5 Truly Unusual Methods of Alternate Income

Let’s face it, sometimes you need money, and your day job (assuming you even have a day job, that is) just isn’t giving you enough to get by.  There’s many reasons for this, from not earning much at your job to having your expenses suddenly increase (new baby, anyone?) to simply wanting more than what you can afford (and not wanting to go into debt to get it).

Luckily, there are more ways than ever to earn money nowadays, and even more luckily, we’re going to go through some of them right now.  In this blog entry, we’re looking at the really unusual methods, though, so nothing relatively commonplace (like blogging, for example).  Also, we’re talking about an income, which means new earned money, not a loan (particularly not a payday loan; those things are just horrible all around).

What sources of money are even left? Well, let’s consider these

Unusual Methods of Alternate Income

1.  Selling Your Body Parts: Alright, this one is not something you’re likely to put at the top of your ‘I could use a bit more money’ to-do list, but it can be done, and done without having to cut into tender parts of your anatomy, to boot.  (Besides, selling organs is illegal in the US, so even if you were willing to part with, say, a kidney, that’s not an option here).

You should not view your vital organs as a source of cash.  Trust me.
You should not view your vital organs as a source of cash. Trust me.

No, we’re talking about much easier to part with (and replace) body bits here.  You could sell your blood plasma, for example, about twice a week for a decent payment each time.  You can sell your hair to those who want to buy, and apparently there’s a sizable market; who knew?  You can also sell breast milk, semen, and even eggs.  (Although that last one requires taking hormones to stimulate the release of multiple eggs, and can lead to some health complications, so think carefully before trying it, ladies.)

2. Participate in Medical Tests: New drugs and medical treatments need to be tested before they can be approved for use on the population at large. This is a long process involving numerous stages designed to prevent any harmful drugs from being released.  Part of that testing process, usually one of the final steps before approval, requires the drugs to be used on people to see the side effects that can result.

As you might guess, this isn’t something many people volunteer to do, so it can be a source of money if you don’t mind being a human guinea pig.  You do generally need to be healthy, though, so you’re likely out of luck if you are suffering from any conditions that could influence how the medication could affect you.  (You’re not completely out of luck, though, as some medications need to be tested on people with particular conditions.)

3. Selling (Virtual) Items: This might not seem too unusual at first; selling things is one of the time honored ways of earning money.  The unusual part comes in when you start talking about virtual items.  That is, when you are selling items you have accumulated in, say, an online game (World of Warcraft is a biggie) to people for real money.  I’ve mentioned this before, on the buying side; if you sell, though, you can potentially make some decent money.

Be aware, though, that’s it’s not as easy as playing a game a few hours a week and making hundreds of bucks a month.  There are more than a few issues that arise when you try to make a profit in the real world from stuff you’ve accumulated in game.  The legal issues are particularly important, as this a pretty grey area when it comes to what you can and cannot do legally with virtual items.  (Blizzard, the maker of World of Warcraft, isn’t particularly fond of people trying to sell in-game items, and will ban players who try; that hasn’t stopped many people from doing so.)

4. Participate in Mock Trials: There are plenty of areas where you can earn money for contributing your time, your attention, and usually, your opinion.  From focus groups to mystery shopping, you can find plenty of opportunities to share some thoughts with interested parties and earn a profit out of the deal.

One of my favorite of such opportunities is a mock trial.  It’s hard to argue with an opportunity to earn hundreds of dollars (as much as $100 an hour, apparently) by sitting through an abbreviated trial and offering your opinion on the cases presented.  While not a full-time job by any means, it sounds like a good method for a few extra bucks once or twice a month.  (And definitely more appealing than actual jury duty.)

5. Street Performing: Alright, this is admittedly a bit on the weird side (even on a list of unusual methods of alternate income), but it has potential.  If you have a skill that can be performed out in public, you can make a surprisingly decent income as a ‘busker’, a street performer.  Plus, if you are particularly skilled, you might be able to parlay your busking into a broader entertaining career, which is surprisingly common.

If you don’t have any talents that you can turn into successful street performing, you could also try begging.  It’s admittedly even less appealing than busking, and it probably seems like it has less chance of becoming a serious profession.  Although, if you’re willing to keep at it, you can apparently make a sizable income, perhaps even a six figure salary.  You might want to avoid telling anyone you’re begging money from about just how much you earn if you get anywhere near that level, though.

That’s it for this list, although with a little bit of searching, I’m sure you can come up with plenty of other weird (and less than weird) ways to earn some side income.  What unusual methods would you recommend?  Are there any more commonplace suggestions you’d put at the top of your ‘If I Need Extra Money’ list?

Picture Source: Morguefile

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