If you’re interested in bringing in more cash, you may be happy to know there are countless weird ways to make money, from selling your hair to testing food to beekeeping. With the median weekly income hovering around $55,640 and inflation chipping away at Americans’ paychecks, many consumers seek extra income by starting part-time work or a side hustle. In fact, 40% of Americans currently have a side hustle, according to Zapier data.
So, if you want to pad your wallet with extra cash, here are some odd ways to make money in your spare time.
Benefits of Weird Ways to Make Money
Generating additional income is a key benefit of starting a side hustle, and sometimes you need to be creative about how to do that. When you hit on an idea that pulls in more cash, you can use that to afford some small splurges (go ahead and get that pricey salad you love twice next week), but it can also help in more lasting way.
Granted, there are pros and cons of getting a second job or multiple side hustles, but if you bring monthly income (whether $100 or $1,000 per month), you’ll reap the following advantages:
• Repay debt. High-interest debt, especially from credit cards, can gobble up your income and inhibit financial growth. Paying off debt is a huge step forward in your financial health.
• Boost retirement savings. Take advantage of the power of compounding interest by stashing more money into your IRA or 401(k) – your retired self will thank you!
• Achieve financial stability. Your extra money can build an emergency fund that allows you to handle unexpected expenses or survive for a few months without work, protecting you from the consequences of sudden job loss or a downshifting economy.
• Follow your passion. While your day job might not be the career path of your dreams, a side hustle allows you to explore what you love and earn money along the way. For example, your woodworking hobby or love of knitting can become a profitable business.
• Accomplish a financial goal. Whether you want to take an overseas vacation or update your kitchen, making extra money can help you afford a financial goal without taking on debt or dipping into your savings.
• Grow professionally. Although your second job might be unusual, such as becoming a professional eater, it will allow you to make new connections, acquire new skills, and open the door for career opportunities.
• Structure time intentionally. Another job will cut down your free time, but this can be a net positive – for example, it can help you direct the hours you have to yourself to what matters most, such as spending time with friends and family. Hard work can help highlight the good times with the ones you love.
Quick Money Tip: If you’re saving for a short-term goal — whether it’s a vacation, a wedding, or the down payment on a house — consider opening a high-yield savings account. The higher APY that you’ll earn will help your money grow faster, but the funds stay liquid, so they are easy to access when you reach your goal.
Making Money: 27 Unusual Ways
If you’re looking for ways to make money from home or in the outside world without loads of special training, check out this list of weird ways to make money.
1. Renting Your Backyard for Campers
No matter where you live, if you’re in a house, your lawn could be a sought-after destination for adventurers and budget vacationers. Via websites like Hipcamp, you can advertise a comfortable, affordable place to stay for a couple of nights for backpackers or vanlifers. Bonus points if you’re near popular attractions. At Hipcamp, the average active host pulls in between $8,000 to $15,000 per year.
2. Becoming a Professional Sleeper
Another one of the strange ways to make money is by sleeping (seriously!). Despite its necessity and benefits, sleep is mysterious to us, and the scientific community has much to research about it. For instance, you could become a subject for researchers trying to better understand sleep. One University of Colorado study paid almost $3,000 for a study to be completed in less than a day. Sleeping also has commercial utility in various situations. For example, you might try out a company’s products, such as a prototype pillow or sleep mask. To find gigs, set up some search-engine alerts with keywords such as “sleep study” or “sleep tester” and also comb job boards, especially at universities doing research.
3. Renting Out a Shed
Have enough room on your property for extra boxes, appliances, or tools? An app like Neighbor lets you rent out your extra storage space for other people’s possessions, processes payments for your services, and is free to use. It’s like Uber or Airbnb – but with your attic or garage.
Recommended: What to Know About Renting Out a Room in Your House
4. Test Websites
You can be a professional web surfer by testing websites for companies wanting to improve their online capabilities. Tasks range from clicking a link to finding a specific page on a website. A few minutes a day could earn you income (anywhere from 10 cents to 10 dollars per assignment, depending on the time required), and payments usually come to you through a convenient app like Venmo or PayPal.
5. Being a Professional Mover
Moving is a challenge and can be a very stressful experience. People will pay big money for help packing, cleaning, and transporting items. This job is physically demanding, so it may not be for everyone. You can work weekends for a moving company or become an independent mover with a company like U-Haul. You might also advertise your services locally if you have a van and access to moving supplies.
