It’s pretty rare when someone else’s mistake actually makes you money. If you happened to buy a box of Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats in 2009, you might be entitled to a whopping $15 payout due to a class-action lawsuit over misleading marketing claims.
While any unexpected dollar helps, lawsuits are a pretty bizarre way to bring in extra income. That being said, there are a host of other ways to make money like filling out surveys for money, so consider the following roundup if you’re short on cash.
1. Rent Almost Anything
Services like GetAround.com allow you to rent your car by the hour, but handing your keys over to a complete stranger merits justifiable reservations. A better starting point might be the 20-foot extension ladder that’s been collecting dust in your garage since 2003. With Loanables.com you can rent nearly anything you own at a rate of your choosing. Plus, they have a legally binding loan agreement that protects you and your stuff.
2. Cash In Unwanted Gift Cards
Shopping with gift cards often leads to unwise purchases. Because they feel like free money, many consumers use them to buy stuff simply for the sake of spending. If you can’t think of anything worthwhile to spend your store credit on, turn it into cash instead. The preeminent gift card exchange site is GiftCardGranny.com, where you can go to get bids on your gift card and find out who offers the biggest payout.
3. Chop Off the Locks
Are you sick of strangers stopping to tell you how beautiful your hair is? Then chop it off and cash in at BuyandSellHair.com. When you look past the inherent amount of creepiness, there’s actually quite a bit of money to be made. Sellers even specify details about their hair-treatment regimens and lifestyle choices to help drive up the price.
4. Get Poked and Prodded
Guinea pigs are no substitute for human beings. Researchers are always looking for willing volunteers who can help them learn more about medical conditions. Paid studies are often posted on Craigslist or in student newspapers, targeting those searching for extra cash. You can also turn to this list from the National Institutes of Health if going through a government organization makes you feel better.
5. Drain Your Veins
When the change in your couch cushions is all tapped out, selling blood or plasma is an option worth considering. Of all the bodily fluids you can sell for profit, blood is definitely the most dignified. You’re not only providing something that can help save a life, but you usually get a free cookie out of the deal. To find a donation center in your area, check out DonatingPlasma.org.
Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert who helps consumers live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. She has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC’s Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. You can follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice and tips.