Let’s face it. The economy hasn’t been running as well as we all would like it to. Your parents may have raised your family on a single income, but that opportunity simply doesn’t exist for many families today. With the economic fall out of the pandemic, the country has its highest unemployment since the Great Depression as millions are currently unemployed.
If you’re like many people, you may have recently found yourself unemployed or underemployed. If not, you probably know someone who is. Indeed, it has derailed many families’ plans to become financially independent.
So we broke down some helpful tips to make ends meet when you are no longer receiving a regular salary from your employer via MoneyCrashers. They could help you will come out of this crisis with a career you put together while surviving the worst economic crash in modern history.
29. Online Focus Groups and Surveys
If you spend a lot of time online, you’ve probably encountered ads for surveys that you are paid to complete. While many of these paid surveys are scams, some are not. You won’t get rich by doing surveys, but you can earn some extra cash in your free time.
There are several reputable websites where you can create an account and start taking surveys for money. Survey Junkie is one that lets you cash out your earnings when they are over $10. There’s also Opinion Outpost and Swag Bucks. You won’t make more than about $10 an hour, but you can participate in multi-tasking surveys.
Writing a blog can generate income, especially if you do affiliate advertising as part of your posts. What’s affiliate advertising? Say you have a cooking blog, and you recommend that people use a particular brand of tomato sauce for a specific recipe. Every time someone clicks on the link to that brand of tomato sauce, you make a small amount of money.
Starting a serious blog that people will want to read does take a lot of effort. If you are currently unemployed, you may finally have time for that effort. It would be best if you had a legitimate area of expertise and a unique take on that expertise. For example, instead of just being an excellent cook, if you want your blog to gain traction, you need to be able to help people cook for vegans, those with gluten intolerance, or those who are lactose intolerant. You also need a professional website that you spent serious time designing.
Are you an expert in a specific field? Maybe you’re a math teacher in need of extra income or speak fluent Arabic but never have the opportunity to use your skill. Consider a part-time job teaching online as a virtual tutor.
There are reputable websites that allow you to build a profile as a tutor with expertise in a particular field. These websites include VIP Kid, Chegg, and Education First. Tutors get paid an hourly rate based on their field. For example, tutors in STEM fields tend to make more than those in liberal arts. Requirements include a high-speed internet connection that can reliably support video calling.
Did you do well in high school and college English courses and now find yourself needing extra cash? You can pull those skills out of hiding and put them to use by doing some freelance writing. Don’t expect to become a best-selling author by writing articles for websites, but you can earn enough to pad your bank account.
Platforms like freelancer.com can help you start showcasing your skills, finding clients, building a profile, and earning money. Once you have enough of a profile established, and especially if you are an expert in a niche field, you can start querying publication outlets such as magazines and PR firms to get some higher-paying clients.
If you are like many Americans, you have too much stuff, and it may be weighing you down and keeping you from enjoying more important things. Being stuck at home instead of going to work every day provides the opportunity to downsize and sell off your excess possessions.
If you find yourself with extra time due to being unemployed or underemployed, go through closets and gather everything that you have not used in the past year. Take all of the books sitting on your shelf that you know you will never read. Old toys, including adult toys, can go. If you have time, list all of your junk on eBay and watch it turn into money.
Maybe you tried your hand at freelance writing but couldn’t handle the monotony of writing product descriptions for hours on end. If you were the only one in your high school English class who got excited about grammar, you might want to try doing freelance work as an editor or proofreader.
Many freelance platforms have options for people to showcase their talents in editing and proofreading. The work is tedious and repetitive, but it can help fill in the gaps while you are unemployed or underemployed. And once you start building up your profile, you can get more particular about which assignments you take.
If nothing gets you more excited than perfectly organized spreadsheets, you may want to consider work as a virtual bookkeeper. While many bookkeepers do have accounting degrees, they are not required. However, to successfully break into the field, you will probably need to go through a lower-level credentialing course.
