26 Best Side Hustles to Pay Off Debt Fast

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26 best side hustles to pay off debt fast

If you have debt for things like student loans or credit card debt, there are two ways to make progress: 1. Spend less and 2. Earn more (with a side hustle). The first one is probably what most people try first when trying to pay off their debt. 

Reducing your spending is definitely a good start, but there’s a limit to how much you can cut your spending. After a certain point you’ll really be racking your brain to find the most obscure, extreme-cheapskate-level life hacks to save yourself a few bucks a month.

That’s where the side hustles come in. Instead of spending hours collecting coupons to save an extra $3.26 on your grocery bill, you could be using that time to work a side hustle earn $326 bucks a month (or more). The returns on your time are definitely much greater if you’ve already done your best to minimize your spending. All you have to do is pick the right side hustle that works best for you.

Here’s a list of some side hustles that you can use to start paying off debt or earn a little bit of cash on the side. I tried to pick out the ones that will earn you some income right away and not months or years down the line (like building a business or starting a Youtube channel). If you’re trying to pay off debt, time is not on your side. You need cash fast. You can’t afford to wait that long for a payoff.

1. Sell Your Data

Some apps will pay you to let them track and sell your shopping or internet browsing data. Sometimes this involves taking a survey or scanning a receipt, but some of these apps will just run in the background passively without any work on your part.

If you think about the ratio of dollars earned to time spent, selling your data is pretty high up there. Even if it only earns you a few dollars a month. For just a few minutes of your time, you could set yourself up to earn close to a hundred bucks over the next year.

Sites: Shoptracker, Nielson, Receipt Hog.

2. Get Fit and Get Paid for it

These apps will pay you to do things that help you stay healthy. Some apps will pay you for following through on your wagers while others will pay you for recording your fitness and health data. There are even apps that will give you points for taking steps throughout the day.

This is a great way to earn a little bit of extra cash while meeting your weight loss or fitness goals. I’ve personally been using sweatcoin to rack up some coins while walking around. They have a few things you can spend your coins on, such as discounts on fitness products, free trials of service, and even all expenses paid trips around the world.

sweatcoin get paid to walk

One word of warning: if you make a wager on meeting a fitness goal on one of these sites, make sure you are 100% committed to follow through with it. If you don’t, you might actually lose money doing this (which is a good motivator to get fit).

Sites: sweatcoin, gympact, healthywage, achievement, dietbet, stepbet, charitymiles

3. Test Websites

These sites will ask you to test websites with certain tasks to complete if you fit the demographic they’re looking for. These tests typically take 10-20 minutes to complete and will pay you around $3-10 per review. That’s a pretty good return on your time if you have a steady flow of tests coming your way.

One thing to note: many of these sites will require you to record your comments with a webcam and mic as you do them. If you’re camera shy, this may not be for you (unless you’re willing to conquer your fears). 

Sites: UserTesting, WhatUsersDo, User Conversion, Userpeek

4. Review Music

If you like listening to music, this might be a good way to pass your time while earning a little bit of income. These sites list music tracks from up and coming artists and will give you a small payment for leaving a review of artists’ tracks. 

Sites: SlicethePie, HitPredictor

5. Test New Products

Lots of companies are looking to get customer feedback on their products for market research. As a product tester, you can get some of these products for free and/or earn a little bit of cash in exchange for your review. It’s not a huge amount of money, but it’s always nice to get free things.

These can include things like electronics, food and drink, cosmetics and toiletries, and even clothing. To maximize the chances of getting something good, you will want to join as many of these panels as you can.

Sites: Pinecone, Clicks Research, Alba Science, i-Say, JJ Friends & Neighbors, McCormick & Company, Inc., Beta Testing

6. Review Books

Like any other products, books are also out there looking for early stage feedback. If you love reading and love writing out your thoughts for people to see, reviewing books could be for you. 

Several sites offer you the opportunity to provide book reviews in exchange for cash or the chance to get tips from readers. Typically they are looking for reviews about 100-300 words long. That’s roughly the length of this “Review Books” section x3.

Sites: Kirkus Media, Reedsy Discovery, U.S. Review of Books

7. Be a Movie Extra

If you’re interested in showing up in the background of a movie or music video so you can brag to your friends, this might be for you. There are casting crews willing to pay extras to stand or do stuff in the background of their scenes. If you’re an actor this could also be a good way to get some acting gigs or break into the Hollywood scene.

