5 Fun Hobbies that Make Money for You in Your Spare Time

Try These Hobbies to Earn Extra Money and Have Fun Doing It

If you are careful to watch your budget, it might be difficult to justify spending time and money on your hobbies. However, these ten hobbies are not only fun, but they could actually make money! Try out these ideas to earn extra money in your spare time and have fun while you are doing it.

Earn Extra Money with Contests and Sweepstakes

Photo of a $1,000 H&R Block Sweepstakes Winner
Enter Sweepstakes to Win Cash and Other Prizes in Your Spare Time. Image (c) H&R Block

Many people don't bother to enter sweepstakes because they feel that no one ever wins. But giveaways award thousands of prizes to everyday people just like you.

Contests and sweepstakes let you trade a little bit of time filling out entry forms for the chance to win everything from gift cards to cars, homes, and big cash prizes.

Get started by finding out how to enter online sweepstakes like a pro. If you are short on time, check out how to ‚Äčwin prizes for things you're already doing.

Love to Work with Your Hands? Try Refinishing Furniture

Woman refinishing chair
Refinishing Furniture Is a Hobby that Could Pay for Itself. Blend Images - Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / Getty Images

If you enjoy working with your hands, if you find that sanding old wood and making it shine again is relaxing and satisfying, and if you love pairing colors and fabrics, then refinishing furniture for resale could be a hobby for you.

Perfectly good, high-quality furniture gets thrown away far too often because it has gotten scratched up or has fallen out of style. Refinishing brings the furniture back to life, keeping it from being wasted or destroyed.

Plus, you and your customers can both profit. You can offer custom-finished, high-quality furniture at a price far less than new furniture costs, and still make money yourself.

Turn Your Green Thumb into Greenbacks at Farmers Markets

Bowl of garden tomatoes
Turn Your Passion for Gardening Into Extra Money. Elizabethsalleebauer / Getty Images

If your passion is gardening, you can not only save money on your grocery bill by supplying some of your own food for your family, you can also raise extra money by setting up a stall at a farmer's market.

A farmer's market is a good way to make money while finding a good home for the inevitable overabundance that any well-tended garden produces.

Not only can you sell your produce directly, you can also make good money by selling things made from the products of your hobby: butter spiced with herbs from your garden, self-made pickles, canned tomatoes, jellies and preserves, and more.

Are You Crafty? Try Selling Online

Signs with colorful letters
If You Enjoy Crafting, Why Not Sell Your Creations?. Anke Schuetz / Getty Images

Do you love to sew, knit, cross stitch, scrapbook, or paint? If you enjoy making things by hand, you could turn a handy profit by selling your creations online.

Online sites like Etsy give you a built-in marketplace for your hand-crafted items. It's easy to sell through Etsy because they handle the payment processing for you, eliminating the need to have your own merchant account with a credit card company.

There's a market for a wide variety of hand-made items, so whatever your crafting hobby is, you can make money with it.

Photography for Fun and Profit

Woman looking at the back of her camera
It's a "Snap" to Earn Extra Money with Your Photography Skills. Gary Houlder / Getty Images

If you don't go anywhere without a camera in your hand, you should think about turning your hobby into some extra bucks. 

Many photographers bring in extra income through traditional means like photographing weddings or taking portrait photos.

In today's internet-driven world, there's also a strong demand for great photographs. you could also create a niche for yourself by taking high-quality photos of vacation rental homes to post on listing sites, photographing items that people want to sell on Etsy or eBay, or taking pictures for professionals to post on LinkedIn or other business-related websites.

Don't Overlook the Tax Consequences of a Profitable Hobby

While earning money with your hobbies is a great way to spend your spare time, doing so could have consequences at tax time. Some hobbies qualify as a business under the IRS' guidelines and need to be treated as such when you file your taxes. If you live in the United States, sweepstakes prizes also need to be treated the same way as regular income is for tax purposes. Make sure that you don't run afoul of the law once your hobbies start making money.