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16 Side Hustles to Help Save Money for Your First Deal

Craig Curelop
7 min read
16 Side Hustles to Help Save Money for Your First Deal

Do you know why most people cannot invest in real estate? It’s because they don’t have the money.

Are you one of these people?

Are you dying to get in but don’t have the funds to do so? You may have fully optimized your spending, but let’s be real—you can only save so much.

Ideas on how to get into your first real estate deal have run through your mind. Perhaps you’ve thought about wholesaling, flipping, or using other people’s money (OPM).

Unless you plan to dedicate 100 percent and make this your full-time job, I would advise against these strategies, as they can be quite time-consuming and may take away from your current job.

Instead, I would advise that you continue to pinch your pennies and look for easier ways to generate additional income—ones that are relatively easy to do for a short period of time and will generate just enough to get you the cash for that first down payment.

Related: 5 Ways to Generate Extra Income Beyond Real Estate Investing

There are a plethora of options in this arena, but I am going to provide 16 side hustle ideas that you can start and monetize in the next 30 days—so you can be on your way to rapidly saving for that down payment.

These side hustles are geared toward someone who is young and hungry but has yet to do their first deal. His or her time would be best spent at this point hustling to stockpile money in their savings.

As a result, these may be low dollar-per-hour tasks. I am certainly not suggesting you do these forever—just until you have obtained your first property or can find a higher dollar-per-hour task.

So, here it goes!

1. Drive for Uber or Lyft

Driving for Uber or Lyft is the most obvious side hustle. Turn your car into an asset while familiarizing yourself with the city and networking with the passengers. You’ll be surprised that you may find a property that you are interested in—or meet the newest member of your team.

I actually did this for about three months and would make an extra $1,000 per month while also getting to know Denver. Fun fact: I actually found the woman who cleans my Airbnbs through driving for Lyft.

Driving a modern car on the road.

2. Rent Your Car on Turo

I’m not the biggest fan of driving, which is why my career with Lyft was rather short. I decided that I’d rather make slightly less money but have all of my time back by turning my car into a semi-passive income stream by renting it out on a site called Turo.

Turo is essentially the Airbnb for cars. It works great, and depending on the type of car you have, it can put a couple hundred dollars in your pocket each month.

3. Airbnb Rooms in Your Apartment (If Your Landlord Allows)

Be sure to check with your landlord, but if you have an extra room in your residence and live in a semi-desirable area, try renting an extra bedroom (or even your couch) on Airbnb.

I rented my bedroom out while sleeping on a futon behind a curtain in the living room. The results? My savings were boosted an additional $1,200 per month and I met some cool travelers from all around the world.

4. Walk Dogs on Wag or Rover

These days, more and more people are  treating their dogs like humans. Dogs wear clothes, shoes, and even have their own car seat. I can’t wait until dog owners start sending their dogs off to doggy college.

Related: 7 Creative Ways to Earn More Money from Your Rental Properties

Anyway, the point is that people love their dogs and they don’t want them cooped up inside all day while they’re at work or on vacation. So, what do they do? They will pay you ~$20 to come in and take their dog for a 30-minute walk.

If you’re a dog lover, this one might be a no-brainer.

5. Bicycle Taxi

Have you ever seen those folks on bicycles towing a couple through downtown or around after a baseball game? Those bicycle taxi drivers with the huge legs actually make decent pay for a side hustle.

If you live in the city and don’t mind spending some of your nights and weekends riding your bicycle, this could be an attractive side hustle option for you.

6. Assistant to a Real Estate Agent

Are you just getting started in real estate? Do you want to learn a whole bunch in a short amount of time while getting paid for it? Would you like to gain a mentor in the process?

If so, go on Zillow and look for some of the top performing agents in your area. I bet more than anything they are extremely busy and are going to need some assistance. Reach out and ask if they are looking for an assistant. You will receive a lot of noes, but keep asking. All it takes is one yes, and you’ll have yourself a paying real estate job (albeit low-paying) while learning from one of the best in your area and making connections.

