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Five popular side jobs where people use their spare time to make more cash

Danielle Garrand, special to

For reasons both practical and economic, a growing number of U.S. workers are turning to side gigs to supplement the income they make from their full-time jobs – many of which can be done from the comfort of their own homes.

In fact, a recent study by Bankrate found that more than 44 million Americans spend their spare time making extra cash to fatten their wallets, or simply to make ends meet. With that in mind, CNBC took a look at five part-time jobs that are growing in popularity, and many don't require much in the way of experience or special expertise.

For the new "weekend warrior," some of these gigs can be squeezed pretty easily into Friday and Sunday, while leaving just enough free time for a social life.

Promo Girl/Guy

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After a long week on the job, most people like blowing off steam with friends at a local bar or club — but the tab for a night on the town can add up fast. Some people are killing two birds with one stone by working promotions as a "promo" guy or girl for a local haunt.

Bars often need extra people to help control lines at the door, or simply sign up patrons for email lists during the night. These positions call for a shift of just a few hours, so there's plenty of time left to party with friends afterward. Open promo guy/girl positions can be found via Craigslist, or by calling up local bars known for drawing big crowds.

Freelance writing/blogging

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Saturday mornings are for lazily lounging around the house, sipping on coffee and avoiding all real responsibilities. So why not make some extra money for the weekend ahead — or brunch money — while relaxing in your pajamas writing a blog post?

From architecture to technology and beauty products, there are websites that need someone to write about popular topics — and they pay nominal fees. On average, sites that pay for articles shell out around $50 per piece or even higher. Several online resources have guides that show which websites pay for content.

A day on the town, courtesy of the kids

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Does an afternoon of free taxi rides, museum visits and lunch sound too good to be true? It isn't, as long as you don't mind hanging out with kids on your Saturday afternoon.

Most families, especially in big cities, will pay all expenses while you entertain their child, which comes on top of an hourly fee. For those looking to break into the babysitting game, the first step is to create a separate child care resume listing any experience with children — which can include camp counselor or siting for your younger relatives during the summer — and a list of special talents that relate to dealing with kids. Most parents will likely conduct some sort of background check, so make sure that's clean.

Child care sites like or Sittercity allow potential babysitters to create profiles, which parents scan for suitable candidates.

Getting paid for a free meal, with some writing involved

Women uses her laptop outside of a coffee shop
Joseph Branston | Future Publishing | Getty Images

Sunday mornings may be made for brunch, but those on a tight budget might not be able to afford dropping $40 on mimosas and pancakes — especially after buying a few drinks at the bar the night before.

Much like writing lifestyle or entertainment blogs, there's a thriving market for being a secret restaurant reviewer. After chowing down, you will likely be required to write a concise report or recap your experience over the phone. A few well-known companies like BestMark, Market Force and IntelliShop take applications online, and those selected will get their meals fully reimbursed, along with a small stipend.

A word to the wise, however: There are quite a few scams out there targeting those who try to break into this side hustle. Any requests for money upfront, or extremely personal information (Social Security number, bank info) should be considered a red flag for potential fraud. When in doubt, check with The Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA), an organization that regulates secret shopping companies.

Make money with man's best friend 

Your personal camera obscura | Getty Images

If you love caring for dogs and have some experience with man's best friend, the professional dog walking business may be a fulfilling side hustle. One of the easiest ways to get started pounding the pavement is with Wag!, an app-based dog walking and boarding company.

Submit an application and make it through the interview process to get access to the app, where you can select pups to walk on demand, and whenever it is convenient for your schedule. Walkers typically get $12 per 30-minute dog walk, plus tip. Rover, a site that features profiles of dog walkers, sitters and boarders for owners to choose from, allows users to set their own rate.