The website bookkeepers.com is a great place to start if the idea of being a virtual bookkeeper appeals to you. Bookkeepers offers free classes and lots of advice on starting your own virtual bookkeeping business. If you are unemployed and have the time, this may be a great option for you.
Do you have an affinity for animals? Maybe you the savvy or willingness to operate a business out of your home? You might want to consider pet-sitting by turning your home into a doggie and kitty daycare if you’re currently unemployed.
Websites like Rover.com provide a platform for those who love animals and know how to take care of them to start a pet-sitting business. Keep in mind that an excellent pet-sitting company will require things like bookkeeping, insurance, and legal protection. Woof.
Maybe you like the idea of freelance writing but prefer to write on niche topics that interest you rather than product descriptions. If you think you have a great idea and will be able to sell it, consider writing an eBook and self-publishing it. Kindle is just one option of many for self-publishing.
Keep in mind that writing an eBook is more manageable than selling it. Getting the momentum going to sell copies of an eBook successfully will require that you connect with bloggers, social media influencers, and practitioners. If you want to write eBooks if you’re currently unemployed but don’t have the knowledge or wherewithal to sell them, consider partnering with somebody who does.
Retail arbitrage is when you buy low to sell high, not unlike trading on the stock market except dealing with tangible products. And for introverts who enjoyed working from home before the 2020 crisis, retail arbitrage was a favorite field.
Retail arbiters may buy products cheaply at auctions, sometimes for pennies on the dollar. They may also find their products at yard sales, store liquidation sales, even pawn shops! They then sell them for significant markups on platforms like eBay and Amazon. If you think you might want to try this method of making money while unemployed, make sure you pay attention to how you will pay taxes.
19. Campaign for a Political Cause While Unemployed
If you’re convinced that if people recognize the importance of a particular cause, the world could become a better place. You may be able to put your passion to use while unemployed by working over the computer to campaign with organizations that support the same cause as you.
DDC Public Affairs and Next Wave Advocacy are two online platforms that allow you to connect with companies, trade groups, and other organizations that support the same cause as you. You can then spend your time campaigning if you’re unemployed. The work involves things like making phone calls and composing emails to working with these clients and promoting the cause.
The rise of the internet in the past 20 years has created an entirely new economic sector centered around the transfer of knowledge and ideas. The biggest problem is sorting out correct information and providing adequate answers to people’s questions. If you are an expert in a particular field and want to help people find accurate answers to their questions in that field, you may be able to earn some money in the process.
Just Answer is one of many websites that allows people with certifiable credentials, such as a degree or job experience in a particular field, to answer questions that people post. You can make up to $35 per hour by providing thoughtful, meaningful answers to the clients’ inquiries. Not bad if you’re currently unemployed.
If you’re an expert in a field and want to help others who may be curious to gain knowledge, you might earn some extra income while unemployed by conducting webinars or even classes online. Some people think that they need to become YouTubers to provide people with meaningful content in their field of expertise, but Udemy is a platform designed for experts to share their knowledge.
With Udemy, you build a course that people can sign up to take. While many classes are free, some studies do cost money. To ensure a high quality of the service, Udemy requires that those teaching courses have credentials in their field, so you will need to show real-life experience or an advanced degree.
This one seems too good to be true, and in a way, it is. You won’t make much money at all, but you can sign up for a service that will pay you a small sum for the online searches that you already do. QMee, Swagbucks, and Inbox Dollar are three websites that allow you to earn small amounts of money searching the internet.
You may earn money by viewing particular ads or providing information on topics that people are actively searching for at a certain point in time. At most, you’ll make a few pennies for each search, but over time, those pennies add up. Imagine that you do 10,000 searches per year. At a penny per search, that comes out to about $100 for really not doing anything that you don’t ordinarily do. Still, not the greatest way to earn money while unemployed, but a way nonetheless.
If you aren’t already a gamer and don’t have all of the capability to run high-capacity gaming platforms, you might want to skip over this one. Video-game testing is a significant commitment. However, it can turn into a big side gig for those who already have the time, energy, and desire to spend long blocks of time playing video games.
