/Quick ways to earn money for back to school shopping

Quick ways to earn money for back to school shopping

Unbelievably, “back to school” is drawing near once again. Many of you may have quit your job in the past year or, at the very least, have substantially reduced your hours.

Now is the crucial moment. How will I pay for back-to-school purchases?

No problem! I’ve put together several ways to earn money for back-to-school clothes and supplies that will have you cashing in in no time. Here are some great ones to have in play all year long in case of a financial emergency or to finance your holiday shopping.

It's crunch time!  Has your bank account been reduced during the summer months?  Wondering how to earn money for clothes and school supplies?  I have the answer!  #workfromhome #extramoney #workathome1.cambly

Cambly allows you to earn money from home by teaching English online. You do not need a teaching certificate or teaching degree.

This site pays $0.17 per minute. That’s $10.20 for every full hour you chat with students. It may not be stellar pay, but scheduling is flexible. Log in anytime you have a few minutes and start receiving calls. You can also work from anywhere!

learn more here

2. Clickworker

Clickworker is what we often refer to as a “microjob site”. Tasks here are often bite-sized pieces of larger projects that don’t take long to complete and don’t require a lot of skill or onboarding.

Tasks available in Clickworker include small writing projects, categorizing, reviewing, web research, surveys, app testing, and more. As with most small task sites, the payout here won’t cover all of your bills. However, getting started is simple and payments are made weekly or monthly via SEPA or PayPal.

learn more here

3. Field agent

If you’re familiar with mystery shopping, Field Agent might be an app for you. Agents use their smartphones to collect information such as prices or photos of displays or products at local businesses.

Once you become an Agent, the available jobs will be visible on the app map. Jobs typically pay between $1 and $12. Completed jobs must be approved before payment is received. Usually it is quite fast, but sometimes it can take a few days. You can cash out once those funds reach your field agent account. Payment is available by Dwolla or direct deposit.

learn more here

4. Catwalk

This app is similar to Field Agent in that you get paid to complete small jobs around town. Everything is done within the app. No need to go home and fill out reports or send emails.

These Gigs pay from $3 to $200 depending on the complexity and time required. Once a job is complete, payment is sent to your PayPal account.

start here

5. Elegant branding

If you have clothes that are in excellent condition but no longer fit you or your style, sell them. You can list it on eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace. You can also use one of my favorite apps, Poshmark.

The process is simple. Download the app (Android or iOS). Take a photo of your items to sell. Write a description. Wait for a sale or offer. Print the shipping label provided by Poshmark. pack it up Drop it in the mailbox. In a few days, charge. You can then request payment by direct deposit or check.

However, you will not earn money unless your items sell. If you need to download your items quickly, ThredUp may be the way to go, although your profits will likely be significantly less than if you sold them yourself.

Get my Poshmark tips here.


Picking up rides as a freelance driver has been an increasingly popular side job in recent years. These positions allow you a lot of flexibility. There are no minimum commitments. Just sign in and go to work whenever you want. Or when you need the cash!

These opportunities can pay much better than some of the small tasks mentioned above. I would caution you a bit about this number. Earning potential often depends on location and the day of the week or time of day. Peak times are usually Friday nights and weekends. That can be awesome for those of you in large metropolitan areas looking to earn extra money during those hours. Learn more about Lyft here.

7. mTurkish

mTurk, or Mechanical Turk, is a micro job site offered by Amazon. This site has been around since before I started working from home in 2007. It was one of my first exposures to remote work, as I would frequently pick up HITs during my lunch hour.

The tasks available here are the usual ones; transcription, surveys, categorization, etc. There are tests you can take to “qualify” yourself for higher paying HITs. I highly recommend this.

There is an initial waiting period for new Turkers. You have to wait 10 days before collecting your first earnings. During those first 10 days, you must also complete at least one HIT per day and no more than 100. After the first 10 days, you can withdraw your earnings every day if you wish.

Learn more about mTurk here.

8. Nice talk

This is another English tutoring position. You only need to be a native English speaker to apply, although a TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate and experience are preferred.

Pay is only $10 an hour here. You can log in and work whenever you are available. Payments are made weekly by PayPal with a minimum of $20.

learn more here.


Rev.com is a transcription site that welcomes those with no prior experience. Once you’re accepted, you can start picking up work immediately after completing your transcription tutorial, which only takes about 30 minutes to complete.

Like most transcription jobs, pay is based on production. Each file is assigned a fixed fee that is paid to you regardless of how long it takes to write it. That is why speed and accuracy are so important in this industry. According to the site, speed typists typically earn between $8 and $15 per hour.

Payments are made every Monday by PayPal. Work as much or as little as you want, as long as the files are available, of course.

Learn more here and apply here.

10. Swagbucks

Swagbucks is one of my favorite ways to earn a little extra money. I usually let the profits roll in throughout the year and only withdraw them when it’s time to do some shopping on Amazon.

This is another one that won’t pay the bills. It’s what I refer to as “commercial break cash.” It’s just something to do during late-night commercial breaks. You can earn Swagbucks, or SB, by watching videos, completing surveys, searching the web, shopping online, playing games, redeeming special offers, referring friends, and more.

Many users report an average of 20 to 40 SB per day. That’s about 10,000 per year. That will get you a $100 gift card at one of their partner stores or some cash from PayPal. The site says that it takes about 10 days for the payment to arrive once the charge is made, but I have found that it usually takes three or four days.

11. Text broker

Textbroker hires freelance writers. I’ll be honest and say this is a tough place to try as a writer, but it’s a place to start if you’re inexperienced.

Those who are just getting started on the platform usually have a 2-star rating. You will only be paid 0.7 cents per word. That’s just $7 for a 1,000 word article. Not good. If you can get to a 5-star rating, you’ll be paid 5.0 cents per word. That’s $50 per 1,000 words. It’s still not great, but it’s a place where you can pick up work however you want. And they pay weekly via PayPal with a minimum of $10.

learn more here

12. Transcribe me

TranscribeMe is another transcription site open to beginners. Your base pay rate is $15 per hour of audio. This is where the speed and accuracy we talked about earlier really come into play.

That said, it’s a place to learn if you’re new to transcription. It’s also a place to find out if you even like transcription before you invest in a course like TranscribeAnywhere or buy useful equipment like a pedal.

This site pays once a week through PayPal with a minimum of $20.

Learn more about TranscribeMe here.

13. Start a business

You can easily make money by offering your services in the back-to-school season, such as buying school supplies for other families or starting a small chauffeur business. Here are 10 back-to-school business ideas!

These are just a few ways to make some quick money for the back-to-school season. Even if you don’t need any of these gigs right now, I recommend installing them before you do. (You can thank me later!)

Published in July 2019. Updated in December 2021.