Six ways to make extra money this summer!

by Nick on May 14, 2012

Oh man it was a N-I-C-E weekend here in Hoboken NJ.  My parents were in town after a KILLER work week that saw me working a TON of hours, zigging and zagging on a roller-coaster of assignments and emotions.  It was just nuts.  And from what I understand it’s just the beginning of a long summer.  So I had to lay low for a few days until I was able to breathe a bit.  But I’m back again.  Hopefully this week will be a little less hectic because I was really feeling it by the time I got home Friday night (which was actually early Saturday morning…).  In addition to my regular posting, I’ll also do a mid-week round-up to highlight the best posts from around the net because I’ve found a few that I really want to highlight and SAFTM made it in a few round-ups and carnivals that I need to highlight.  I hope your weeks haven’t been as hectic as mine since the sun started shining a bit more.

But all of this work got me thinking about summer gigs.  And I found a pretty cool article with six ideas on how to make some extra coin this summer… I used to love summer gigs when I was in school – a chance to earn some extra cash and learn something new.  But I never did it right.  I always worked some J-O-B and at the end of the summer I had some cash, but that was about it – no momentum – and little opportunity for growth… Anyhow, let’s dig in on six cool ideas for make-your-own summer gigs.  So for some reason every year when I get the first really warm weekend I spend time around the net looking for ways to earn some extra cash.

Go where it’s warm and keep people cold.  This one could be fun… hanging out on the beach all day selling cold water, sports drinks, hats, sunglasses and other things beach bums want to buy.  Why.  Didn’t.  I.  Think.  About.  This.  In.  College?!?!?!    And there’s potential to make $15-30 per hour (if you’re only working for yourself – get a friend or two to come in for a guaranteed $10 an hour and you can have a pretty cool summer business).  My guess is there may be a few obstacles with this one though… maybe some red tape.  But a great idea.

Lawn and yard care.  Eh… I like the idea and it could grow into a business but it’s not a ton of summer fun.  A used lawn mower and some clippers and you could be in business pretty cheap and make some decent cash.

House sitting and pet sitting.  Booooring.  Relatively easy though – especially house sitting… Not much money.  I still like selling bottled water to beach bums the best.

Mobile car detailing.  This is pretty cool, too.  Mobile anything seems like the rage these days.  So why wouldn’t someone want their car detailed while they’re working so they can free up their weekends to sell water to bikini babes?  🙂  I like this a lot.  This one’s a keepeer.

Summer nanny / babysitter.  Boooorring, but could be fun, too.  Over in my corner of the world parents are so obsessed with finding ways to pay other people to take their kids for the summer that there’s probably a long list of buyers if you’ve got good references and are a hard worker.  Boring, yes.  But a keeper.

Tutoring and teaching.  Eh… this one’s OK.  Group classes or one-on-one teaching can bring some pretty good cash.  And if you’re teching something you like then it could be pretty fun work, too.  I won’t “poo poo” this but I still like heading to the beach with a cooler… 🙂

Bottom line.  Get creative this summer and make some money.  And see if you can do it with an eye on growing into a nice business.  If I ever get out of the office, maybe you’ll see me down the Jersey Shore with a cooler full of water 🙂

I think the best summer gig I had was assembling steel shelving at a warehouse with my uncle.  It was 84 hours a week in a 100 degree warehouse lifting tons of steel and climbing up 17 feet in the air to attach the crossbeams.  Looking back at it, I’m sure we violated many safety regulations, but I’m alive and made a ton of cash.  That was cool.  And I got in great shape, too.  Bartending was very cool, too.  Best overall, but it was year-round.

What was your best gig when you were in school?   And do you agree with me about the best of these six?  Which one would you pick?

Until next time, put your credit card down and slowly step away from the mall!

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Thad P @ May 14, 2012 at 7:44 am

My funnest summer gig way back when was working at a grocery store with lots of friends. Of course, I was 16 by then and could drive. With a teen in my home now, I am always on the lookout for these kinds of lists!


Nick May 15, 2012 at 10:10 am

Always fun to work with friends. In college I bounced and then bartended with a bunch of buddies. That was really fun.


