A little extra money never hurt anybody … especially if that somebody has thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Luckily, with spare time and creativity there are plenty of side hustles anyone can start to earn extra cash and pay down debt faster. Here are our top picks.

  1. Airbnb: If you’re a renter, check your lease first, but you may be able to earn cash by advertising your space on Airbnb. Be sure to pay attention to events calendars in your area because a big game, concert, or other event may bring extra visitors (and dollars) to your town.
  2. Apps: Have an excellent idea for a phone app? If you have the skills, build it yourself. If you don’t, look for a partner who can help. You can put your app on on the app store and accumulate passive income. Here’s some inspiration.
  3. Find Seasonal Work: Companies that have holiday rushes—think stores and package delivery services—often hire seasonal workers to help cover the extra hours. Keep an eye out for positions with flexible hours near the end of the year for a quick way to store up cash.
  4. Babysit: It’s how some of us earned the big bucks when we were 13, and now you’re even more trustworthy and qualified. You can look for childcare work on sites like Care.com and UrbanSitter, or network with family and friends to find someone in need.
  5. Bartend: Since you’ve likely been on the other side of the bar, you know great bartenders can earn some solid cash. Plus, bartenders’ prime hours differ from the typical 9-5 so you can fit it into your schedule.
  6. Sell Books: Thousands of dollars in textbooks are likely part of your student loan debt. Why not earn some back? Use BookScouter to find the most lucrative place to sell the textbooks you have, or to learn what textbooks are valuable. Then you can do some thrift store or Amazon hunting to find them at a cheap price and resell.
  7. Blog: We all have something to say, so why not say it while earning extra money from ads on your blog? For inspiration on how to earn a living from a blog, look to your favorite blogger’s sites for posts that describe how they achieved success. Most importantly, find a voice, share valuable and interesting content, and interact with readers to build loyal fans.
  8. Brand Rep: The “gigs” section of Craigslist is an excellent place to find postings for brands looking for outgoing individuals to rep their products at street fairs, trade shows, and other highly-trafficked events. Free swag is often a bonus.
  9. Buy Domain Names: If you have knack for predicting trends, you can buy domain names cheap on GoDaddy, then hang onto them until someone offers to purchase. Here’s a list of names that have sold for more than $3 million. That’s an unlikely occurrence, but with a solid domain name, you could get offers in the hundreds or thousands.
  10. Complete Tasks: TaskRabbit is an on-demand service that connects people in need of help with someone with the necessary skills. Tasks can be anything from building Ikea furniture to rushing forgotten passports to the airport to cleaning, picture mounting, and more. You set your rates and choose the tasks you want to perform.
  11. Craft: Do you have a talent for making things? Set up a shop on Etsy and start selling your wares. There’s a huge variety of products out there and if you have a vision, the customers will come.
  12. Deliver: Join Postmates and start making deliveries of food and other goods via car or bicycle. Bonus: if you go the bike route it’s a workout and a job in one.
  13. Dog Sit: If you love animals, it’s easy and free to become a pet sitter on DogVacay. Just make a profile describing the kind of care you can provide (in your home, in someone else’s, etc) and wait for a booking. Customers leave reviews so the more you book, the stronger your profile becomes. You could also advertise locally and on Craigslist for pet services.
  14. Drive: Most of us use car share services like Lyft, but have you ever considered becoming a driver? You can research plenty of reviews about the benefits and drawbacks, but it’s certainly a bonus that you make your own hours.
  15. Ebay: Ebay is more than a place to find weird collectables. You can buy and sell clothes, electronics, or other household goods. If you have items you no longer use, do some competitive pricing research and put them up for sale.
  16. Freelance: Marketable skills such as writing, graphic design, or even resume reviewing can be done in a freelance capacity. Just set up a website and start seeking out clients. The more clients you get, the more referrals you’ll earn.
  17. Research: If privacy isn’t your biggest concern, you can register your mobile devices with Nielsen or MobileXpression to have your web usage monitored for research and get paid for it.
  18. Grocery Shop: People who are right at home in the grocery store can do others’ shopping and/or delivery through Instacart. No car required!
  19. Launder: Do you secretly love folding clothes? Sign up with Laundry Care and you can start earning extra cash in your free, flexible time by doing laundry for people who aren’t fans of folding.
