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The Everything Guide to Belt-Tightening


Earn Extra Dough

If there’s such a thing as easy money, this is how you get it.

Undercover shopping:
Mystery shoppers anonymously evaluate customer service and can make $20 an hour shopping at Barnes & Noble or eating undercover at Dunkin’ Donuts. Beware of companies that ask for a registration fee. has a list of FTC-approved opportunities.

Focus-group sitting:
Don’t expect to make a career of this, but you can earn anywhere from $75 to $500 for two to three hours of work participating in a focus group for companies like Advanced Focus, which call upon ordinary people to spout uninhibited opinions on everything from toothpaste to magazines. Sign up for a few different companies to increase your chances of being recruited. Try or for a list of bona fide companies.

Always in high demand in New York. Walkers can typically make around $300 for twenty hours of work per week. Experience with pets is preferred, and physical fitness is essential. Go to or call 866-910-5430 to inquire.


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