Need money? From writing messages on your lips to selling bodily fluids, these days there's almost no limit to the ways you can turn a buck.
There are two ways to get ahead financially: Spend less or make more.
Unfortunately, you can't give yourself an instant raise or make long-term changes to your spending habits overnight. But that doesn't mean you can't turn a quick buck if you want or need to.
Here are eight unusual ways to make a little extra cash.
Sell your body. For science, that is. You can donate blood or plasma. According to American Red Cross standards, you have to weigh at least 110 pounds, be over 17 years old, and be in good health. (This doesn't necessarily exclude chronic conditions like diabetes.) Plasma can be donated monthly, and it takes about an hour and 15 minutes. Blood can only be donated every two months, but it takes just 10 minutes on average. Check with your local hospital or clinic to see if they accept and pay for donations, find a blood donation center, or look up a plasma donation center. Depending on the location and how often you donate, each visit might be worth up to $35.
Do clinical trials. Provided you qualify, participating in tests of new medicines and procedures can earn you up to a couple of thousand dollars. Two sources for finding clinical trials are the U.S. National Institutes of Health database (which claims to have more than 121,000 trials available) and the Center for Information & Study on Clinical Research Participation, which can also help you over the phone.
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Show talent. Fiverr.com helps you make money off your ability to do anything from retouching photos to singing. You can net $4 (the site takes a $1 cut) off a wide variety of small tasks. And if you don't have a special skill, try being clever or weird. Currently on the front page, someone is offering to do voiceovers in a Power Ranger costume and another to write messages on her lips. While lots of this stuff is silly, this site can theoretically be used as an entree for those with serious ambitions to showcase more traditional work.
Sell used goods. If you've got stuff you don't use—and who doesn't?—there are plenty of places to sell it, from Craigslist to eBay to Amazon. And if you don't want to wait on a buyer, you can trade in used electronics, books, movies, and games at Amazon for credit. While this idea isn't particularly weird, if you need money, it's a good place to start.
Sell crafts. Better than selling used is selling new—especially if you've got something unique to offer. Websites like Etsy.com can help you launch a side business selling your own crafts, from jewelry to painting to custom purses and clothing. Promoting your crafts on a social network like Pinterest can help drum up business.
Work online. One of our most-asked questions: Is there legitimate work from home? Technically, yes. In fact, you're reading some right now: Every Money Talks staffer works from home. But finding a legitimate work-at-home job isn't easy and there are a lot of scams. Still, you can use the Internet to make extra cash. You can provide product research on sites like SurveySavvy.com for anywhere from $1 to $15 per survey, or perform quick menial tasks like tagging images for a few cents each on Mechanical Turk. You might also use the Internet to find offline jobs in your area (like bar tending or short-term work as a personal assistant) at Zaarly, where some gigs are worth $100 or more.
Find missing money. Check with several government agencies for cash you didn't know you had—stuff like tax refunds, retirement accounts from old employers, abandoned paychecks, and unclaimed life insurance proceeds. Nearly 1 in 8 people have unclaimed property they don't know about.
Try apps. As smartphones become more popular, some startup businesses are based entirely on apps that get you to use them in certain ways while you're out and about. In 5 Smartphone Apps That Can Earn You Money, we covered apps that can make you $5 to $10 for something as simple as snapping quick photos to prove a certain store has a certain product in stock (FieldAgent and GigWalk). There are even apps that reward you for trying and reviewing other apps.
Bottom line? There are plenty of ways to make a little extra money.