15 Ways to Make $500 a Month Extra on the Side

Reddit can be hit or miss in the funny department depending on your sense of humor but the one thing it never misses on – it’s a treasure trove of experiences.

The other day, I stumbled upon a treasure trove of ideas in a thread titled “How would you go about making an extra $500 a month?”.

I decided to compile a list of the best of the best (assuming minimal domain expertise), add some links to resources I knew about, and present it in its full glory here. All of the ideas are in the Reddit post, I may not include the contributor because some of the names are pretty awful, but these are all from Reddit.

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“$500/month is tough, but I make around $300/month in “beer money” from various sources. A personal favorite is Swagbucks, because you can earn over $1/day just playing videos on your phone without paying attention to the app. Mystery shopping is cool too, I got free burger, fries and drink from 5guys yesterday, plus get paid another $11 on top for filling out a report about whether they are doing things correctly there.”

Swagbucks is a site that will give you gift cards for taking surveys, watching videos, shopping online, etc. Do stuff online, get SwagBucks, turn it into gift cards. Another one is InboxDollars. (read our Swagbucks review)

If surveys are your thing, you need to check out this massive list of websites that will pay you money.

Drive for Lyft/Amazon

Lyft and AmazonFlex give you the ability to earn money as a driver. You can earn hundreds of dollars working your schedule and that’s before the bonuses kick in. With Lyft, you’re working with startups that are competing aggressively so you never know what bonuses or earning guarantees they have.

With Amazon, you deliver packages (often it’s those same-day deliveries) and they offer very competitive hourly rates.

The rules will differ with each company but you can sign up for them all and see which you like best:

  • Lyft – You can rent a car to drive if you don’t have one! Until 1/1/18, new drivers can get a $300 bonus after their first 100 rides!
  • AmazonFlex – You don’t drive people, you deliver packages.

Chase Promotional Offers

Companies are always looking to gain more customers. Startups need more users to get that next round of funding. They do their math, know how much a new customer or user is worth to them, and try to get more for less than that amount.

That means you can get paid to try out a new service.

Everything from startups to mature finances companies like credit cards, you can get cash just for joining.

There are a ton of companies doing this right now and we compiled a list of the best free money offers, as of this writing nearly 20 companies are giving out almost $3,000 in cash. Everything from free shares of stock to straight cash.

Freelance Audio Transcribing

“It’s very easy, the company sends you an audio file which you listen to, type out, and send back. There are heaps of different sites you can sign up with to get files sent to you and if you’re good enough you can make a lot more than $500/month. Ask Google what it is, he’ll tell you all about it with company names and all. Good luck!”

Simplest way to get started is to do a Google “freelance transcriber jobs” and just get started. I’ve used Speechpad to have podcasts transcribed in the past and they have a Worker program.

Dog Walking, Pet Sitting

“I do dog walking and pet sitting on the side, part-time. It is a very fun way to make travel money and slow months will bank me 150-200 bucks and my busiest months get me up to 1200.”

This one came up multiple times, I suspect because it’s a relatively easy gig to find and get, as long as you like pets. And it’s less stressful than babysitting.

There are national websites like Rover.com for owners looking for sitters and walkers, so I’d register with them to expand outside of your personal network. Next, reach out to local companies to see if they offer part-time work. With national, local, and personal networking, you should be able to find a few gigs on the side.

Refereeing Recreational Sports

“Refereeing a sport is a good way to bring in constant cash. You’ll need to get certified, but it’s fun and consistent.”

“Get your officiating license and for any sport and start doing travel games and tournaments. I’ve been doing some soccer tournaments for about 10 years now and I average about $350 a tournament.”

The certification will come from a certifying body, which will depend on the sport. Your first stop should be to NASO, the National Association of Sports Officials, and clicking through to the sport you want.


“Try tutoring 🙂 Go around to all the local high schools, post flyers that say “need help with algebra?” or whatever subject you feel comfortable teaching. Charge $35 per hour tutoring, and do 4 hours of tutoring on the weekend 4 times per month.”

In high school, I used to tutor younger students in math and science and it was all coordinated through the school. If you’re skittish about approaching a school to tutor, consider national websites like Tutor.com or visiting your nearby college and putting up flyers. My friend Martin has a good post about how his friend made $2,100 from tutoring.

