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14 Cheap Business Ideas You Can Start Today

Have you ever thought about making some extra money on the side? If you have, I think that it’s a fantastic idea! Not only can you start a large number of businesses for less than $50, they can easily produce hundreds if not thousands of dollars every single month! Sure, they are going to take a little bit of effort on your part, but at such a cheap cost the only risk will be the time you put in. Take a look at the 14 cheap business ideas that I have come up with. Many of these cheap business ideas can be done by almost anyone!

#1. Lawn Care

Have you ever mowed a lawn before? Then you’re qualified! The best part is that if you have a yard yourself, then you probably already have a lawn mower and weed trimmer. The only thing you need to do now is start knocking on doors for some clients.

#2. Make Candles

cheap business ideasI had no idea how simple candle making could be until my friend started making them for a fundraiser. All you have to do is buy some wax, add some coloring (if it’s not colored already), and then add your scents. Then, melt down the wax, pour the liquid into a jar with the wick in place, and let it cool! Some more detailed instructions can be found here (in case that wasn’t quite clear enough for you 😉 ), but the costs to make a large candle is about $2 or $3 and they can easily be sold for $10 or more. If you get it right, this is a fantastic business idea.

#3. Clean Houses

If you are an adult, I assume that you know how to clean floors, walls, and furniture. It isn’t rocket science, but not everyone wants to do it. That’s where you come in. Offer your services to people at church, your local chamber of commerce, or try to find a local website where you can post an ad for free (Craigslist is great for this as well).

#4. Detail Cars

Along the same lines as cleaning houses, detailing cars is basically the same thing. All you have to do is buy some car soap, some wax, a sponge, and a drying towel and you’re in business. Use your vacuum or shop vac and some wet wipes to spruce up the inside. If you do a good job, some of your customers will probably pay you up to $100 per cleaning!

20141116 - dog walking#5. Pet Sitting and Walking

There are more and more people today that absolutely love their pets – so much so that they will pay someone to take care of them while they are on vacation or even give a few bucks each day to have someone take them for a walk. If you enjoy walking dogs or taking care of pets in general, this could be a pretty lucrative business that would cost you nothing to start and could have some serious upside as well.

#6. Start a Delivery Service

You don’t necessarily have to own a big truck for this, but it certainly would help. There are plenty of small items that you could offer to deliver though. Take a look at the small businesses in your area and start asking if they would like some help delivering their products. If they do, you could earn yourself some money for each delivery!

#7. Start a Moving Company

Unless you already own a box truck, this one could be a little trickier to start. However, buying a used box truck is incredibly cheap since there isn’t a huge demand for them. Pick one up and start advertising your services. If the business doesn’t work out, you can still sell the truck for nearly what you paid for it. If the business does take off, then you can always expand your operations without breaking the bank!

#8. Home Daycare

If you stay at home with kids already, why not open up your own daycare to make some money while you’re at it? Yes, it will be a little more stressful with more kids to watch and more mouths to feed, but if you can earn $10 an hour without leaving your home each day, that’s pretty sweet. Get a better idea of how you can start your own daycare at

#9. Translate

There are many small and medium sized businesses that are starting to broaden their region of business, sometimes outside of the country even. If you speak more than one language and can translate from one language to another, then this might be a good way for you to earn some extra money. DegreeTree,com does a great job explaining if translating is right for you and who might be interested in hiring your services.

20141116 - antique furniture#10. Antique Refurbishment

This is becoming a huge industry. People are buying old run down furniture for next to nothing, refinishing it, and then selling their pieces for 20 times what they paid for them initially! If you have experience with stain, varnish, or paint and you have an eye for style, then this might be the perfect gig for you (especially if you know how to create a shabby-chic look!).

#11. Blogging

There are a ton of people making money with blogs out there (yes, including myself!), so why not start one yourself? If you are interested in a particular topic and enjoy writing, then you may as well give it a shot! The initial cost is only $50 or so, and this will take care of your costs for the entire first year! The risk is low and the potential for earning money is pretty good, as long as you stick with it that is.

#12. Make Candy

Before writing this post, I had absolutely no idea that there was money in making candy. If you already make your own candy and are always a hit at potlucks, then perhaps this would be the best gig for you! I would suggest starting out small and selling to friends and family. If you begin getting orders though, then you might want to look into getting your food certified so you can start selling online and in stores.

#13. Wedding Planner

There are so many things going on during a typical wedding that a wedding planner is almost necessary. If you are a master planner and love putting together wedding details for others, this could be quite the lucrative option for you. Print some business cards, put together your resume of experience and get started!

#14. Selling Your Produce

If you have a backyard then you can start a garden. And, if you have space for a garden, you could start making money from it. Less than a mile from my house is a farmers market that is held twice a week. Farmers from all over sell their produce and hand-crafted items to the mobs of customers that bustle through. If you can grow some healthy fruits and veggies, you could start to earn money from your produce as well.

So what about you? Do you plan to start any of these cheap business ideas?

Make Money Money


My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. I suspect most people reading this would find blogging the easiest thing to get their head around, but how do you monetize it? If you mow someone’s lawn or walk their dog, you get paid: instant gratification. It’s a different story with a blog.

    • For sure! Blogging is certainly not easy. Thankfully I love writing about personal finance, so I had the desire to keep growing my blog to help others. Typically it takes at least 6 months to get some regular readers, and soon after that you should start getting emails from advertisers that would like to partner with you (that is, if you have a large number of readers). It’s not easy, but it is still possible.

  2. I’m partial to starting a blog 🙂 It’s something you can do from home and you don’t have much costs. But it also takes much more time commitment that other businesses, which is why most blogs fail.

    • Haha, it seems that most blog writers are! Especially those that were able to quit their jobs because of blogging! Ha, sorry Connie, that was just a little jealousy coming out. You are right though, it is a huge commitment and you can never slack because you will likely lose a bunch of readers in the process. Thanks for the comment!

  3. My husband’s hobby is woodworking. We can usually get free wood and other supplies on Craigslist or Freecycle. My husband then builds it into bars. We have 3: one in the loft, one between the kitchen and family room (kind of a breakfast bar), and one on the patio. He has given some away as gifts to family. He has sold several as well. Some people will even look at ours and then commission him to build one.

    • That is awesome Renee! Sounds like he could definitely turn that into a part-time gig for some money. Thanks for sharing!

    • My nephew is also gifted at woodworking. (I wish I had that talent!) Recently, he made some rustic doors (they look like barn doors) to hang in their living room. Like the post above, he made them from free distressed wood. He’s also sold some of these same doors for $200 each. It takes him one to two hours each to make these doors. Pretty good gig, if you ask me.

  4. Wew, these are a lot of cost effective business ideas! I am now into blogging, so jumping into an extra business to manage would be great I think.

    Cleaning houses is what I am thinking of doing. Very challenging!

    • Glad you liked them Nik! The great thing about blogging is that you can write about your experiences and make your blog more desirable! So, once you start your cleaning business, let your readers know what it’s like and if you would recommend it as an extra income source!

  5. Great list. There are so many ways to make money with little start up costs. All you have to do is find a need and fill it. In my neighborhood, mowing lawns is an easy choice.

    • Thanks for the comment Jon. I think mowing lawns is pretty simple for any neighborhood. All you have to do is have the guts to knock on a few doors, offer a low starting rate, and you should have a couple of lawns to mow before you know it.

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