If you're a single mom struggling financially, I've collected 9 practical and effective ways for you to make extra money. I have only chosen ideas that work for super busy single moms who have a full time job already and have to take care of the kids (and themselves!) when they get home.
This means all of these extra income ideas are things you can do at home and in your spare time.
With that, let's dive into it!
This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link and complete a transaction, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
The information contained in this post is for informational purposes only. It is not a recommendation to buy or invest, and it is not financial, investment, legal, or tax advice. You should seek the advice of a qualified professional before making any investment or other decisions relating to the topics covered by this article.
1. Rent Out Stuff You Already Own
There are a ton of ways to generate extra income from stuff you already own. What I like about this strategy is that you don’t need any money to get started and you can keep it as low-key as you want. Plus, most of these strategies can be done online, which fits the bill perfectly for a busy single mom.
Rent out Your Extra Rooms through Airbnb
You can rent out extra rooms through Airbnb and collect some cash on the side. If you have a basement with a separate entrance, this can be a perfect way to make some extra income without too much interaction with your Airbnb guests.
But you should be careful to make sure your activities are permitted by your local municipalities, your HOA (if you have one), your landlord (if you are renting out your place), etc.
To get started, simply go to Airbnb and list your rental.
Rent Out Your Extra Storage Space
If you’ve got a spare bedroom or closet, or some extra space in your basement or garage, you can rent it out to people who need the extra storage space.
Check out Neighbor, who is a leader in this space. I have used them myself – their platform is easy to use and you can get up and running in minutes. I participate in their “refer a friend” program, so if you sign up using this link, you (and I) will get a $50 Amazon gift card when you list your space.
If you want to learn more about this strategy, check out my article on the topic here.
Rent Our Your Cars Through Turo
You can also rent out your car when you aren't using it on Turo. According to Turo, you can make hundreds of dollars a month doing this. Check out their Carculator to get a sense of how much you could make renting out your car through this platform. You can handle most of the process online and even provide your guests with access to your car without being there. Here's a guide from Turo on how to do that.
If you want to learn more about this strategy check out my article on the topic here.
2. Sell Your Unwanted Stuff Online
Want to make some extra cash in a hurry without doing a ton of work?
There is no better way to do that than selling some of your unwanted items online. As with all of my strategies, this can be done in your spare time and from the comfort of your own home.
Everybody knows about the standard methods of selling items online like eBay and Craigslist, but the really cool options are some of the specialty platforms we have discovered.
You may not know many of them, but selling your stuff through them may give you better profits and an easier selling experience versus listing with the mega platforms. If you want to learn more, check out my article on 10 easy way and profitable ways to sell your unwanted stuff online.
3. Take Surveys That Pay Your Cash
Another great strategy to make some extra cash is by taking online surveys in your spare time. You won't make a ton of money doing this, but it can be a nice little source of income that you can do pretty mindlessly.
One of the leading survey sites is Inbox Dollars. They are a legit company that pays you actual cash (not points, etc.) to take surveys, watch videos, and read emails. You can also get cash rebates for playing video games, using free coupons, and shopping online. By using this link, you'll also get a $5 bonus just for signing up. There are no fees and no obligation, so it's just free money.
If you want an additional option, you can try Life Points. They are another company that pays you for taking surveys (they have paid over $22 million to its members just this year). You can redeem points you earn from taking surveys and get Amazon e-gift cards or even get paid in cash through Paypal.
4. Start a Second Job or Side Hustle
Ok, this one is perhaps the most obvious option for making some extra money as a single mom.
The best thing about this option is that you will reliably make a decent amount of money because you are trading your time for money. The bad thing is that it is going to be work (and probably hard work at that because you will need to tackle it after a long day at your main job).
So, what are some great second jobs that a single mom can take on?
- Be a Virtual Assistant (you can offer your services of Fiverr) or any other gig websites. Pretty simple and straightforward – you are trading time for money.
- Be a Freelance Writer. If you have a talent for writing, you can offer your services as a freelance writer. Sign up at Fiverr, Upwork or any of the various side gig platforms that offer writing services.
- Design Logos if you have an artistic bent. Again, this is another popular service that you can offer through Fiverr. Don't worry about having to get expensive software to create the designs – you can just sign up for canva.com and create the logos there (it's free).
There are many other side hustles you can explore where you can work from home and do the work in your spare time. I would just go onto a site like Fiverr and check out the various services being offered there (it's a really wide variety, including graphics, digital marketing, writing, video, music lessons, programming, data, business and lifestyle).
I suspect that you will find something that catches your eye and lines up with your skills and interests.
5. Start a Blog
If you have a knack for writing, you can start a blog.
You can write about any topic you like, but some of the more popular topics include food (recipes), DIY, fitness, lifestyle, beauty and fashion, personal finance, travel, and parenting. The topic you write about is often referred to as a “niche.”
Of course, I would be completely remiss if I failed to mention one of the biggest blogging niches out there: “mommy” blogs. There are moms out there just like you who have started their own blogs and write about a host of topics aimed at helping other moms, including recipes, parenting tips, recommendation on side gigs, couponing strategies, etc.
Blogging can be a terrific way for a single mom to make some extra money because you can do it from home in your spare time. Also, the cost of starting one is very cheap.