6. Professional Eating
Here’s another odd way to make money: If you can gulp down food in a matter of minutes, professional eating is a viable side hustle. Local restaurants might give rewards for accomplishing food challenges. In addition, Major League Eating hosts food challenges across the United States with cash prizes for winners. Want to aim high? The annual Nathan’s hot-dog eating contest pays a $10,000 prize.
Recommended: How to Manage Your Money 11 Tips to Do It Right
Today’s modern, fast-paced world can deprive people of physical touch, a vital factor in mental and emotional health. Cuddle Comfort is a secure website that sets up platonic cuddling sessions. At $80 per hour or more, you could be well-compensated for helping others snuggle up and feel less isolated.
8. Befriending a Stranger
If you’re personable and love embarking on new experiences, being a professional friend may be right for you. RentAFriend.com is a website helping those lacking companionship. Whether you’re walking through a park or attending an evening event, your job is to spend time with people looking for friendship, make interesting conversation, and let your personality shine. Rates typically range from $10 to $50 an hour.
9. Being a Test Subject
Looking for more crazy ways to earn money? Ziprecuriter estimates that working full time as a test subject can earn you over $80,000 annually. By participating in market research, psychology studies, and more, you can turn your spare time into profitable experiences where you can reap the financial rewards.
10. Selling Plasma
Blood plasma is helpful for medical studies and healthcare procedures. It can save lives during surgery complications and aid scientific breakthroughs. Your body naturally produces this valuable substance, which you can sell twice per week in a process that’s similar to donating blood. For most people, the process has no side effects.
Plasma donors receive payment in a prepaid card and can earn hundreds of dollars monthly. Plus, companies like CSL Plasma pay new donors $1,000 for their first month of service to sweeten the deal.
11. Joining Writing Contests
If you have a way with words, a writing contest could be right up your alley. Whether you write as a creative outlet or to explore new ideas, you can get paid for your passion by entering a writing contest. Dozens of free and fee-based contests exist, meaning you can find your niche, enter your pieces, and hopefully win the top prize. As a bonus, you’ll receive reviews of your work and pointers for sharpening your craft. Search online for opportunities.
12. Being a Food Tester
Who doesn’t love to eat? This delicious pastime could become a weird way to earn money if you become a food tester. You might test new snacks and meals for a large corporation like Apex Life Sciences, sample high-quality products, or write reviews as a freelance food taster. A typical fee might be $15 for a 15- to 45-minute session.
13. Reviewing ‘Sensitive Content’
Another unusual way to make quick cash is to review sensitive content for websites like YouTube and Reddit. Millions of users post content every day, making it almost impossible to review all of it. Therefore, large companies hire people to review sensitive content to ensure everything is appropriate for the internet.
Remember, though; you may have to view some vulgar and upsetting content. So, if you have a weak stomach, this might not be your side hustle.
14. Recommend Items You Love
We all have our go-to essentials, like a preferred makeup brush or olive oil brand. Rather than just waxing poetic to your friends about them, you can write or post videos about your recommendations. Affiliate links online can earn you commissions. As a result, you can direct your web audience to your favorite company’s website and receive cash rewards when they make purchases.
15. Cleaning Pet Poop for Others
While not the most appetizing of propositions, that poop needs to get taken care of somehow. Pet owners without the time or physical ability to clean up after their beloved animals can make good use of your services. All you need is transportation and cleanup equipment to get started. You can build your clientele base by posting flyers around your neighborhood or advertising online. Consider charging between $40 and $100 to clean up a messy yard.
16. Host City Tours
Another unusual way to make money: If you live in a town that attracts tourists, you can conduct tours for visitors. You might have a passion for your city’s beloved parks or knowledge of its history. Whatever your specialty, you can build a website advertising your services or use an app like Showaround or FreeTour (where you earn money via tips) to put your skills to work.
17. Waiting in Line for Someone
While it’s boring when doing this for yourself, waiting in line in someone else’s place can be a profitable side hustle. Apps like Spotter or TaskRabbit allow you to connect with customers looking for someone to wait in line for a concert ticket, new tech gadget, or parking permit renewal. The more popular the event or product, the more you can charge (some people report having made $80 per hour). Plus, you can listen to an audiobook, podcast, or music while you wait.
