Are Those Antique Dishes Worth Something? Here’s How to Know

It’s always the season to clean out closets, basements and attics and cash in on some of that stuff that doesn’t “spark joy” as organizing guru Marie Kondo would say.

Believe it or not, your grandmother’s World War II antique china collections with the floral patterns may well spark joy for someone else even if you can’t get your kids to take it. Or it could mean money in your pocket — there are antique dishes worth something.

Depending on the pattern, condition and current supply and demand, you can make a few hundred dollars when you sell Nana’s china plates collection. But, unless you have some of the more rare patterns that can fetch $1,000 a plate, don’t expect to get rich. What was sentimentally valuable china to your family may not be worth thousands of dollars.

“The question I hear most often when I give somebody a quote for what we’ll pay is ‘is that for all of it?’ ” said Larry Weitkemper, one of the owners of China Finders in St. Petersburg, Florida. “The demand is less. Prices are down.”

Someone with a five-piece place setting (dinner, salad and bread plates with cup and saucer) of Wedgewood may get around $40, Lennox about $25 and Mikasa around $20. Resellers and dealers, however, may pay up to $1,000 for a Royal Copenhagen Flora Danica dinner plate, the golden ticket of pre-owned china.

China Finders, which stocks thousands of pieces of china and crystal in its 4,900-square-foot store, is one of about 50 independent resellers across the country. A decade ago it had 14 employees buying and selling china, crystal and other collectibles. Today, four employees buy in person (by appointment only) then sell on their eBay store. For people on the hunt for rare patterns, an internet search is likely the best way to find valued old dishes.

Pattern Prices at a Glance from Replacements

Maker Pattern Item Price


Desert Rose

Dinner plate



Forest Green ‘51-’59

Dinner plate



Poppies on Blue

Dinner plate


Royal Copenhagen

Flora Danica

Salad serving bowl



Botanic Garden

Crescent salad plate



Runnymede Blue

Rim soup bowl



Chinese Bouquet (rust)

Salad plate



Christianshavn Blue

Dinner plate (Portugal)



Christianshavn Blue

Dinner plate (Thailand)



Royal Orchard



Dish Habits of Modern Newlyweds

For well over 10 years, people getting married or stocking their kitchens and dining rooms have been straying from traditional fine porcelain dishes and opting for mass produced dinnerware from retailers like Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel and Target.

Also, it’s gotten much easier for anyone looking to buy previously owned traditional china on the Internet with just a few clicks, so the services and inventory of stores like China Finders aren’t as in demand, Weitkemper said.

Replacements Ltd., in McLeansville, North Carolina, is the largest buyer and seller of previously owned china, crystal and flatware with 450,000 different patterns listed in its database from antique china with floral patterns to highly valuable dessert plates. It stocks new and preowned products in 500,000 square feet of warehouse space.

Keith Winkler, media relations manager for the 40-year-old company, said while prices fluctuate greatly, fine china and crystal are still popular with a wide range of customers.

Again, many variables go into placing a value on it.

“It’s all about whether we stock that pattern or not and how easy it is to find it,” he said. “Some of it is also how popular it was when the pattern was introduced. Was it successful and continues to be sold in stores or was it extremely popular for a 10-year period of time and now it’s gone?”

He said they are are seeing an increase in business from a younger demographic.

“A lot of them might have received their grandmother’s set and they are building on that for their bridal registry,” Winkler added.

Others are looking for their own china. In fact so many couples getting married were registering on Replacements’ website through Myregistry, that they came to the china dealer five years ago and asked to join forces on gift registries.

10 Things to Know If You’re Selling Nana’s Antique China

First you need to know if it’s antique and just because it’s old to you, doesn’t mean it’s a legit antique or has a lot of value. Antiques are generally at least 100 years old; newer older items are considered vintage. Look to a professional for help. The market determines the prices so your dream of getting rich off a single item for thousands of dollars is likely just that. Still, there’s money to be had.

Our vintage china and glassware experts have done their research and here is their best advice for those of us surveying Nana’s china cabinet and trying to get past the floral bouquet in the middle of the plates. These 10 tips can help you find the best value hiding on the shelves.