SB @ FPR May 14, 2012 at 8:19 am

that tutoring and teaching can be done on any season, isn’t it?


Nick May 15, 2012 at 10:10 am

Yeah… not really a summer gig, but I imagine parents may be looking for extra help over the summer. I still like the beach gig if you can navigate the red tape.


Michelle May 14, 2012 at 8:21 am

I’ve never really had a side gig, but retail stores usually hire in the summer, so I’d check those out too!


Nick May 15, 2012 at 10:11 am

A few friends of mine loved retail gigs, but they ended up spending all of their extra money to “take advantage of the discount,” haha. Good way to get a bunch of stuff cheap though.


Jason May 14, 2012 at 8:40 am

I’d definitely go with selling the water. I actually read that elsewhere this weekend too!

Hoboken, NJ huh? That’s where Tyshawn Taylor is from (KU basketball). Rock Chalk!


Nick May 15, 2012 at 10:12 am

Ha! I promise he didn’t learn a thing from me. Supposedly Eli Manning lives here, too, but I haven’t seen him. There are a few Jersey celebs who make Hoboken their home… Rumor was Tebow was scoping an apartment out a few weeks back.


Daisy @ Add Vodka May 14, 2012 at 9:52 am

I’m trying to pick up a babysitting job this summer because I would prefer to babysit rather than work indoors in a mall selling shoes as a side gig. I hate retail and kids are fun – at least I can get outdoors with them and play! Plus I can make just as much money!


Nick May 15, 2012 at 10:16 am

The way the line broke on your comment I read “I hate retail and kids” right after you were going to pick up a babysitting job, haha! Glad I kept reading….

I almost wrote about playing with kids outdoors in the post, but I scratched it at the last minute (not sure why… maybe I thought it sounded creepy coming from a 33 year old guy…). But it’s the best thing about babysitting – especially if the kids are older and you can go play soccer or something to get a workout in. Plus, I bet the parents would LOVE you if their kids passed out at 7pm whenever they hired you because they got so much exercise! You could even raise your rates… maybe even turn it into a small summer camp and have a bunch of kids and a few instructors, but I imagine there’s some red tape to clear if it gets that far along).


Paul @ Make Money Make Cents May 14, 2012 at 9:59 am

I was on a cruise to the Bahamas a couple years ago, and on the beach there were a bunch of people selling Pina Coladas and water. I decided that I want to do that one day! I am a little hesitant because I feel I would gulp down all the drinks instead of selling them!


Nick May 15, 2012 at 10:18 am

Just charge double and you can employ the “one for you, one for me” method, haha! You definitely don’t want to drink all of the profits!


Modest Money May 14, 2012 at 10:16 am

I agree that selling stuff to keep people cool on a hot day is probably the best idea. I’m sure someone cranky would report you though forcing you to get a proper business license. Then there’d probably be all kinds of restrictions of where you could setup shop. So maybe it would be best to rotate locations to try to avoid that stuff.


Nick May 15, 2012 at 10:18 am

Yeah, it probably would need to be licensed or very mobile!


Jefferson May 15, 2012 at 1:41 am

lol… You don’t sound real enthusiastic about any of these ideas, Nick.

My 11 year old has been talking about starting a dog-walking business, which I think is great.


Nick May 15, 2012 at 10:33 am


Dog walking could be really great for an 11 year old. I think Kari from small budget big dreams does that on the side around Hoboken. She may have some good tips.


PB May 15, 2012 at 6:50 pm

The best summer gig I had during high school/college was lifeguard. Pays decent, get to spend time out side, and there is a barrier to entry, making both the pay better, and the likelihood of finding a job higher (assuming you are certified). Also all of the other lifeguards were approximately the same age.


Nick May 15, 2012 at 9:06 pm

Definitely a cool gig for sure. And maybe you could even peddle some water at the same time…


Frugal Portland May 16, 2012 at 12:12 pm

I knew a kid in Jerusalem who took allowance money to the grocery store, bought a cooler and some drinks and just set up at the Western Wall. He was 11, and by the time his parents found out, he had over $500.


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