How to Earn Money in Austin When in a Financial Pinch

October 10th, 2013, Posted By Austin Housemates


With the economic downturn and jobs in high demand, many people are looking into less conventional ways to earn some extra cash – and fast. This city is full of opportunity – you just need to know where to look!


Here are some easy ways to earn a little extra dough in Austin, Texas:


Sell your clothes – Have you recently gained weight, lost weight, or do you have clothes that you simply don’t wear anymore?  There are many clothing resale shops in the Austin area that will buy your gently used clothing and accessories.  Some of these shops include Buffalo Exchange, located on Guadalupe Street, and Plato’s Closet, which has two locations in Austin and one in Round Rock. These shops will buy your clothes in exchange for cash or store credit.  Don’t expect to get retail prices for your clothes.  You will probably get a quarter of what you bought them for but still, it is better than leaving them simply sitting in your closet.  Also, you will get more value in store credit than you will if you opt for cash, so consider this if you know you will end up spending money to buy more clothing.

Be a study volunteer – There are many companies who utilize volunteers for research purposes.  One of the biggest in Austin is PPD

, a pharmaceutical research organization. The University of Texas Department of Psychology also uses paid volunteers.  The compensation for these studies varies, but some studies can pay as much as $2000 to participants.  Contact either one of these organizations to learn more. Also, check, where many of these companies post ads daily searching for paid volunteers.

Recycle – Drink a lot of soda?  Turn your extra cans into cash by donating them to Cash 4 Cans

.  At around 66 cents per pound of aluminum cans, don’t expect to get rich from a couple of 12-packs, but those cans can really add up.  If you don’t drink a lot of canned beverages, you could even find them in trash cans or on the side of the road, mostly along busy highways.

Rent out a room – Do you have an extra room in your home?  With Austin being the fastest growing city in the US right now, many people are actively seeking an affordable place to live.  Visit Craigslist to post your room for rent, under the housing section in the “rooms/shared” subsection to find some Austin roommates.  Some tips?  Keep your ad short and simple.  People are more likely to read and respond to shorter ads, and if they need more info, they can email you through Craigslist.  Also, include a picture.  Posts with pictures are much more likely to be followed up on. You choose the price, but research other Craigslist ads with similar features and square footage to your room to make sure your price is competitive.

Donate plasma – If you are a healthy individual over the age of 18, chances are that you are eligible to donate plasma. Plasma is the part of the blood that remains after white blood cells, platelets, and other cellular components are removed, and is used to create therapies that cure many life-threatening diseases.  To donate, you will have a needle placed in your arm that will remove the blood to create plasma.  Each session lasts about 1 – 3 hours.  Compensation varies, but expect to earn about $20 – $30 a visit. BioLife and DCI Biologicals are both donation centers located in Austin.  Contact either one of them to set up an appointment.

Sell at a flea market –The Airport Pulga Flea market, located on Highway 183, 2 miles south of the Austin-Bergstrom Airport, allows you to set up a booth to sell your goods, whatever they may be.  If you are into crafting, this is a good way to sell your creations. You can also buy goods wholesale to resell at the market. You can find many wholesale items here:  

Temp – Consider using a temp agency to find a temporary job.  Temp agencies provide temporary employment in most career fields.  Compensation depends on the position. There are dozens of temp agencies in Austin, but Burnett Staffing and Austin Reliable Staffing are both great options.  Contact them for more info.


Don’t forget to look around your local neighborhood, as well. Many people are in need of a helping hand here and there with their landscaping, DIY house projects, and fast cleaning services. The Craigslist “gigs” section is also a great resource for last minute jobs – take a look around and you’ll see lots of possibilities for making a little bit of extra cash.