1. Patterns Don’t Gain Value With Age

“We have to buy something people are still using,” Weitkemper said. Now, that doesn’t mean old patterns are necessarily not worth good money as long as they are still popular with current consumers. But they are just not like other collectibles such as coins that gain value as they age.

2. Make Sure You Get Top Dollar for These


“Most patterns from Herend sell well,” Winkler said.  A platter recently sold for $200 on eBay while a salad plate went for $100. Herend originated in Hungary in 1839 and its pieces are typified by fine floral patterns. The history of the manufacturer and the fine craftsmanship overrules the fact that many younger people don’t want fussy porcelain pieces.

Royal Copenhagen Blue Fluted

A cup and saucer recently sold on eBay for $100 and  a salad plate fetched the same price.

“It’s a very high quality brand and it’s in high demand. It’s made really well,” according to Larry Weitkemper.

Royal Copenhagen Flora Danica

This is about the most expensive player in the fine china reselling market. Two salad plates sold on eBay recently for $375 while a pickle dish sold for $500.

3. Know Other Popular Patterns

Replacements lists its top selling patterns, which is a good indicator the valuable china is selling well on other sites, with dealers and individually. But that doesn’t mean they will always command top dollar.

“We may have a piece retailing for $50 but have a 10-year supply on hand  and therefore we may not be purchasing it at all or would offer a nominal amount for the piece,” said Winkler.

Here are the links for:

4. Extra Pieces Vary in Demand

Butter dishes and salt and pepper sets are more sought after than spoon rests and coffee pots. The current values reflect modern cooking habits, and the selling price and pattern don’t much matter. Many companies have produced these pieces and they can be found online and in antiques shops in abundance.

“Teapots hold their values better than coffee pots,” said Noah Weitkemper, one of the China Finders partners.

5. Wine Glasses are Out, Goblets Are In

“Wine glasses are going out of style because they are too small in older patterns. (Consumers) use water goblets for wine,” Noah Weitkemper said.

Even baby boomers are likely to want glasses that can hold a larger pour. These days, a standard wine glass holds about 12 ounces and vintage wine glassware  might be half of that. The green-stemmed German wine glasses used for white wine are a good example of smaller capacity bowls, especially the older vintages.

6. Gold Trim Can Kill the Sale

The 20-year-olds and 30-year-olds — heck almost everyone — buying china today want to put their dishes in the microwave or dishwasher. Washing individual pieces by hand isn’t going to fly no matter if the current value is affordable and even if they like the pattern. And reheating ramen in the microwave is standard these days. The dishes have to fit the job, and just being valuable doesn’t cut it.

“Anything with gold trim can’t go in the dishwasher and it can’t go in the microwave. So they don’t want it,” Larry Weitkemper said. Sorry, Nana. The Noritake vintage china is a no-go even though there’s enough old dishes to serve 12. That’s just more washing.

7. Shipping Is Costly

If selling to Replacements, you will pay for packing and shipping your china. That can cancel out or at least heavily cut into whatever profit you expect to make. Consider this if you purchased good-condition china to resell. Always do your research first.

“A person really needs to consider all of that when they are wanting to sell. it’s going to be so expensive to ship,” Winkler said. “It might be better to donate it.” Do some internet research or head to your local library to look for organizations that take donations of dishes, glassware and other pieces.

8. Country of Origin Counts

China and glassware made in America or England is more desirable. China produced after the Civil War often has identifying marks on the back of each piece indicating its country of origin. Bone china made in England usually has a crown stamp on the back. If the pieces are bright in color — lime green or purple even — they are likely not vintage.

In the table above, you can see how Dansk’s Christianshavn Blue is more valuable if it is manufactured in Portugal than when they are made in Thailand.

9. Christmas China Patterns

Many manufacturers have lines of Christmas china. It tends to sell well throughout the year, but especially in September and October. Some of the most popular Christmas china patterns are Spode’s Christmas Tree, which was first made in 1928; Lenox’s Holiday holly pattern (beware the gold leaf), and Johnson Brothers’ Merry Christmas, made from 1958 to 1995.

The Johnson pattern has a cozy Christmas scene on the middle of the plate, complete with a roaring fireplace.

