Money doesn’t grow on trees. But that shouldn’t stop you from multiplying your dollar bills. Here at Hardbacon, we’ve got all the tools you need to manage your money and grow it too. The best way to get ahead is with a good old-fashioned job or to ask for a raise. But if you don’t have the extra time to make extra cash, there are plenty of ways to make ends meet with minimal effort. From weird side hustles to passive income streams, here are the top 20 ways to make easy money in 2021.

1. Sell your empty ink cartridges

Ink is insanely expensive. And don’t even get me started on toner. Sometimes it’s cheaper just to buy a new printer than to refill your ink cartridges. If you’re anything like me, you probably have a junk drawer with at least a few of them kicking around. 

Luckily, you can convert that trash into cash. Ink Canada will pay up to $4 for each empty ink cartridge. They’ll take those money pits and recycle them for you. You can help the environment and make a little extra cash at the same time. Heck yes!

2. Review past tax returns

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) allows you to review and adjust the tax returns you filed within the last 10 years. It’s actually the law. I don’t know about you, but I was not a tax filing genius in my younger days. Who knows what deductions I missed out on in my early 20’s. 

Family Tax Recovery is a Toronto-based accounting firm that has helped over 10,000 Canadians find over $20 million dollars of missed refunds. Sounds a little sketchy right? They have an A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau website. And The Globe and Mail featured the company’s founder, Stan Samole, in a 2019 issue. They only charge you for their services if you actually get a tax refund. They’ll take 33% off the top of whatever missed refunds they find. That’s still 66% of the money you didn’t have before.

3. Check your CRA account for uncashed cheques

While we are on the subject of taxes, have you logged into your Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) account lately? Tax season doesn’t start until February, but that doesn’t mean the CRA doesn’t still owe you money right now. Your CRA account now includes a feature that lets you check to see if you have unclaimed entitlements, like a GST cheque that perhaps got lost in the mail. 

Log in to your CRA account, and on the right-hand side about a third of the way down the page, you’ll see a menu called Related Services with a bulleted list. Scroll all the way down and click on Uncashed Cheques. If you have any, it’ll tell you how much, the type of benefit, and the form you need to print, sign and mail back to the CRA. Then they’ll mail out a replacement cheque to you.

4. Rent out your baby equipment

Parents everywhere know their kids outgrow everything from cribs to carriers in a hot minute. But don’t be so quick to re-sell or donate your used baby stuff. You can actually turn your used kid clutter into a decent side hustle. 

Babyquip.com allows you to rent out your baby toys and equipment to travelers with small children. I discovered this gem when planning a trip to Disney a few years ago. I just didn’t have the room to pack bulky baby essentials that I desperately needed. Thanks to Google, I basically found the Airbnb of all things baby.

5. Sell your hair online

Canada is the world leader for natural resource markets. But what about that natural resource growing out of your head? That’s right, I’m talking about your hair! Human hair is big business and it’s time to cash in. Not to mention, it’s a renewable resource. When it grows back, you can sell it again. 

Hairsellon.com is a global marketplace that matches hair buyers with hair suppliers. As long as your hair is longer than 6 inches, you’re in business. Prices range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. Virgin hair, that is, hair that remains untouched from chemical processes and heat damage, could net you up to $4,000. There’s free money on your head, so get growing!

6. Get paid to get in shape

There are few things in life harder than losing weight. If you’re like me, then you know how difficult it is to stay motivated, especially when progress is slow. Cash is the ultimate incentive. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could make extra money just by getting on the treadmill? 

With HealthyWage, you can do just that. You decide on the amount of weight you want to lose, the time frame, and how much you’re willing to bet. If you meet your goal, you win real money. If you don’t meet your goal, you lose your cash. The average payout is about $1,400. HealthyWage either pays you by cheque or Paypal, your choice. You can join challenges and even get the office onboard for a corporate wellness program.

7. Rent out unused storage space

Do you have extra square footage laying around? Maybe you’ve got space to spare in your basement or attic? Or maybe your driveway could fit an extra car. Whatever the case, all that space can actually make you money. 