7. Waiter/Bartender on the Weekends

If you are looking to rapidly save money, becoming a waiter or bartender on nights and weekends might be a great way to get started. This is a double win. Not only will you make lots of money, but you’ll be doing it during a time when you’d likely be spending a significant amount of money. Each night you bartend, you replace high spending with high earning—although you likely will not get many high-value networking opportunities being a waiter or bartender.

8. Handyman/Mow Lawns

If you are confident in your handyman skills, try selling these skills on Craigslist, TaskRabbit, or other sites. You’ll be amazed at how many people will pay someone to change a light bulb or mow their lawn.

garden gardening grass 589

If you are ever planning to do a rehab yourself, this is a great way to gain experience and confidence while also generating some additional income.

9. Take Surveys Online

While not a great use of your time given that you won’t make a whole lot of money and you won’t learn much, companies pay people to take surveys for them. Swagbucks is one of the most popular, but others include Toluna, OnePoll, and MySurvey.

I would recommend only doing this in down times, such as when you are watching TV.

10. Start a Blog

You are about to embark on a journey down the path less traveled: The road of financial independence through real estate investing. Why not document the journey? Let your friends and family know what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and the frame of mind you are in.

A couple of years down the road, when you are much more experienced, your blog will likely help and motivate others. Who knows? It might even be thousands of other people, in which case you can monetize it if you’d like.

11. Tutor

What was your favorite subject in high school? I’m sure if it was your favorite, it was because you were pretty darn good at it.

Guess what? There are loads of kids having lots of trouble learning the stuff that you are good at and there are twice as many parents willing to pay someone to get their kids up to speed.

Why not monetize your math, history, or English skills? If you live in a culturally diverse area, this can include teaching non-English speakers how to speak English.

12. Babysit

Babysitting is a great way to make extra money. I’ve never been paid to babysit, but the people I know who have seem to get paid a decent amount of money. Depending on the kids and time of day, it can be a relatively easy job. If all it takes is putting them to sleep, then you’ll have time to listen to a podcast, read a book, or work on other side projects.

Heck, maybe even the parents you’re babysitting for are involved in real estate and you might be able to get some good networking from it.

13. Clean Houses

One thing that many people dislike doing is cleaning. You know what that means? There’s a good chance that they will pay someone else to do it. Do you know who that someone is? It’s you!


Get a few clients and clean their houses once or twice a month. Depending on the size of the house, you’ll likely be able to make $60 to $100 per house. If it takes you three to five hours per house, that’s a $20-per-hour job. Not bad for one of your first side hustles!

14. Become a Freelance Writer

If you are a good writer, there are a lot of people who have great content but do not have time to write the articles. I promise that I write my own articles, but do you think guys like Tim Ferriss and Gary Vaynerchuk write their own articles? Probably not. They probably hire someone to do the writing so they can still provide quality content while doing bigger and better tasks.

You can be a writer for one of these people—that is, until you move on to bigger and better tasks.

15. Give Music Lessons

Do you play an instrument? If you do, I’m sure you enjoy playing it. Whatever instrument that is, I’m sure there is a whole bunch of people who play worse than you but want to get better. Teaching music lessons is a great way to do something you enjoy while teaching others—and again, potentially networking!

16. Become a Local Tour Guide

If you’re going to be investing in real estate, it might be a good idea to have knowledge of the area you want to invest in. Assuming that this is where you live currently, what better way to really know an area than to give guided tours?

Not only will you learn a lot about the neighborhood, but you’ll likely be meeting 25 to 30 people. While on the tour, in between stops, try to make your rounds and let everyone know what you do. Perhaps they can help you or you can help them?

As you can see, there are an infinite amount of side hustle opportunities, many of which are not mentioned in this list. My suggestion is to pick one where you think you can get the most additional income and personal growth so you can purchase your first property.

Remember that this is not a job you will hold onto forever, it’s just for a couple of months or years until you’ve saved enough for that down payment. Once you feel like your time can be better spent elsewhere, do it!

Until then, head down and get to work! Remember, saving the first $20,000 is the hardest part. My challenge to you is to do it in two years.

Ready… GO!

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What side hustles have you used successfully?

Share them below!

Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.