If you find a set for 12 of any of these patterns, it’s still not likely you’ll bring in thousands of dollars, though a Johnson Merry Christmas dinner plate is fetching about $70 on Replacements. The current value of a dinner plate of Spode’s Christmas Tree with gold trim is about $40. And Lenox’s Holiday holly plate could get nearly $70 through an antique dealer but Replacements had the dinner plate on sale in January 2022 for $40.

10. To eBay or Not to eBay Those Porcelain Dishes

If you sell on eBay you may get more money for your china or crystal than selling to an antique dealer who is going to resell your King Louis XV antique furniture or valuable china. Obviously, you are then also the one who has to pack it (or pay someone else to pack it) and ship it so it arrives to the buyer in tip-top shape.

Customers buying on eBay have the right to refuse the product and ship it back at the seller’s expense if they say it arrived in worse condition than expected.

China Finders has been burned several times with eBay buyers who say the items they bought arrived chipped.

“We check it completely for chips when we buy it, when we sell it and when we ship it,” Larry Weitkemper said. But they still have to pay the cost to ship it back and refund the buyer’s money. Several times customers have shipped back different china, and once even a box of rocks instead of what they bought.

For China Finders, which sells hundreds of items on eBay each month, if a customer falsely claims the products weren’t in good condition once a month, it’s a cost of doing business.

But if you are selling a whole set of china or box of crystal goblets only once and a customer claims it arrived in poor condition then returns other items, your one shot at profiting off of Nana’s collection is shot.

Katherine Snow Smith is a freelance editor and reporter living in St. Petersburg, Florida. She’s the author of Rules for the Southern Rulebreaker: Missteps & Lessons Learned. 

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

Guide to the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)

During the pandemic, workers 55 and older lost jobs earlier, were rehired slower and faced higher unemployment rates than younger workers, according to an October 2020 study by The New School for Social Research.

These obstacles are especially daunting for low-income seniors, who may lack the education, training or wrap-around resources necessary to re-enter the labor force.

If you’re 55 or older and unemployed, a free work-based job training program from the Department of Labor can help.

It’s called the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), and it provides subsidized, part-time community service work to thousands of low-income American seniors each year.

Keep reading to learn who’s eligible and how to apply.

What Is the Senior Community Service Employment Program?

The SCSEP was created more than 55 years ago as part of the Older Americans Act of 1965.

The program aims to provide subsidized, part-time, community service work and training for people ages 55 and older with low incomes.

The Department of Labor received $402.9 million in funding for SCSEP in 2021, according to the agency’s fiscal budget. It allocates those funds to various state agencies and 19 national nonprofit organizations.

The SCSEP helps pay the salary of an estimated 56,0750 older Americans who participate in the program each year.

How Does the SCSEP Work?

The SCSEP is federally-funded and administered by states, which contract with local community service organizations. (Goodwill and AARP are two of the biggest).

The SCSEP is specifically designed to meet the employment needs of older workers.

Participants are placed with a local nonprofit or government agency and get paid to work 20 hours a week.

You’ll get paid the federal, state or local minimum wage — whichever is highest.

Pro Tip

The federal minimum wage in 2022 is $7.25. So  you can expect to earn at least $145 a week before taxes, or about $7,540 a year. 

Sponsor agencies are required to provide you with supportive career services like resume writing and computer training. They also place you in a hands-on work assignment with a local nonprofit or government agency.

This makes SCSEP a “win-win” for older workers and nonprofit groups alike, said Emily Allen, AARP Foundation’s senior vice president of programs.

“The participants get hands-on experience and the community organization gets extra manpower to carry out their mission,” Allen told The Penny Hoarder.

These entry-level to mid-level community service jobs include work such as learning how to operate the ordering system at a food bank or answering phones at your local Council on Aging.

Allen said roles like this give workers current work experience, which is attractive to potential employers.

“It’s often easier to find a job when you have a job,” Allen said. “Program participants are actively working in an assignment, and that really speaks to an employer.”

When you’re not in the field, organizations like AARP work one-on-one with SCSEP participants to identify their skills and career objectives.

