There’s that saying that you need money to make money, but I’m here to tell you that’s not always the case! I’ve started plenty of income streams with no money upfront. Whether you want to make extra money to build an emergency fund or pay off credit cards, there are plenty of easy ways to bring in extra cash when you need it.
In this article, I’ll cover some of the best ideas for making money when you have none to spend or invest. Some are quick cash once or twice, while others are more long-term builds to an income.
Ready to dive in?
Pet Sitting with Rover
Pet sitting was one of my favorite ways to make extra money when I was younger and I didn’t have kids in tow. Back when I did it, it was all word of mouth, but now there are apps like Rover that connect pet sitters and pet owners! If you love animals and want to be a pet sitter, it can be a fun way and easy way to earn extra cash. Setting up a profile on the Rover website is the first step, and you can set your own rates and work as much or as little as you want. If you live in a city, there is even more opportunity since some people don’t have yards and rely on dog walkers to get their dogs a little exercise.
Take Online Surveys
Before you get too pumped about taking online surveys, keep in mind that this is really a way to make some spare change. It unlikely you’ll be able to cover your groceries or car payment with online surveys. But if you’re in a position where every penny counts or you just want to explore the option, it can be a way to make extra money with no money upfront.
One popular website is Survey Junkie, a legitimate platform that will pay you in points for opinions and feedback. You can do the surveys on your own time and it’s totally free to sign up. Click here to check it out.
If you’re looking to make some extra cash in your spare time, taking online surveys with Survey Junkie is a great option. Survey Junkie is a legitimate platform that pays you for your opinions and feedback on various products and services. You can take surveys at your convenience, and it’s an excellent way to earn some spare change in your free time.
Be a Social Media Manager
If you’re looking for more of a source of income for the long run, then you might want to consider being a social media manager. It’s a great way to make an income online, whether you want to do it part time or full time.
As a social media manager, you’ll be responsible for creating and curating content, managing posting schedules, and engaging with followers for your clients. You’ll also need to track and analyze social media metrics so you can provide this information to your clients.
To become a successful social media manager, you’ll obviously need to understand the various social media platforms and stay up-to-date with social media trends and best practices.
As a social media manager, you can work independently as a freelancer, or you can work for a company or agency. The potential income as a social media manager is going to depend on your expertise, which social media platforms you can manage, and how good you are at selling yourself. It’s definitely possible to earn a good income as a social media manager. I personally have made $200-$400 per month per client as a Pinterest manager and I got my start on Fiverr.
Resell Stuff You Already Have
One of the easiest ways to start making money quickly is to go through your stuff and start selling it. Most of us have stuff we don’t necessarily have like old video games, clothes, etc. that we can list on an online marketplace to sell. This is a great side hustle or one time way to make extra money, depending on your needs.
I’ve earned over $100,000 reselling (probably much more than that, really) and it can be a great way to earn an income from home, especially if you love thrifting and going to yard sales. Just sell stuff you already have and reinvest some of that money into more items.
Unsure if reselling is for you? Check out my free ebay training!
Become a Virtual Assistant
Becoming a virtual assistant is an easy way to make an income online because it can cover many different skills and specialties. It’s a popular option for those looking for flexible work arrangements. As a virtual assistant, you can work for other people or small businesses doing various tasks, anything from admin tasks and personal assistant type tasks, to more specialized tasks like email marketing, social media management, or graphic design, depending on what you have to offer.
To become a virtual assistant, you’ll need to decide what kind of tasks you can help small businesses and entrepreneurs with and start marketing yourself to get clients. The great thing is, you can take on as many or as few clients as you want. You can even set yourself up for recurring income with monthly payments for your clients based on hours or tasks your clients need each month.
If you’re having trouble figuring out where to find clients, you can start with spreading the word to friends and family on social media, or even try an online platform like Fiverr
Be a Freelance Writer
If you enjoy writing, or are good at it in any capacity, you can use those skills to be a freelance writer. This is one of my favorite ways to make good money without a lot of commitment. Rather than taking on ongoing clients, I like freelance writing jobs that I can get done and move on. I’ve completed over 500 articles on Fiverr for clients and I really love that platform for selling my freelance writing services. If you’re interested, you can check out my online course called Fiverr Kickstart to help you get those first few orders.
However, you don’t have to write blog posts! You can write ebooks, landing pages, sales copy, website copy, brochures, and more. It all depends on your skill set and what you’re comfortable doing.
Rent out a Spare Room
Have an extra room or one you can clean out? Renting out a spare room is a good way to make a good chunk of money each month. If you prefer to make a few hundred dollars at once rather than working for small amounts, like some of the other ideas on this list, then renting out a spare room may be for you! Depending on where you live, this could cover a large portion of your mortgage or rent. Just keep in mind that you will be living with this person and if you’re comfortable with that.
Back when my husband and I bought our first house, our mortgage was just under $1,000. We lived in a small town, so we couldn’t get a lot in rent, but we were able to rent out a room for $300 to someone our age that is now one of my husbands closest friends almost 10 years later! This is just one of many smart ways to use what you have a available to you to make money without spending any cash.
Sign up for a Cash Back Site
While you technically have to spend money to make money on a cash back site, the idea is that you earn a little more back on money you’re already going to spend. By using a cashback site, you can earn a percentage of your purchase back in the form of cashback or rewards.
