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American Hustlers: Finding Ways to Make Extra Cash

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Name: Sherrie Tennessee
Age: 37
Hometown: Miami
Day job: Customer service associate
Moneymaking gig: Mystery shopper

I've been doing this since 2007 and I love it. It's a great way to make a little bit of cash.

Photo: Sherrie Tennessee
Sherrie Tennessee, Sherrie Tennessee earns her gas money as a secret shopper.

My friend was a mystery shopper and she told me about it, but you have to be careful because there are a lot of scams.

I try to do one at least once a week. My favorites are the Leslie Swimming Pool Shops. I observe the outside, make sure there's no trash or debris and the sign is straight, then go inside and listen for music and note how the store looks. It's the easiest $20 to $30 you can make. That's gas money.

I did another at a Dairy Queen where I got free ice cream and got paid, so you can't beat that.

Flips Art on Craigslist and eBay

Name: Aaron LaPedis
Age: 45
Hometown: Denver
Day job: Gallery owner
Moneymaking gig: Flipping art and memorabilia on Craigslist and eBay

Photo: Aaron LaPedis
Aaron LaPedis has honed his craiglist and eBay skills into a lucrative second job.

I got started when I was seven. When my mother and I put on our first garage sale, I got the bug.

A couple of years ago when my art gallery wasn't doing well, I went back to what I knew. Now I go to secondhand stores like the Salvation Army, estate sales and garage sales looking for things I can sell.

I love art and presidential memorabilia. I'm on eBay and Craigslist everyday selling stuff and buying stuff. Just the other day, I bought a piece of art and the description was wrong — they didn't say it was signed by the artist but I knew it was signed. They were selling it for $400, but I will probably re-list it for $3,200.

If people don't know what it is, or they are in trouble and need the money, then you are going to get a good deal. Because I do it all the time, I probably make half a million dollars a year.

Donates Plasma

Photo: Monique Harps
Monique Harps (left), with her brother Byron, donates plasma twice a week.

Name: Monique Harps
Age: 30
Hometown: Tulsa, Okla.
Day job: Supply chain project manager at American Airline
Moneymaking gig: Plasma donor

I donate plasma twice a week. I'm a regular. I go every Wednesday and Friday at 6:30 a.m. before work. I've been doing that since May. And now I know all the names of the phlebotomists. I walk in and they say: 'Hey Monique!'

I make sure I have a protein-rich diet and drink a lot of fluids and, a few hours later, I'm fine. Right now I get paid $55 a week, but in September it's going to be $60 — like getting a raise.

For me, it's just for the money. I've been trying to pay down my debt. I had $105,000 in student loans, but now I'm down to $36,000. I'll stop donating once all the debts are paid.

Plays Music at Bars and Conventions

Photo: Nicholas Rebhan
Clay Howard performs '60s cover songs.

Name: Clay Howard
Age: 42
Hometown: Greensboro, N.C.
Day job: Office manager
Moneymaking gig: Musician at parties

(During the day) I do all the accounting, PR and marketing for a business incubator in Greensboro. Our mission is to help create jobs and we have a three-person staff, so I haven't had a raise in three years. Plus, I have four kids and they get more expensive the bigger they get.

I've always been in bands but they don't make any money. I started calling bars and found out you could make a couple hundred bucks per show. Now I play about 100 shows a year. It's definitely helped make up the difference.

I've played everything from the North Carolina biotech conference to regular gigs in wine bars. My minimum is $200 and if they'll pay me, I'll play it. I play lots of classic rock covers from the '60s. You can always count on CCR (Creedence Clearwater Revival). There are those nights in a sports bar when you wonder if it's worth it, but you really can't make money as easily as that.

Types in Foreclosure Data

Photo: Bonnie Wnenkowski
It may not make her feel good, but Bonnie Wnenkowsk, here with a friend, types up lists of local foreclosures for extra cash.

Name: Bonnie Wnenkowski
Age: 60
Hometown: Moody, Texas
Day job: Retired
Moneymaking gig: Data entry for a foreclosure listing agency

I work for a foreclosure listing agency and type up lists of local foreclosures every week.

They pay us $10 an hour and I just take what I can. My unemployment is gone so that is it. It's saddening because you don't want to see anyone lose their home, but it's also really interesting because I've learned a lot about the mortgage business. But there were a couple of times there were names that I recognized, and I was like 'oh my gosh!'

The most heartbreaking for me was a foreclosure on a house owned by a mom with three kids who had not received her child support payments — that was awful. I just wanted to call her but there's nothing you can do.

Sells Her Old Clothes

Photo: Allie Rosenberg
Sherrie Tennessee, Sherrie Tennessee earns her gas money as a secret shopper.

Allie Rosenberg regularly sorts through her closet looking for items to sell.

Name: Allie Rosenberg
Age: 23
Hometown: San Francisco
Day job: Account manager
Moneymaking gig: Selling old clothes

I just moved to San Francisco and got a new job at a tech [public relations] firm. I just don't have time to get a second job, but I live a block away from a Buffalo Exchange. They give you cash right on the spot for used clothing.

I have a lot of winter clothes from living on the East coast and they actually gave me a lot of money for clothes I wasn't going to wear anymore. It's been a great way to make a little extra money and create some closet space as well.

Now, I periodically bring things over there and it's nice to have the pocket cash. Last time I made $40. If I go every two weeks I can have some extra cash to put towards groceries or bills.

Teaches Classes at Night

Photo: John Herndon
John Herndon sacrifices time with his family to teach classes at night.

Name: John Herndon
Age: 42
Hometown: Livermore, Calif.
Day job: Consultant
Moneymaking gig: Teaching classes

I am the epitome of the word 'hustle' in today's working environment. We have three kids here at home so my wife and I both have to work. I consult with clients during the day and I teach three classes at a local university at night — two business law classes and one corporate finance class.

I really enjoy teaching. I get paid for it, but I do it because the texts are written so dryly and I like to give the students something real. But sometimes, I don't get home from class until 11pm at night and that's hard. You spend all week trying to support your family but by the time you get home, they're in bed.

by on Sep. 4, 2011 at 4:12 PM
Replies (41-43):
by Bronze Member on Sep. 11, 2014 at 3:00 PM
There are.

Quoting SweetLuci:

 Some good ideas here.

Posted on CafeMom Mobile
by Member on Sep. 11, 2014 at 9:07 PM
I sell on eBay, craigslist, and Facebook to make money.
Thanks to eBay last month I was able to get the brakes on our truck fixed and this month I am able to get my son a varsity jacket for his birthday on the 21st.
by Silver Member on Sep. 12, 2014 at 11:03 AM

 I tried donating plasma once, but they didn't want me, and it took several hours to set everything up.  They said they provided child care, but didn't actually watch my daughter long enough for the donation...

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