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Most Home Based Side Hustles Seem Like a Scam. What Suggestions Do You Have for Us From Your Penny Stupid Project?

Question:

Dear Steve,

Currently looking into partial disability due to surgery earlier this year and some chronic health issues that are preventing me from working “normal jobs,” we are dependent on my husband’s income.

Still, he is also dealing with chronic health issues that are beginning to take their toll, and we are only just able to make ends meet. We have just started following your PennyStupid YouTube channel and have subscribed to email updates 🙂

Our question is, and it is more based on the research you and Damon are doing on side hustles (hopefully, it’s okay to ask this here)

Based on our current situation described, we have both been hunting for legitimate work-from-home jobs than side hustles, unfortunately, they do not work for us at this time, as we are currently stuck in a small apartment with little storage space for resale items. We don’t have extra money to invest, even on clearance items to try and resell.

We keep running into many “work from home” job listings on several sites, like Indeed, FlexJobs, etc., that ultimately end up either being what appears to be a bogus listing (as though the job never existed) or some scam.

My husband applied for a couple of customer service-oriented jobs with what were also researched as legitimate companies. He even got an email stating he qualified for an interview, but then never heard anything back and couldn’t get any direct communication/response from them.

Would there be any way you would consider researching this area of legitimate work-from-home jobs (?), or if you already have resources available, that would be fantastic! There has to be more out there than just being a disposable Amazon drone.

Thank you so much, and thank you to you and Damon for all you guys do!

Jenn

Answer:

Dear Jenn,

Thank you so much for subscribing to the YouTube channel and emails. If you want to follow The Penny Stupid Project on Facebook, there’s that as well. Every follow, subscribe, and like is a blessing at this stage.

Your situation is exactly why we embarked on this project.

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When dealing with debt, you can either reduce expenses, increase income, or combine both.

But what is a real opportunity among all the scams out there? Work-at-home people have been the target of scams as far back as I can remember. That employment opportunity sounds a lot like a scam I wrote about a few years ago.

Like you, I’ve been very frustrated for years about what is a money pit and what can generate $550 to $2,000 extra dollars a month.

Keep in mind Damon and I agreed when we started the Penny Stupid Project that this was a test and report back effort. We are not selling anything so we can remain unbiased.

It is still early days, but some legitimate side hustles might fit what you are looking for.

Even if I directed you towards a side hustle that we found a winner, the unknown factors are always emotional.

For example, I have a friend that thinks the sky is falling all the time, and they struggle to find opportunities in anything. I get it, and life has dealt them a bad hand, and things are not that fun at the moment. Everything sucks.

The odds are pretty good, even presented with a great side hustle, they would still be able to grab defeat out of the jaws of victory.

From experience, the absolute most challenging hurdle in finding that side hustle cash is the initial stages of getting going. If you are down, this process can pound you further into the ground and force you to quit.

Retail arbitrage is a good example of this. The process to be successful is more complicated than you would assume, and the time delays are long between product acquisition and sale. It would not fit the requirements you mentioned.

Some other side hustle opportunities involve nothing more than a computer and the internet, such as Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, Amazon Merch, Mechanical Turk, and others. A previous test of Amazon Merch was not great.

I have not yet had a chance to try some of the work-from-home items on our testing list. We have Swagbucks, User Testing, Surveys, and others to test. You can suggest a side hustle to test or vote for one on the list to try first.

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Those kinds of home side hustles on the testing list would be good for you, considering your health situation and ability to invest in something up front, which I would discourage.

Here is one suggestion, Amazon Mechanical Turk is backed by Amazon. It’s been around for more than a decade. I wrote about it in 2011. You can read that post here.

It would not require any expense to try, and you already have a computer and internet connection.

This will probably be tedious work, but if you can move quickly through the tasks, I’d love to know what you can make daily. Come back and post an update and share your experience.

I’m looking forward to testing Amazon Mechanical Turk myself, but I’m not that far yet.

Sincerely,


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

Do you have a question you'd like to ask me for free? Go ahead and click here.

Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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3 thoughts on “Most Home Based Side Hustles Seem Like a Scam. What Suggestions Do You Have for Us From Your Penny Stupid Project?”

  1. From experience Mechanical Turk will make you MAYBE 50 cents here and there. The requirements are strange to qualify for, the payments are low and the few that might pay you $2 are only open for those who have already leveled up. Many times you will try to sign up only to find out that one filled up. It is maddening. Swag bucks is sort of the same deal and if you are saving money you most likely dont want to be told to buy a brand that is 2 or 3 dollars more than you typically would buy so that you can get a few pennies back. I was laid off due to Covid and if there was an app that produced money, been there done that, got annoyed and stopped. The absolute only thing I have found that is not a scam or frustrating is called Upside. You will see gas stations in your area and save 10-25 cents per gallon at the participating gas stations. The caveat is that you check in on the app and be sure to keep the receipt because a lot of times its glitchy and younwill get an email saying you checked in but they have no record of purchase, but its an easy fix. You just snap a pic of your receipt. You will pay full price for the gas up front and in about 5 days you will get the difference back. I cant remember the minimum cash out I believe it was $10. You can get gift cards, you can shop online with a surprising number of places you actually would spend money, and it is easy. The other thing I like is that every time a friend you have referred gets gas, you get some money as well. It has paid me about $20 here and there. Not a lot, but we are gonna buy gas anyway, I find this is one of the simplest ways to save and make a few dollars. Take care and this too shall pass. Angie

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