Looking to thrive financially during tough times? In this comprehensive guide, I’ll show you exactly how to make money during a recession.
Discover a diverse range of strategies and opportunities to secure your financial stability when the economy takes a downturn.
What will I learn?
What is a Recession?
A recession is a downturn in economic activity!
Although the definition of a recession is loose, it’s generally defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth in the economy. There’s usually high unemployment, a drawdown in the stock market, and a dip in consumer spending during a recession.
That last one is tough if you’re looking to make money. After all, how are you supposed to earn when consumers just aren’t spending?
And a recession, according to economists, may well be coming. Economists state that the odds that a recession will occur in the next 12 months are 61%. And 93% of corporate CEOs report that they’re preparing for a recession over the next 12 to 18 months.
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Anyone looking to start a business or side hustle, when there’s a widespread drop in spending, is left wondering just how to make money during a recession.
Thankfully, there are a number of “recession-proof,” so to speak, business ideas and side hustles that allow you to earn money even in times of economic downturn.
Now, I know when you search for “ways to make money during a recession” most blogs talk about investing in Index Funds, Real Estate and so on. But I know not everyone has money to invest, especially during hard economic times. So I tried to share strategies that are accessible and practical for most of us.
How to Make Money During a Recession
Here of some of the best proven ways to earn money even in economic downtimes.
1. Become a CPA
- Average pay: $37 an hour. $77,370 per year.
Even in times of recession, people need an accountant. This makes working as a CPA a great option for earning money.
North America is actually the largest region in the global accounting services market, accounting for 42.4% of the global market in 2021.
And this is a growing industry.
The global accounting services market size is expected to grow from $1175.88 billion in 2021 to $1324.77 billion in 2022 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.7%.
Being an accountant is a good option for anyone looking to earn money. You can work as a certified public accountant part-time, from home if you want to.
Here’s where you can find work:
2. Become a Tax preparer
- Average pay: Earn a fee of $57 to $1,563 (According to the National Society of Accountants)
People always need to do their taxes, economic downturn or not! That’s why this is another recession-proof industry. Being a tax preparer is more of a seasonal gig though where you’ll mostly work in the winter and spring.
Many people hire a tax preparer because they don’t have the time to, or just don’t want to, do their own taxes.
If you want to become a tax preparer, then you will need to take a training course and register with the IRS as a tax preparer.
Not only is tax preparation a recession-proof job, but this is also a growing industry.
The accounting services market is segmented by type into payroll services, tax preparation services, bookkeeping, financial auditing, and other accounting services.
The tax preparation services market is expected to be the fastest growing segment in the accounting services market segmented by type, at a CAGR of 13.9% from 2021 to 2026.
3. Start mowing lawns
- Average pay: $16 an hour. $34,212 per year.
Recession or no recession, grass continues to grow, and people continue not wanting to (or not having the time to) cut it themselves. That’s why lawn mowing is such a good business option. It’s easy to get started with too.
You can advertise your services online or locally.
4. Do Yard work & landscaping
- Average pay: $17 an hour. $35,180 per year.
Despite spending less during a recession, people continue to need yard work/landscape labor. People are, after all, busy!
This job can include things like pulling out weeds, power-washing concrete areas, watering plants, and maintaining fences.
- Average pay: $23 an hour. $47,689 per year.
Jobs are scarce during a recession and if you want to make money without a traditional job, hauling junk is one of the easiest ways.
People who work, or have commitments outside of the home, require childcare even if there is a recession. This is why babysitting can be a great way to earn money during times of economic downturn.
Lots of parents look for a sitter during the day, evenings, and weekends. This makes babysitting a good cash paying gig to fit in alongside your regular job, if you have one.
Babysitting is a growing industry too.
The global babysitting services market was valued at USD 21.27 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.64% during the forecast period (segment forecast, 2022 to 2030).
You can find babysitting work by advertising locally or by searching online.
There are lots of babysitting jobs available online.
Here are some places to find work:
6. Repair appliances
- Average pay: $21 an hour. $43,721 per year.
Those skilled in appliance repair can earn money from this skill even during a recession.
There’s a decrease in consumer spending in times of economic downturn. Basically, people aren’t buying new stuff. This means that if an appliance breaks, people will likely get it repaired rather than spend money on a new one.
This is why appliance repair is a recession-proof business idea. People need their appliances. So, there’s a demand for appliance repair.
