9 Tips to Earn Extra Money While You’re Still Working

Create passive income to cover the ups and downs

Do you spend most of your paycheck every month? People who are more successful with their wealth invest time into making their money work for them. Passive income is earnings derived from an enterprise where you are not actively involved. This could be income from a rental property or stock investment. There are also ideas that don’t require a big pile of upfront money, but some do require time to build.

If you would like to power your wealth, and protect yourself against life’s ups and downs, such as job loss or unexpected expenses, one or more of these 9 ideas may be right for you.

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1. Let your Money Work for You
If you have a chunk of money in a regular savings account, think about moving it over to a higher interest account. Interest rates on money market accounts have been on the rise in the U.S. for the past two years. Current rates are between 1.85 percent to 2.25 percent, according to Bankrate.com.

Look for an account that is FDIC-insured, meaning your funds will be 100 percent secure, up to $250,000. Some accounts have a minimum balance requirement, fees and restrictions on how many withdrawals can be made, so read the fine print carefully. Certificate of deposit (CD) rates are even higher, but you must leave your money invested for a specific length of time.

If you invest $25,000 at 2.15 percent, you will earn $538 in one year. Not bad for no effort.

2. Sell Your Designs
Crafty types have a variety of places to set up an online storefront and sell products they have created, such as Etsy and Pinterest. Designers can also sell their services. Check out 99designs for websites, Fotolia or Shutterstock for photos and Graphic River for graphic design.

For those with designs rather than actual products, it has gotten super simple to put your artwork on a range of merchandise from phone cases to t-shirts. On sites such as Café Press or Design by Humans, just create and upload a design. The platform sells your designs on clothing, mugs and a variety of other products. You get a cut every time someone picks one of your designs. It does pay to check a few pages to see what is popular. Humor sells.

3. Earn Money from credit cards
There are two great ways to put your credit cards to work for you—paying off the balance, and using a cash rewards card.

When you pay off a credit card balance, it reduces a fixed expense, which is the equivalent of creating passive income. For example, if you owe $10,000 on a credit card, with a monthly payment equal to 4 percent of the balance, you will owe $400 per month. By paying off the card, you’ll be free up $4,800 per year that would have otherwise gone to monthly payments, including interest on what you borrowed.

Numerous credit cards offer cash back rewards ranging from 1 percent to 5 percent. Some even offer cash for signing up. Keep a zero balance on your account and set up automatic payments. You will never be charged interest and you will earn cash on everything you would have purchased anyway.

Check out this review from Nerd Wallet for current cash back credit card offers.

4. Sell a Download of Your Intellectual Property
Use your knowledge and talents to create a guide, how to video, craft pattern or other helpful information that people may want to pay for. The main reason digital downloads are popular is convenience—customers can immediately get the information they need. Security is also important. Use secure payment processing through recognizable names such as PayPal and Google Wallet, along with instant download access. If you already have a website or blog, adding an app such as Gumroad makes it easy to sell a download product. The app also handles all of the financial processing.

Don’t have a site yet? Wix is a popular template site where it is easy to create a website for free. To add an online store, custom domain and other features, you will pay $14 per month.

5. Create an Online Course
An expanded way to sell what you know is to develop knowledge into an online course. It all starts with an idea—one that generally solves a problem for people. According to Ankur Nagpal, founder of online course site Teachable, your course should help students make a transformation. A successful online course will deliver the exact outcome your audience is looking for, whether that is to learn Mandarin, how to do magic tricks or master advanced Excel spreadsheets.

There is a correlation between how much time you spend developing your course and how unique it is to how much money you can make from it. Generally, you can charge more for a well-researched course that you spend months putting together over a simple course that is relatively easy to write.

The popularity of online courses has exploded in recent years, and vendors that help publish and sell courses has also grown. There are a variety of options, from hosting the course on your own website, to companies that provide a template for your course and a website to sell it. Check out this review of the nine most popular sites for online course development.

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6. Refinance Your Mortgage
If you have owned your home for a while, check to see if your interest rate is two percentage points or more than the current rates. Even though rates are rising, they are still considerably lower than a few years ago. It’s free to shop around and get a quote on refinancing your mortgage, which could save you a few hundred dollars a month. Just don’t forget to calculate in closing costs and fees. These expenses are amortized over time, but can mean it is not a good investment if you plan to sell within the next couple of years.

For example, if there are $3,000 in closing costs, and your monthly payment drops by $300 per month, you’ll break even in the first year. Use this 100 percent return on investment to further grow your wealth.

7. Create a YouTube Channel
As the number two search engine behind Google, YouTube has a powerful reach. We’ve all heard stories of YouTube stars making big bucks, like DanTMD, who earned nearly $17 million in 2017. The 26-year-old started off making videos of himself playing Minecraft and Pokemon.

You don’t need to be a superstar to earn money. You can use YouTube to explain something like DIY home repairs—we figured out how to fix our washing machine via a video. If you have spent any time on the platform, there is a wide variety of topics to teach and entertain the public. The top five video types are:

+ Product videos
+ How-to videos
+ Vlogs (every day thoughts of a YouTube influencer)
+ Comedy and skit videos

You make money by ads displayed before, during, and after each video. You can also send viewers to your online store or blog to further increase your sales. There are a plethora of videos on how to get started, located on YouTube of course. The cost is low, and there are plenty of ways to make money as your channel grows in popularity.

8. Start a Blog
Blogging can be lucrative, but it takes a while to create significant income. The great thing is, once all the pieces are in place you can have a nice passive income stream with a minimal time investment.

When building a blog, you need consistent, high quality content. It helps if you are knowledgeable and passionate about the subject matter and offer something valuable to readers. When a blog entry is posted to your website, there is an opportunity to deliver an ad, product for purchase, or affiliate link every time the post is read.

It takes time to build an audience—three years is a conservative estimate for the average monetized blog. Once the structure is in place and you have an established audience, however, passive income is easy to earn.

9. Rent out a room on Airbnb
Airbnb markets accommodations all around the world that are a lot less expensive than traditional hotels. You can rent out your apartment while you are on vacation, or rent a guest room in your home for extra income. Before you use your residence—or part of it—to accommodate paying guests, make sure to check local ordinances to see if these types of short-term rentals are allowed.

How much you will make will depend upon the size and condition of your home and your location. If you are on a lake or near popular urban features, your income will be much higher. You can earn money on space in your home and meet some interesting people along the way.