“We focus a lot on developing the soft skills and digital skills they need to look for and obtain employment,” Allen said.

The goal of the SCSEP is to serve as a bridge to full-time, unsubsidized work.

In other words, your SCSEP gig won’t last forever. Allen said participants usually stay in the program for about a year.

Still, many agencies go on to hire SCSEP workers as full-time employees. Even if they don’t, you can take the skills you learned to get a permanent position somewhere else.

Who Is Eligible?

You’ll need to meet certain criteria to qualify for the SCSEP.

To be eligible, you must:

  • Be at least 55 years old.
  • Be unemployed.
  • Have a family income of no more than 125% of the federal poverty level.

In 2022, 125% of the U.S. poverty level is $16,100 a year for a single person or $21,775 a year for a household of two people.

Pro Tip

You can check to see if your household meets 125% of the poverty threshold by using this tool on 

Keep in mind: Income from certain government benefits doesn’t count for SCSEP eligibility purposes.

For example, any SSI or Social Security Disability payments you receive aren’t included as income, and neither is 25% of your Social Security retirement benefits.

According to the Department of Labor’s website, SCSEP gives employment priority to the following demographics:

  • Veterans and qualified spouses
  • Individuals ages 65 and older
  • People with disabilities
  • Residents of rural areas
  • People who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless

How the SCSEP Works in Your Area

You can use the Older Worker Program Finder tool on the federal CareerOneStop site to find a SCSEP location in your area.

Chances are you’ll find one. According to a 2021 Department of Labor report, SCSEP-funded services are available in nearly 3,000 U.S. counties and territories.

“We always want to keep our positions filled, so there’s usually a recruitment going on for new participants,” Allen said.

Rachel Christian is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance and a senior writer for The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

U.S. Army Paying Signing Bonuses Up to $50,000 for Enlisting

Uncle Sam wants you, and he’s willing to pay you a good chunk of cash.

The U.S. Army announced that it will pay up to $50,000 – its largest bonus ever – to recruits who qualify and sign on for a six-year active-duty enlistment. The bonus package is based on a number of factors that include the selected career field, individual qualifications, length of the contract and the ship date for training.

“This is an opportunity to entice folks to consider the Army,” said Brig. Gen. John Cushing in a press release.

Since 2020, the Army has struggled, just like the private sector, in attracting talent, and officials hope the incentives coupled with some other changes will begin to draw qualified young people.

“We are still living the implications of 2020 and the onset of COVID, when the school systems basically shut down,” Maj. Gen. Kevin Vereen, head of Army Recruiting Command, told the Associated Press. “We lost a full class of young men and women that we didn’t have contact with, face-to-face.”

Here’s how the new incentives work.

How to Score Up to $50K in Army Signing Bonuses

The career-based incentives range from $1,000 to $40,000 depending on the field. The more difficult-to-hire positions will offer a higher bonus. Occupations can range from well-known careers, like infantry and Special Forces, to lesser known, such as radar repairers, signal support systems specialists and motor transport operators.

The Army is also offering “quick ship” bonuses – from $2,000 to $9,000 – for recruits who can go to Basic Training within 90 days. The sooner the recruit can leave, the more cash he or she will receive.

Going to Airborne Training can bring $10,000 and Ranger Training can bring up to $20,000. Foreign language skills can bring in as much as $40,000 in specific career paths.

A combination of all these incentives will bring the largest bonuses into play.

“For example, a six-year enlistment as an air and missile defense crewmember starts with $40,000. Right now, that occupation also qualifies for a $9,000 critical accession bonus,” the Army said in its press release. “If the individual decides to ship to training within the next 90 days, the addition of a quick-ship bonus would get the recruit to the maximum amount.”

The Army is also promoting other new changes to attract talent: shorter, two-year enlistments for 84 different career fields and the opportunity for recruits to pick their duty station.

“We know this generation likes to have the opportunity to make their own decisions, so now they can choose where they want to be assigned after training,” Vereen said. “…Many people are apprehensive about long-term commitments right now, so we think having a shorter option will help give them some time to see if the Army fits their life and goals.”

Robert Bruce is a Senior Writer for The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

18 Great Jobs For Retirees for Flexibility and Extra Cash

Who even knows what “retired’’ means anymore?

