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5 Weird but Totally Legal Ways to Earn Spare Cash in Singapore

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Joanne Poh

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I get offended by people who insist that if you’re not earning enough, it means you’re not working hard enough. Because who says you need to get a traditional job to earn money? You don’t have to set up a pirated DVD stand or become a pimp to earn some cash after hours. Here are some totally legal ways to earn more money.

 

1. Offer to pay with your credit card whenever you’re out with friends

Everyone has that friend who always sneaks off to settle the bill when everyone is still halfway through dessert, but then tells everyone how much to pay. No, they’re not trying to you save you from the arduous task of having to fish for cash while the waiter hovers overhead. Chances are, they’re trying to score cash rebates, frequent flyer miles or rewards points with their credit cards.

If you’re really desperate, this tactic can actually get you a significant amount of cash. For instance, if you have the American Express True Cashback card, that means you receive a 5% rebate on everything you buy during the first three months of your card membership. Using it to pay for a $200 bill at a group outing means you get $10 rebate for doing absolutely nothing.

 

2. Give yourself up in the name of market research

Before a company manufactures a face cream, they need to know that it’s not going to cause the average person’s face to spontaneously combust… at least not right away. And they’re willing to pay good money to find out. Other companies just want to learn more about your consumption habits, or have you sample their products. I once went to a study that had us sampling various kinds of beer. Nice.

Participate in studies and surveys conducted by market research departments or agencies and you’ll be handsomely rewarded. You can earn $40 to $70 for an hour-long study, while a group discussion lasting several hours could get you $100 to $200. Market research companies often engage agents to find participants for these studies. The trick to getting these gigs is to identify some of these agents online and sign up for their mailing lists.

 

3. Buy and sell stuff on eBay

Your entire home might be filled with worthless junk that nobody would want. But that doesn’t mean that other eBay sellers are that way. You might not know this, but thousands of people make a living on eBay by buying and then reselling items they’ve found on eBay.

Basically, they search for poorly-crafted listings, such as those containing spelling errors, and then purchase these items at bargain basement prices. They then create great listings and resell the items. Often, there’s no need to even have the item shipped to you. Instead, you can tell the original seller you’ll give them your shipping address later. When you’ve found another buyer, you have the original seller ship directly to them.

 

4. Organise SDN networks

Every Singaporean has heard of SDN, officially known as the Social Development Network, designed to hasten the government’s objective of convincing people to tie the knot and procreate. Well, even if you’ve sworn to the gods that you’ll never be caught dead at an SDN event, it might be time to eat your words.

You see, anyone can organise SDN events. You pay an affordable fee in exchange for being able to publicise your event on the SDN website, and then you get to charge the kinds of fees SDN events usually command—i.e. Not cheap! People will pay a lot for these events, which tend to be in the $50 to $60 range.

 

5. Become a part-time cleaner

Those people who say that Singaporeans aren’t willing to do jobs that get outsourced to foreigners have obviously lost touch with reality. Of course, if you’re going to pay someone $50 to do a 14 hour a shift, you’ll have no takers. But Singaporeans have proven that they’re willing to get their hands dirty if the price is right. If that’s not true, how do you explain the rise of young people moonlighting as part-time cleaners?

Part-time cleaners command a pretty impressive hourly pay of $16 an hour, when you consider that there are still companies trying to get away with paying their waitstaff $7 an hour. Couple that with the fact that cleaning jobs tend to be more “work life balance friendly” than lower paying jobs with interminable shifts and you’ve got a winner.

Do you know any weird, legal ways to make money? Share them with us in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.