Ways to Beat a Modern Day Recession

I am not sure if you know this but we are in a recession.  Yeah, it came as a shock to me too.  But according to out wonderful government we are in an official recession.  And maybe it is just because I have a job (and a great one at that) that I do not see the recession first hand, but the 10.4% (that is current so I am sure that by the time you read this that number will have grown) do see it on a daily basis.  We have not seen unemployment rates this high in years and if it keeps up we are headed straight for a depression.

But as we suffer through this recession and watch store after store and bailout after bailout be handed out like candy, it is hard not to start thinking of some ways to make a little extra cash on the side.  So here are some ways that you might be able to make a little extra dough this year and try to not let this recession get you down too much.

The first way you can earn a little bit of spending money is to answer text messages.  You are already doing that anyway, right?  Especially the people out there with smart phones like the Blackberry (I have been calling them Crapberry lately as it just seems to fit) or iPhone.  Text messaging has never been as easy or as cheap as it is now days and if there is a way to make some Roosevelt’s while doing it why not?

There are all kinds of services out there for this.  Locally you might have heard, or have seen on the side of a city bus, the words ChaCha.  ChaCha was started by a guy from right here in Indiana (he also invented voicemail) and has been based in Carmel since its inception a few years back.  I actually have had the pleasure of working for this company for a short period of time as, what they call, a “guide”.  You sign up for free and answer questions while you are at home in front of your machine or on your phone as you are out with your friends.  It gets a little over bearing but you have total control because you are treated as a contractor and not an actual employee.  Another service that is similar to ChaCha is text118118.com.  They are very similar and seem to be more focused on text messaging than anything.

The cool thing about these sorts of jobs, if you can even call it a job, is that you can work at your own pace.  Never more are the days of being bored with nothing to do; simply respond to the never-ending list of questions that these services get on a daily basis.  (ChaCha is actually not doing very well.  They have cut back staff and slashed their payment schedule back and have even begun charging users for answers after he or she hits a certain number.  Apparently paying people to answer questions all day and night with no income outside of advertising was not the best way to create a business success story.  Guess voicemail wins the battle of his best ideas, huh?)

The next idea is one that will make you feel like a real life guinea pig.  This is also a way to make a quick buck and to get your name attached to some research studies throughout the country.  You can become a simulated patient for a variety of tests, medications, and procedures at an endless list of hospitals and medical programs at colleges and universities.  Some of them that I have thought about include deprivation sleep studies (where they watch your sleep patterns for a series of nights), and alcohol dependence.  (The only rule with that one is you have to be 21 years of age and must consume at least three drinks a week.)  They pay incredible rates as most are extended over a series of days and sometimes weeks as well as require you to stay in either the hospital or research laboratory.  However, for the rates that some of these places dish out I will stay as long as you need me.

One way, and one that is not necessarily new to the average online user, is using services like eBay and Amazon to sell your used goods.  Take your last semester’s algebra book for example.  If you take that back to the bookstore on campus they might give you a fraction of what it is worth.  Or they might not give you anything at all if the class will be teaching out of a different book the following semester.  Or that collection of baseball cards that have been sitting in your attic for God knows how many years.  Those things could be, depending on their condition, worth hundreds, even thousands of dollars to a collector.  So why not throw them online.  Sure, these places take a cut (and eBay has actually raised their cut to 3% last I checked) for your total selling price but in the end it is more money than you had before with all that junk just lying around.

Another way to earn some quick bucks is to become a tutor. You can do this at a handful of organizations from homeless shelters (most of these are non for profit though) or local elementary or even your nearest college campus.  Take something you are good at, especially if you are still in school you should select a subject that you always get an A in) and just post signs with an hourly rate and your phone number.  You might be shocked at the results.

Of course this list is endless but I just wanted to share a few that I have seen over the past few months that have had my brain ticking.  I work full time the way it is, so I do not have a lot of time to take part in these activities.  This is meant for those of you that might not like your current situation.  I have always felt that if you find yourself in a job that you like, or one that is not providing you with the adequate financial stability that you deserve or desire, then get out.  There is nothing worse than waking up every morning and not wanting to go to work.  You should love your job.  Do not work to live; you need to live to work.