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Creative ways to make extra cash

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Groceries, bills and mortgage payments cab all add up. And in a struggling economy, every penny counts. So it's no wonder that people are leaving no stone unturned when it comes to creative ways to make cash. Your shopping expertise, your blood -- even your hair can make you money.

When Deanna Pendragon's car died, she and her husband started the hunt for a replacement.

"We looked at the state of the economy and we decided that we didn't want to get into debt for another car," said Deanna.

Instead of cutting a loan check every month, Deanna decided to cut her hair for the first time in 18 years.

"I figured, this is it! I can sell my hair," said Deanna. "Everybody's always crooned over my hair."

You can now place an ad to sell your locks on sites like hairwork.com and TheHairTrader.com, where clients earn anywhere from $150 to over $2,500.

"Because of the economy, we've experienced about a 40 percent increase over the last few months," said Jacalyn Elise, TheHairTrader.com.

The longer and healthier your hair, the more valuable it is to wigmakers and others. Deanna sold 32 inches for a $2,000, which was enough to buy a car.

"It was really easy and I was shocked at how high it went," said Deanna.

While some are losing locks for extra cash, others are going deeper and selling plasma. The rich, liquid portion of your blood is used to help develop life-saving medical therapies and drugs. Donations are steadily increasing.

"The trend has been existing for the past three-plus years. I haven't seen any indication that that is going to be any different in the future," said Joshua Penrod, Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association.

Compensation ranges from $20 to $40 per donation.

Plasma is separated from your red blood cells. The cells are then returned to your body, which allows you to roll up your sleeve more often.

"Donating whole blood you can do once every eight weeks," said Penrod. "Donating plasma you can do twice in a seven-day period."

If the thought of needles makes you woozy, you might want to consider shopping to keep your budget on track. The Mystery Shopping Providers Association says more consumers are going undercover to report on the performance of all kinds of businesses.

"If you do three or four shops within a small radius near your house, you know, you can add that up and that can help your monthly income," said Chuck Paul, Mystery Shopping Providers Association.

Mystery shoppers can make anywhere from $5 to well over $100.

In order to donate plasma, you will need an onsite physical. The whole process typically takes about two hours.


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