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8 Odd Ways to Make Money this Summer

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Summer is almost here. Whether you just graduated, have been out of school for years, or have a couple of years to go, the summer months can be both profitable and fun.

Instead of going back home and resuming the part-time job, you’ve had for years (I made pizzas in Kalamazoo, Michigan), do something different. You can always find work in retail or get an unpaid internship trying to sell door-to-door, but you have plenty of other options. Here are eight odd ways to make money while enjoying your summer.

1. Become a Garage Sale King

I spent summers going to garage sales looking for great deals on things to resell. My specialty was video games. It was easy to find old game systems and games for a couple of bucks.

In any given neighborhood, there are hundreds, if not thousands of garage sales each summer. As people clean out their basements, closets, and attics, they’re willing to sell off unwanted items for pennies on the dollar. You can make a killing buying and selling items, and find some awesome stuff for yourself in the process.


-Sellers are almost always open to haggling. You don’t want to insult them by offering them a couple of bucks for something priced at $100, but you should be comfortable offering a couple of dollars lower than the asking price on items you’re interested in. My rule is to never offer half of the asking price or lower. If something is $10, you can offer $6-7 without being offensive.

-Bring your smartphone and carefully look up what items are worth on eBay or other websites. This is a good way to price out how much a used item could sell for.

-Have an idea of how you’d like to sell each item before buying it. Would this be better for eBay (smaller items), Craigslist or is this something more unique you could take to an antique shop or thrift store?

2. Take Your Old Threads to a Consignment Shop

If you’re anything like me, your closet is unorganized and full of clothes, shoes, and accessories you don’t wear anymore. Cleaning your closet may not be fun, but making money from your old clothes can be. Go through your closet and pick out clothes you no longer want that are still in great condition. Find local consignment stores that pay cash for gently used clothing.

Tip: If there aren’t any consignment shops nearby, consider selling your best items on eBay. Search the items you have to sell first to see what they are selling for.

If you aren’t having luck selling your old clothes, donate them to a local charity or thrift store instead of throwing them in the trash.

3. Sell What You Don’t Use Anymore

Each summer hundreds of thousands of dollars in collectibles, furniture, electronics, and other items are thrown out of apartments and dorm rooms into college town dumpsters. From promotional beer signs to that coffee table, you don’t want to take back home, don’t just toss money out of the window. Take an hour or two to list your unwanted items on Craigslist.

If you still have a basement full of things at your parents’ (I did for about five years after I first left for school), take some time to go through and sell what you don’t need.

4. Junk Hunting/Recycling

In many cities, residents set large items and unwanted goods by the curb on a designated day, separate from their food waste. I spent many summers riding in a truck with my father finding and reselling things that other people no longer wanted. From antiques to perfectly working televisions and even a tanning bed, you’d be surprised at what people just throw away instead of taking the time to sell.

Tip: If you have a truck, you can pick up old washing machines and other metal items to take to recycling plants and scrapyards nearby that will pay for metal. If you’re really looking to dive deep into trash, offer to remove junk from houses that you then can resell or recycle.

5. Start a Service-Based Business

Starting a business sounds like a lot of work, and usually, it is. But, you can keep it simple. Buy a lawnmower (landscaping), hair clippers, or a bucket and some soap (car washing) and start a business in which you use little muscle to make money. One of the additional benefits of starting a service-based business is that it keeps you in shape.

6. Freelance Online

Take your talents online. Are you an awesome writer or graphic designer? There are hundreds of freelancing sites like Fiverr and Elance that will allow you to sell services online.

7. Look to Your Network for Odd Jobs

Whether you have a crazy uncle who needs his gutters cleaned or a neighbor that needs help building a deck, there are always people looking for help in the summer. Post on your social media channels that you’re available and interested in doing some work this summer.

Example: “Hey everybody! I’m home for the summer and trying to raise money to put myself through school next year. If you know of anybody that needs help with yard work or other odd jobs, I’d love to be considered. My number is XXX-123-4567.”

8. Become a Tutor or Teach a Class

Just as you’re trying to find things to do in the summer, parents are also looking for ways to keep their children occupied. Libraries, art centers, music centers, and individual parents look for talented people to host classes and tutor students. You can create your own schedule and charge a nice fee while sharing your love of playing guitar or using your smarts to help a student prepare for the SAT.

What do you plan to do over the next three months? Any other odd jobs that I missed? Share below or on Facebook.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Kevin G

    May 22, 2015 at 11:44 pm

    Great post. God knows I need the cheddar! Garage sales are great money makers!

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