My favorite cashback site is Rakuten! I don’t use it as much as I should because I’ll forget about it for years at a time, but I have earned over $200 in cash back with it. You can sign up here and when you spend $40 through Rakuten, we’ll both get a $40 bonus! With Rakuten, you’ll earn cash back from websites like Target, Nike, Ulta, etc. So it really is common websites and not just random websites you’d never use.
Sell Digital Products
Did you know you can create digital products once and sell them over and over? It’s definitely a top passive income stream for me and one that has made me tens of thousands of dollars in the past. In fact, I’ve made over $10,000 from one spreadsheet alone. Of course, you will need to create the digital product and have a way to sell it. But you can do something as simple as creating a spreadsheet in Google Sheets (free) or write an ebook in Google Docs (free) and export it as a PDF, then sell it to your audience whether that’s on social media, via a blog, or other way. You can also do this on Etsy, something I’ve recently started doing and is making me a small amount each month.
Ask Family Members for Gigs
One thing people overlook when they need to make quick cash is asking family members or friends for gigs! Sometimes people have stuff they need to get done, but don’t have the time to do it or just simply need help. Maybe your aunt needs a babysitter on Saturday mornings so she can go take a painting class or your cousin is looking for someone to repaint their shed. Taking on odd jobs in your spare time is a great way to make money with no money.
Start a YouTube Channel
While this stream of income can take a long time to build up compared to others, it can be really lucrative! There are some select YouTubers out there making millions, but there are thousands of YouTubers out there making a few hundred to a few thousand dollars a month. I’m one of them! The highest I’ve made is around $1,300/month a few years into my channel. It’s a great thing to build up and make extra income and you really don’t need anything fancy.
If you have an iPhone, or any other smart phone with a camera, you can record on there and upload to YouTube. For Apple users, you can use a free video editor like iMovie (I used that for years, even when I was making $500+/month) or there are other options out there as well.
Rent out a Parking Space
Now this one may seem silly, but if you have extra space in your driveway, did you know you can rent out a parking space? If you live in a city where real estate is expensive and parking is hard, people are definitely willing to pay for a good spot to park their car when it’s not in use. There are several websites where you can do this like Neighbor and Spacer, but you can also list it on places like Craiglist or Facebook Marketplace. Or even offer it up to people you know personally and avoid all the fees/hassle of dealing with strangers.
Rent out Storage Space in Your House
If you have extra space in your house and don’t necessarily want a roommate, or it’s more of a garage than a bedroom, you can actually rent out part of your house as storage space. Websites like Neighbor allow you to list your space whether it’s a bedroom, shed, or space in your garage, to people who want to store their items somewhere.
Try Affiliate Marketing
If you want to eventually make more passive income, affiliate marketing can be one of the easiest ways to build up an income. It does take a bit of time to build it up, but once you do it will often continue to make money for months or years. The best part about affiliate marketing is that you can earn money by promoting products or services that you already use and love.
To get started with affiliate marketing, you’ll need to sign up for an affiliate program and start promoting products through affiliate links. When someone clicks on one of your links and makes a purchase, you’ll earn a commission. Some of the most popular affiliate programs include Amazon Associates, Commission Junction, and ShareASale, but I personally love finding affiliate programs for products or services I already use.
The tricky part is getting people to find and use your link. I personally add my affiliate links to my blog and the description of my YouTube videos, but some people build up a social media following and share their links there. Here is some more info on starting affiliate marketing.
Open a High Yield Savings Account
Now this one technically needs money, but you’re not spending it, you’re saving what you already have. if you have any money sitting in a bank account for savings, you should stick it in a high yield savings account if you can! It’s smart move if you want to earn much more money on your savings than a traditional savings account because a high-yield savings account typically offers higher interest rates, which means you’ll earn more money on your balance over time.
Go Grocery Shopping via Instacart
Whether you’re looking for a part time gig, or a full-time job, shopping for others through apps like Instacart can be a great way to earn an income! This is one I’ve always been interested in because I personally love grocery shopping and I like seeing what other people buy. With Instacart, you earn money for each job and then have an opportunity to get tips from the people you deliver to as well. If you’re interested, you can sign up here.
Join a Focus Group
Not sure what a focus group is? That’s ok! Companies are always looking for feedback on their products or services, and they’re often willing to pay for it. Focus groups are a type of market research that involves gathering a group of people to provide feedback on a product or service. It’s not really something you can do full time, but it’s an excellent way to earn some extra cash or free gift cards.
These can be online and in person, but here are a few websites to check out:
Deliver for Food Apps
If you have a car that gets decent gas mileage, you can try delivering for food apps like DoorDash and UberEats. It can bring a decent income, especially if you’re in a particularly busy area. In the beginning of 2020, my husband drove for UberEats for around a month to make some extra money during lockdown. He basically did it around lunch, dinner, and occasionally on weekends and made over $2,000. It ended up averaging around $18-$20/hr.
As you can see, making money with no money is totally possible! Whether you’re interested in pet sitting, taking online surveys, selling digital products, or joining focus groups, there are plenty of ways to make extra cash when you need it! Some of these ideas may be quick cash once or twice, while others are more long-term builds to a consistent income you can rely on. Whether you want to build an emergency fund or pay off some debt, these active and passive income ideas are a good place to start. Remember, it’s never too late to start building your wealth, and with a little effort and creativity, you can make extra money and achieve your financial goals.