Ten Ways to Money After the Unemployment Benefits Run Out

You've been down so gosh darned long it looks like up to you, and now the unemployment checks are about to stop flowing and you're flirting with payday loans. This is where the ability to survive financially takes precedence over all the other stresses of unemployment. What to do?

Here are a few ideas. You may have to swallow your pride to execute some of them, but that's not a bad thing. Hey, it's survival, right?

  1. Hold a garage sale. This is a great way to clean out your closets and bring in some cash.
  2. If you don't have a garage (or even if you do and you have some treasures that you don't want to part with for pennies on the dollar) sell stuff on E-bay. If you can write decent copy and take a decent picture, you can sell almost anything. E-bay can be as much or as little work as you want it to be.
  3. Do stuff for other people. Make some fliers that say, "Hey, I lost my job and need to pick up a few bucks until I find another one. Will do (list of things you can do for them). Call me at xxx-xxx-xxxx." You'll find that people can be very kind. If you're at all handy, this could even end up being a real business. Dig deep and think of valuable services that you can provide. If you're good at sewing, offer yourself as a tailor. If you're a whiz with computers, offer yourself as a computer guru. If you've got a green thumb, offer to help people with their gardens. People always need things done.
  4. Recycle. You'd be amazed what people throw away. You can find all kinds of saleable goods in garbage cans: copper wiring, cans and bottles, even stuff that could be sold on E-bay. Hey, don't knock it; this might just be one of the most honorable ways of earning a buck if you really stop and think about it.
  5. Tell a joke or sing a song -- or both! If you can do anything remotely entertaining, you can probably find an audience for it. You might not become a big star (or you might) but you can probably pick up 50 bucks now and again. The beauty is that if you live in a city with a lot of cultural activities, you can usually busk on the street somewhere, and if you don't live in such a place, you can easily find an indoor gig because people stuck in cultural backwaters are hungry for things to do.
  6. Sell your car. Figure out how to do without it. Believe it or not, it can be done in almost any urban area or small town. I know because I've done without a car for most of my adult life, and I've lived in a lot of places. Getting rid of your car gives you an immediate boost in cash and a long-term financial gain in no longer having to pay for insurance, gas, repairs, etc. Cars are expensive, and it's surprisingly liberating to do without one.
  7. Find religion. Hey, this is about survival, right? Join a church or temple and make your situation known. You'll be surprised how supportive a community of faith can be. Try not to be a hypocrite, though. If you're an avowed atheist, see if your town has a Buddhist temple; you don't have to believe in God to be a Buddhist. If you
    do believe in God, a veritable smorgasbord of options are available in the U.S. and most other industrialized countries.
  8. Downsize your life. You got downsized, and now you get to do the same to your lifestyle. Move to a small apartment. Drive a smaller car if you must drive. Shop at thrift stores or repair your clothes. Eat a Spartan and healthy diet consisting largely of dried beans and rice, vegetables, and spices arranged in creative and delicious ways.
  9. Sell your body. No, not the sex trade -- that's dangerous and may involve swallowing more than your pride. Researchers in psychology, sociology, and medicine are always looking for lab rats, and they'll pay you to participate in studies. You can also sell plasma in most cities. Hey, it's money in your pocket.
  10. Take surveys. Participating in market research surveys pays a little. You can make a couple bucks every day this way.

Well, I hope something on that list caused you to experience an "Aha!" moment. If not, brainstorm. You can probably come up with a few ideas I missed. If you have any such ideas, please register and post them in the comments below.

Good luck! You will survive! You have no choice.

PS -- Here's another post about business ideas for the unemployed that you might find useful or interesting.