You might have left the career you had in the 40-hour-a-week workforce. But now you don’t exactly want to be glued to your couch watching puppy videos. You want to be active, you want to work, and you want to make a little money to support your fun retirement plans.

While “retirement income’’ or “retirement job” might seem like oxymorons, they are a more reasonable pursuit today than in years past due to advancing life expectancies and improved health among older citizens.

Many people reach so-called retirement age and are in no way done with being productive. Many continue in freelance jobs and part-time gigs, whether in a brick-and mortar setting, from home, or even outdoors.

There are plenty of ways to bring in some extra money to augment pension, social security, or other retirement funds. We’ve rounded up 18 ideas for good jobs for retirees that offer part-time opportunities, flexible hours, or both.

18 Part-time Jobs for Retirees

Most of the examples here require your physical presence on-site, but there are remote jobs, too, such as virtual assistant and customer service work that can be done from the comfort of your home.

As you browse these possible jobs for retirees, keep in mind one warning: If you are collecting Social Security, you can only earn a certain amount each month before your benefits are reduced.

So let’s get to work, shall we?

1. Substitute Teaching

Substitute teachers have never been more valuable than today. Covid has increased the chances that a teacher might be out of the classroom either awaiting test results or recuperating. When that happens, their students need someone to teach — and that could be you.

Most school districts have lenient requirements for substitute teachers, often requiring just a bachelor’s degree with no teaching experience.

To be successful, you need to be ready to deal with a room full of 20 or so children of varying ages. But it could pay off. School districts in Chicago, for example, pay as much as $200 a day for a full day of work.

If you have an advance degree, you may also qualify to be an adjunct instructor at a community college or four-year university.

2. School Support

Most schools are always looking for crossing guards, recess supervisors and other positions. A call to your local elementary, middle or high school could lead you to a good retirement job that would fit your schedule. Even better is searching online for jobs at your school district. This will give you a range of what’s out there.

This is a classic retirement job that gets you out of the house, allows you to have contact with neighbors, and lets you provide security and safety with another set of adult eyes on the children.

3. Tutoring

There are hundreds of tutoring companies in the U.S. who work with kids of all ages to enhance their school education or prepare for college entrance exams. If you sign up with one, they’ll match you with work and you won’t need to market yourself as a tutor.

The hourly pay for these companies ranges from about $13 to $25. Requirements often are limited to a bachelor’s degree, although exam-prep work might require a recent ACT or SAT test score, or might require you to retake the exam for verbal or math instruction.

If you are interested in online tutoring, there are many good paying gigs out there. Match your skills to the openings.

A senior woman drives a school bus.

4. School Bus Driver

School bus drivers can earn up to $20 per hour. They have regular hours with the opportunity to earn extra for field trips or outings. Some states require a specific license (a Commercial Drivers License, or CDL, for example) or require you to pass a test to qualify.

Recent news reports indicate there are many job openings for school bus drivers.

The job is likely to include more than just driving, however. You may be asked to supervise students on the bus, and you may be called upon to discipline rowdy students or those who are making the trip unsafe. A tolerance for children of all ages is probably an important requirement.

5. Shuttle Bus Driver

There are dozens of different types of shuttle bus driver jobs. Most hotels have shuttles to and from airports. Senior citizen homes, churches and community centers often offer shuttles to shopping areas or grocery stores. Hourly pay for shuttle bus drivers can average above $13 per hour, and that’s not including tips from satisfied riders. Like school bus drivers, shuttle bus drivers have regular hours.

Depending on the particulars of the job, a commercial driver’s license might be required. Different states have different laws regarding licensing for shuttle bus drivers. A different license might be required if the bus holds a certain number of people or is a particular weight. Your state motor vehicle website will tell you what’s required in your state, and any potential employer will know, too.

6. Conducting Tours

Tour guide is one of those jobs that, when you see someone doing it, you think, “Well, I could do that too!”

Businesses, organizations and sites that host tours come in many shapes and sizes, from historical sites to museums, from outdoor walking tours to behind-the-scene workplace tours. They can be an everyday part of a business or scheduled by appointment. What they all have in common? A tour leader.

