3 Things You Can Do From Home for Additional Income

by Miranda Marquit · 74 comments

An essential ingredient in frugal living is spending less money. However, there is only so much you can cut from your budget before you can’t cut anymore — or you feel so restricted that it becomes difficult to maintain your situation. If you are looking to improve your cash flow, you can look for ways to add a little more income to your budget.

Increasing your income doesn’t mean that you have to go out and find a part-time job, though. There are things you can do from home to make a little extra money. You may have to spend some time getting things started, but after a while, you might find that you can create a steady income from the comfort of your home.

1. Freelancing

One of the most popular things you can do is freelance. You can freelance if you know how to write, if you are knowledgeable about graphic design, or if you know how to program. Technology has made it possible for you to provide your services to people all over the world. Many of my own clients have never even met me in person. Improving your marketable skills will be even more important now that you are taking in clients, and you need to be careful of scams and people who don’t pay you in a timely manner, but with a little perseverance, you can earn some money as a freelancer.

2. Start Your Own Web Site

Another way to make a little extra money is to start your own web site. Think of something that you are passionate about, or that you are knowledgeable about. You can start a blog or web site quickly and fairly inexpensively. Post information that others find useful, and consider tweaking content to focus on certain keywords. You can even look for good information from other sites, and curate it in a way that attracts visitors. Content curation and creation are expected to really take off, and you can be involved.

Monetize your web site/blog with AdSense, as well as affiliate programs. Once you have an established following such as a site like MoneyNing.com, you can even begin offering advertising packages.

3. Consulting

If you know a lot about something, you can offer your services as a consultant. You can do PR and image consulting, or you can provide help as a SEO consultant or social media guru. It doesn’t even have to be online. You can base a consulting business for communications, teamwork, survey design, green living or some other subject of interest out of your home. You may have to travel sometimes, though, so that can get difficult because of the time and money involved in doing so. Luckily for you, we have a ton of travel coupons to help you save a bit at least on the financial side of things.

Consulting is also tricky, since you will have to be able to deliver results and prove your expertise. But if you have the credentials, you can be a successful consultant — and do it all from the comfort of your home.

Other Opportunities

There are plenty of other opportunities to work from home as part of your frugal lifestyle. Companies are outsourcing some call center jobs to home workers or you can be a virtual assistant. I’m sure you can think of plenty of other opportunities to create a little extra income each month.

What thoughts do you have on working from home?

You may also want to read: 10 ways to make extra money.

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Vanessa McGrady April 15, 2011 at 3:06 pm

People spend years developing these skills — even seasoned writers and reporters are out of work and scraping by these days. To suggest that people can go ahead and make extra money just by freelancing, consulting or starting a website is ridiculously out of touch. One thing you missed: You need to find someone to buy what you’re selling. Good luck on that.

Rod C. Venger April 17, 2011 at 8:59 pm


Very true, but consider: The author of this article likely wrote it at home and got paid for it. I know a number of people that just write articles all day. It can be done if you’re good with words, can do a little research and find someone that pays on time. Me…I’d ask for payment via paypal upon acceptance of the article, whether they choose to publish it or not. Whether or not such a deal is gettable, I don’t know. -Rod-

simon April 18, 2011 at 10:00 am


That would explain the glut of unresearched, poorly written, ungrammatical and factually incorrect articles available on the internet. Content farms will pay people to knock out a few blurbs with dozens of keywords, which then muddle search results in tools like Bing and Google. Vanessa is right; this article could have the same content and be called “things to do instead of picking your nose for about the same return on investment”.

Miranda April 20, 2011 at 7:51 pm

The key with #1 freelancing — and doing it well — is, as I stated, IF YOU KNOW how to do something. And it isn’t just writing. One of my good friends works from home as a freelance software programmer. I know several freelance graphic designers working from home. And my brother-in-law is a freelance video game designer working from home. Rod is right; I was paid for this article. In fact, I am the primary breadwinner in my family as a freelance writer. Freelancing has grown a lot, as has consulting.

However, as with all things in life, if you want to make money, you have to put in some effort and work, whether you are monetizing a web site, acting as a virtual assistant, creating crafts to sell online, or offering your consulting services. And, of course, there are all types of people you run into online, as you do in the “real” world. Just there’s that guy in the office who brings home a regular paycheck without doing much, there are people who make money on content farms and spammy links. It’s the way of the world.

Cathy April 21, 2011 at 3:23 pm

I have a great idea for online teaching site; however no idea how to get one started! Any sources out there to help me create the web site and ‘ even begin offering advertising packages’ as you stated?

