Living is expensive, as we are all very, very aware. And for many of us, one job’s wages aren’t going to cut it, forcing us to get creative when it comes to making a little extra money.
In some ways, necessity really is the mother of invention. Nearly every niche talent, interest and/or skill set can be turned into a profitable business. Have a knack for finding cool, unique things at Goodwill? Sell them online. Willing to do simple chores that others can’t be bothered to complete? Offer those services. The world is your capitalist oyster.
In other ways, society is a serpent eating its own tail. When people are all but forced to squeeze a penny out of every moment just to make ends meet or dare to try to make life better for themselves, then suddenly the only value registered is monetary value. That causes potential soul-nourishing hobbies to be drained of their magic by constantly trying to turn them into a “brand,” never pursuing certain hobbies in the first place for fear that they won’t make money, chasing get-rich-quick schemes out of desperation, following less-than-virtuous business practices…the list goes on.
But let’s focus on the former for today.
Recently, u/bigdope-smallgirl asked folks on Reddit to share the ‘weirdest’ ways they make money. In a world where it seemed like we’ve seen every side hustle in existence, the answers were quite unexpected, not to mention lucrative, with some gigs raking in an extra $400 to $500+ a month. Perhaps most surprising of all—only one person seemed to mention selling pictures of their feet.
Here’s what they had to say:
“I had a plumbing backup and needed someone with a snake to clear the line. I looked on Craigslist, and everyone was charging $99 for the snaking. This one guy advertised for $69. I called him, he came, and he had my line clear in 20 minutes. We got to talking. He and his family had just come in from Ohio a couple of weeks before because their 8-year-old daughter needed medical treatment that was only available in Tampa. Before he left Ohio, he had bought a used electrical plumbing snake for $400. Upon arrival, he was instantly busy with snake jobs because his price was the lowest on all of Craigslist. According to him, he was making about $400 per day, and he was working it seven days a week. Good money in it once the initial investment is made, but of course, it is not a glamorous job.“
“I host trivia. It’s a few nights a week for two and a half hours a night. It’s $50 each night plus the different venues hook you up with deals on food and drinks. Like, one place you get a free meal, which you can use for these giant pizzas that are normally $25. Or at another place, I get free drinks. It’s pretty chill, and I make about $500 a month. It helps.” —u/hothouseflowers
“Once a month, on a Friday night, I host a parents’ night out and babysit overnight. I still have a swing set, a tree swing, and such so kids come to my home. I charge around $50 a child and I serve dinner and dessert, we play outside until dusk, come in and get cleaned up/put pjs on, and then watch a movie. Depending on weather and age of kids, we may use our blowup movie screen and projector and watch the movie outside along with popcorn and juice boxes. Afterwards, it’s brushing teeth and getting settled down in sleeping bags. We set up camp in the family room, and kids fall asleep quickly. I’m up by 8 a.m. making breakfast to feed the little people, and parents pick up around 9:15. I usually watch 8 to 10 kids, and it’s an easy $500. Kids LOVE the night, and I have more demand than space available.”
“I bake fruitcakes from scratch, using pecans instead of walnuts, and cream sherry in lieu of harsher liquors. I use 1/2 pound loaf pans, so no one is stuck with a lot of leftovers. Baking begins in September, through October, so the cakes have time to soak up the sherry. Business is pretty good, I can do a few hundred dollars or more easily, and still have folks clamoring for more.“
“I do clinical studies. I was on an antibody one where the total pay is like $6k. I got $300-700 a month for the first few months for a blood draw and 1 infusion. And once I complete it next month I get a $1,500 “bonus” for completing the whole thing.“
“I have a flea market booth. The most lucrative part about it is freeze dried candy I buy from a local business. I buy in bulk and have 100% markup and still sell a crapload of candy! It helps that the local mall has pretty much the same stuff for three times the price. People want to try it but don’t want to pay those prices, so they get excited when they see mine and buy three for the price of one mall candy. It’s silly, but I’m happy with it.”
“I watch for class action lawsuits and join when I qualify. I’ve made a few hundred the past couple of years, but my main motivation is how tickled my husband gets when a random check arrives. Am always looking for ways to impress him, LOL.“
“I ‘teach English’ online, basically just chat with people. One of them is a kid where we do a 50/50 reading and watching Pokémon or Godzilla. So I get paid minimum wage to watch Pokémon and old Godzilla movies.“
“I crochet and sell dolls.“
“I had an Etsy shop reselling vintage and antique cast iron cookware that I would find in rusty condition and restore to be collected or used again. Just recently shut the shop down due to time constraints, but it was a great little side gig at the time, and I enjoyed it.“
“I DJ weddings and provide light shows for bands coming through town. It started off just as a hobby, and it spread through word of mouth. People pay so much money for DJs and bands for weddings that it makes my charge of $100 an hour look really cheap.”
“I watch local Facebook groups and find odd jobs there quite a bit. People are always looking for random help. Last weekend, I made $25 by going to a lady’s house and clipping her cat’s toenails!“
“One thing I did was a mock jury I found on Craigslist. Went to a law firm where they catered food, drinks, and snacks. We got to listen to a case and deliberate like an actual jury would, and the whole thing was recorded. Got paid $200 plus travel fees for about three and a half hours worth of work.”
“I worked as a victim for a military training drill. It was $100 per day, paid in cash. If you did all three days of this exercise, you got an extra $25. They are coming back to my area in two months.”
“I met a dude once who sold feeder roaches to Petco, PetSmart, etc. He was making, like, $200k off his garage.“
“Back in college, I put together furniture — 80% of the time for older folks who ordered flat pack furniture and couldn’t put it together themselves. I enjoyed the puzzle of putting together IKEA furniture, and I usually had an interesting conversation or two with the older generation.”
“I sharpen knives and tools to supplement my income. Startup costs are pretty low, and if you go to a farmers market in a wealthier part of town, you can usually get a decent amount of business. Kitchen and pocket knives are usually the standard, but if you can sharpen tools like lawn mower blades, shears, chisels, etc., you can get a decent amount of consistent return business. Anywhere from a couple hundred to about $1k a month depending on how much I am working at it.“
“Not that weird, but I model for art classes. I have a full-time job, but I usually do classes a month and get paid in cash, which is nice.”
“I sell plant cuttings and seedlings! Spring time I just sell my extra peppers and tomatoes, and then have some well-loved houseplants that need a haircut every so often. I just root the cuttings in water and eventually pot and sell. It’s not a ton of cash or anything, but it’s a nice way for my hobby to pay for itself over time. Also, I’ve been growing pomegranates from seed because where I live, they are an uncommon houseplant. The local garden center sold small trees for $129+! I had no problem growing the little guys for a few months and selling for $20; whereas, the seed packs were $5 for a bunch.”
And last but not least…
“Not a job or a real way to make money but, in Washington State, every time at the grocery store I would snag the tossed losing lottery tickets in the lotto garbage cans. Scan them into the 360 app and get points, 1700 points was equal to $25 on gift cards. I made about $825 in one year just by doing that, $125 of that $825 was from winning thrown away lottery tickets. People just tossing winners in the garbage can. Once I found a completely unused scratched ticket, also got a few free tickets in bonus rounds that people just tossed.”