Sites: Backstage, Central Casting, Playbill

8. Become a Mystery Shopper 

Mystery shopping is a way businesses test out their store’s customer service by asking people like you to act like a regular shopper. All you have to do is sign up to visit a store, complete some tasks, and give your feedback on your experience. 

In terms of earning you will get about $5-25 per visit. They also will reimburse you for anything you needed to pay for at the store (a nice little freebie).

Sites: Secret Shopper, Market Force, GBW, Quest for Best, IntelliShop, Perception Strategies Inc, Gigwalk, Field Agent, EasyShift

9. Tutor People/Teach English

Tutoring is a great side hustle that will earn a solid income in your spare time. Typical rates I’ve seen hover around $10-25 per hour depending on experience. Best of all, you can do your tutoring at home around your schedule. That saves you from a lot of time commuting. 

There are all sorts of people who are looking for tutors ranging from young kids to college students to people from other countries trying to learn english. You don’t even need to have prior teaching experience (although that definitely helps). 

Sites: Magic Ears, VIPKid, Tutor, Aim-for-A Tutoring, My Tutor 24, Chegg

10. Do Random Jobs for People in Your Community

The rise of the gig economy has opened up thousands of jobs doing random stuff for everyday people. These could be things like assembling furniture, meal prepping for someone, or even waiting in line for people. Besides getting paid, it’s also a great way to meet people in your community.

Since these types of jobs usually require you to be there in person to do something, you will likely be earning a solid hourly income for each job you do. $15-20 per hour is not uncommon to see for these types of tasks. If you have a special trade skill, have special equipment that’s in high demand (like a truck), or are strong enough to help people move, that could bump up to $30-50 per hour depending on your area.

There are all sorts of work that people will pay someone to do. Here’s just a sample of some that I saw on Craigslist:

a list of craigslist jobs

Here’s a list of some community job ideas that I’ve found:

Dog walking

Sites: Rover, Wag!


Note: Men might have a hard time getting gigs for this. That’s just the way the world is.

Sites: Care, Sittercity, UrbanSitter, Bambino, SittingAround, Seeking Sitters


This one’s a good way to make extra money while working remotely or get free places to stay for vacation.

Sites: TrustedHousesitters, Nomador, HouseCarers, MindMyHouse, HouseSitMatch

Being a Tour Guide

Sites: Rent a Friend, ToursByLocals

Anything and Everything

Sites: Fiverr, TaskRabbit, Craigslist

11. Deliver Things

If you have a car or bike, this could be a good way to make some money on the side by delivering things to people. People want all sorts of things delivered including food, retail purchases, and other everyday essentials.

Depending on your area, typical drivers make around $10-17 per hour. You might also get some tips to boost your income a little bit. Just be aware of the costs of gas and car wear/tear which can eat into some of your earnings.

Sites: Instacart shopper, Postmates, Uber Eats, Grubhub, Doordash, Shipt

12. Make Money Using Your Car

If you have a car, it’s not too hard to find ways to use it to earn a little bit of cash. The first thing that would probably pop into most people’s heads is to drive for a ridesharing service like Uber. However, there are also other ways you can use your car to make money. Some of which you can do at the same time.

Most drivers report earning around $12-20 per hour depending on their area. However, you should also take into accounts wear and tear on your car and gas fees.

Drive Your Car

Sites: Lyft, Uber, Wingz, HopSkipDrive

Put Ads on Your Car 

Warning: scammers are common for this, anyone asking you to pay upfront should raise red flags. These sites should be safe though. You will have to drive a lot to qualify for this. It’s great for rideshare drivers.

Sites: Carvertise, Nickelytics, Wrapify

Rent Out Your Car

Sites: Hyrecar, Turo, GetAround

13. Rent Out Your Space  

If you have some space that isn’t being used, you can use that to turn a profit. You don’t even need to deal with having someone live there. You might be surprised by what people are willing to pay money for.

Rent Out Your Parking Space

Sites: ParkingSpotter, ParkingSpots, ParkWhiz, CurbFlip

Rent Out Small Storage Space (like your attic or garage)

Sites: Neighbor, Store At My House, StoreWithMe

Rent Out Your Backyard

Sites: Rent the Backyard, Nookzy, Gamping

14. Rent Out Your Belongings

If you have some stuff sitting around that you think someone could have a use for, it might be worth looking into renting those out to people. This could be anything from baby toys, to clothing, to your old boat. There’s a wide variety of different sites that will cater to your niche. 

