Not to sound like crybabies, but it’s not easy being a millennial. We’re making the exact same amount of money our 1980s-era counterparts made, but our cost of living is exponentially higher, we can’t find jobs, we’ll never buy houses and we’ve got so much student loan debt it seems like we should actually start emigrating (read: fleeing) to Mexico soon. While the best ways to increase income, at least per popular advice, include switching jobs or simply asking for a raise, we live in a world where employers have all the power, and it’s therefore tough to earn what we’re worth at our day jobs. Instead, we may have to bring it back old-school, take our cues from our Depression-era great-grandparents and get resourceful. (Perhaps that’s a bit dramatic, but times are tough!) Here are a few ways to start a side hustle when your salary just doesn’t quite make ends meet.
Make Some Money, Honey
Skill Set: Sales
Become a Beautycounter Consultant
For an initial investment of $85, you can become a modern day Avon-esque lady, selling Beautycounter's safe and ethical skincare products to your friends, colleagues, and acquaintances for a 25 to 35% commission. Get more information here.
Sell for Stella and Dot
This works in much the same way Beautycounter's consultants work; for an initial investment of $199, you can be a mobile boutique-owner of sorts, selling jewelry and other accessories to your friends for a 25 to 35% commission. Get more information here.
Skill Set: Cooking
Airbnb Your Cooking Skills with Feastly
If you love cooking—and are good at it—you can get paid to cook for groups of strangers through Feastly, which TechCrunch calls an "Airbnb for dinner." Apply to be a Feastly chef here.
Host Dinners through EatWith
This concept is similar to Feastly's, and the EatWith website purports that you can make $700 an event hosting dinners through their services. Apply to be an EatWith host here.
Share Your Meals Through LeftoverSwap
This one may sound a little crazy, but we actually think it could be the way of the future. Do you ever cook enough for ten people when you're only feeding two? This app could be a great way to reduce waste, make or save money, and meet your neighbors. Simply take a picture of the leftover food, post it to the site and wait for someone hungry enough to bite. Download the app here.
Skill Set: Hoarding
Offload Your Old Books For Cash
To get started, try Textbooks.com, Powell's, AbeBooks and Amazon Trade-In, all of which will give you quotes for your books based on their ISBN numbers, or Bonavendi, which compares buyback quotes from a variety of vendors. You can also list your books on Amazon as a seller, just beware that it's absolutely not worth it to list a book for $0.01 (as they often suggest). It can be time-consuming to make real money this way, but selling still beats tossing, and this first-person Slate account claims you can earn $1,000 a week by hawking old tomes.
Clean Your Closet
Read our advice on how to make money selling your clothes here.
DVDs, CDs and the Like
Offload these as a seller on Amazon, through Amazon Trade-In, or compare prices from a variety of vendors at Bonavendi.
Skill Set: Trust
Let Someone Borrow Your Car for a Fee
This seems so scary to us, but we guess giving a perfect stranger keys to your home isn't any less terrifying. Turo and GetAround are great options for renting out your car when you don't need it.
Rent Out Your Parking Space
In Los Angeles, people are charging upward of $200 a month for their parking spots through JustPark. In Manhattan, it's upward of $800.
Share Your Stuff
You know all that junk in your house that never gets used, like, say, the popcorn machine someone bought your birthday five years ago? If you can't bear to part with it, you can rent it out instead via Zilok. You can also use Craiglist for this purpose; just list the items in the appropriate section as rentable as opposed to buyable.
Sell Your Services
Not like that. If you're handy, you might want to consider putting yourself up as a chore-doer on TaskRabbit; you can offer anything from waiting in line on a stranger's behalf, to being their personal assistant, to helping them move their furniture. Tutoring is also a service that pays well; we suggest calling local services to see who's hiring or, if you're feeling especially ambitious or have an easy-to-tap-into network of those who need tutoring, you can start your own independent service and charge upward of $75 an hour.
Skill Set: Having an Opinion
Participate in a Focus Group
You can make up to $350 a session doing this. To get started, you'll need to search for local focus groups, as they vary by city, but you might have some luck with the initial sourcing process through Focus Group.
Take Online Surveys
Mindswarms pays $50 a survey.
Be an eJuror
eJury only pays around $5 to $10 a pop, but it could be interesting learning experience.
Skill Set: Luck
See What You're Owed
Did you know there could be money floating out there with your name on it? Through this search tool, we found out a utilities company owes us $1.50. Even though it's not worth the postage or effort associated with claiming this paltry sum, knowing it's out there somehow made us feel just a little bit richer.
Skill Set: Friendliness
So, we actually don't know how we feel about this one, but we thought we'd include it just so we have all bases covered. Through this website, you can sign up to be someone's wing-person for family or business functions, everyday events or just to hit up the movies. This is kind of our worst nightmare, but if you're a people-person this could be an easy way to make some cash.