Spaceishare.com is an online marketplace that matches those with unused storage space, with those who need it. You can rent out a spare room, empty basement, or even an extra parking spot in your driveway. Just list your space and name your price, it’s that easy. Renters sign a legally binding contract based on your terms, and you receive automatic payments every month.

8. Rent out your musical instruments

So you and the guys tried to start a band. But Jimmy quit and Jody got married. Sorry, Bryan Adams wannabe, now your guitar sits in the corner of the living room collecting dust. Turn that six-string into passive income. It might not be royalty cheques but you can say that you make money as a musician.

With Fretish.com you can rent out your musical instruments and other music gear online. Just create a listing, set your price, and respond to renter requests. It’s literally that easy. When a reservation is made, Fretish.com will either require a damage deposit or proof of comprehensive insurance coverage from the renter. Easy money is music to my ears.

9. Rent out your car

What would you do with an extra $620 a month? If you’re one of the millions of Canadians now working from home in this post-pandemic world, you probably did the smart thing and dropped your car insurance down to pleasure driving. Don’t just save money, make money! 

With Turo.com you can share your car when you don’t need it. Work smarter, not harder. Give yourself a raise by renting out your car while you work from home, or during the weekend when you’d rather Netflix and chill. Just create a free listing, set your price and terms, and meet your guest. Turo offers automatic $2 million liability coverage and you can opt-in for physical damage protection too.

10. Mint an NFT

An NF-What? A Non-Fungible Token is a digital, one-of-a-kind asset that cannot be traded for, or replaced with, a like item. And it’s taking the crypto community by storm. The famous “disaster girl” internet meme was minted into an NFT and sold for $500,000 USD. Are you artsy? Do you know your way around a computer? Get minting. 

The world is your NFT marketplace. To get started, you need to choose your blockchain and buy some crypto. If you’re an Etheruem enthusiast, you can use Mintable, Rarible, or Opensea to create and list your digital art. If you’re a Binance Smart Chain die-hard, check out BakerySwap, Juggerworld, or Treasureland for your NFT minting needs.

11. Rent out your RV

In this post-pandemic weirdness, there’s not much to do except go camping. The demand for recreational equipment has sent both the commercial and peer-to-peer RV markets into a frenzy. So, if you have an RV or a trailer, congrats! You have a money-making side hustle sitting in your driveway right now.  

Websites like Rvezy.com can help you make up to $1,400 a week! You can create a listing, set your price, accept a booking and welcome your guests. You can offer additional services to make more money, like personally delivering the RV to your guests. Rvezy prescreens renters, offers $1 million liability insurance, and even offers your renters 24-hour-7 days-a-week roadside assistance.

12. Rent out your hard drive

My computer crashed the other day, and a part of me died inside. Until I realized I had backed up all my precious data. But I’m running low on digital storage, so now what? Luckily, there is a market for everything, including the need for cloud storage. If you have extra hard drive space, you can side hustle that too.

Sites like Storj and Sia allow you to connect your hard drive to a cloud network. The earning potential depends on how much space you are able to provide, and you need to keep your device on all the time. Earnings can range anywhere from $4 a month to $92 a month. But here’s the thing; they don’t pay you in traditional money, they pay you in cryptocurrency. I own Siacoin (SC), the cryptocurrency that powers the blockchain used to secure the Sia cloud storage network. The value of my SC has increased by 109% since I bought some in February of 2021. The crypto they pay you today can be worth dramatically more tomorrow.

13. Host international students

If you have an extra bedroom or two and you love making a difference in the lives of others, then hosting a student might be perfect for you. But this gig isn’t for everyone. You have to have a passion for kids and their education far beyond just making a few extra bucks per month. 

If you’d like to be a home away from home for international students, Canadian Homestay Network can match your family with a compatible student. There are some start-up costs to be aware of. And of course, caring for another person’s child is a huge commitment. You can go through an agency or directly through your local elementary or high school. For more information, our friend Chrissy Kay from the blog Eat Sleep Breathe FI has written an incredible series on student homestay hosting.

14. Teach English online

If you love helping others but sharing your personal space isn’t exactly your cup of tea. There’s a side hustle for that too. You can cash in your passion by teaching English online from the comfort of your own home. 