Sites: Boatsetter, Style Lend, BabyQuip, Fat Llama, Craigslist, RentNotBuy

15. Proofread for Businesses 

Companies are always looking for people to review and check their writing for spelling and grammar errors. 

Since this is a hired professional role, you’ll be earning a very solid, steady income. Proofreaders typically make around $39,000 per year working full time (roughly $18 per hour).

On the flip side of being a professional, you will have to show that you’re very qualified to do this type of work. It will be very difficult to get any proofreading jobs with no experience, so getting proofreading training/experience (via freelance work) is a must if you are considering it.

Sites: Cambridge Proofreading, ProofReadingService, EditFast, Wordvice, Scribendi, ProofreadingPal, Kibin, Scribe Writing, Enago

16. Transcribe

Transcribing doesn’t have too many prerequisites. Pretty much all you need is a laptop. 

How much you earn depends on which company you work for and your own speed and accuracy with transcribing. Since transcribing jobs are pretty competitive, some experience and training might be necessary to land any jobs.

Sites: SpeechPad, Rev, TranscribeMe, TigerFish, GMR Transcription, GoTranscript, Daily Transcription, Casting Words, CrowdSurf, Way With Words, Scribie, Quicktate

17. Win a Competition

If you want to put your skills to the test or want to earn some achievements you can brag about, you can think about entering a competition. There are competitions for all kinds of different disciplines like coding, art, cooking, gardening, and bodybuilding.

A lot of them won’t give you huge amounts of money, but it’s definitely a good way to build your skills. When I was in high school, I competed in a local public speaking contest and won $20. Then when I was in college, I competed in a research poster competition and won $200.

1st place in research poster competition

It’s not too hard to find these competitions, especially if your skill is in a big niche like coding. All you have to do is Google “[insert skill here] competitions near me”. 

Here’s what came up for “public speaking competitions near me”

public speaking competitions near me google results

18. Write for people

If you love writing, you might consider writing content for people. People and businesses are always looking for writers to write blog posts, essays, and tutorials for them.

Usually writers get paid per piece of content they produce. So how much you make will depend on the quality and speed of your writing skills. If you’re a complete beginner to writing, you will have to start out with low-paying gigs to build experience.

Sites: Upwork, Freelancer, Guru, Hubstaff Talent, CloudPeeps, PeoplePerHour, iWriter, Textbroker, WriterAccess, WritersLab, BloggingPro, FlexJobs

19. Sell Things

This one should be pretty straightforward. You give people things in exchange for cash. You might be surprised by the type of things you can sell to people.

Sell Unwanted Stuff

Sites: Craigslist, Ebay, OfferUp, Letgo

Sell Crafts

Sites: Etsy, Handmade at Amazon, Artfire, Zibbet, Bonanza

Sell Your Used Electronics

Sites: Amazon, Decluttr, Swappa, Gazelle, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Sellshark, Buy Back World, Green Buyback

Sell Pictures

Sites: 500px Prime, SmugMug Pro, Shutterstock, iStockphoto

Rent Out Your Friendship (yes, that’s a thing)

Sites: rentafriend, rentalocalfriend

20. Matched Betting

This sounds like gambling but it isn’t (no risk). Matched betting is just taking advantage of free bets offered by online bookmakers by placing bets on all possible outcomes. 

Let’s say you can bet $10 on 2 teams: A or B. You decide to bet on both A and B ($5 for A and $5 for B). It doesn’t matter who wins, you will get your money back ($10 back from A and $0 from B or vice versa).

But what if one of the sites you placed the bet on gives you a free $5 credit for bets? Now when you place equal $5 bets on A and B (now $2.5 for A and $2.5 for B because of the credits), you get back $10 even though it only cost you $5 to place the bet. That’s a net gain of $5. That’s what matched betting is all about.

If you still don’t get it, don’t worry. I didn’t really get it the first time either. The sites below also give some explanations that might help.

You can visit betting sites and manage your bets yourself or you can use one of the sites below to find and manage your matched bets for you (at a small price).

One important thing to note: sports betting might not be legal in your state, so do your research before going down this rabbit hole. Sorry California.

Sites: OddsMonkey, Profit Accumulator, Matched Bets, Profit Squad

21. Become a Microworker

Doing microwork is basically doing a tiny piece of a larger job usually split up between multiple people. Typically it’s something simple and repetitive like image and video processing, data entry/cleanup, transcribing, and editing. It’s a great way to make money in your spare time while working at home. 