Global Beta Test Network is a platform that allows game developers to have users test out their games so that they can get out as many glitches as possible before release. Testers need to spend extended blocks of uninterrupted time playing video games, but they get paid for it and quite handsomely. They make anywhere from $10 to $50 an hour so that it could pay off as a side gig if you’re currently unemployed.
Suppose you already spend a lot of time on social media and have a significant number of people following you. In that case, you could earn some side income by making posts for different companies looking to expand their social media profile. You don’t need millions of followers, but you probably won’t find many opportunities to get paid to Tweet unless you have a few hundred.
Paid Per Tweet is a platform that connects companies looking to expand their advertising via social media with Twitter users that have a large following. If you are serious about social media and have a YouTube channel with many followers, you could monetize that channel through YouTube’s partner program and make money while being technically unemployed. Check out YouTube to see if you meet the criteria.
UserTesting is a platform that allows website and app developers to connect with website testers to make sure that their programs are as user friendly as possible. Website testers usually make about $20 an hour, though the work will only be part-time. $20 an hour, combined with other gigs, can help hold you over if you are unemployed and trying to stay afloat.
If you prefer hands-on testing of products, try signing up with Toluna. Toluna is a platform through which testers can try out consumer goods before they hit the market and provide their feedback to the developer. Again, the pay won’t be fantastic, but it will be more than you would be making while unemployed.
This option isn’t for those who took a couple of years of German back in high school and then forgot it. Being a translator is hard work and is so mentally draining that many live translators can only work for 20 to 30 minutes in a sitting.
But if you are fluent in two languages, translating can be pretty lucrative work, especially if you know a language that is considered rare or specialized. Many different online platforms specialize in connecting translators with people and organizations that need something to be translated. If you’re an entry-level translator and know a common language like Spanish, you might make it closer to $10 an hour. But an experienced translator in a rare language can earn upwards of $50 an hour. This is an in-demand skill to learn if you are unemployed.
This option isn’t so much a part-time gig as it is more conscious of the opportunities to save money that are all around you. To get cashback you have to buy something first. Meaning that if you are unemployed, you don’t want to invest in cashback options by buying things you don’t need and hoping to get some money off at the end.
Wikibuy and Rakuten (which used to be Ebates) are two platforms that can help you find the cheapest deals around so that you can save as much money as possible. A dollar saved is a dollar that you don’t have to earn. TopCashBack works with affiliates to deliver cashback options on purchases that you make online. So while you shouldn’t go out and buy a new coffee pot if you already have one, there are options to get you the best discount around.
If you’re a crafty person who enjoys sewing, making jewelry, crocheting, or any number of skills that can be used to make things that people use, then you can turn your talent into a way of making money. While sewing shops on Main Street are pretty much a thing of the past, platforms like Etsy allow people to sell their hand-made goods to those who are looking for something more meaningful than mass-produced purchases from Amazon and Wal-Mart.
There are other platforms where you could sell your crafts, including eBay. If you have a real niche skill, that could be worth something, try to find a niche platform to go with it to sell your products to interested people. Building up an online store can be much work. But successful Etsy and similar stores have turned into meaningful incomes. If you have the time and are unemployed, this could be a solid option.
If you have a friendly voice and enjoy talking with other people, consider some remote work for a call center. The kind of work varies from working as an answering service for a local office (such as a doctor’s office) to making sales calls for a company (basically an updated version of telemarketing). Other responsibilities might include responding to customer calls and trying to fix their problems (not their emotional problems, their product-based issues).
Pay varies for this kind of work. If you’re working as a sales representative, you may only get paid on commission. If you are working as an after-hours on-call service for a local doctor’s office, you will probably work weekly. You will need a computer with individual specs, a fast internet connection, and reliable phone service.
If you have an incredible eye for detail, can pay attention to what you are hearing, and type very quickly, you may want to consider some freelance work as a transcriptionist. Transcription work can pay from close to the minimum wage to upwards of $40 an hour for more specialized fields.
