Unemployment is high and savings are low. You're struggling to make ends meet, but what can you really do about it? What if we told you sending texts, test driving cars or listening to music might make you some money?
Jonathan Turner is looking at all options when it comes to making money these days, including checking out garage sales for used books. Not to read-but to resell.
"I've got an app on my iPhone and I'm able to scan the IBN number on it and actually pull up right there and it tells me right there how much is that book worth," says Turner.
There are lots of web sites that will now buy used books and using the smart phone app Bookscouter, he knows on the spot if he'll make a profit buying a book at the yard sale price.
That's just one of many wacky ways to make money these days.
Kyle Taylor with the pennyhoarder.com suggests starting with your fridge. The Nielsen company, that keeps track of TV ratings, now also wants to know what you buy at the grocery store.
"They'll send you a free bar code scanner and every time you go grocery shopping they ask that you scan the groceries that you buy and then it transmits the data to them and companies use that sort of feedback to tell them what products are popular," says Taylor.
Like texting people? You can answer questions for chacha.com and make a few bucks right from your couch.
"They get questions, random questions on their web site and via text and they need people to come up with answers and just thru Google search or whatever, you get paid per text," says Taylor.
You can also rate music for money.
"Sites like hitpredictor.com and slicethepie.com will let you listen to music, rate it and then send you a small check for your efforts," adds Taylor.
And if you're the creative type, you can be paid to help come up with company names.
"There are websites online that hold naming contest. The person who comes up with the best name wins anywhere from 50 bucks to 500 dollars," says Taylor.
Jonathan also gets extra cash with cars.
"I get paid anywhere from $50 to $75 a pop to go out and test drive a vehicle, have fun in it and then able to back and write up a report," says Turner.
A word of caution. You shouldn't have to pay these sites in advance for any work you do.
"Check out the company before you sign up. Do a quick search of reviews about the company," says Taylor.
Kyle and Jonathan point out it's pretty easy money when times are tough.
"You're not going to get to retire by doing any of these money making things but it's a good way to bring in a little bit of extra cash," says Taylor.
"Anything that you can do, any little bit to help to offset your bills, you know, go for it," says Turner.
Another piece of advice from Kyle: compare sites for what they pay. For example, with the used books, he found one site would give him $8 for a used cookbook, while another site only offered $1.