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24 Ways to Make Money While Unemployed

24 Ways to Make Money While Unemployed

Coupon Sherpa

Job hunting is a time-consuming job, but learning how to make money fast doesn’t pay a cent until you actually land a job. In the meantime, you still have to pay rent, utilities, health costs and somehow afford groceries. Unemployment benefits run out pretty fast, so there’s little cushion for many of us.

I recently spent several years looking for work in my career area and learned how to make money fast while still leaving time to job hunt. It wasn’t easy, but cleaning and using online coupons helped me stay afloat and maintain some pride.

Here are 24 ways to earn quick cash with links to detailed instructions and useful connections. Combine several or focus on a single area, but make sure you get paid. Don’t forget to file quarterly income taxes for the self-employed.

1. Human Guinea Pig

If you live near a university with a med school, you can earn anywhere from $15 to $2,000 for taking part in a clinical research study. The National Institutes of Health lists over 300 clinical studies that need volunteers.

2. Clean Houses

No matter how bad the economy, some people will pay to avoid housework. And I’m not just talking the rich. Avoid working for a cleaning agency, where you’ll get paid a maximum of $10 per hour and work like a dog. Instead, develop your own client base and put $20 to $30 per hour directly into your pocket. Granted it’s hard work and requires an eye for detail, but the process goes much faster once you set up a regular schedule of clients. Page’s Personal Cleaning offers a step-by-step guide to starting a housecleaning business from someone who’s been there.

3. Give Blood

Some plasma banks pay up to $35 per pint. In the United States, federal regulations state that an individual may donate two times in a seven day period, with a minimum of two days in between donations. DonatingPlasma.org provides details and a searchable plasma-bank database to help you find a plasma bank in your area.

4. Walk Dogs

Do you love dogs and love spending time with them? So do lots of other people, but not everyone has the time to walk them, particularly in the middle of the day. Walking dogs is a good way to get some exercise while being paid for your time. StartDogWalking explains how to establish and advertise a dog-walking business.

5. Resell Your Unused Gift Cards

The average American household is holding on to $300 in unused gift cards. In fact, an estimated $30 billion to $40 billion gift cards lie unspent in dresser drawers across the country. But there are plenty of people who DO use budget gift cards, and they’re willing to pay money for yours.

That’s where you come in. You sell gift cards you’re no longer using to resale companies for a percentage of the face value and they sell them at a discount price to others who will actually use those precious pieces of plastic. GiftCardGranny.com can link you up with the highest-paying gift card resellers in the industry.

6. Babysit

You did it as a teenager so why not babysit as an adult. You’d need a license and state accreditation to provide regular child care in your home but occasional babysitting in your or a client’s home requires nothing but patience and a talent for child care. Look on CraigsList under “Gigs” and “Domestic” to get your business started. The University of Illinois Extension can get you started in the babysitting business.

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7. House Sit

Safety is the primary reason homeowners hire people to sit while they’re out of town, but house sitters also water plants and care for the lawn, feed pets, collect mail, perform light housecleaning duties and take care of any emergency situations that might arise, like calling a plumber if a pipe bursts. Much of your work will come through referrals rather than advertising. Retirees who travel a great deal frequently need house sitters, so you can begin by volunteering your services to a friend and going from there. HouseCareers.com also can help connect you with housesitting jobs.

8. Flip Web Sites

This one takes computer savvy. Begin by searching for popular Web site topics, create a basic site on that topic then offer it to another e-commerce business involved in the same area. The idea is to build a site that has real money making potential, as well as being able to generate a good volume of traffic. You can do this by integrating elements such as GoogleAdSense, affiliate links and paid advertising into the site.

9. Sell Your Hair

Sales for generous lengths of tresses reportedly can net you several hundred to over a thousand dollars. WiseBread explains how to sell your hair and includes sites where you can list and market hair.

10. Deliver Phone Books

This is a fairly simple opportunity that can make anywhere between $7 and $10 per hour. You’re responsible, however, for paying for gas and must have a dependable car, but the rest is provided.PhoneBooks .com can connect you to phone book delivery opportunities in your area.


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