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man from UNCLE's picture

Garage Sale

I have been digging through stuff since March, putting price tags on what I consider to be, ( as does Leslie) the biggest collection of junk/stuff the world has ever seen. You know, I'm a pack rat, and have kept everything for 15 years. And MAN! What a collection! I'm the third child with 2 older brothers, soooo... I got the usual hand-me-downs, and held a fasination with all things owned by them. Their "junk drawers" became my envy, and I rummaged through theirs whenever I could, even at the risk of being smacked, slugged, given pink bellies, wedggies, and nuggies.
Well, now I'm grown, and my whole house is a virtual honeycomb of my own junk drawers. Mine, mine, mine! Anyhow, it is time to buck-up, and unload a lot of my stuff, and Leslies stuff, at a yard sale, and reap massive profits to pay off a couple of bills, and buy a pizza. She and I dug deep into all the cubbie-holes around here, and we worked all day, and yes, all nite long to meet our target date, which was this morning at 8am.
You probably heard from Mac how we had a couple solid weeks of 90-100 degree days. Last nite, at 2am, I posted a test signage around the corner from the house. As I climbed the steps back home, it started to rain. (You had a lot of that back east, I understand.) Well, it hasn't stopped raining yet, and is not expected to stop until Sunday. We tried, but just couldn't have the damn sale, and we're pooped. We'll try again tommorrow.

chuck's picture

Sounds like...

... it could be profitable once the weather decides to cooperate. I bet you have some good stuff. You might be able to get more for it by selling on E-bay, and the sun's always shining somewhere on the Internet.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

chuck's picture

So how did it go?

Was your garage sale a resounding success?

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

Relationship mining

Col. Hector Bravado
11. Do the electronic version of the flyer, and email pretty much everyone you know with whom you are still in good professional standing. A biz dev guy at a place I got laid off from this year was also a web developer by trade. When he left, he blasted his personal list, letting everybody know he was looking for freelance web dev work, and he scared up a few thousand with his first email.
Hustle. Grind. Repeat.

Col. Hector Bravado

BustedFlatinBklyn's picture


You can always beg if things get really bad.

When you ain't got nothin', you got nothin' to lose - B. Dylan

When you ain't got nothin', you got nothin' to lose - B. Dylan

chuck's picture

hey, i took your advice!

check out the shiny new "donate" button!

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

Wait on Extension

Then, Work 4 Food. You can always wait on a third unemployment extension. Of course, this 2nd one is probably the last one for a very long time so make sure you have your cardboard sign ready to go in 7 or 13 weeks


Be extra careful on EBAY. EBAY thrives in a rich economy. On the other hand, it does not in a bad one like the one we are all currently experiencing. Just like in every shopping mall in America, people are not buying anything unless it is an extreme bargain or a necessity. Ebay is like the stock market and even reflects it respectively. You should buy low and sell high. Well guess what, It's low now and not a time to sell anything on EBAY, unless you can find something to sell that saves people money. We all need one of those!

chuck's picture


Beanie Babies aren't going to make you much money nowadays, but used tools might.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

Ebay and Unemployment Benefits

Can I still sell on ebay while collecting my unemployment check?

chuck's picture

Depends on what state

In New York, probably not. Some states are nicer about it.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

taking surveys...

it would probably be good if some legit surveys were posted... i have taken a look at most of the 'paid survey' sites out there, and so far the ones i see seem to all ask for you to sign up for twelve other offers (usually requiring you pay later with a credit card) - not easily impressed with this one...

chuck's picture

Yes, a lot of them are shady

Some of them are not. Palm Research doesn't do that stuff, at least in my experience. They paid me four bucks for a survey yesterday -- woot!

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

Do focus groups. They ask for

Do focus groups. They ask for your opinion of different subjects. You sit in a room with a group of people and people watch u behind a mirror and record your opinions They pay on average of $75 to $150 each group. Go to focusgroup .com to sign up with different focus group companies in your area.

chuck's picture

That's a good one

It's sort of related to the survey thing. In that line of work, you might even be able to work your way all the way up to mystery shopper. How sweet would that be? Get paid to travel the world and spy on airline employees, hotel employees, department store employees, etc.? Sign me up!

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

Really i am impressed from

Really i am impressed from this post....the person who create this post he is a great human..thanks for shared this with us.i found this informative and interesting blog so i think so its very useful and knowledge able.I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article.

chuck's picture

Glad you found it useful...

