How to Make Money from Home: Earning Extra Income – Reader’s Digest

We could all use a little extra cash, especially if the income stream is intended to last through retirement. But with full-time jobs and limited resources, how can you make money from home online without tiring yourself out? A better question might be: How can I make extra money from home?

Creating additional income streams isn’t as difficult as it may sound. In fact, marketing expert Dorie Clark suggests a few tips for how to make money from home in her book, Entrepreneurial You. We share some of those ideas below to help you create extra income—from home or online. 

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Start a blog

Writing a blog is one of many ways to make money fast. Aspiring Broadway actress Stefanie O’Connell needed to make more money while living in New York, so she started the blog “The Broke and the Beautiful Life,” in which she detailed the money lessons she had learned. She posted several times a week and eventually started writing posts for other blogs at $20 or so a pop. “For me, anything that was even twenty bucks, that was an hour I didn’t have to wait tables,” she said.

Clark followed a “ladder strategy” when it came to her writing career. She began by writing for her personal blog, and then she contacted local papers like the Boston Business Journal. Over time, she built an impressive portfolio of articles, and then she had plenty of ammo to share with editors of the larger publications she writes for now. Clark recommends making a list of small and large outlets you’d like to write for. And then ladder up, just like she did.

Branislav Nenin/Shutterstock

Start a podcast

One way you can make money from home is to start a podcast to share your views with the world. How to make extra money from home doing this? In order to get started, Clark recommends listening to several podcasts in your field of interest on iTunes. Also, check out the best podcasts you’re not listening to (but should) and try to pinpoint what makes them so successful and how you can apply those methods. Then ask yourself these questions: How will mine be different? What niche would I like my podcast to fill? What style would I like my podcast to be in? Friendly? Authoritative? After you settle on your niche, make a spreadsheet and fill it with the top 20 guests that you would like to book. Then reach out to them. Once you start building an audience, advertisers will quickly follow and pay to be mentioned on your podcast.

Invest in dividend stocks

By investing in dividend stocks, you can make money from home online with little effort. That’s because when you buy a stock that pays a dividend, you don’t have to do anything else. The company you invested in will send you a check a few times a year. For example, a technology manager in Canada generated $1,200 each month from his investments in dividend stocks: “High-dividend stocks are my secret weapon,” he said. Famed investor Warren Buffet recommended buying shares of General Motors, IBM, Coca-Cola, Deere and Wells Fargo, as they all pay dividends. Of course, your returns are subject to the stock’s performance in the market, but these blue-chip American companies should be solid over the years.

Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

Use cash-back credit cards

A cash-back credit card is one of the real ways to make money from home that can give you a little extra monthly income. If you know you’re going to be spending regularly on groceries or gas, it pays to use one of these cards: Discover has no annual fee and 5% cash back each quarter, Chase Freedom also has no annual fee and also 5% cash back on combined purchases over $1,500, so that’s an extra $75 for you. You’re not going to get rich using these cards, but it’s nice to make a little extra cash. Before you sign up for a card, make sure to read the fine print and know what you’re signing up for—and never, ever use a credit card in these situations.

Rent your spare room

JPC-PROD/ShutterstockTurn your extra bedroom into an income stream in one of the real ways to make money from home. No matter where you live, you can pocket extra cash by listing your place on Airbnb, which has over a million properties. Post your property for free and determine the price point and duration of stay. Of course, you’ll want to set the price so that it covers your expenses, including utilities, taxes and your rent. If you need help, read the top tips from Scott McGillivray, host of Income Property on At Home with Family Handyman, on how to kick-start revenue using your existing real estate. You can even read Airbnb’s guidelines, which detail what’s expected from you.

Here’s an added bonus: You generally don’t have to report your earnings as income if you rent your place for a maximum of two weeks a year. And after that, you’ll have to take into account tax considerations. Even still, if you charge $100 a night for 14 days a year, that’s $1,400 in additional revenue, which is nothing to shrug at. 

About the experts


  • Washington Post: “Thinking of renting out your home on Airbnb? Consider these costs first.”
  • The Street: “Warren Buffett’s Top 10 Dividend-Paying Stocks for 2016”
  • Market Watch: “Earn passive income: 4 people share their successful strategies”

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