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Weird Ways to Make Extra Money

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It’s that back-to-school time of year again — when you or your child has just headed off to college. It’s also a time when you might be looking for creative ways to earn a little extra cash for books, living expenses or just for fun.

You could go the conventional route of taking on more work or you could try something a bit … unexpected. This list of 10 unusual ways to make money includes everything from selling your hair or plasma to providing a taxi service to Man’s Best Friend.

Selling hair

As crazy as it sounds, you can sell your hair for a nice chunk of change, especially if it has never been dyed or treated with chemicals and is at least 10 inches long. Similar to listing your car online, you upload a picture with specific details of your hair to an online marketplace.

Websites such as Buy and Sell Hair serve as a market for the hair trade for buyers, who use the hair to create wigs and other hairpieces, and sellers, who want to cash in their locks. Sales announced on the site range from several hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on length, thickness and color.

Donating plasma

My son, who is a junior at UT Austin and is always looking for ways to make extra cash, discovered this money-making opportunity this summer and donated his plasma twice a week at a donation center in Mesquite. Not only will you be helping meet a critical need, those pints of plasma can earn you up to $400 a month. There are more than 300 licensed plasma collection centers in America, and as long as you’re 18, are drug-free, at least 110 pounds and haven’t had a tattoo in the last year, you should be good to go.

Never donated blood? You’ll have to answer a few questions, meet the eligibility requirements, be cool with needles and have anywhere from 20 minutes to a couple of hours to spare. Just be sure to take it easy after donating and replenish your fluids with water and juices.

You can find plasma donation centers on the CSL Plasma website.

(Author’s note: I was worried when my son, Sam, came to me about his latest money-making scheme. College kids are notorious for thinking they are immortal, and although Sam is healthy and in great shape, I was concerned about the long- and short-term risks and that being fatigued or sick would get in the way of his physics class and part-time job at UT Dallas. But then I read that donating is low-risk, especially if you drink enough water afterward, and it provides life-saving antibodies for people with genetic diseases, blood disorders and burn victims.

It’s also in high demand. Currently, the annual worldwide demand for plasma is more than 20 million liters, but licensed U.S. donation centers are only producing 11 million liters. That demand is why donors are compensated for their time and dedication to participating in the program.)

Moving Billboard

All some students have to do to earn a paycheck is drive their cars, cars wrapped in an ad, that is. You’ve probably seen a car with ads on it. You might have even wondered about it. Putting an ad on your car is one of the easiest ways to earn a passive income. All you have to do is drive your car around like you would normally do anyway: driving to work, school, the dorm or the store.

You can make anywhere from $50 a month for a rear window decal to $400 a month for wrapping your entire car. The average length of time to showcase ads is between six to 24 months, according to Free Car Media. All you need is a fairly new car, insurance and a valid driver’s license.

Pet taxi driver

Today’s pampered pets have busy owners who don’t always have time to pick them up from the kennel or drop them off and pick them up from the vet’s office or groomer. If you’re willing to be on call as a driver for last-minute requests, you can build a career as a chauffeur for people’s furry friends.

A van or large car and a few dog and cat carriers are needed. This business idea works well with other animal-care businesses such as pet sitting or dog walking. Learn more about becoming a pet taxi driver.

Antique treasure hunter

Sites like eBay make it easy for anyone with a good eye or knowledge about a certain type of collectible to scour rummage sales, thrift stores and flea markets for treasures that can be sold online at a profit. Many people actually pay others to scour sales and stores. Take photos of intriguing items at thrift stores or rummage sales, then check online to see how much those items are selling for. When you’re certain you can make a profit, take the plunge. Find advice about the search here. Sites like priceminer.com and other online resources can be used to estimate the worth of your item.

Google AdSense

If you’re a blogger, you should consider getting set up with Google AdSense. You can make money each time someone clicks on an advertisement. Apply at Google AdSense, and once you’re approved, add in an HTML code to your blog. Relevant ads will pop up on your blog, and you get a portion of the money earned.

Performing micro jobs

Sites like Fourerr allow you to creatively sell your services and make a few dollars in the process. The services can be things like creating a logo or image, writing/editing an article, researching or transcribing audio. If you have lots of Twitter followers or Facebook friends, you could offer social media promotion via Follows or Likes. Through task-runner sites like TaskRabbit, you might offer local services like standing in line and picking up tickets to an event or dog sitting.

Taking selfies

If you’re feeling your look and want to document it with a selfie, you can upload if to Stylinity and tag your clothes. When people buy the clothes you’re wearing, you get rewards points that can be redeemed for cash or products.

Making and selling stuff

Have a knack for knitting? A gift for glasswork? You can sell handmade goods in a variety of places both local and online. Websites like Etsy.com and Bonanza.com focus on shops producing handmade goods where you can address a global market.

The best thing about these sites is that they might charge a small, nominal fee to list your items, but you are given a 60-day or even longer time window in which to sell your items. That beats eBay’s typical seven-day auction periods hands-down and allows you to build a fan base for your items.

Filling out online surveys

Companies are endlessly offering surveys to consumers to fill out, but not all these surveys pay money. However, PaidViewpoint is one online survey site that not only pays money per each completed survey, it also promises to not kick you out once you are invited to start a survey.

Other paid online survey sites include American Consumer Opinion, Cash Crate and Squishy Cash. In some cases, your “pay” from these survey sites may include points that are used to purchase gift cards or other products.

Jill Glass

l Glass is a communications manager at the Naveen Jindal School of Management. She received her bachelor's degree in communications from Southern Methodist University and is a former newspaper and TV reporter. She has two children: a junior at UT Austin and a fifth grader at Prairie Creek Elementary in Richard Read more articles

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