6. GIVE YOUR OPINION
Potential Payoff: $40 to $100 PER SESSION
Getting paid to be opinionated? It's a good gig: market research firms pay as much as $100 for feedback in focus groups on everything from products to shopping habits. Lauren Traub Teton, 52, of Pound Ridge, New York, enjoys participating. "You get to talk, someone actually listens to your opinion for a change, and at the end they pay you." Look in the classified sections of newspapers and magazines under "Focus Groups." Or go to marketsdirectory.com, click on "Focus Group Facilities," then select your state. "Never pay a firm that claims it can get you into a focus group," warns Michael Printz, the site's publisher. Another website, greenbook.org, includes survey and focus groups in your area, and mysurvey123.com lists companies that pay, but it also lists scam sites. Legitimate companies will never ask for private information such as your credit card number.
7. RUN SOME ERRANDS
Potential Payoff: $15 to $25 an hour
Use your free time to help those with no free time. Roz Jacobi, 61, of North Miami Beach, Florida, buys groceries, waters plants, drives customers to the airport—"anything someone wants," she says—for $25 per hour. (Personal-assistant rates range from $15 to $25 an hour.) She does have to purchase additional auto insurance to transport passengers. Jacobi advertises in her synagogue newsletter and at local shops, though she is always careful about taking on unfamiliar clients. Some websites, such as domystuff.com, feature jobs in your area to bid on.
8. TAKE TICKETS
Potential Payoff: $9 to $12 an hour
Want a paycheck and a free show? Consider ushering at theaters, arenas, or concert halls. Work at a museum gift shop or health club and you can get a free or reduced membership. Richard Fisher, 63, a former accounting-department supervisor for the federal government, works ten hours a week at an Arizona multiplex. "It gets me out of the house, and I get to see free movies," says Fisher. Movie-theater workers usually earn about $9 to $12 an hour.
9. SELL YOUR STUFF
Potential Payoff: Pennies to the sky's the limit
Decrease your clutter and increase your cash flow by selling items you no longer want. Secondhand and vintage stores tend to pay cash on the spot, while consignment shops pay, generally, 50 to 60 percent of what they sell your item for, after the sale. Susan Kubes, 64, and her husband, Tom, 67, not only sell their own stuff; they scour yard sales every weekend. Once the Largo, Florida, couple paid $1 for a ribbed vase that had a slight chip but was made by a famous glassmaker. It sold on eBay for $435. (They disclosed the chip.) If online sales are the way you want to go, consider craigslist.org, ebay.com, and marketplace sites such as bonanzle.com, where sellers set up virtual booths and bargain in real time.
10. WORK AND WANDER
Potential Payoff: $7 to $12 an hour
Combining work with recreational-vehicle camping is a growing trend for those who love the open road. There's even a name for it: workamping. People who workamp travel all over the country in their RVs to take part-time or seasonal jobs at resorts, amusement parks, and theme parks. They can earn $7 to $12 per hour, depending on the job. Frank Banker, 69, and wife Mary, 56, have been workampers in ten states since they sold their Pennsylvania home and bought their RV 11 years ago. Between the two of them, they've worked at a variety of jobs from dishwasher to gardener to electronics service technician. Go to workamper.com to see a list of jobs, and sign up for e-mail updates for positions as they become available. Also, check out work-camping.com or work-for-rvers-and-campers.com.
Sally Abrahms has written for numerous magazines, including Time, Newsweek, Parade, and AARP The Magazine.
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