5 Creative Ways to Make Money From Real People Who’ve Done It

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One in two millennials has a side hustle, according to data by GoDaddy, raking in an average $258 of extra income a month. But how they’re scoring that extra dough varies greatly.

While the study reveals that the majority of people (52 percent) are selling items online, other side gigs let you step outside the box a bit with some pretty unique ways to make a little extra dough.

Here are five creative ways to make money that you haven’t thought of yet.

1. Snuggling

creative ways to make money

Whether you’re having a bad day or are feeling lonely, sometimes you just need a hug, maybe even a snuggle. Well, there are actually professionals who will take care of you in those times.

Sam Varnerin of Boston heard about professional snuggling while she was a full-time construction engineer, and after learning about the flexible hours and hourly pay, started doing it on this side.

“I looked up the Snuggle Buddies agency and found that there were a lot of people looking for someone to snuggle with in my area and I thought I’d be good at it,” she said. “Two weeks later I had my first client.”

Varnerin explains that the process is easy, but it’s legitimate work. She went through a phone screening, reviewed a training manual and code of conduct, was given a test client who reported back, and after they went over her review of the first session, she was booking regular clients.

“Anyone who is a good listener and communicator can do this job,” she said. “You also have to have a sense of humor since weird things will happen. One time, I had a guy in a full suit with tails who didn’t want to change, but didn’t want his suit wrinkled. I had to laugh.”

Being a professional snuggler requires zero initial start-up costs if you go through an agency. If you want to venture out on your own as a professional snuggler, you might have to set up a website to attract customers. But those costs are minimal and not very time-consuming, so your snuggling side hustle can be up and running quickly.

Regarding the money, Varnerin says she started making $40 an hour and now charges $80 to $100 an hour. In fact, her snuggling side hustle became so lucrative, she quit her full-time job, created the business Snuggle With Sam, and now snuggles full time. “It’s therapy, and a lot of people need it,” she said.

2. Read tarot cards

creative ways to make money

Tarot cards have been around since the 1400s and reading them is still a great way to make some extra money.

Professional witch and owner of StartWitchin, December Fields-Bryant, first started reading tarot cards in college when she was looking for creative ways to make money. She researched the different types of decks online and how to read the cards by watching YouTube videos, and started asking people if they wanted a reading.

“I went to local businesses and asked if they would be interested in having me read for their customers,” she said. “I’ve met readers who worked in bars and clubs, at parties, hotel lobbies, even hair salons. I worked at a cafe and did my best (and most profitable) work at fairs and festivals. It’s a great gig, and most of the time I barely felt like I was working.”

The only start-up cost associated with becoming a tarot card reader is investing in a deck — around $15 — which pays for itself after a couple of readings. Fields-Bryant makes about $1,000 offering $10 readings over the course of a weekend and says you could easily start charging the same per reading. “Not bad for a two-to-three-day side gig,” she said.

3. Coach people on dating

creative ways to make money

Dating can be tough, which is exactly why there are coaches to help in the romance department. Think you have what it takes to be one? Well, being an online dating coach is an actual gig that you can do from your own home.

Erik Lothbrok discovered the side hustle after going through a tough breakup and was looking online for ways to win back his ex. He discovered a ton of dating coaches for men and quickly realized that he could do just as good of a job.

After researching and watching YouTube videos on the art of dating, he started applying his new skills by helping clients who were in similar situations as him. “I work with guys remotely, via phone coaching and Skype, helping them set up online profiles,” he said. “Then I work with them on everything from appearance, to their mindset, and what to say and do to convey their personality.”

At first, he charged “next to nothing,” but built up his expertise and created his own business: Coast to Coast Dating Coach. Now, Lothbrok charges $350 to $750 for an online session, which lasts a minimum of five hours. He also helps coach others who want to be coaches for the same rate, so they can start working with clients ASAP.

“It’s a great job to do on the side because you can control the number of sessions you book,” said Lothbrok. “I did it just for a few hours a month at first, but was able to grow my client list to take full time. You can make good money and work from anywhere.”

The only major start-up costs to become an online dating coach are any books you purchase to learn about the art of dating and a website to advertise your services. If you decide to get training from someone like Lothbrok, you can expect to spend around $350 and up, depending on how much time you want to invest.

4. Look for jobs

creative ways to make money

People say looking for a job is a full-time job, but it can actually make you some money.

Kevin Han found a free app, Job Spotter, where you take a picture of any hiring sign you happen to see and the storefront, and upload it. For every hiring sign you find, you earn points which you can then redeem for Amazon gift cards.

Typically, you can earn anywhere from five cents for a sign to over $1 for a hiring sign. The difference in amounts is based on the type of sign. An employment sign that is always up in a fast food restaurant, for example, won’t make as much as a local store hiring for the holiday season. The more unique the opportunity, the more you can get paid.

“You won’t make a full-time income doing this, but it’s not hard to make an extra 10 to 25 dollars a month,” he said. “Although there are people on the Job Spotter leaderboards that seem to make hundreds of dollars a month. It’s just a few extra dollars I can make whenever I’m out biking or walking around.”

5. Watch the tapings of TV shows

creative ways to make money

Why watch your favorite show on your TV when you can get paid to watch it live? With multiple shows being filmed, there’s often a need for live audience members.

Jackie Lam, who is a freelance writer and blogger at Hey Freelancer, discovered this while trying to find creative ways to make money on the side. She learned that you could easily sign up for websites such as Standing Room Only (if you’re 18 or older). You create a profile, answer basic demographic questions — age, ethnicity, location — upload photos of yourself, and note if you have special skills.