18. Losing Weight
Here’s a weird way to earn money that’s also potentially healthy. Shedding pounds can also mean big capital gains with websites like HealthyWage. Here’s how it works: you set your weight loss goal and then wager a dollar amount of your choice that you’ll be successful. This setup gives you extra motivation by putting your money where your mouth is. If you hit your goal, you win prize money and receive your initial investment back. However, failing to hit your goal means losing your wager.
Recommended: 39 Passive Income Ideas to Build Wealth
19. Selling Your Hair
This opportunity is more selective, as you’ll have to grow your hair at least 10 inches long in most cases to sell it for a significant profit. However, if your hair grows quickly, you can pair this side hustle with others to generate income. Human hair is excellent for weaves, wigs, and scientific uses, and you can sell yours on websites like Hairworks.com or eBay.
20. Give Your Opinion With Online Surveys
If you love giving your opinion, filling out online surveys is a great way to earn extra cash. Platforms like One Opinion and Survey Junkie want anyone to share their detailed opinions on specific topics. Surveys can take anywhere from 5 minutes to one hour to complete. You can expect to make about $1 per survey.
21. Selling Digital Templates
Folks with a knack for design can enjoy selling digital templates and make thousands of dollars monthly. You can create e-book page layouts, brand kits, social media packages, and more. Using a site like Canva you can create endless digital templates that you can sell digital templates right from the comforts of your own home.
Here’s another offbeat way to bring in money: Beekeeping is the practice of caring for bees so they can contribute to the growth of your garden or the environment. Before you can start making money, you will need to gain some experience (if you still need to). Once you gain experience, you can make money by selling bee products such as honey, providing pollination services, or educating others on beekeeping.
23. Organize Other People’s Things
We can thank The Home Edit and Marie Kondo for encouraging everyone to live a life of organization. But, while it comes easy for some, others may struggle to get started. So, if you enjoy organizing the closet, cabinets, papers, or anything, you could make between $30 and $130 per hour organizing people’s homes. To get started, sign up for sites like Thumbtack and Westtenth and let people know about your services.
24. Being a Statue
Believe it or not, you can make money without even lifting a finger, or actually moving at all. Acting as a statue on a busy street can help you earn some extra dough from passers-by and tourists who leave tips. Depending on the time and traffic of the location you choose, you can make as much as $60 to $80 per hour.
25. Taking Notes for Others
Another unusual way to make money is to sell your college lecture notes. Sites like StuDocu let you sell your notes to students who missed a lecture or need help getting through course material. Keep in mind that notes need to be typed, not handwritten. The top pay is around $22 for an upload.
26. Mystery Shopping
When you become a secret shopper or mystery shopper, you can earn cash by shopping at local retailers, completing shopping surveys, or taking photos of displays. Registering for an account with apps like Mobee or Marketforce can help you start earning extra money shopping.
27. Review Music
Music lovers can make extra money by reviewing unsigned artists online at Slicethepie. Some categories will pay more than others. However, all payments will be listed at the top of the category page so you can decide if the review is worth your time. Typical pay for those just starting out is less than 20 cents per review, but if you love listening, this could bring in some extra pocket change.
Using these weird ways to make money can help you boost your savings, pay off debt, or allow you to get paid for doing something you love. So, whether you make extra cash sleeping, eating, shopping, or giving your opinion, you can inch one step closer to your financial goals.
Where can I sell weird things?
Websites like Ecwid, Facebook Marketplace, Etsy, and eBay are just a few platforms where you can sell weird items like keychains, eccentric jewelry, or clothes. People have even marketed air on some of these sites.
How much money can I make from these weird ways to make money?
The amount of money you make in these weird ways will depend on the gig you choose and how much time you invest in it. For example, if you choose to start reviewing music and only post a few critiques, you might only make a dollar; if you clean up someone’s messy yard of dog poop, you might earn $100 per session after proving to be a competent and reliable provider.
Are any of these weird ways to make money illegal?
No, all of the crazy ways to make money above are legitimate and legal.
Photo credit: iStock/Diamond Dogs
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.
SoFi members with direct deposit can earn up to 4.20% annual percentage yield (APY) interest on Savings account balances (including Vaults) and up to 1.20% APY on Checking account balances. There is no minimum direct deposit amount required to qualify for these rates. Members without direct deposit will earn 1.20% APY on all account balances in Checking and Savings (including Vaults). Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 4/25/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.