Simple Ways to Make Money Without a Second Job

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ways to make money on the side

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Student loan debt can stretch an entry-level salary thin. If you are struggling to make ends meet, you may be wondering how to make money without getting a second job. Earning more could help you get out of student debt faster while providing extra cash for your savings.

While side hustles can be a great income booster, the internet is swamped with shady companies. To help you identify real side-gig opportunities, we’ve vetted 15 legitimate ones.

How to make money without a second job

These unique ideas may help you learn how to make passive income without having to make a big investment of time.

If you already work a full-time job, you may want to try to make extra money without getting a second one:

1. Rent out a room
2. Sell gift cards
3. Give out microloans
4. Create blog content
5. Open a new bank account
6. Become a mystery shopper
7. Post affiliate links
8. Sell old clothes and accessories
9. Test out listing features
10. Invest your change
11. Shop at real stores
12. Crafty? Open an Online Store
13. Refer products
14. Rent out your car
15. Sell your smartphone pictures
Plus: How you can use that extra money

1. Rent out a room

If you have a spare bedroom or even just a couch, you could make extra money by renting it out to short-term vacationers. Budget-conscious travelers book accommodations on sites like Airbnb or VRBO.

Depending on your location and the space you have, you could make more than $500 a month or more.

2. Sell gift cards

Gift cards are a simple gift idea — you’ve likely received a few for the holidays, your birthday or graduation. Instead of letting those cards gather dust in a drawer, you can turn them into cash by asking family and friends if they would like to buy them directly from you.

Next, try selling your gift cards on a gift card exchange website like or Depending on the card’s brand, you might be able to get as much as 92% of the card’s value.

3. Give out microloans

If you have some money in savings, you might make it work harder for you by investing with peer-to-peer lending. With services such as Lending Club or, you can help individual borrowers by partially funding their personal loans. Lending Club is a more traditional venue for investors and startups, while Kiva’s focus is working with underserved organizations around the world.

Some people need a loan for a dream wedding or to launch a business. You can lend them some money, and the returns you get on your investment are based on their risk profile and credit worthiness.

To diversify your investment, you can give out several small loans rather than one big one.

4. Create blog content

Freelance writers can make a lot of money, but it takes a lot of time, commitment and experience to command higher prices. For those who need extra cash fast, content mills can connect you with clients and pay you quickly.

The rates you’ll earn will be much less than what you’d get on your own, but you don’t have to do any of the administrative work or find clients yourself — you can get to work right away and start earning cash.

One resource is Verblio (previously known as BlogMutt). Once you become a Verblio writer, you can complete as many assignments as you want each week. While pay starts at $10.50 for a 300- to 400-word post, it can add up, and according to Verblio’s website, it goes up from there.

Verblio pays you for your work via PayPal every Monday, so you’d need to have a PayPal account to receive compensation. Still, it may be a quick source of money when you need it.

5. Open a new bank account

You could earn money just by opening a new checking or savings account. For example, TD Bank is offering as much as $300 to new customers who open a TD checking account as of May 20, 2020. However, the downside is that there are often caveats attached, like having to have a specific amount in direct deposits before you get the extra money.

But it may be worth contacting banks directly to find out if they offer any cash-based promotions. A few hundred dollars could be a way to jumpstart your emergency fund.

Be warned, though: There are risks to opening new bank accounts for the bonuses. Learn about possible drawbacks, and three times this option makes sense.

6. Become a mystery shopper

If you enjoy shopping, you might want to consider being a mystery shopper. These side gigs are usually run by third-party vendors who pay workers to go incognito into stores, then report on their experiences. Mystery shoppers may purchase items and then get reimbursed for their purchases.

A good place to start learning about mystery shoppers is MSPA Americas, formerly named the Mystery Shopping Providers Association of North America).

This trade association represents the customer experience industry in the U.S., and its website provides a wealth of information about mystery shopping in the retail industry.

Looking to sign up with a company right away? One option is, a company that hires mystery shoppers and has received an A+rating from the Better Business Bureau.

7. Post affiliate links

If you have a website, blog or social media account, posting affiliate links could be an effective way to make money on the side.

You can join affiliate networks like Amazon, ShareASale or ShopStyle Collective. Post links on your sites to your favorite products and earn commission when someone purchases the item.

If you don’t have a huge following, platforms like ShopStyle Collective can be helpful, as they pay you per click on the authorized links, not per purchase.

8. Sell old clothes and accessories

If you have clothes you no longer wear or accessories you never use, make some extra money by selling them online.

Poshmark and eBay are two sites where you can sell your items for the price you set. While you can make more money with these sites than with other platforms, you may have to wait a while for a buyer.

ThredUP is great for when you don’t want to do all of the selling yourself. You simply send in a bag of items and they pay you a percentage of ThredUP’s selling price.

9. Test out listing features

If you have a little spare time, you can make money testing out listing features with Amazon Mechanical Turk. When you sign up, you can take on tasks like checking spelling, looking for item numbers or comparing products.

Each task pays just a few cents, maybe up to a dollar an hour, but you can easily complete many in a few minutes.

