I’ve made $9,114 from side jobs so far this year…

Hey guys! I just added it up and realized I’ve earned $9,114 in extra money this year, on top of my regular salary. Woohoo, gig economy!

This isn’t a huge amount of extra cash, but it’s pretty dang good considering I haven’t been “hustling” that much this year. It’s been more of a collection of random gigs I’ve found or stumbled across in my spare time.

Here’s a breakdown of earnings from side jobs, and more importantly how I came across these opportunities in the first place.

$130 <—- buying and selling stuff online

$419 <—- selling *my friend’s* stuff online

$150 <—- “consulting”

$400 <—- modeling

$1,000 <—- new bank account bonuses

$1,100 <—- new credit card bonuses

$5,925 <—- extra SEO work for my employer

$9,114 Total

Make Extra Money by Asking for More Work From Your employer

By far my biggest extra bucks have come from additional contract work at my employer.

Technically, I’m a freelance writing contractor, so I can work for multiple companies at the same time. But I’ve only ever had 1 client — and I’d prefer to keep it this way.

In late December last year, I emailed my boss’s boss out of the blue and requested a 15-minute “catch up call.” It had been a while since we had spoken so I thought I’d say happy holidays and do a quick self-performance review.

**BTW – I encourage everyone to reach out to your senior management and request 15-minute calls once and a while. As long as you don’t waste their time, it helps you stay connected, front of mind, and it’s a great opportunity to share information with each other up and down the company food chain. This kind of initiative can boost your earning potential, too.**

Anyway, right at the end of my call, I dropped this simple line:  “Hey, by the way, I have some spare time up my sleeve and have an interest in SEO work. If there are any teams you know of that could use my help, I’m available — and keen.”

Lo and behold, 2 weeks later another team manager reached out to me requesting some help with random SEO (search engine optimization) tasks in addition to my “day job.” Although I don’t really have any experience with SEO as a technical skill, I’m an excellent out-of-the-box thinker and have unmatched enthusiasm for new challenges. They offered me a whopping $75 per hour, and so far this year I’ve worked 79 hours on this freelance job.

The best part is that I can manage my own schedule, working a few hours here and there when I’m free. Since I get up at 5am every day, I can knock out a couple hours in the morning on Saturdays or Sundays without interfering much with my daily life.

I definitely realize how lucky I am and that these types of high-paying hourly jobs don’t grow on trees. But whenever friends ask me how I found work like this, I tell them → because I asked for it.

Get Supplemental Income From Credit Card and Bank Account Bonuses

My wife and I have signed up for 3 new bank accounts and 4 new credit cards so far in 2021. Here are the bonuses we’ve received:

$200 — PNC Bank checking account bonus

$400 (x2) — Capital One 360 Checking account (me and wife)

$300 (x2) — AMEX Blue (me and wife)

$200 — BOA Cash back credit card

$300 — Capital One SAVOR credit card

I typically only recommend bank account churning or opening new credit cards if you are extremely detail oriented, are good at taking notes, and can handle credit responsibly!

Most of these accounts take less than 15 minutes to set up, a little coordination to make sure you are hitting criteria to qualify for the bonus, then less than 15 minutes to shut down the account afterwards. Over the past 3-4 years my wife and I have opened 30+ accounts, and probably have earned close to $10k in extra cash. It’s not a huge amount, but for the time trade off, we think it’s always worth it!

To find the best current bank bonuses, I check this Doctor of Credit website regularly. And for credit card bonuses, here is the best page for that if you’re interested.

Earn Extra Income With Consulting

Late last year, I met a guy while surfing.

It was a calm day, we were both just sitting there on our boards – so I smiled, said hello, and struck up a random conversation. He worked at a bank, and I told him I write about finance. We exchanged emails in the water.

A few months went by, then I received an email from him. He wanted to learn more about the FIRE movement, and get some feedback on a financial app he’s building… He asked for a phone call, and offered to pay me $150 for 30 minutes of my time. Whoa! 😳

I’ve never been a “consultant” before. But just by striking up random conversations, weird opportunities have started landing in my lap.

Get Additional Income by Modeling

For the $400 my wife and I made modeling, we landed this by just staying in contact with old friends. About 10 years ago we did some small photo shoots for a gal here in LA, and she reached out to see if we were interested in a quick private gig. It took about an hour to shoot, and they came to our house so there was no traveling time.

Sadly, the shoot was private so the photos will never be seen publicly. But, here’s an old one of me and my wife back in 2013 — someone spotted us on a marketing billboard at a real estate conference…

We were posing as a new couple buying a house.

Make Extra Money Buying and Selling Stuff Online

Finding and selling stuff online is probably my lowest pay per hour hobby. But I love it! I don’t care if I only profit a few dollars… It amazes me that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, and the lucky middleman can make a profit just by connecting people and negotiating.

Earlier this year I found a free surfboard, a compost tumbler, and an antique pocket watch at an estate sale nearby. I made a little over $100 from selling these on Craigslist and OfferUp.

One of my neighbors down the street caught wind that I liked selling stuff and asked me to help clear out some of his storage locker. He gave me a few boxes of stuff (mostly old Lladro figurines) and offered to split the profits with me if I sold them.

So far this year I’ve made $549 selling stuff online. Not a huge amount, but it pays for a month’s worth of groceries for us. :)

Work That I *didn’t* take = $4,000+?

Here’s a fun email I got from a buddy a few months ago…

(If you can’t read it, the offer was to get paid to go buy buckets of pool chlorine at Costcos.)

As much as I’d love to make quick cash for a few days, I cannot think of a more horrible second job than shopping at Costco. I turned this down and referred some other friends to help out.

