entrepreneurs with start-ups. Or you can pitch one-off projects or offer services to the masses through sites like Fiverr, where people look for experts in anything from web design to copy writing to business advice. 

Sell items on Craigslist or eBay

Resale can be a lucrative way to make extra money when you sell furniture, collectibles or clothing you no longer need or use. You get the benefit of making additional cash, as well as decluttering your current space. If you’re creative, you could even scour garage sales or Goodwill for low cost items that you can fix up and then sell for a profile to earn money.

Type notes or transcribe

If you’re a fast typer, you can get hired by the hour to type meeting notes or minutes, or to transcribe interviews, videos, podcasts or any audio that someone needs to have a transcript of. You can charge by the hour for these services and increase your regular free for rush jobs. 

Rent out gear

If you have a stockpile of specialty items, like tools, baby gear or wedding and event accessories, you can rent them out to people who need them, charging a fee for the time used and for delivery. You’ll need to pay for the listings on rental sites and for upkeep of the items themselves, but you won’t have to work at an hourly rate to earn the extra cash, making this a nice form of passive income. 

Easy ways to make money online

There are a number of ways to make extra money online by taking advantage of unique websites and programs. Here are some ideas to get you started: 

Create an online store

If you’re a crafter, you can list your items on Etsy to make money online using your creative talents. Graphic designers can earn passive income by creating printable materials, anything from wall art to calendars, that people can pay to download digitally and then print out themselves. 

Join shopping rewards programs

Earn cash back by shopping online through platforms like Rakuten (formerly Ebates). Instead of buying items through individual store websites, you can earn small amounts of easy money by using these sites, which you can then cash out. 

Sell photographs

If you’ve got an eye for photography, upload your best work onto a stock photo website and earn extra money when people want to use your images. This is another example of passive income because once you take the photos and get them up online you don’t have to continue working in order to make money. 

Take surveys

Sites like Survey Junkie will pay you for giving your opinion on various brands and services by participating in market research. While the fees are relatively small, doing the surveys is easy and mindless, making this side gig an easy and stress-free way to make money online. 

Be a user experience tester

Businesses need people to test out their products, websites and apps to ensure that they’re easy to navigate and understand. And they’re willing to pay you to be a tester through platforms like UserTesting. You can make anywhere from $4 for five minutes of your time to $120 for a live interview about a product or service. 

Easy ways to make money by providing services

Maybe your area of expertise can’t make you money from home or online. Or perhaps you aren’t able to work at home because you don’t have the space. Or maybe you’re just passionate about being around people and making in-person connections with others. 

Whatever the case may be, there are many ways to make extra money by providing various services outside of the home. While most of the following ideas are all examples of active income—as opposed to set-it-and-forget-it ways to make extra money—they can all help you succeed in your side gig goals. 

Use these examples to help you brainstorm what side gig would work best for you so you can start making extra money: 

Walk and watch people’s pets

If you love animals, consider becoming a dog walker or pet sitter to earn money.

how to make extra money from home
(Maskot / Getty)

Many pet daycare centers and hotels charge high per day rates so if you price yourself right below these businesses then you can easily find yourself a steady clientele. 

Take care of kids or elderly people

Picking up a few hours a week as a babysitter or caretaker can be rewarding and help you earn extra cash at the same time. 

Become a food delivery driver

With the pandemic still ongoing, many people continue to be wary of eating out, especially indoors, and would prefer to have restaurant quality meals delivered to their homes. Driving for UberEats, DoorDash or a locally-run food delivery platform in your area gives you the chance to make extra money and can be done completely on your own schedule. 

Run errands for people

While some people have always relied on others to do errands for them, the pandemic has made this side hustle more in-demand. You can pick up groceries for people through platforms like Instacart or get hired to do various errands or tasks via TaskRabbit. Even in the post-pandemic world, chances are that many people who started using these platforms will continue to do so when things return to normal after realizing how convenient they are. 

Become a driver for a ride share service

If you enjoy driving, consider working for Uber or Lyft to provide rides for people. While you’ll need to be sure your car is clean and comfortable, after that there’s minimal investment.

House sit 

Use a website like Nomador to find house sitting assignments. You can live in other people’s homes rent-free and spend the rest of your time working and relaxing. This side gig is great for anyone who wants to travel or doesn’t mind not having a home base. 

Get certified as a fitness trainer

If exercise is your passion, get certified as a trainer, yoga instructor, CrossFit instructor, whatever type of workout you love. You can train people in their homes, at a local park or even online. If you film your classes or training sessions and post them online, you can even create a passive income side of your business, allowing you to bring in even more extra money.

How could making extra money change your life?

Hopefully you’re feeling inspired by the different ways to make extra money, both from home and from providing various services. While there’s certainly more to life than making money or working, it’s a fact that money can make big changes possible in your life, and for your family, too. 

When you’re considering a side hustle or setting up a passive income opportunity, figure out your why first—why do you need to do this and what changes will this extra money bring you? This way, when doubt creeps in or the hours get long, you’ll be inspired to keep going.