These jobs require knowledge about the subject and the ability to tell a good story — often while walking backwards.

Tour guides make an average base salary of $20 per hour. Plus, they are often offered tips by tour participants.

This could be a dream job for someone who knows the topic well and likes to retell stories about history, natural science or architecture (among many other possibilities).

If this appeals to you, don’t overlook a special area of knowledge you’ve developed during all those years in the workplace. Know a lot about the manufacturing industry? Maybe you’re just the person to lead tours at a cheese factory.

Want to work part-time from home? More and more companies are offering work from home opportunities.

7. Patient Advocate

The job of a patient advocate is to assist someone who is struggling to cope with the healthcare system. A patient advocate deals with paperwork and appointments, and communicates with healthcare providers to get information on diagnosis, treatment and followup procedures.

Advocates might also be asked to work with insurance companies to understand coverage and costs. Many are asked to help a client obtain assistance with financial or legal issues. The range of duties can be as varied as the patient’s needs.

Being a patient advocate does not require any particular educational degree, but it is possible to become certified in this role.

These positions can be part- or full-time, and they pay well. So if you plan to collect Social Security benefits, make sure to check how your wage impacts your benefits.

An elderly man babysits two girls. He plays guitar on the couch while the two of them listen to him play.

8. Child Care Provider

Child care might be a bit of a political football these days, but rarely has it been more necessary. Single parents or two-parent families that require or want two incomes are likely to need child care, and that could take the form of a nanny or frequent babysitter.

A babysitter sits in a home with a child or children. A nanny is responsible for getting children to day care or other activities; they are a substitute parent in many cases.

Craigslist or neighborhood job sites are great ways to search for these positions, but your best bet is to work with your personal network. Let people know that you would be willing to work as a nanny or frequent babysitter, and, with the proper recommendation, you could have a very gratifying retirement job.

There are no actual nanny or babysitter licenses or certifications in the United States, but many families require that nannies be bonded, which is a guarantee of service. It is a protection against someone failing to show up for work; one such failure forfeits the bond and that area of work is no longer available to that nanny.

Taking classes in CPR or other emergency response techniques, which offer certifications upon completion, can improve your chances of being hired.

Nannies are likely to make $15 an hour on average. Babysitter earnings vary widely by affluence of the neighborhood. Check out The Penny Hoarder’s tips on how to get paid up to $21 an hour babysitting.

Looking for a fun part-time side gig? Here’s how you can earn money visiting theme parks as a Disney nanny.

9. Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants are independent contractors who offer business services virtually. Those services can include website management, website design, marketing assistance, social media postings, blog writing, email correspondence or any number of clerical duties that can be carried out with a computer and phone. This kind of work is often well-suited to flexible hours.

As of this writing, Ziprecruiter showed more than 34,000 virtual assistant jobs, suggesting that a virtual assistant could make up to $76,000 a year, depending on the work required.

You are more likely to work on an hourly wage determined by your experience and amount of work you are required to perform. There are also job firms that provide virtual assistants; you can sign on with them and accept work as it is offered to you.

Any task that can be done virtually via computer is likely to be requested by a virtual assistant. Firms would rather pay a freelancer than an employee to do the work.

10. Bookkeeper

You have a good head for numbers. You are in charge of your own finances, and you perhaps worked in an accounting role at a previous job.

Many small or civic organizations cannot afford, nor do they truly need, a full-time bookkeeper or accounting service. They are not in it for the money. Often, they are charitable or non-profit organizations. But they need occasional bookkeeping, often with an eye towards tax advantages.

A part-time bookkeeper job often requires simple financial recordkeeping or upkeep of other financial records. Part-time bookkeepers are usually former accountants or have experience as a bookkeeper. They may be asked to track invoices, but most companies use financial services for paychecks.

The average salary for a part-time bookkeeper is around $20 per hour.

11. Umpire and Referee

This is a perfect retirement job if you have a sports background and the ability to withstand criticism.

Competitive sports programs need officials for their games. Baseball, basketball, soccer and football all have leagues at various ages that need officiating. Depending on where you live, the work can be constant. If you get certified for multiple sports, you can work all weekend long and often during the week.