Thank you for your compliment. We're all great humans. Just a matter of how hard you're willing to mine for the greatness within you.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

Taking Paid Surveys

I just came across your blog and have read a few posts. Great ideas!

I'm a poor college student, and have made a little money doing surveys. The most comprehensive site I've come across to find the legitimate companies is:


I posted this particular link because one of the moderators of the forum and a frequent commenter on the blog posts updates every so often as to his top survey sites in order of amount he's made with them.

I belong to 13 sites for money and 3 for Amazon gift cards. I started March 2009 and it has been worth the time I've spent researching the sites and then doing surveys. My favorites are Pinecone, Mysurvey (NFO), Toluna, ipsos i-say, and Synovate Global Opinion Panel (GOP).

I wish you luck if you want to delve further into this route. It took me a bit to figure out which sites were right for my demographic, but now I'm happy and settled into the sites for me. :>)

chuck's picture

Thanks for sharing

That is a very interesting resource for those who want to pay a few bills this way.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

Alternative currency

We need to start creating an alternative form of currency much like the old time trading. We can trade for what we need amongst our self's and keep the government out as much as possible. Barter Companies have a great the bring together people who need each other especially during the hard times.

chuck's picture

Radical idea

Love it!

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

Honest earning methods

I have enough to subsist. What I am searching for: I wish to spread atheism and Marxism globally. To start with India, my own country. I do not want to beg and get donations. My need: $300 per month or $10 a day. I have tried blogger. I got $110 in four years without writing anything unethical. My English vocabulary and grammar blogs gave me these bucks. My blogs on other things failed to attract readers, as was predicted because pro-atheist and pro-Marxist stuff is the least attractive for readers.

Of the above 10 suggestions, I am keen on suggestions about:
Downsizing life : This I have already done. I have never purchased regular clothes during last eight years, except underwear. I live on bare veg. food. I do not smoke or drink. I live in my own house. I didn't consult a doctor during the last eight years. What else should I do , to downsize?

Your suggestion of Offering to do what we can
Physical presence in U.S. or Europe or any other country outside India, is not possible. I have to offer something online. I have no interest in surveys. I have done my PG in English, History. I have done my graduation in Commerce and Law (L.L.B.). Having worked in a Bank for 31 years and retired without blemish, I developed a dislike for finance and insurance jobs. I have written about 100 articles in Editorial pages of newspapers in my mother tongue - both print and electronic editions.

Local people in my city make big money trading in chillies , cotton. liquors and real estate. I do not want to waste my life on these. Practising law, also I do not relish.

I have recently read the novel "Widow for One Year" by John Irving. All the principal characters in the novel are writers of fiction. The protagonist Ruth is a big-time author. Her father Ted was also a big success. Ruth's friend Hannah was a journalist. Ruth's mother Marion was also a novelist. Marion's lover Eddy was another novelist. Ruth's diseased husband was an author and an editor. So many people writing fiction! Is there so much demand for fiction in the English Reading World?

I get occasional Emails of news-letters from one publisher by name Dorrance Publishing. Is there real demand for electronic or printed novels, in this age of free ebooks?
How far is it worthwhile to try writing fiction?
Is there any publisher in the World who will pay $100 for a novel of 100 pages, from a fresher?

The most successful English writer from my country, Late R.K. Narayan, it appears , had some pleasant and unpleasant experiences with British and American publishers. But, that was a bygone era of 1951--2000.

What is in store for English fiction in the era 2001-2050?

I wish to study your esteemed views. Sorry for this lengthy comment, which may be tedious to read.
my email: ybhask@gmail.com. my second web address: http://www.mcquestlityb.blogspot.com.

Fiction Writing..

You've probably received a million responses to this already. However, if not.....
I live with a freelance travel writer who writes for various newspapers and travel magazines as well as airline in-flight magazines.
With India's economy doing well, you might want to consider this avenue since you write well. Taj and Tata may need brochures for their businesses. Fiction is tough, but there are still magazines out there.
Good Luck
Brad in Hawaii

chuck's picture


They produce more movies than anybody in the world. Surely they need a script or two now and again.

