By Andrea Woroch
More people than ever are feeling the pinch in their budget as the coronavirus threatens lives and our ability to earn a living. For many, however, now is the time to get creative and seek new opportunities to make money.
Even if you haven't experienced any disruption in income, supplementing your income could help boost your emergency savings so you're fully prepared for whatever lies ahead. Although social distancing and stay-at-home orders put a barrier on some earning opportunities, there are many things you can do right from home to make some extra cash.
Here are eight easy and safe ways to earn money, while maintaining social distances.
1. Enjoy canine companionship.
Whether you're quarantined with your family, all alone, or just looking to get outside for a walk, a canine companion can reduce stress, add some excitement to the mix, and help you earn extra money. There are still plenty of people who are going to work every day, including frontline workers. Some are even working longer hours, such as first responders, nurses, doctors and store clerks. While they're busy being heroes, their pets could likely use some exercise and attention.
Through sites like Rover.com, you can find various pet care opportunities including 30- to 60-minute walks and drop-in visits where you're able to set your own rates. Pet lovers can earn anywhere from $15 to $30 per walk, depending on the market. All communication and payment is facilitated through the Rover app.
To keep human-to-human interaction to a minimum, walkers and pet parents are encouraged to set up a virtual "meet & greet" to discuss care details. Once you've figured out logistics, including contactless hand-offs and other safety precautions like bringing your own leash, Rover is a great way to earn some extra income while supporting frontline workers during these tough times - and adding a furry friend is almost guaranteed to lighten your mood.
2. Provide virtual tutoring.
Kids of all ages are in need of tutoring more than ever as our world goes on lockdown and schools remain closed indefinitely. In households where both parents work, finding time to homeschool can be a struggle. Sites like Varsity Tutors, an online tutoring company, say they are looking to add 10,000 tutors and instructors for their "Virtual School Day" initiative, a free program that includes thirty hours a week of high-quality live online instruction, led by an expert tutor.
If you fancy yourself an expert in any field, have some free time and a computer, apply to tutor. The work is online, you'll be helping kids and parents during challenging times, and you'll find there's a high demand for your services.
3. Give your opinion.
Marketing research firms pay individuals to gauge their attitudes about particular products and services or to evaluate their perspective on certain topics. Although many focus groups are conducted in person, there are plenty of virtual opportunities you can do right from home. For instance, at 20|20 Panel, you can apply to participate in a variety of research studies that cover everything from grocery shopping to political views.
You can also make money taking surveys online via sites like InboxDollars and Survey Junkie. Surveys take anywhere from a couple of minutes or up to an hour of your time, with payments varying on the duration of the survey.
4. Offer virtual assistance.
Whether you're looking to completely replace your income or just supplement it, becoming a virtual assistant provides flexible work hours. Depending on your skillset, experience and interests, you can offer assistance in a variety of areas such as social media management, bookkeeping, data research or copy editing. Sites like Upwork, ZipRecruiter and Fancy Hands can connect you to VA roles.
5. Join an online mock jury.
Some attorneys pay mock jurors to determine case value, develop case themes, find important facts to emphasize, and learn "public" attitudes before they take a case to trial. As an online juror, you must review cases and provide requested feedback which could take anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour. EJury.com pays $5 to $10 per case through PayPal, while OnlineVerdict.com offers $20 to $60 by check. Though you won't make a lot of money as an e-juror, you could earn some extra cash to pay for various monthly bills.
6. Become a chat agent.
If your grammar and typing skills are on point, you could make money easily by becoming a live chat agent working right from your own computer at home. Sites such as SiteStaff and Chat Shop hire remote chat hosts to facilitate a range of live customer requests and questions online. Requirements are typically limited to a certain type count of 65+ words-per-minute with perfect grammar, spelling and punctuation.
7. Conduct online research.
If you spend hours browsing the Internet each week, you may as well get paid for it. There are companies that pay individuals to run online searches on a variety of topics and keywords, paying workers anywhere from $10 to $15 per hour. All you need is Internet access to get started. For example, Wonder hires people to conduct Internet research on a wide variety of topics and report on market trends, scope out competition, gather data, and more. Meanwhile, Appen offers roles for Search Engine Evaluators in which you run online searches and evaluate results for relevance and usefulness.
8. Make money on essential purchases.
No matter how much you try to cut back on shopping right now, there are many purchases you have to make, so why not earn money on what you're buying anyway? Through sites like Swagbucks.com, you can earn points for purchases you make through the site and cash them out for gift cards to popular retailers like Amazon or even PayPal. You can even earn points taking surveys through their site or discovering new products and signing up for a new service. You will earn $1 for every 100 points and can cash out once your account accrues a minimum of 300 points.
If you want more credit, check out our list of credit card offers.