While high-level programs require officials to get licensed or certified, lower-level and youth group programs require just a basic knowledge of the rules. Look around your community for sports leagues in need of umpires or referees.

Pay is often dependent on the age of the players and the competitive level of the organization, but officials are likely to make at least $25 per game. At higher levels where certification is required, you can earn $100 per game.

A man walks a gaggle of dogs at his dog walking job.

12. Pet Sitter and Dog Walker

For between $10 and $15 an hour, you can earn money pet-sitting in a home or, if the pet happens to be a dog, you can walk the animal. Pet-sitting is a good job for retirees who want to work outdoors without a lot of physical requirements other than being able to walk while pulling or being pulled.

Pet sitter/walker is also a good line of work to get into because one job can lead to another. Pet owners tend to concentrate around each other, and they will give recommendations to other pet owners about a reliable person who can watch Fido or Fluffy while they are on vacation.

If you are going to house-sit the animal, you will likely get paid more for also keeping an eye on the property while the owner is away.

Another idea for animal lovers is pet transporting. If you’ve got a reliable set of wheels and like to drive, getting pets from here to there from owners, maybe be the side gig for you.

13. Freelance Writer

Although freelance writers no longer provide articles — it’s called content now — freelance writing is a gig that can offer the freedom to accept the assignments you want. There are firms that will connect freelance writers to people or companies in need of blogs, resumes, cover letters, marketing content and more.

According to Indeed, the average hourly pay for a freelance writer is a bit over $20, but you are often paid by assignment or by word, so the pay varies. If you have knowledge in certain topics like science and medicine, the pay can be higher.

Writing skills rarely diminish, but the requirements for writing change over time. A knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO) is going to open more doors. Many jobs that use job search websites like Indeed ask for candidates to take a writing test, but many of those are simple grammar or proofreading tests.

While there are occasional situations where someone needs a one-off writing assignment, freelance writer jobs often offer consistent, if sporadic, work. A retiree who can write could have a client for years. Check out this Penny Hoarder article on 18 places hiring freelance writers.

14. Call Center Worker

Just to be clear, we are talking about taking calls from customers, not making calls. A call center representative answers incoming calls from customers or potential customers and either answers questions or sends the caller to someone else who can answer.

As much as this is a remote job, it is definitely a people-person retirement job. You are likely to be talking to someone who is upset or unhappy, and you are the first line of communication for the company you are representing. You need to be capable of being friendly and helpful in the face of unpleasant conversation.

As such, typical hourly pay is $15 as a call center representative.

A senior citizen bartender holds up a pint of beer.

15. Freelance Bartender

Freelance bartending doesn’t require bartending school and can earn you good money working at large events or small, private parties. Hourly pay for freelance bartenders can be anywhere from $20 to $50 even before tips.

If you can memorize lots of cocktail recipes, if you have an outgoing personality and a steady hand, and if you’re willing to cut people off if needed, this could be a fit for you. Your best bet might be starting out tending bar for people you know and then building a network of referrals.

Plan on some up-front costs, such as a portable bar (if the host doesn’t have one) and basic bar tools. The host is expected to supply the alcohol and mixers. And to protect against possible liability you might want to consider an annual liability policy.

16. Personal Shopper

Is it the shopping or the buying that you enjoy? If it’s the shopping, then you might consider becoming someone’s personal shopper.

The job title describes the job. You are given a shopping list and the means to make the purchase, and you chase after the items.

Certainly, many people already have personal shoppers and don’t know it. When they contact a grocery store and provide an itemized list of goods they want, someone does the “shopping,” and the items are then delivered.

But true personal shoppers are more likely to purchase clothing and accessories than groceries. A personal shopper often finds items and then sends photos and descriptions to the person who hired them to get approval.

Some high-end clothing stores offer personal shopper services as well. These positions might be a little less “personal,” as they might be a one-day relationship. But the concept is the same.

To be a personal grocery shopper, you probably need only have been in a grocery store from time to time. To be a high-end personal shopper, a knowledge of the fashion industry and current fashions is going to get you better clients.

