Buy underpriced used books. Outfit a phone with an ISBN reading app, scan the ISBN numbers of books at used bookstores and thrift shops, and compare the asking prices with what the books are selling for on a site like Amazon. Whenever you get a good hit (which won’t be often but, since the process is fast, won’t take long, either), buy the book and resell it online. Be discreet about this, as the store managers probably won’t like what you’re doing.
If you're not self-employed and work for a company, find out if they have a retirement plan. If you're lucky, employers will sometimes match contributions you make into a retirement fund. Retirement plans also often have the benefit of being tax-deferred. The longer you get to keep your money (and make interest on it) the better. It's never too early to start planning for retirement.
Recognize that time is money. This critical piece of advice is attributed to Benjamin Franklin, who was an accomplished American inventor, journalist, printer, diplomat, and statesman--the ultimate multitasker. Your ability to manage your time (and stop procrastinating) is a critical ingredient in your ability to make money. Whether you have a job or are self-employed, keep track of what you're spending your time on. Ask yourself "Which of these activities make the most money, and which of them are a waste of time?" Do more of the former and less of the latter, simple as that. When you're focusing on high-priority tasks, get the job done well, and get the job done fast. By working efficiently, you're giving your employer or clients more time, and they'll appreciate you for it. Remember that time is a limited resource that you're always investing. Will your investments pay off?
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Many companies, such as J. Crew, Express Jet, 1-800-flowers, and even the IRS, outsource customer-service operations to third-party companies who then hire home-based workers or "agents" to take calls and orders. When you call 1-800-flowers, you may be speaking with Rebecca Dooley, a retired police officer and employee of Alpine Access, a major call-center service. When you dialed the number, your call was automatically routed to Rebecca's spare bedroom in Colorado.
If you don’t live in a bottle deposit state, you can still cash in on recyclables by selling scrap metal. You may not have enough soda or beer cans lying around to make this worthwhile — and steel prices are so low right now, it’s not really worth the bother to go collecting them. But if you do have a lot of aluminum cans on hand, or if you have any scrap metal with copper in it, find a local recycling center and see what you’ll get (prices vary wildly by market). Still, unless you have a lot of copper pipes lying around the garage, or bags and bags and bags of old soda cans, realistically, we’re probably talking about getting $5 to $20 back.
Sell photos. If you have a decent camera and a good sense of light, color, and composition, you can take and sell stock photos – i.e. nondescript images that lend themselves to many applications and are commonly used to illustrate online articles or products – with minimal effort. Stock photos of locations (a fire hydrant, a bare wall near an interesting tree, or anything you might find as a default background image on your computer) are easier to take, but stock photos of people (i.e. people arguing, people kissing, people laughing) usually sell for more, as they have more uses and require the written legal consent of your subjects. Hunt for a reputable stock photo dealer or database that will pay you fairly before signing on with anyone.
Rover is a dog walking and pet sitting website that is always looking for qualified dog walkers in cities all over the United States. So when you take your pup on a walk, you can also take a second (or third) dog with you and get paid to walk. 30-minute walks fall in the $10-30 range. With a neighborhood route, that can add up quickly! You’re just a short application away from getting started.