Miranda April 22, 2011 at 4:25 pm

There are lots of places to go to set up a web site. You can get hosting and basic template help from places like DotEasy.com, GoDaddy.com, HostGator.com, blogger.com, and others. You can usually include a page on your site offering advertising packages; any web template should allow you to put up ads if you are paying for hosting. Here are some examples of online teaching web sites/blogs. http://mpbreflections.blogspot.com/, http://distancelearn.about.com/od/onlinecourses/a/Teaching-Online.htm, http://www.articulate.com/rapid-elearning/, http://elearnqueen.blogspot.com/

Greg April 23, 2011 at 4:08 am


There are lots of people succeeding and earning money. Your negativity will prevent you from being one of them.

It’s not hard to find people to pay you. I get all kinds of work that I was never even looking for to begin with. I learned SEO to promote one of my small businesses, and then was asked to do paid seminars on it. Then after I did the seminars, people who heard of me through that continued to call me and hire me to do work for them.

Toby April 23, 2011 at 6:54 am

It’s amazing that no matter what the topic, we always have someone complaining that it can’t be done. Yet there are several others including myself that have had the two biggest years financially of my life. Bitching is directly proportionate to income! I think I will write an article about that….any takers? Nice job Miranda!

Gail April 24, 2011 at 3:29 pm

I’m a nurse and started my own home based business in 2007 designing t-shirts for medical professionals and now design for ALL professions as well. My income is now nearly what I make working full-time as a nurse. If I lost my job…I’d be able to stay afloat.

There are a number of places on-line where you can sell shirt designs, Zazzle.com, Cafepress.com, Spreadshirt, and art work on REDBUBBLE.com. If you are crafy, the best place to sell on-line is Etsy.com, a site for anything homemade. It’s really easy!

Good luck everyone, I know these are really tough times for us all. May God Bless!

Alan April 25, 2011 at 10:28 am

Second time I’ve submitted a comment…does this form work?

Alan April 25, 2011 at 10:32 am

I’ve been working from home (both freelance and as a consultant) for the past 8 years. The question is not whether it can be done. The question is, how many people that read this article possess enough skill and motivation to do this – YET – have never thought to themselves, HEY! Why don’t I just freelance or blog or consult from home?!

Alan April 25, 2011 at 10:32 am

If you’re skilled enough to freelance or consult, you asked yourself that question long before David Ning bought couponshoebox, built the site and hired writers to start churning out daily kibble for the search engines and aggregators. And that is exactly what this is: a lightweight article selling the hope of making money working from home (always a popular topic, written about exhaustively) with the “top x things” list-style article title that you constantly find ranking well on aggregators & super-aggregators like Reddit, Digg, Delicious, Popurls, etc. It is not an informative how-to guide. There’s no real information here. It’s just an idea.

For those of us who work in SEO and write thousands of traffic-building, bite-size-thought articles, it’s plain what this article is. The fourth paragraph nearly summarizes the process: “You can even look for good information from other sites, and curate it in a way that attracts visitors.” Whether an article is actually helpful is no longer important…AT ALL. What’s important is how many built-for-speed articles you can knock out for minimum cost. As long as this strategy of abundant but barely useful content continues to work for search engine rankings and overall traffic, it’ll constitute the vast majority of what you find online. Sorry.

Apple mint April 25, 2011 at 11:48 am

At least we have Miranda to share some tips,if any of you guys /gals know better than hers please share them to the rest of the world….until then …

Kathy Schneidermeyer April 26, 2011 at 1:19 pm

The one thing that caught my eye while reading comments is that most people responding can write using correct spelling and grammar. Students who refused to learn these skills have little chance for success. I was a teacher for seventeen years and I know students who have succeeded and students who have trouble holding on to a job. And many second language learners have not mastered writing,speaking, etc. in any language.

Nicole April 26, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Great article – and I agree with some of the comments that it is hard to find ways to earn money from home. Another thing to consider is getting paid to shop – but from home. Most people shop for bargains on line and hunt for the best deals. I belong to Cheap Today and share my finds with them. My deals earn reward points which I turn in at the end of the month for cash. It’s not get rich quick, but being paid to write at home works for me. I don’t have to purchase the item I found, just write about it and submit it.

Nancy April 27, 2011 at 6:11 am

I’ve been out of a “real job” for over three years. I live in a very rural area, where opportunities are few. I’ve supported myself all this time by freelancing. You do need to know what you’re doing; there really are a lot of misspelled, ungrammatical, poorly researched articles out there. Even most TV newscasters don’t seem able to speak grammatically! I have 30 years’ experience as an editor, writer and translator, so you won’t see any such slipshod material from me! Mind you, I’m not getting rich at this, but I’m surviving!

wendy May 5, 2011 at 6:15 am

When I clicked on this article, I have to say that I expected these 3 things to be “things” that anyone could do. Not everyone has the skills to consult, freelance, or build a website. With that said, these are areas that can be beneficial to those with proper skills. Also, just because you have the basic skills, it doesn’t mean that you will succeed. I built a website but it has been slow to bring in traffic and customers. I have spent more on my website than I have made so far. I used to pay for hosting, but now I use blogger with my own domain name to cut costs. I do, however, think that my site is finally working toward the positive. The site that I run is a deal site, and i recently tried something new. It bombed and I am recovering from that decision. Website ideas just don’t always work. You just have to keep plugging along until you find something that does work for you.