  20. Review Law Cases: Lawyers often prepare for jury trials by testing their arguments on real subjects. By signing up for Online Verdict, you can get paid to review cases and offer your opinion on how you’d come down on the verdict.
  21. Makeover Furniture: The Craigslist furniture and free sections are chock full of neglected furniture just looking for a little love. If you’re good with sandpaper and a can of spray paint, you can makeover furniture and resell it on Craigslist for a higher price. Just say something like “rustic” or “West Elm-inspired” in your listing and watch the offers roll in.
  22. MLM Sales: Not just for Avon ladies! Multi-level marketing (MLM) programs like Avon, LuLaRoe, BeautyCounter, and Beachbody look for consultants or representatives to sell products in their home communities.
  23. Notarize: Most of us have been on the hunt for a notary at one point or another. You can get your certification through your local government (usually for under $100) and start signing papers for a quick buck.
  24. Pick Up Trash: If you like to be outside and don’t mind getting your hands dirty, you can check out inspiration on Cleanlots to learn how people are starting six-figure, one-person businesses simply by picking up parking lot garbage.
  25. Sell Clothes: You may have a goldmine just hanging out in your closet. Selling your unwanted clothes on Poshmark can earn you extra income easily. Bonus: if you have friends or family members who have clothes to get rid of and no patience for doing it—you can sell for them and split the profits.
  26. Stock Photos: Anyone who used stock photos knows how absurd the poses and facial expressions are. Foap is on a mission to provide more realistic stock photos by crowdsourcing them from real users. All you need is a smartphone to start uploading your own images and earning money off their usage.
  27. Surveys: They’re not lucrative, but they are out there in droves. You can take surveys on sites like Springboard America or OpinionOutpost to participate in market research and be compensated for your time.
  28. Shop: Make money on your phone as a Mobee mystery shopper on missions to evaluate in-store experiences. The app makes it easy to find available shops and in 10-15 minutes you can earn as much as $12. Rewardable is another app that combines mystery shopping, product surveys, and online reviews.
  29. Take Calls: If you’ve ever talked to a customer service rep and thought, “I could do better than that,” check out Women For Hire. You can sign up to take inbound customer service calls for brands like J.Crew and set your own hours.
  30. Take Five: Fiverr is a website where you can advertise basically anything you’re good at and willing to complete for $5. The possibilities are pretty endless.
  31. Test Websites: Sign up for an account on UserTesting and have your voice and screen recorded as you navigate various websites for user experience results. Each test pays $10 a pop and takes only a few minutes. Better than aimlessly surfing the web!
  32. Tour: If you relish in leading people around your city when you have visitors in town, you may be a great candidate for Vayable. Vayable Insiders create unique experiences and tours to share with others and get paid for it.
  33. Transcription: Are you a fast typer? Put your fingers to work with TranscribeMe, a site where you can earn money for transcribing audio files on your own time. If you have a medical or legal background, you may qualify for an even higher earning rate.
  34. Travel Plan: Travel lovers can put their skills to use and live vicariously through customers as a private travel consultant. Services can be everything from ticket and hotel booking to itinerary planning. You can start with friends and family members to gain referrals, and advertise on Plansify for more visibility.
  35. Try Real Estate: Becoming a successful real estate agent requires a significant investment of time and marketing, but earning your license is easy. With a license in your back pocket, you can step in to help friends or family when they’re on a house hunt. Just one sale a year could mean a pretty big check.
  36. Tutor: Put that degree to good use by helping others learn. Through Tutor.com, you can become an online tutor in any number of subjects for grades K-12, college students, and adult learners.
  37. Voiceover: Have people always told you that you have a great voice? You may be able to get hired as an audiobook narrator through Audiobook Creation Exchange from Amazon. If you’re selected after auditioning, you’ll earn a minimum of $50 per read.
  38. Walk: Is there anything better than spending some time outside with a cute pup? Yes, spending time outside with a cute pup and getting paid. Sign up as a dog walker on Wag! and start earning money in an adorable way.
  39. Write: People who have a way with words, but no money for an agent or publisher can self-publish for free on Kindle Direct Publishing. You set the price and when people download your book, you’ll earn 70 percent royalty (and maybe one day a book deal).
  40. Yard Work: If you live in a home with some land, you may already have the tools to set up a yard work business. People are willing to pay for mowing, planting, raking, and even collection of dog waste. Make some fast business cards and start posting them around your community.


Did we miss something? Add your favorite side hustle in the comments.