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Deliver Pizzas Part-Time

“Depending on where you live (city population of 12k-18k probably the best) deliver pizza. If you are lucky, you can get a Thursday, Friday, Saturday dinner rush gig, 5 pm-9 pm. If you are good, drive a decent vehicle, don’t stink and like dogs and willing to stay a bit later if needed you can take in $75-$125 per evening. It helps if you drive for a shop with a good product and decent prices.”

All you need is a car, Google Maps, and a desire for a part-time job. Oh, and you better like the smell of pizza… but who doesn’t?

Writing Ebooks

“Writing ebooks. They’re incredibly easy to create and format, and if you write books that solve problems you’ll rake in the cash.

My last ebook took ~10 hours and $500 to produce. I made $2500 the first month, and sales continue to roll in.

The beauty of writing books is that you’ll continue to earn on a book long after it’s published. Meanwhile, you can write more books.”

The best person I know to learn about this is Steve Scott, he’s been doing this for years, does very well and is up on current trends. Here are the results of a recent book launch.

Promotional Work

“I do promotional work. Pretty much you get paid $15/hr plus to hand out stuff at sporting events, stores, or events. I have about a year and a half of experience and can get up to $25/hr. The times vary from 3 hrs to 8hrs and multiple days. You could also do touring, but it completely depends on your schedule. In a month, I make between $600 – $900 for about 30 hours extra a month. Google ‘brand ambassadors’, and it should give you a couple of companies to make profiles with. Have a friend take a headshot and a body shot, and make a resume”

Google “brand ambassadors.” I even linked it up for you. 🙂

Sell 💩

Redditor just left a link on this one and I, as your intrepid sherpa, clicked it for you. It’s an article about how you can earn $13,000 a year selling your poop.

No really… here’s the article from The Washington Post.

The graphic they use is hilarious if you’re as juvenile as I am.

(and you can “donate” a lot of other fluids like plasma, google it and you’ll learn more than you ever wanted to know)

Caddie Golf

“Caddie at a local golf course. Avg about $150 for 4 hours work, and I’m home around lunchtime each day. Great weekend work, and keeps the pounds off.”

A caddie is someone who carries a golfer’s club and provides help during a round of golf. Becoming a professional golf caddie isn’t a part-time thing, but being one at your local golf course is something you can do if you don’t mind the exercise (and the golf course allows it). Call up a few golf courses and country clubs to see if any are hiring, get your training, and get to work!

Here’s a NYT article from 2004 about one man’s experience as a caddie.

Craigslist “Gigs” Section

“When I was younger I used to keep an eye on the “Gigs” section of Craigslist. It’s for people who need temporary manpower so they post there instead of in the “Jobs” section. Lots of stuff there; helping landscape crews with large jobs, helping people move, a LOT of local music shows will look for security and setup help there.”

Go to your area’s Craigslist.org and look under Gigs – do work, get paid.

Perform Wedding Ceremonies

“Get ordained online. Seriously! I did it to help my homosexual friends get married and it’s turned into 2-3 weddings a month. I charge $150 per service. I put in about 1-2 hours per wedding. That’s $75-$150 an hour. I’m not looking to get rich doing it, but it’s turned into a nice supplement to my income that I don’t rely on.

www.themonastery.org is where I got ordained. I used my Facebook feed to scope out potential clients. Anytime I would see mention of an engagement or wedding, I’d ask them if they had someone in mind to perform their ceremony. I’ve been doing it for 3 years now. Word of mouth spread quickly.”

I have a friend who was ordained by the Universal Life Church (same as above) and has been performing weddings for friends (for free) for years.

Wine Tasting

“I just started a wine tasting business through a private boutique winery in CA (I live in TX). I go in and do private wine tastings for a small group of people. I make my money based on the commission in sales. People who are interested in earning host benefits book tastings and if they like the business enough to try and start their own if they sign up under me I make a residual income off of that as well.”

This might be fun if you’re knowledgeable about wine and good at sales.

Any other good ways to increase your income that I can add to the list? How about the fastest ways to make $500?

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Jim Wang

About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a thirty-something father of three who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

Jim has a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. His approach to personal finance is that of an engineer, breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized easily understood concepts that you can use in your daily life.

One of his favorite tools (here's my treasure chest of tools,, everything I use) is Personal Capital, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.

He is also diversifying his investment portfolio by adding a little bit of real estate. But not rental homes, because he doesn't want a second job, it's diversified small investments in a few commercial properties and a farm in Illinois via AcreTrader.

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  1. jesslyn zepeda says

    Theres something about selling textbooks through the mail that I believe brings in some good money. I don’t know the details though. love to you today jesse

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