Another opportunity I got was to work as a personal assistant (PA) on some photo shoots for a production company here in Los Angeles. I used to work odd jobs for a friend a few years ago and the pay was quite good! $350 per day, and the job of a PA is to just drive people around, get coffees on set, order lunches and run general errands. I really liked being a PA, but the timing didn’t work out for this particular gig.


Well, there you have it. That’s how I made an extra $9,114 with side jobs so far this year … by asking for work, striking up conversations with strangers, keeping up with old friends, taking advantage of bonuses and just generally keeping my eyes open for opportunities.

More Ways to Make Extra Cash

Budgets Are Sexy has a mega list of side hustle ideas for your inspiration. Are you a budding pet sitter, dog walker, freelance writer, social media manager, or even mystery shopper? There are so many creative ways to make money outside your main job!

You guys doing any lucrative/fun/quirky freelance gigs these days?

Have a good one,


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  1. Dragon Guy August 16, 2021 at 10:32 AM

    Ok when I saw modeling in your list, I thought it meant excel modeling! That’s the finance nerd in me! But it was neat to see your picture in the ad.

    I’ve been using this app called Amazon Shopper Panel. Each month, if I upload 10 shopping receipts, they will pay me $10 in Amazon gift cards (or I can donate the money to a handful of charities). It says it is supposed to be invitation only, but I was able to download the app and use it without an invitation. The receipts need to be from the last 30 days, so usually on the first of the month I grad all of the last month’s receipts and scan them into the app. Takes all of 10 minutes!

    1. Joel August 16, 2021 at 2:35 PM

      Whaaaat?? I didn’t know about this! I’m downloading it now! Thanks for sharing!!

      1. Joel August 16, 2021 at 2:40 PM

        *update*. Just tried signing up and it says I need an invitation… They put my email on a wait list and will notify me if there’s availability.

        Maybe it’s area specific?

        1. Dragon Guy August 22, 2021 at 8:11 PM

          Maybe. Or maybe I just got lucky when I downloaded it. Hope it eventually works out. Not a lot of money but easy to do!

  2. Nita August 16, 2021 at 11:45 AM

    Hmmm. I hope you know chlorine guy well. Anonymous guy on the web hiring people around to gather buckets and buckets of chlorine at a huge price… it makes chemist me… antsy, somehow.
    I hope this is really as innocent as it sounds because I clearly would not like it.
    (Chlorine can be used to make explosives)

    1. Joel August 16, 2021 at 2:34 PM

      haha! Yeah, I know him well. He’s actually a super smart dude and we’ve done some projects together in the past. I can see how it looks though – and would never be putting my own credit card down (or even using my own car) for this type of stuff.

      I think he’s making a killing actually. There’s a huge chlorine shortage – my local community pool just shut down due to not being able to buy bulk chlorine.

  3. Impersonal Finances August 16, 2021 at 8:28 PM

    How has your experience been with OfferUp? I actually just downloaded it and am looking forward to selling some stuff locally (not want to mess around with shipping). Keep the hustling going! Lots of creative ways to make a buck.

    1. Joel August 16, 2021 at 9:33 PM

      OfferUp has been great, I like it better than Craigslist because everything is done through the app. Just snap a pic and upload… But, I’m finding it’s only good for certain items. Large stuff like Auto is better on Craigslist. And unique/specialty/collector stuff is still better on eBay because of the worldwide pool of searchers.

      Facebook Marketplace is good too for local selling!

  4. Stephanie Chin August 16, 2021 at 8:31 PM

    I just started trying a new list of side hustles! My fave so far is Rover. i hung out with a cat twice a day for an hour for 4 days and made $135! I also tried Lime juicing which was ok but I have a new Tesla and it was weird randomly picking up scooters off the street then dropping them off at a random busy corner. Ad they’re kinda heavy for me. But during the summer weekends they pay $12 to charge and drop off scooters! Surveys are always fun but then I get tired of doing them. My next one to tackle is WeGoLook! you get paid to ‘look’ at something and take pictures. Apparently some people hire you to go look at real estate when they live out of state.

    1. Joel August 16, 2021 at 9:35 PM

      Those are all awesome! My wife and I did scooter charging years ago. But that was when the scooters were really skinny and had small batteries (less heavy). Now they are so fat I can see it’s hard to lift one. Glad you’re liking Rover! If you can get regular clients it’s the perfect side gig! Congrats!

  5. Hilary August 19, 2021 at 4:15 PM

    I have house/dogsat for one family for years and this past year decided to mention to everyone that I housesit and It really took off. I am a busy self employed massage therapist and can work caring for dogs, cats (sometimes chickens!) while staying in really nice houses (some with pools!) into my schedule without a hitch. It affords me “the good life” for a solid chunk out of the year (probably 2 months+ total per year) while I keep my super affordable small apt. I make $75 a day and I usually get tipped nicely as well. I will say, lots of people have “Covid Pups” these days – who can be wildly misbehaved and serious PITAes, and those clients I simply tell I am too busy to see again because my primary gig is too busy. I love side gigs! Thanks for the post!

    1. Joel August 19, 2021 at 5:13 PM

      That’s so cool to hear! And taking advantage of the swimming pool is a double win! :). So much opportunity for referrals by just putting the word out to your friends group. Thanks for sharing!

    2. Hilary August 31, 2021 at 2:54 PM

      UPDATE!!! One of my clients recently asked me to housesit for them (in their $10mill home!!!) for about a month between now and the end of the year. To the tune of $200 a day, which is more than $5,000 to tack on to my expected annual income for this year. Not too shabby!!! I thought I’d let you know! Thanks for the great blog, take care!


      1. Joel September 1, 2021 at 10:42 AM

        What!!?? That’s like a hotel paying you to stay there! Amazing – congrats!