Unload Your Clothes and Accessories
We've all got a few back-of-the-closet items that never fit properly in the first place (totally should have returned that), or maybe we're just bored with. If you have any designer or unique items in good condition, my first suggestion is to check for consignment shops in your area. Give them a call and find out their policies and the percentage they'll take. Many shops will start marking things down after a few weeks on the rack. Then take a look at eBay and see what kind of prices similar clothing is fetching—including shipping. Try to estimate how much you'll make doing it both ways, and pick the option that makes the most sense. Remember, with eBay, you may have to answer buyer questions and lug your stuff to the post office. Whichever option you choose, you'll have more cash in your pocket, and room in your closet.
Surrender That Old Smartphone
Did you recently upgrade your iPhone or Android? Get a new tablet and the old one is being used by the cat as a new thing to sit on? Don't let it sit around, there are easy ways to turn it into cash. Amazon recently launched a buy-back program, and sites like gazelle.com and buymytronics.com will buy your used phones and tablets as well. Check prices online to get an idea of what you might be able to get (spoiler: your Motorola flip phone isn't worth anything), and check to see if there is an EcoATM at your local mall. You may want to stop by and see if you'll get a better price there as well. iPhones, iPads, and Samsung-made Android phones seem to get the best prices. My old Blackberry? Not so much. Just remember to clear all your personal data before you send it off!
If you constantly find yourself making cute bags, knitting scarves, or designing jewelry for friends, consider setting up an Etsy shop and start making some money off your hobby. It's as easy as registering for an account, setting up some listings with photos, and pricing your items. Be sure to calculate the cost of materials, shipping, and your time spent into your rates. This is a little more time consuming than selling your old phone, but if you enjoy making things, it's a smart (and satisfying) way to bring in some extra cash.
Babysit or Petsit
If you enjoy children or animals, put the word out to friends and neighbors that you're happy to watch children, feed cats while someone is away, or walk dogs in your spare time. (The fastest way to do this: Post it on Facebook, especially right before a holiday weekend.) You'll want to make it clear up front you need to be paid for these jobs, so you might want to go out of your immediate friend circle—maybe your best friend's older sis has a toddler and needs a night out—which might make it easier to ask for money. If you enjoy this and want to set up as a business, check out the rules and regulations in your state; many require licenses and insurance for child and pet care providers.
Be a Task Master
Whether you live in a city or a small town, there is always someone in need of an extra hand—an older person who can't drive, a busy mom, or someone with lots of work travel—to pick up dry cleaning, stock the fridge, or organize a closetl. (Simple tasks, but hard for some people to do.) TaskRabbit is a service that will set up reliable people looking to make extra money on the side (the "rabbits") with different tasks they can bid on. The site can be awesome, but it does have a pretty rigorous screening process—so if you're looking for something more low key, try a posting on Craigslist and putting the word out with friends and family that you're available for assembling IKEA furniture, cleaning out their grandma's attic, or really, anything!