Ideas for earning a little extra money . . . just in time for the holidays
Side hustle, side job, gig, moonlighting . . . call it whatever you like. Many single moms find that having a few ways to make a little extra income is incredibly helpful when it comes time to pay the bills—and especially in preparation for the upcoming holiday season. My friends have been teasing me for years about how many side hustles I always seem to have—they say even my side hustles have side hustles! So I thought, What better to share with you than some of my tried-and-true methods for making a little extra cash? Here are some easy ideas you can get started on immediately and with minimal to zero up-front investment.
Child care. This is something you and your child can do together—I think of it as a playdate that pays. You can also offer overnight babysitting to extend your ability to earn. Post a profile on Care.com, UrbanSitter, or a local parents’ site, and you are off and running.
Earning potential: $15–$25+ per hour
Blogging. This is something I’ve enjoyed experimenting with over on my blog, BeckList. With just a little time invested, you can write about whatever you wish while partnering with affiliate companies or advertisers to monetize your blog. Extra bonus: the writing is quite therapeutic!
Earning potential: $25–$500+ per month
Freelance writing. If you are an expert on any topic—or just like to write—this is an excellent way to quickly increase your income. A good place to start is looking to the websites you like to read. Check if they accept submissions . . . then start typing!
Earning potential: $40–$200+ per article
Rent out your home. You can rent out your whole home, one room, or just a couch! It’s easy and fun to earn money by sharing your home with travelers from all over the world. You get to meet interesting people and get paid—they get to meet an interesting Solo Mom while saving money on hotel costs. Airbnb is a popular place to get started.
Earning potential: $40–$250+ per night
Rent out your car. Similar to sites for renting out your space, there are sites that help you rent out your car. This is a great option for Solo Moms who don’t use their car every day. A couple of reputable outlets for this are Turo and Getaround.
Earning potential: $35–$150+ per day
Baking. I recently stumbled on this idea after seeing many moms both requesting birthday cakes and cupcakes and advertising their baking services on several online moms groups I participate in. I see frequent requests for cute, themed baked goods—this seems like a market with a lot of need! If you love baking creatively, then this side hustle might be for you.
Earning potential: $50+ per job
Housecleaning. Let’s be honest—we are all pros at this one by now! I like to think of this side hustle as a way to get paid to work out. Think of all those squats! It can even be meditative for some. Care.com is a site where you can market your skills in housekeeping as well as in child care. (See above.)
Earning potential: $25+ per hour
Dog walking and pet sitting. This one is another side job with the benefit of getting a little exercise, plus fresh air and a little pet therapy! I don’t think you can do this one and not walk away a little happier.
Earning potential: $10–$50 per visit
Delivery driving. There are so many options these days if you want to join the delivery brigade. It’s not just for pizza and newspapers anymore! You can quickly start a busy side business delivering groceries, meals, and even people. Some good places to start are Instacart, Postmates, Lyft, Uber, and HopSkipDrive. Extra bonus: if you do grocery delivery, you may be able to get your own shopping done at the same time.
Earning potential: $15+ per hour
House-sitting. Most of us have done this before, but did you know there are websites for connecting homeowners to house-sitters? You can double down with this one by renting out your own home while you house-sit at the same time. Try connecting with homeowners on House Sitters America and MindMyHouse.
Earning potential $25–$75 per day
Studies, surveys, and market research. I was first introduced to this world as an undergrad where I participated in studies on eyesight, anxiety, memory, sleep, and more. After becoming a mom, another realm of opportunities has opened up, since I now qualify for lots of different consumer studies on products for moms and babies. Focus Pointe Global and dscout are two companies with which I have had lots of success.
Earning potential: $25–$1,000 per study and free product samples
Once you realize the potential for earning a little extra income through helping people in such simple ways, you will start to see opportunity everywhere. Just find what feels like an easy fit for your life and family, and enjoy the extra earnings.
Need a little more inspiration around stretching your dollars around the holidays? Check out “Santa Is Broke” by ESME’s Margot Kessler.
Beck List is an environmental scientist and writer living with her five-year-old future comedian in California. She has lived through plenty of her own trials and tribulations—and you can read more tips on her blog, BeckList.
Please feel free to contact us with any comments or questions.