Plus, you'd get to write those super-awesome song and dance routines! It's got to be a great job for a fiction writer.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.


Every see the show Breaking bad :)

Online Surveys

Kind of depressing when you go through all these questions thinking you're already into a survey, only to be told after all that that they don't have any surveys for you.

No, be a masseuse you idiots!!!!

if you are desperate and need cash, go on Backpage dot com, put an ad up about giving a massage. You can do outcalls (to their place or at a hotel, which is safest) or do incalls if you feel you can trust them. Go on Youtube and learn about Swedish massages. Watch and learn. You can even lie and say that you're a certified massage therapist---no one checks. The downside is you will get gropers and creeps. You'll make the most money doing 'happy endings', via charging about $125 per hour and wearing something semi-skimpy or revealing. Men can do this work too. Be prepared for some people to try for sex, but keep pepper spray around. Go on Amazon dot com and order massage lotion because it works the best. You can order pepper spray keychains there too from that site. I'm in VA, and they won't sell it to you here without a permit, but I got it easily from Amazon. You can also get a massage table for a hundred dollars if you choose to do it out of your home. If you go to someone's place, you can do the massage on a bed easily, no sweat---you don't want to show up at the Ritz Carlton with a massage table anyway; they have their own massage people. If you can't get massage lotion, you can use baby oil too. Get some lube from the drugstore for the happy endings.

Bring a boombox, if you want, for outcalls with relaxing music. You can download music from torrentz dot com, but first download a torrent downloader called bittorrent first. Be sure to have your virus scanner working because you never know if there's a trojan in those files you downloaded. Also, when you enter in your search term into torrentz dot com's site, make sure you only click on 'torrent download'. After you've got bittorrent installed on your machine, click on torrent download and it will open up automatically in bittorrent. You will see the progress of the files as it searches for other people on the Internet that have various copies of the files. Music is expensive, so search for 'spa music' and soon you'll have free spa Mp3's that you can even play on your cell phone while giving a massage.

I am a romantic, monogamous person by nature. I have 2 degrees and experience in my career field. However, I was driven out of my job prospects because of the bad economy and sexism. Men that have no degree are still employed because no one helps an unmarried woman in the US society.

Doing this work has hurt my soul, but being homeless would be much much worse. No one cares and you have to care for yourself no matter what, which costs money. This job pays well. You will learn to mark up your services in time, depending on the area in which you live. If you need any additional advice, email me directly at [deleted]

chuck's picture

I can't agree

I'm not going to judge you or say you're wrong or immoral or whatever. This is just my opinion, and I have to tell you:

What you are doing is very dangerous and most likely illegal. Your pepper spray will only piss off someone who wants to hurt you, and it's just a matter of time before you get caught up in a sting by some cop with a bust quota to fill. Personally, I'd much rather be homeless than in jail or with that sort of mark on my record.

Doing this work has hurt my soul, but being homeless would be much much worse.

Those aren't the only two options, and even if they were the only two options, I'm not sure that your statement is true. Homelessness is a temporary thing for most people who experience it. The damage you're doing to your soul might be permanent. It's hard to imagine it not affecting other relationships throughout your life.

If you like doing massage, you can do it legitimately. Wouldn't you rather be working in the spa at the Ritz? I'm lucky enough to get a massage almost every week myself. It's a Chinese-style acupressure massage that makes me feel like I'm floating afterward, though it can be quite painful during the actual treatment. I'm a big believer that massage is extremely healthy when done by someone who has really studied it and knows the muscles, bones, nerves, and -- in the case of the kind of massage I get -- the way "chi" or energy flows through it all.


You write well. I'm sure you can find something better than what you're doing, and I hope you do. Again, it's not my place to judge you; I'm just saying that I think you can do better if you focus your energy elsewhere.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

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