Sites: MechanicalTurk, Clickworker, Microworkers, RapidWorker, Appen, ySense, EasyShift, The Smart Crowd

22. Design T-Shirts 

If you have some great ideas for t-shirt designs, you can try selling them online for a little bit of cash. Make sure they’re good though or you might not get enough interest to print and ship the shirts.

Sites: Spreadshop, Teespring, SellMyTees, Threadless, Bonfire, TeePublic, Zazzle, CafePress

23. Get a Local Part-Time Job

Probably the most straightforward way to earn money on the side is to get a part-time job in your area. If you happen to have skills that transfer over to part time work, this will likely earn you the highest wages with the most hours outside of a full time job. 

If you don’t have any special skills/experience this could still be a good way to earn a solid, steady income in your spare time. 

My recommendation for finding no skill/experience jobs in your area is to walk around your local shopping mall and ask the store owners if they are looking to hire. Many store owners prefer to just put up a now-hiring sign outside their store rather than create a job posting and put it online. I see this all the time when I’m going out. 

I’ve landed one of my summer jobs this way. I decided to walk around a nearby shopping center and saw a now hiring sign outside of a poke store. I walked in, asked about the sign, filled out a piece of paper with my resume, and they called me in for an interview 2 days later, leading to my summer job. 

The whole process took less than a week from walking through the door to starting my first day. The entire job search was done with just a 15 minute walk. One of my coworkers was even interviewed and hired on the spot after asking about the hiring sign.

24. Become a Virtual Assistant

Working as a virtual assistant is another legitimate way to earn a steady income working online. Virtual assistants assist people with daily tasks such as email, phone, and booking/scheduling appointments.

Depending on your skillset, you can earn between $10-30 per hour. If you are looking to break into the upper end of the earnings range, you will want to specialize in a specific, high demand area such as internet marketing, medical services, or website management.

You have a lot of choices for the type of work you want to do. Ideally, you can pick something that matches what you do for your full-time job (if you have one). Alternatively, you could choose to focus on a skill that you want to learn/improve, earning experience and money at the same time. 

Here’s a screenshot from freelancer.com that explains what you can expect:

freelancer homepage

Sites: Freelancer, Upwork, Guru, TaskRabbit, VANetworking, WAHM, PeoplePerHour, Zirtual, HireMyMom

25. Sell Professional Services

If you want to try freelancing or starting your own business in your spare time, you might want to try out these sites to start building experience and reputation while earning some cash. Not only are you making some cash on the side, you are also developing your own skills which will eventually translate to higher earnings.

There are many sites available for you to choose from depending on your niche. There’s something for everyone.

Sites: Freelancer, Guru, Booksy, FindYourTrainer, ClarityFM, RepHunter, Teachable, EatWith, Flightfox, Hire A Chef, Handy, Crowdspring, Codeable, Yeeply

26. Create an Online Course

If you’re very knowledgeable about a certain topic, you could think about creating an online course. There are many sites that list online courses for people like you made by people like you to learn from. 

Course creators earn a little bit of income every time someone purchase their course. Since there’s no overhead (like selling a physical product), a large percentage of the revenue goes straight into the creator’s pocket. Best of all, once it’s out there it’ll keep earning you income with little work on your part. 

One thing to note: if you’re going to make a course, make sure it’s outstanding. It’s too competitive to make a mediocre course in hopes of making a couple bucks. It’s kind of an all or nothing type of deal.

Sites: Udemy, Thinkific, LearnWorlds, Teachable, Zippy Courses, Pathwright, Digital Chalk, Click4Course


If you have debt you need to pay off fast or simply want to make a quick buck, this list gives you some ideas to get started. Feel free to pick one and just give it a try. Doing anything is better than doing nothing.

Don’t underestimate how much a few bucks an hour can earn you if you’re working an extra 5-6 hours a day or even a few hours on your weekends. Even $10 an hour will easily add up to hundreds, even thousands of dollars per month if you stay consistent. If you keep up the hard work and keep your spending down, you can pay off your debt in no time.

If you’re interested in the passive income approach, feel free to check out my other post on passive income ideas. You can also read my best advice on how to get control of your finances with my 60 minute walkthrough or check out my article on personal finance tips.

Joe Wong

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