Living on one income can be tough. I know, because my family has been doing it for the last 15 years. It hasn’t always been easy. The economy has had it’s ups and downs, and that is often reflected in my husband’s job situation. Yes, there have been times when one income has been more than enough to cover our expenses. But there have been other times where my husband’s salary isn’t quite enough. And there have been a few times when my husband has faced unemployment, and we really had to get creative when it came to money.

Throughout our ups and downs, we’ve always had small children, which means we would have needed to take on the expense of daycare, if I had gone to work. Because of that, in the last 15 years, I haven’t held a steady job. But that doesn’t mean I don’t bring in any income. I’ve learned to get very creative in my money-making endeavors!

5 Side Income Ideas

Here are a few of the things my husband and I have done over the years when money was tight.


When my son was just two years old, a friend of mine approached me about watching her brother’s baby. Her brother and sister-in-law were new in town and needed daycare for their one year old. Since I was home with a young child anyway, I said yes. It wasn’t that much more work to take on another child, and it provided us with a little extra income for a year.

Sell Things on eBay or Craigslist

Right before my son was born, I discovered eBay. After selling my daughter’s outgrown clothes on eBay, I decided to make a cottage business out of selling online. I’d shop yard sales, looking for brand name children’s clothing in excellent condition. I turned around and sold them for much more on eBay.

These days, eBay’s fees are higher, so it’s not my favorite place to sell things. But if you have an eye for yard sale deals, reselling on eBay or Craigslist can be a good way to make money. Just make sure you do your research first. You don’t want to try to resell something that isn’t in demand.

Blog and Write Articles

Five years ago, on a whim, I started this blog. At the time, I wasn’t looking to make money, but I was thrilled when a couple of years into my blogging adventure I started earning some cash.

Blogging and writing articles for other bloggers can be a great way to make some extra cash, though it’s definitely a long term process. You can’t just put up a blog and expect it to start earning money immediately. But if you like to write and take the time to learn how to run a blog, blogging can be a great way to provide yourself with an extra income stream down the road.

Give Lessons

If you have any kind of skill, it’s possible to earn some money by teaching others your skill. My husband has given guitar lessons, and if I had to, I could give beginning flute lessons.

Lessons aren’t limited to music though. If you’re strong in a school subject, you could tutor. Is photography one of your hobbies? Teach someone else how to shoot great photos. Put up a flyer at church or an ad on Craigslist. A few students can really make a difference between a budget shortfall and a surplus.

Sell Blood Plasma

For the truly desperate (and we have been there), selling blood plasma is a way to earn some extra cash. I’m a bit squeamish, so I have never done this, but my husband has. It’s not difficult. Basically, you just make an appointment to donate your plasma, go in, and the technicians do all the work. It doesn’t pay much, but when you need to put food on the table, it’s an option.

It’s amazing how creative you can be when you need money. Just take an inventory of your interests and skills and try to think of a way you can put them to work for you. You may not be able to earn a full time income, but even a small amount of income can help out in a tight situation.

Have you ever done anything creative to earn money? What did you do?