Sites like VIPKid and Skooli will pay you anywhere from $14-22 an hour to teach English online. As long as you have a Bachelor’s degree in pretty much anything, you can get started and choose a schedule that works for you. Feeling bummed that you don’t have a degree? That’s ok, Whales English hires anyone who is fluent in English to teach Chinese students. And they offer competitive pay, up to $26 an hour.

15. Switch banks

Recently, I made $300 just by switching banks, no joke. I was tired of getting charged expensive fees for accounts I barely use. Then I discovered the world of digital banks that offer completely free banking. If that wasn’t amazing enough, I realized most of them offer incredible sign-up bonuses for new customers. 

Right now, Tangerine will pay you $300 when you open both a savings and chequing account and add your payroll deposit. They offer free banking which will save you roughly $170 a year. That’s $470 back in your pocket when you break up with your bank. Refer your friends and get another $50 for every person that signs up with your referral code, to a max of three people a year.

16. Mine cryptocurrency

If you’re a crypto enthusiast like me, you’re always looking for easy ways to earn more digital cash. Day trading is risky and takes a lot of effort. But mining is as easy as plugging in a device and walking away. No muss, no fuss. 

Companies like iHub.Global offer mining opportunities for any budget. Right now, they’re building a global peer-to-peer wireless network to power the growing Internet of Things (IOT). By signing up to become a host, you’ll receive a free hardware device to help build their global wireless infrastructure. Just pay for shipping, plug it in, and earn Helium (HNT) coins. In the last 3 months, the price of HNT has shot up 67% from $16 to over $27 per coin. When’s the last time your bank paid you 67% interest on your savings account?

17. Shake your phone

Wake, shake, and make money. What does that even mean? It means you can earn Bitcoin just by shaking your phone every day. Sounds crazy, but I promise you it really is that easy. I’ve been doing this for a few months now and have earned $30 in free Bitcoin. 

Shakepay is one of my favourite crypto trading apps because not only is it a great Canadian alternative to Venmo, but I earn free Bitcoin (BTC) too. Just download the app, set up your account, and get shaking. If you remember to shake every day, you’ll earn increasing payouts of BTC for not breaking your streak. If you never miss a day, you have the potential to earn over $500 worth of BTC in a year, subject to BTC’s price action, obviously.

18. Earn Bitcoin when you shop

Ok, so shaking your phone is pretty freaking easy. But did you know you can double dip on your crypto-earning potential? And it’s even easier than remembering to shake your phone every day. 

With the Mogo Visa Platinum Prepaid card, you earn free Bitcoin on your everyday purchases. I mean, all you have to do is live your life and more digital gold gets added to your wallet. On top of that, every time you use your card to make a purchase, Mogo will plant a tree. By switching to Mogo for all of your day-to-day transactions, you help Canada become a carbon-neutral country and you increase your digital net worth all at the same time.

19. Be a pooper-scooper

This is a service I use and I am willing to pay top dollar for it. There is nothing worse than when that spring melt uncovers what can only be described as a dog-poop-apocalypse in your backyard. I love my dog, but cleaning up after that disaster gets a hard pass from me. 

Luckily, companies like Poo Crew are here to take over the icky jobs we just don’t want to do. So if you love dogs and don’t mind picking up the little brown presents they leave behind, this is the side hustle for you. You get paid by the yard, so the earning potential depends on your availability and how quickly you work. The average pooper-scooper makes about $17 an hour. You can manage your own schedule and work when it’s convenient for you.

20. Sell your dirty laundry

You’ve heard the saying, “don’t air your dirty laundry online.” Well, that person can zip it. Because if you aren’t doing just that, you’re missing out on literally the easiest way to make money in the history of ever. Turn the chore everyone hates into one of the weirdest money-making side hustles; selling your dirty laundry online.

 There is a massive market out there for unwashed underwear, socks, hosiery,  and even old worn-out shoes. And the best place to cash in on this underserved economy is Etsy. Women’s underwear can sell for anywhere between $20-$100 a pair. I no longer see piles of dirty laundry on my floor, I only see piles of money. Of course, this is a niche market with unique challenges and risks. So make sure you do your own research before setting up shop.

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