In a different blog post I explored side gigs that require a lot of investment for little or no return. Now let’s look at gigs that not only pay, but require much less work. Sound too good to be true?
Thanks to technology, there are now lots of apps that allow you to earn extra money “easily”, cash that can be spent to pay down your six-figure student debt. I test-drove some of these options, and here’s what I found.
1. Sell your parking spot
JustPark, SPOT, and Pavemint allow you to sell your parking space. I signed up for all three and got zero hits, but that might have been due to my limited availability — I live in a building where I’d have to let people in to have access to the parking spot. Try this if you live in a place with high foot traffic and have a driveway. According to comments on Reddit, people often rent out the space for a year, asking for the full payment upfront. A great way to bring in some cash.
2. Sell your accommodation
AirBNB is one of the best sources for extra money. I use AirBNB to back-fill my house with guests any time I am traveling or out of town. Depending on what state you live in, and your home or condo rules, you may be able to rent to people as a one-off but not operate a full-fledged AirBNB business (where you never actually live in the property but use it solely as an AirBNB rental). You simply clean your house, take a few photos during the day, and list the days you are out of town. It is annoying to have to super-clean your place before leaving for a trip, and change the sheets when you get home, but if you stand to fund your vacation completely from these small inconveniences, I’d still say it is worthwhile – especially when you consider the alternatives of $11 per hour part-time jobs.
If you can’t deal with the hassle of AirBNB, there are companies willing to take this on for you. Companies like Guesty, Pillowhomes, and AirConcierge can handle a variety of issues like photos, bookings, cleanings, key handover, turnover, and the like. You will sacrifice some of your income for these bookings but free up valuable time.
3. Pet sitting/walking
Sign up on Rover, Care.com, Barkly Pets, or Wag! Many of these sites depend on the area. Don’t be too casual about this job, though. Do some homework beforehand. You don’t want to be caught in a sudden life or death issue with someone else’s pet and not have a clue what to do. Prepare also for common problems, like pet hostility or who will be financially responsible for pet emergencies. Besides info on the pet-sitting websites listed above, there is a lot information online. Just do a simple and quick internet search, and you’ll be ready to go.
4. Rent your car
Phone apps like Turo, Hyrecar, and Getaround are all apps for renting out your car to strangers. It’s kind of like AirBnB for cars. This was difficult for me to test; I live in LA now and use my car daily, but I suppose this could be worthwhile in a place like San Francisco or Chicago (if you live in a place with heavy foot or retail traffic abundant public transportation is an option).
Keep in mind that you might have to deal with one of the renters getting into an accident and damaging your car, even causing harm to another driver or themselves. The rental companies have insurance to cover this, but you may want to look into what some of the consequences for you might be. Consider also the consequences to your vehicle, the added mileage, the nicks and scratches, the wear and tear to the interior. If you don’t really care that much about your car, this can be a great way to make some decent extra income.
In these dynamic techno times, new ideas and apps pop up regularly. Use this technological wave to your benefit. Keep your eyes open for opportunities. Be creative. Think outside the box. There is more than one way to pay down your high student debt.