Earn Extra Money
January Money Diet

Earn Extra Money This Month

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Dear friends,

We are about 1/3 of the way through the January Money Diet, and it’s time to tackle a fun project that can jump-start your finances for 2021.

Your Day #11 challenge is this: Do something to earn at least an extra $25 or more this month.

Top Line versus Bottom Line

When I was a magazine publishing executive managing a multi-million dollar budget, I learned a simple truth: If you want more money on the bottom line, it’s usually easier to get there by earning more revenue than cutting expenses. 

So if we want to make a dent in our debt or jump-start our savings during this #JanuaryMoneyDiet month, making some extra cash is an easy path to help us achieve our goals.

Here are some ideas: 

Sell Something Gathering Dust

One of the easiest ways to bring in extra cash is to find something unused among our treasures we can sell. We’ll eliminate clutter and free up some space, and we’ll keep one more thing out of landfill.

I’ve sold several things quickly and easily on Nextdoor.com, which is a site that connects local neighbors. Classified ads are free, and you can choose exactly which neighborhoods in your locale to target. Craigslist can be great for getting rid of larger items like unwanted furniture or appliances. Selling something locally has the advantage of being quick, and you don’t have to mess with shipping or waiting for payment.

One caveat — please be careful when responding to potential buyers on big, public sites like Craigslist. Scams and fraudsters abound. If someone offers you more than your asking price for your item, that’s a huge red flag. Don’t respond, and report the user. Ask for cash payment, and always meet in a public place (we go to the library) to exchange items.

I’ve also sold unwanted books, DVDs and CDs on Amazon. You don’t need to take any photographs; just sign up for a seller account, list your items (Amazon gives you very specific guidelines so you can accurately list the quality of the item) and wait for the orders. Books and discs are easy to ship, and Amazon reimburses you for the postage. If you use the USPS’s media mail, you might even make a little profit on the shipping fee. The one thing I will say is that prices are rock-bottom on Amazon, so you might have to sell a handful of items to make it worth your time.

eBay takes a little more effort, but the results can be amazing — especially if you have a hot collectible. I’ve sold hundreds of things on eBay, and their Quick Start Guide shows you how easy it is to list your items. Just set up a seller account, take a photo of your item, write an accurate description, and carefully pack and ship your item. If that sounds like too much work, you can use eBay Valet and a professional seller will take care of the transaction for you in exchange for a cut of the sale.

If you have unworn clothing in good condition, you might try selling it at a consignment store. Retailers like Plato’s Closet pay cash on the spot for trendy clothing. My neighbor sells her daughters’ lightly-worn clothes to a children’s consignment shop nearby. Do you have broken gold or silver jewelry, or pieces you no longer wear? JMDer Kathy wrote that she sold her single gold earrings and a few other pieces for cash.

If you live in a warmer climate, you might consider holding a garage sale this month.

Offer Your Expertise

Snag a pet sitting job, or babysit, or teach a cooking class, or get a quick freelance job, or volunteer to work overtime at your job.

Perhaps you could offer handyman services, or do housecleaning, or dog walking, or tutoring.

Let’s Make Extra Cash!

Get creative and bring in at least an extra $25 this month. Hang on to the money and don’t put it in your general fund, because you’ll need it for a specific challenge later this month.

We’d all love to know what you do to earn some extra cash this month. If you’re so inclined, leave a comment on this post or stop by the Money Diet Community Facebook Group to share your ideas and money-making successes.

Best always,

Eliza Cross's signature

Eliza Cross is the author of 15 books, including recent titles like Bacon Beans and Beer and Small Bites. She blogs at ElizaCross.com and is the founder of the BENSA Bacon Lovers Society. Her articles have appeared in publications like Sunset, Parents and Writers' Digest. Eliza lives near Denver with her family.


  • Julie M

    I sold some hiking boots in nearly-new condition — my son outgrew them after wearing once or twice. I made a quick $30 and my neighbor has new boots, all because I looked in the garage …

  • Kimberly

    I started looking for recipes online. I saved over $42.00 on the first half of food shopping and plan to save even more with second half. Made a menu and will stick to it. So far we have and that is having husband at home for a few months recovering.

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