The market size, measured by revenue, of the appliance repair industry was $5.5bn in 2022!
You could make money repairing home appliances or appliances for businesses.
7. Offer handyman services
- Average pay: $21 an hour. $43,341 per year.
Working as a handyman is a really great option during a recession. After all, people still need access to handyman services like furniture assembly, carpentry work, pressure washing services, and home repairs, even when they’re spending less on other things.
People are more likely to stay home to save money during a recession, which means they spend their limited budget on home improvement. This is especially the case for homeowners who’re looking to sell their properties to deal with financial struggles.
The handyman service market size was valued at around US $339.0 million in 2022 and is anticipated to reach a value of US $1.65 billion in 2032. The market is set to grow at a strong CAGR of 17.2% through 2032.
8. Haul junk
- Pay: Varies
Junk removal is big business!
People will always have junk that they don’t need. You could earn money hauling away people’s junk/trash if you have a large truck or van.
This is another recession-proof business idea that you can try. You can find junk hauling gigs on sites like Craigslist or advertise your services locally.
This is especially great for truck owners as it is one of the easiest ways to make money with a pickup truck!
9. Start reselling
- Pay: Varies
The recommerce market, which is the buying and selling of pre-owned goods, is set for solid growth.
In 2021, the recommerce market in the United States was estimated at more than $160 billion, which is a 15% increase from nearly $140 billion in 2020.
The growth of the recommerce market is expected to continue, with a forecast to reach $245 billion by 2025.
That’s why reselling stuff is such a good way to make money!
Not only is the industry valuable and expected to grow, but it’s also resilient during a recession.
Consider that during a recession, people are reluctant to spend on things like clothing. Because they want to save cash, many people will buy clothes secondhand in order to save when money is tight.
So, you could make a profit selling used items. You can sell items that you already have in your home, such as used clothing, furniture, or books. Or you can purchase items to resell.
For example, you could purchase a handbag for 50% off. You pay $50 for the purse instead of $100.
Then, you resell the purse for $80, making a $30 profit on the sale. And, the customer still saves 20% off the RRP.
Or, for example, you could purchase a piece of furniture that’s in need of some TLC and get it restored and looking great. You restore the piece of furniture and then sell it for more than the amount that you paid for it.
You can purchase discounted items to flip for a profit at places like:
- The thrift store
- The dollar store
- The clearance section of any store
- TJ MAXX
- Garage sales/yard sales
There’s also another option that can net you even more money, which is to get items for free and then sell them for a 100% profit. You can get free stuff on sites like OfferUp and Craigslist.
Once you have purchased your discounted items, have purchased items that you refurbish, or have gotten free items from Craigslist or OfferUp, you can sell them online.
Here are some places to sell stuff:
10. Do online freelance work
- Pay: Varies
Some companies downsize and lay off employees during a recession. But, the need for labor still remains. Instead of using full-time staff, companies often hire freelance workers to fill the labor demand remotely.
In fact, data shows that 85% of business owners plan to implement a hiring freeze during an economic downturn. And a majority (78%) say they are more likely to engage with freelance talent to fill in gaps in their workforce during times of economic uncertainty.
You could take advantage of the demand for freelancers and earn money right from home. All you need is the right skill set, a laptop, and, of course, clients, and you’re up and running.
Tons of people work remotely. In fact, there have never been more people working independently. There are 64.6 million independent workers in 2022, up 26% over 2021.
You can find freelance work on sites like:
You can also search sites like Indeed and SimplyHired for remote jobs.
Other Ways to Earn Money When Recession Hits
Here are a few practical and accessible methods that can help you generate money during a recession.
- Sell used stuff on line
- Rent your house or room using sites like Airbnb
- Rent your car
- Drive for Uber or Lyft
- Do online tutoring or teaching
- Use gig apps to do tasks and errands
- Be a virtual assistance
- Make and sell creative handmade products
- Take online surveys for cash
Obviously, not everyone can use all of these strategies and options. The idea here is to just give you a lot of options to hopefully spark that one idea that works best for you.
Thriving in a Recession with Profitable Side Hustles
Learning how to make money during a recession is pretty easy using the tips above. You have so many options! There are plenty of recession-proof business ideas you can try.
Even though consumers are more reluctant to spend during times of economic downturn, there will always be a demand for certain services like appliance repair and tax preparation. You can leverage this demand to make money during a recession.