Once logged in, you can scour the site every day for opportunities, click “I’m interested,” and wait to hear back. Audience members are chosen for a variety of reasons depending on the topic of the show. For example, a Valentine’s Day segment might want more couples in the audience versus a show focused on music lovers.

If you’re chosen, you have to confirm you can make the gig and sign a waiver. Just be sure to read all the instructions carefully (dress code, call times, location).

“It’s not a ton of money, but you can make an average of $10 an hour,” said Lam. “Also, there’s a lot of sitting around, so you can bring your laptop or a book to read while you’re killing time or do other work. Plus, as you imagine the work itself is incredibly easy.”

The only costs associated with this side hustle are parking once you get a gig, but you don’t have to pay anything to get started.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.

Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.

Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.

The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at hello@earnest.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.

© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.


2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

  1. VARIABLE APR – APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes.

3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student loan Refinance: Fixed rates from 3.899% APR to 8.179% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.570% APR to 6.980% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. SoFi rate ranges are current as of September 14, 2018 and are subject to change without notice. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.570% APR assumes the current index rate derived from the 1-month LIBOR of 2.08% plus 0.740% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score.
  2. Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.

LendKey Disclosures

Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.


5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

  1. Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). The following table displays the estimated monthly payment, total interest, and Annual Percentage Rates (APR) for a $10,000 loan. The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) shown for each in-school loan product reflects the accruing interest, the effect of one-time capitalization of interest at the end of a deferment period, a 2% origination fee, and the applicable Repayment Plan. All loans are eligible for a 0.25% reduction in interest rate by agreeing to automatic payment withdrawals once in repayment, which is reflected in the interest rates and APRs displayed. Variable rates may increase after consummation. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.08% effective July 25, 2018.

6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Education Refinance Loan Rate DisclosureVariable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of August 1, 2018, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.07%. Variable interest rates range from 2.57%-8.17% (2.57%-8.17% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the borrower’s loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Fixed interest rates range from 3.75%-8.69% (3.75%-8.69% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Lowest rates shown require application with a cosigner, are for eligible, creditworthy applicants with a graduate level degree, require a 5-year repayment term and include our Loyalty discount and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. The maximum variable rate on the Education Refinance Loan is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of their loan.
  2. Federal Loan vs. Private Loan Benefits: Some federal student loans include unique benefits that the borrower may not receive with a private student loan, some of which we do not offer with the Education Refinance Loan. Borrowers should carefully review their current benefits, especially if they work in public service, are in the military, are currently on or considering income based repayment options or are concerned about a steady source of future income and would want to lower their payments at some time in the future. When the borrower refinances, they waive any current and potential future benefits of their federal loans and replace those with the benefits of the Education Refinance Loan. For more information about federal student loan benefits and federal loan consolidation, visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/. We also have several resources available to help the borrower make a decision at http://www.citizensbank.com/EdRefinance, including Should I Refinance My Student Loans? and our FAQs. Should I Refinance My Student Loans? includes a comparison of federal and private student loan benefits that we encourage the borrower to review.
  3. Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan Eligibility: Eligible applicants may not be currently enrolled, must be in repayment of their existing student loan(s) and must make the minimum number of payments after leaving school. Primary borrowers must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. Resident aliens must apply with a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The co-signer (if applicable) must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. For applicants who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a co-signer will be required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at anytime. Interest rate ranges subject to change. Education Refinance Loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/consumer credit agreement, verification of application information, certification of borrower’s student loan amount(s) and highest degree earned.
  4. Loyalty Discount Disclosure: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower or their co-signer (if applicable) has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower and their co-signer (if applicable) have submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, or other student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT and some products may have an associated cost. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate disclosed in the Loan Approval Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  5. Automatic Payment Discount Disclosure: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
  6. Co-signer Release: Borrowers may apply for co-signer release after making 36 consecutive on-time payments of principal and interest. For the purpose of the application for co-signer release, on-time payments are defined as payments received within 15 days of the due date. Interest only payments do not qualify. The borrower must meet certain credit and eligibility guidelines when applying for the co-signer release. Borrowers must complete an application for release and provide income verification documents as part of the review. Borrowers who use deferment or forbearance will need to make 36 consecutive on-time payments after reentering repayment to qualify for release. The borrower applying for co-signer release must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If an application for co-signer release is denied, the borrower may not reapply for co-signer release until at least one year from the date the application for co-signer release was received. Terms and conditions apply.
  7. Estimated average savings amount is based on 14,659 Education Refinance Loan customers who saved on loans between August 1, 2017 and July 31, 2018. The calculation is derived by averaging monthly savings across Education Refinance Loan customers whose payment amounts decreased after refinancing, calculated by taking the monthly payment prior to refinancing minus the monthly payment after refinancing. We excluded monthly savings from customers that exceeded $4,375 and were lower than $20 to minimize risk of data error skewing the savings amounts. Savings will vary based on interest rates, balances and remaining repayment term of loans to be refinanced. Borrower’s overall repayment amount may be higher than the loans they are refinancing even if monthly payments are lower.

2.57% – 6.98%3Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit SoFi
2.47% – 5.87%1Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Earnest
2.80% – 6.22%2Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Laurel Road
2.51% – 8.03%4Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Lendkey
2.48% – 6.25%5Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit CommonBond
2.57% – 8.17%6Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Citizens
Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.