SJP May 6, 2011 at 12:05 pm

I agree Vanessa. This site made it sound very easy. It’s not. “Start your own web site” will make you money? That’s comical. Starting the site is the easiest part. Try attracting traffic. Good luck with that. 😉

OC Home Renters May 10, 2011 at 6:37 pm

Hey Nancy, you are a great example of what this article is suggesting. There is work that can be done at home for extra income. But you do need the appropriate skills AND you also need to be able and willing to do some selling/marketing of your skills in order to find ongoing work.

Many web developers are looking for native English speaking writers, who can create high quality content for an affordable price. Yes, a lot of this kind of work is outsourced to India but the quality is not as good.

Nancy, for you to get more work you should have a link in your comment so that people (like me) can look at samples on your website and contact you for more info and with possible jobs.

Also, there are also a number of forums devoted to internet marketing where you can post your services for free. A lot of web developers are looking for this service.

Mike Quiroz May 15, 2011 at 2:06 am

I am one of the lucky ones; I have a stable job, caring wife, and am not upside down on my mortgage. The saying do what you love to do and people will pay you for it is true for me. I started out as a volunteer coach with my children, after they grew up I continued to coach. I coached girl’s softball, specializing in pitching. Long story short it turned into a nice second income I never expected when I was doing it for free. Opportunity still knocks in America, you have to put down the cell phone to hear it, Good luck

FreelanceIsTheNext9-5 May 20, 2011 at 6:40 pm

I started 3 web based business all from freelancing originally I now have company that gets most of our business from freelance sites. In less then a year we have made over 100K on sites like Elance.com, Odesk.com etc.

Elance is much better for fixed price jobs not hourly. I dont recommend bidding on anything with a budget of less then $500 as 1). It is not worth the time. 2). It will get low balled. 3). The client is most likely a middle man trying to reap a profit while you suffer with a lot of revisions and multiple inputs.

I have been doing this for 3 years now, I have lost a lot of money and made a lot of money on these sites you just have to be careful who you work with, you also need to make sure you always have signed agreements and SOW (statements of work)

Good luck guys and girls

Kevin Minshaw May 27, 2011 at 7:08 am

I agree with Miranda. You can make money freelancing. It is hard work but it can be done. There are many poorly written articles out there — I don’t think I’ve read two articles in a row on CNN without picking up bad grammar or spelling — and this is from professional journalists! Surely, that means there are opportunities out there to offer better quality work. If CNN journalists can make money from writing badly, surely you can make money by offering a better service. You don’t have to be a wizard, you just have to be better than the competition.

If one thinks of the volumes of marketing information produced by companies every month, there’s more than enough work to go around (in my case, as a freelance copywriter). Customers aren’t hard to find — winning their trust is. That takes persuasion, which is selling, which is what business is all about.

jt May 31, 2011 at 12:36 am

Wow,what negative attitudes. I certainly wouldnt hire you to write anything or do anything at all. ‘Good Luck with that.’-Why dont you be quiet and hurry my french fries up,havent got all day at your drive through window…

Those of you that are staying motivated and evolving with the times-Bravo!

Mohammed Khaki May 31, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Hello Miranda! Great article, I stumbled across it yesterday. I do agree you can earn a lot more freelancing, which is what I plan to do very soon, in graphic design. I did not know about writing, and it’s something I love doing too. Any headway in how to get paid in the start? I have a blog for years but then stopped writing in it: mnkhaki.blogspot.com.

CAKEGIRL June 1, 2011 at 10:26 am

Miranda, every time I see articles like yours, I get excited – I KNOW people will pay money for services only THEY are interested in buying… For example, I bake cakes – homeade cakes – no website, just word of mouth and entering craft holiday bazaars every year.
Last year, I made $5k on cakes alone — I actually work FULL TIME for the state… I make a great salary as a manager – my children are in private school –
I also consult on fashion and help friends shop for vacations… then they tell their rich friends – This service costs them $125 an hour – Two months ago, one lady kept me for 7 hours – IN one day I made a lot of money for something I would do any day for free – Money was a bonus – I have soooooo many passions – If I didn’t have a full-time job, ummm – I’d be dangerous. This year alone, I plan to make over 5k on shopping for friends/clients alone – I’m the breadwinner in my house and my husband delivers cakes and sets all my appointments… I am so blessed and my children are getting the best education – while we enjoy island vacations annually – Following your passion will have people falling at your front door for the service you are willing to market ~ Give it a try – It has paid off for me and my family!

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