10. Invest your change

When you’re learning how to make passive income, investing is a good place to start. But it can be overwhelming getting set up. Acorns takes the pain out of investing and helps you start by using your spare change.

Whenever you make a purchase, the Acorns app rounds up your purchase and invests the difference for you. Over time, these micro-investments can add up to big returns. A basic account with Acorns costs $1 a month.

11. Shop at real stores

If you shop at brick-and-mortar stores, you can earn gift cards by using the Shopkick app. When you sign up, the app will list stores near you that offer “kicks,” or rewards points, for visiting — you can earn points just for walking in.

Plus, you can earn more by scanning item bar codes with the app or making your normal purchases, and redeem your points for gift cards to your favorite stores or for cash credit via PayPal.

12. Crafty? Open an online store

If you have crafting or artistic abilities, you might want to sell your goods via an online platform, like Etsy, which sells vintage and handmade items, along with art and crafting supplies, or Amazon Handmade, a marketplace for handmade goods. Depending on your marketing skills and products, you could earn money on the side with an online shop while enjoying your hobbies and exploring your talents.

13. Refer products

People often consult their friends and family for recommendations, so if you have a favorite product, you can help your loved ones and earn money at the same time.

Many companies, including banks or credit card firms, have referral programs. You sign up for an account and get a unique referral link you can share via email or on social media. If someone purchases a product or signs up for the service you recommended, you get a potentially lucrative referral bonus.

14. Rent out your car

If you don’t use your car every day, you can turn it into a money-making machine by renting it out through Turo, which connects car owners with renters in your area. On average, owners who list their car on Turo make upwards of $500 a month.

You can rent out your car whenever it’s convenient for you, such as only on weekends or during certain times of the year.

15. Sell your smartphone pictures

If you love taking pictures with your phone while you’re on the go, you can sell those photos for cash.

Small businesses constantly need stock photos for their blogs and social media channels, and your smartphone pictures may be exactly what they’re looking for.

Services like EyeEm, Foap and Adobe Stock (formerly Fotolia) allow you to list and sell your photos through their apps. Pictures can sell for $5 to $250 or more, depending on the photo.

How you can use that extra money

These are 15 ways of how to earn more money without getting a second job. You can use these alternative sources of income to help pay off your student loans, pay down other debts or simply boost your savings. Some side jobs take hours, while others may only take a few minutes a day.

Looking to make even more money without a second job? Check out these simple side hustles you can start tomorrow.

Maya Dollarhide contributed to this report.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

Here are the top 6 lenders of 2021!
LenderVariable APREligible Degrees 
1.89% – 5.99%1Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Splash

1.99% – 5.64%2Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Earnest

1.91% – 5.25%3Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Lendkey

2.25% – 6.88%4Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit SoFi

1.89% – 5.90%5Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Laurel Road

2.39% – 6.01%Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Elfi

Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.

Splash Financial Disclosures

Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount.

The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.

To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of Feburary 1, 2021.

2 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: 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 2.98% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.49% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.34% 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 October 26, 2020, 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 10/26/2020. 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, email us at [email protected], or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.

© 2020 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.

3 Important Disclosures for LendKey.

LendKey Disclosures

Refinancing via 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 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 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.

Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised variable APR is only available for loan terms of  5 years and is reserved for applicants with FICO scores of at least 810.

As of 02/17/2021 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.91% APR – 5.25% Variable APR with AutoPay and 2.95% APR – 7.63% Fixed APR with AutoPay.

4 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student loan Refinance: Fixed rates from 2.99% APR to 7.33% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.25% APR to 6.88% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.25% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 0.13% plus 2.37% margin minus 0.25% ACH 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. See eligibility details. 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. The discount will not reduce the monthly payment; instead, the interest savings are applied to the principal loan balance, which may help pay the loan down faster. Enrolling in autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. *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. Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.  

5 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

All credit products are subject to credit approval.

Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit

As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.

  1. Checking your rate with Laurel Road only requires a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
  2. Savings vary based on rate and term of your existing and refinanced loan(s). Refinancing to a longer term may lower your monthly payments, but may also increase the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Refinancing to a shorter term may increase your monthly payments, but may lower the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Review your loan documentation for total cost of your refinanced loan.
  3. After loan disbursement, if a borrower documents a qualifying economic hardship, we may agree in our discretion to allow for full or partial forbearance of payments for one or more 3-month time periods (not to exceed 12 months in the aggregate during the term of your loan), provided that we receive acceptable documentation (including updating documentation) of the nature and expected duration of the borrower’s economic hardship. During any period of forbearance interest will continue to accrue. At the end of the forbearance period, any unpaid accrued interest will be capitalized and be added to the remaining principle amount of the loan.
  4. Automatic Payment (“AutoPay”) Discount: if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically from a bank account, the interest rate will decrease by 0.25% and will increase back if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically from the borrower’s bank account. The 0.25% AutoPay discount will not reduce the monthly payment; instead, the discount is applied to the principal to help pay the loan down faster.

Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.

Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.

Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.

Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.


This information is current as of January 4, 2021. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.