Top 8 Side Gigs to Earn Cash to Pay Off Your Student Loans, Credit Cards or Fund a Splurge
August 4, 2014

If you’re coping with student loans that are making your budget tight, you may¬†need extra cash to fund a big purchase like an engagement ring, save up for a down payment on a house or take a vacay that you may not be able to afford on your usual wage. If so, getting a side gig may be the answer to accomplish your goals on a salary that won’t allow you to do everything financially that you feel you need to. Let’s take a look at eight¬†opportunities to make extra money:

Extra money

Side gigs can give you extra cash to pay bills and buy stuff
Image Source: Flickr Creative Commons User BarGal

#1 Get crafty

If you can knit, crochet, sew, paint, draw, sculpt or have a knack for anything artsy or craftsy, you can make and market your goods on Etsy or eBay, at farmer’s market or at craft fairs. Etsy, in particular, is great because you don’t have to go anywhere to sell, browsers there love handmade goods and they often pay premium prices for one-of-a-kind goodies.

#2 Try freelancing

There are a ton of gigs you can get that allow you to use your skills, whether they be freelance writing, grant writing, logo design, bookkeeping, transcription, social media marketing, computer programming, website development or a ton of other activities where you can earn some extra scratch with your skills. Check out Amazon Mturk, oDesk and for opportunities.

#3 Give catering a shot

If you can cook, try your hand at catering on the weekends or special occasions for friends and co-workers to build a reputation. Can’t cook, but can balance a tray of champagne flutes? Try being a cater waiter on weekends and holidays to earn extra green (and tips) without making a mess of your own kitchen. Look for gigs on Craigslist under the food/beverage/hospitality category.

#4 Consider tutoring

What classes were you a straight-A student in during high school or college? Are you a math whiz, an expert at compare/contrast essays or know when the Magna Carta was signed? Tutoring can be a very profitable gig because it pays $15-$70 per hour, depending on the subject matter, but be prepared to travel to meet your student at their home or library. Here’s an article on how much to charge.

#5 Be a photographer

Do you have a keen eye for composition and a digital SLR camera? You can try your hand at snapping photos at weddings, special events or for stock photo sites like iStockPhoto or BigStockPhoto to sell pics that can be used for websites and corporations. Artsy photos can be sold on Etsy or other more artistic websites, craft fairs or small boutique-type shops.

#6 Offer to babysit

Babysitting pays top dollar these days, so long as you’re a kid friendly type. Start out sitting for friends and co-workers to build up a network of clients. Sitting is great because it will be weekend and evening hours when you’ve got spare time and can pay big bucks if you’re good at what you do and the kids love you. Be sure to take a Red Cross course so you know how to do CPR and first aid on tots.

#7 Try out pet and/or housesitting

Watching a pooch or a condo (or both at the same time) can pay well. Dog sitters usually charge $25-$100 a night to keep an eye on a dog (catsitting usually pays a little less). If you have a fenced-in yard, you’re golden. Many people like petsitters to take care of the hounds at their house so the critters stay in their comfort zone. This can be a great way to earn some extra green if you love four-legged fuzzsters.

#8 Take surveys and do tasks

Sites like iPoll and SwagBucks reward you for taking surveys and doing small tasks with your smart phone in hand. Sometimes you may be asked to go to the store, snap a pic of the cereal aisle and buy a certain brand. You’ll get repaid for buying the food plus a couple of bucks for doing the task. Once you’re an established participant on the system, you’ll get better paying assignments.

No matter how flush or tight your budget is, if you’ve got student loans,’s free student loan tool can help you optimize your debt, explore repayment plans and get it paid off as fast as possible. Also, be sure to read our blog often for lots of money tips and advice!