In fact you can start for free.
To do so, all you need to do is build your website on platforms like wordpress.com, wix.com, medium.com, or blogger.com. These platforms are great for beginners and you can develop your blogging skills with no risk of any monetary commitment.
If you can spare a little bit of money (like $3.95 a month), you should get your own domain name and have full control over your blog (a lot of the free platforms don't give you your own domain name, they can take down your content, and you may be limited in how you can monetize your blog). If you plan on growing your blog and making any sort of serious money, getting your own domain is the way to go. You do this by signing up with one of the hosting companies below and setting up a wordpress website through them.
Bluehost is great for beginners because they are an affordable option (only $3.95 per month), are easy to use, and offer 24/7 support. It's a very popular option.
Siteground is a more premier option (the one I use) and according to some reports allows faster page loading, but is also going to cost more (you can get discounted pricing of $4.99 per month by using the link below).
How Do Blogs Make Money?
First, you will need to write articles that are interesting and helpful to people. The trick is to find topics that you can rank for on Google. If you have a bunch of good articles that are generating Google search traffic, you can start monetizing your blog through two main channels: (i) display ads and (ii) affiliate links (which are customized links to products you are promoting). If you want to expand your monetization options even further, you can create informational courses or ebooks and market them on your blog too.
At that point, the business can be almost completely passive.
This business has no customers, no inventory, no employees, no physical location, and very few operating costs. That’s about as passive as you can get!
If you want to keep growing your blog, you can. Just continue writing articles (or improve existing ones), but even if you don’t, the blog is going to keep rolling even if you take a week off (or even a month off for that matter).
To learn more about how to start a blog (including setting up the website, selecting your niche, getting traffic to your blog, and monetizing that traffic), check out my article on Passive Income Blogging.
6. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is another popular way to make passive income. The concept is simple. You are basically a salesperson for a particular product that you want to promote. But instead of knocking on doors or calling people up, you “sell” the product online.
A common method of affiliate marketing is putting affiliate links on your website. As we talked about in the blogging section, this is one of the two primary ways you can make money as a blogger.
When someone comes to a page that has your customized affiliate link and they click on it, you will earn a commission if the person buys the product (or takes some other qualifying action, like signs up, etc.)
How Do You Find Affiliate Programs?
Amazon Associates is one of the most popular affiliate programs out there. They are especially well-suited for beginners because they have easy qualifications, carry almost every product you can imagine, and are a highly trusted source for customers wanting to buy stuff.
Love a particular product and want to write about its benefits? Drop an amazon affiliate link in your article to the product you are recommending and make money every time someone clicks on the link and buys it.
Of course, Amazon isn't the only game in town.
There are many other affiliate programs out there. Just Google any product or company you want to promote and add the words “affiliate program” to the end. You’ll find that many already have an affiliate program in place. All you have to do is apply.
Can I Do Affiliate Marketing If I Don’t Have a Website or Blog?
You can still do affiliate marketing by putting your affiliate links on other places where you have access to traffic. That could be your social media accounts (e.g. Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube, etc.). Or, you could generate traffic through paid ads on social media outlets (although that can get expensive and tricky).
If you want to make this as passive as possible, you should go the route of setting up a website that gets relevant traffic and then let the traffic do its thing.
7. Write an eBook
If you like writing, but blogging is not for you, you can write an eBook and get royalties from selling it online. Amazon KDP (which stands for Kindle Direct Publishing) is a great place to do so. Another option is Apple Books.
Like with blogging, once written, the book can continue to provide you with passive income for years. You can write about any topic you want (including fiction) but , you may find success by identifying a niche that is underserved (i.e., not a lot of books have been written about it) in your chosen field and filling that gap.
If you don’t like writing but do like the idea of receiving royalties on eBooks, you may want to consider creating “low” or “no” content books and selling them on Amazon KDP. These can be journals (diaries), coloring books, guest books, music composition notebooks, planners, quote books, etc.
8. Create an Online Course
If you have expertise in a particular area, another idea that you can pursue is developing an online course and getting income from the sale of that course.
Video is the prevailing medium for these types of courses, although audio courses and courses with slides and other written materials also exist. There are a lot of tutorials on how to create online courses. A simple Google search on the topic will give you some great places to start.
Once you have created the course, you can market it through various channels, such as you own website (if you have one), social media, and online course platforms such as Kajabi, Udemy, and Teachable.
9. Start a YouTube Channel
If you prefer making videos instead of writing or teaching, you can start a YouTube channel.
Once you create the video content and you get enough viewers, the income begins (through ads mostly), but getting there can take a lot of work. Creating a quality video is not easy. And like blogging, getting traffic to your channel can be a challenge. You have to create informative (or at least entertaining) content and have compelling titles, and great thumbnails. You also need to understand how YouTube’s search algorithm works.
If you want to learn from the experts and fast track your success, check out incomeschool.com. I purchased a subscription for their course to improve my blog, but they have a terrific course on successfully starting a YouTube channel too (which is included in the cost).
So there you have it: 9 great ways for single moms to make extra money.
If you are really strapped for time and money and need to do something to make money without big commitments (I am talking like no upfront work involved, no ongoing work, etc.), check out my article on 15 ways to make truly passive income without any money required.