Medical transcription is a high-level form of transcription in which workers transcribe conversations held in a healthcare setting. This option is a very specialized field of transcription and requires certification, usually a one-year program. But again, it can be lucrative for someone who already has the skill of typing quickly and paying close attention to detail.
Getting a bank to lend money can be challenging, but peer-to-peer lending schemes allow people to get financing that they need when going through the traditional route doesn’t seem like a good option. Peer-to-peer lending is a new function of the sharing economy that allows people to use their excess capital in a lending program and then earn interest on it.
Interest rates on peer-to-peer lending platforms usually range from about 4% to 10%, making it seem like a good investment. Keep in mind that these programs are not FDIC-insured, like banks, so there is not much to protect you in case you lose your principal. In other words, don’t invest money you aren’t prepared to lose. This is a risky option for unemployed people, yet an option nonetheless.
If you’re tech-savvy and have experience building websites, you might turn a few dollars by flipping websites, not altogether unlike how some people flip homes. Basically, you develop a website, either from scratch or by buying a pre-existing domain, add content like videos and articles, make it profitable through advertising, and then sell it for a profit.
You can buy a domain to build a website through GoDaddy or other domain-selling websites. There are also plenty of platforms that allow people to buy and sell websites that they have monetized. Buy, build, sell, repeat. If you are successful at building and monetizing sites, the process can become quite lucrative.
Neighbor is a platform that connects people who need a place to store their stuff with people who have a place to store their stuff. So imagine that you live in a suburb of New York City and you have a garage or storage shed you never use. Someone in New York City has a small boat that needs to be stored because there is absolutely no way to get held in Manhattan.
You could potentially earn thousands of dollars a year storing other people’s items on your property. Ensure that you are aware of the legal aspects because you don’t want to get caught with someone else’s contraband. You also want to make sure that you are up-to-date on all of your insurances so that a fire at your house doesn’t make you liable for someone else’s boat or RV.
This option you may want to hold off on for the time being, with the current pandemic raging, especially if you live in an area that has been a hotspot for new cases. But renting out your spare room can be a very lucrative way of helping pay your rent every month or even paying off your mortgage.
Airbnb is not the only option for renting out your spare room, though it is the most popular. Many other websites allow for room-sharing, so check and see what may be available in your area. You can also rent it out to one person on a long-term basis. Just make sure that you know all of the legal ramifications because you don’t want your in-home tenant to become a squatter.
If you live in an urban area where parking is at a premium, you might turn your driveway or curbside parking spot into a profit. SPOT and Neighbor are two platforms that can help people who live in densely populated cities like Chicago, New York, Boston, and Washington DC, find parking spots by renting them out from people.
Parking spaces are a valuable piece of real estate in a big city, so if you have one that you don’t need all the time, consider turning it into cash. Maybe you don’t use your parking spot at home during the day, so you could let someone else use it for a fee. Or perhaps you are going away for a while and want to earn some passive income while you are gone.
Turo and GetAround are two platforms that connect people who have a car that they aren’t currently using with people who need a vehicle on a short-term basis. It’s an Airbnb for cars, where the going rate is typically much cheaper than what you would pay at a rental outlet. Users who rent out their vehicles on one of these platforms can make $10,000 a year.
But don’t make the mistake that many Airbnb users made when they bought properties only to rent out. When the 2020 crisis hit and people immediately stopped traveling, people who owned these properties suddenly started defaulting on their mortgages. So don’t buy a car just because you think you can make money renting it out. You may pay a heavy price in the long run.
While this may sound like signing up to be Dr. Frankenstein’s test subject, the reality is less horrifying. If you live near a major hospital and a medical school, the odds are that there is much research that needs people to participate. Some medical studies may involve a blood draw and a questionnaire.
Others may include spending our hour or two in an MRI machine. Plenty of medical studies are recruiting people with certain conditions, but they also need healthy participants to serve as a control group. You can make several hundred dollars in each research and know that you contribute to the necessary research and development in healthcare.