As a parent, any additional income you bring in for your family will definitely be put to good use. (College fund. Rainy day savings. New shoes for your toddler who outgrows hers like she's getting paid to do so.)
Since we're probably a touch old for lemonade stands, we had to look elsewhere. And guess what? Nowadays, with ubiquitous smartphones and laptops, the easiest ways to earn extra cash are accessible to everyone at the click of a button.
To help, we hunted down apps, opportunities and projects, and chose "extracurriculars" that are particularly flexible in nature, so you can earn some cash while the kids are at school ... or maybe even bring them with you.
9 Ways to Make Money on the Side
9 Ways to Make Money on the Side
Apps aren't only fun--they're income!
Easyshift is an app that lets you moonlight as a "mystery shopper." When you go on your regular errands, you complete tasks for retailers' research departments like taking pictures or answering a few questions, and you get paid ($2-$4 per task) for the privilege.
Have you heard of TaskRabbit? It's a website (and app) that lets you outsource chores to willing parties. If you're one of those willing parties, you can earn some extra cash doing anything from picking up groceries to assembling IKEA cabinets.
If you have a reliable car (and some great driving tunes), consider bringing in some extra money from a car-sharing service. Services like ZimRide let you sell seats on trips you're already taking for as much as $25, and services like Relay Rides let you rent out your car at your chosen price for the hour, day or week (and provides free insurance!).
And what about parking? If you have it, you can rent that out, too, with Parking Panda.
Do you have a Masters degree in Engineering? Are you a whiz in the kitchen? Do you know the ins and outs of Photoshop?
Any skill someone else wants to learn is an opportunity for you to teach it. Depending on experience and whether or not they join a larger organization, tutors can bring in up to $50 an hour (in cash) teaching out of their own homes, or visiting their students (who could be both children and adults).
In addition to advertising in your community through the standard newspaper ads, Facebook posts and fliers in the library, consider applying to be a tutor on sites like Tutor.com, the Princeton Review and Kaplan.
Almost everyone has dabbled in babysitting at some point, but the job only becomes more lucrative as you grow older and are able to offer more skills, like driving, cooking or CPR certification.
Websites like SitterCity (we interviewed the founder here!) or Care.com are great resources for matching sitters with families.
Charging $12-$15 an hour is pretty standard, but to figure out how much is appropriate for your age and experience, use SitterCity's Babysitter's Rate Calculator.
Spread your availability by speaking with your child's teachers, any friends who work in your community and with real estate brokers, who may work with families with small children who are new to town. If possible, you may even consider an arrangement where you can watch children at your house--it's a built-in play date for your own kid!
(Prefer watching four-legged cuties rather than two? Petsitting.com has you covered.)
Another way to finance your habit might be cleaning your closet--and your child's. It's doubly beneficial: You can clear clutter and make some cash at the same time.
Start by choosing high quality pieces from the current season without any visible wear and tear. Make sure they're clean and folded, then bring them into your local consignment store (here are our tips for consigning clothes).
If it's easier, take well-lit pictures of the pieces and list them on a site likeeBay or Dresm, a site specifically meant to facilitate sales of used clothing.
Style blogs don't have to be a guilty pleasure. Instead, they can be the inspiration for a side-job as a "style entrepreneur."
StyleOwner is a free site that lets you create your own store by choosing items from a "Master Closet" of over 2,000 brands. When your friends--sent that way through your tireless efforts on Facebook, Twitter and emails, no doubt--buy from your store, you earn 10% on everything you sell!
If you're lacking a yard (or half-decent weather), there's also the option of hosting a virtual yard sale: The app Yardsale lets you connect with neighbors and friends without setting up a single folding table.