Personal shoppers who go after groceries or staples are likely to make typical hourly pay of $14 to $20. Those who work for a service are likely on a wage or salary determined by the service rather than by the client.

Got what it takes to be a mystery shopper? We’ve rounded up four companies that are hiring retail sleuths. 

17. Security Guard

A security guard who does not carry a weapon serves as a presence to discourage inappropriate behavior. While many large businesses like Target or Wal-Mart hire security personnel from a service, small employers such as charitable or service organizations are likely to hire someone who is reliable and gives the appearance of authority.

The responsibilities of a security guard depend on the needs of the company being guarded. There may be requirements that go beyond just being a presence, but the differences depend on the needs of the company.

Hourly pay for security guards without weapons training is likely to be between $10 and $17. Night-time security guards are likely to make more than daytime ones.

This is a good job for retirees who do not mind a bit of boredom.

Security guards who carry weapons require special training and weapons licensing, and is an entirely different job pursuit, perhaps not as well-suited to a retirement job.

18. Seasonal Worker

Remember when you had a summer job as a teenager or a part-time job during your winter break from college? The same logic can work when you’re thinking about some extra retirement income.

Many seasonal jobs are defined by the weather, which is defined by the time of year and the climate where you live. Seasonal jobs are popular, never go out of style (except when the season changes), and can actually be a fun job to look forward to.

Ski resorts in the winter and water parks in the summer are two great examples of places that require seasonal employees. It is not necessary to be a ski instructor or a lifeguard, either. These places require assistance in areas outside of their main purpose: security, transportation, customer service. Even the National Park Service hires seasonal temps.

Also included in seasonal work are holiday positions during the months of October-December. On-site customer service, truck unloading, shelving of new goods, and custodial services are among the positions for which big box stores are likely to need employees. For example in 2021, we tallied more than 1 million seasonal jobs at national retailers and delivery services.

Some stores hold hiring events in October to fill these positions, but they often continue searching for employees throughout the final three months of the year.

Pro Tip

The Penny Hoarder’s Work-From-Home Jobs Portal makes the remote-job hunt easy. Our journalists scour the web for the best gigs, vet the companies and aggregate the latest listings in one place.

Kent McDill is a veteran journalist who has specialized in personal finance topics since 2013. He is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

How To Get Free Stuff on Amazon: 12 Great Tips and Tricks

Amazon is the biggest online retailer in the country and sells just about everything under the sun. If a product is for sale online, chances are it’s on Amazon. The retail giant doesn’t just sell its own products, it’s also a virtual marketplace for millions of vendors around the globe.

Competition between these sellers is fierce and with just a little bit of work, you can take advantage by scoring deals and getting free stuff on Amazon.

While there are some things on Amazon anyone can get for free right away, the best way to get high-quality freebies is through helpful, informative and well-written product reviews.

In 2016 the company changed its review policy and now the only way to get free products through reviews is the Vine program. While you won’t be able to reach out to a struggling retailer and offer reviews in exchange for merchandise, there are still ways for reviewers to get free stuff.

Robust Reviews Earn Amazon Freebies

Reviewing products is one of the prime ways to get Amazon freebies. We offer some tips and tricks to be successful.

1. Become a Top Amazon Reviewer

So we’ve established that the best way to get free stuff on Amazon is with an invite into the Vine program. But how do you get invited? It does require some work on your part and the first step to getting that invite is becoming a Top Amazon reviewer. Believe it or not, the company tracks the best and most prolific reviewers, posting it all on a rankings board. 

It’s not hard to become a Top Amazon reviewer, and we’ve laid out all of the steps you need to take to join the upper echelon. It’s important to remember that Amazon values quality reviews and the number of helpful votes you accumulate is critical, so be sure you think about the kind of information consumers would care about and craft a well-written, detailed and grammatically-correct review.

Another helpful tip is to look for products without a lot of reviews, because yours is more likely to be read and earn “Helpful Votes.” Focus your reviews on the types items that you would like to get for free, as becoming an expert in a specific category helps achieve Top Reviewer status more quickly.

2. Get Invited to be a Vine Reviewer

The early days of Amazon reviewing was like the Wild West – companies sent out free products or other compensation in exchange for positive reviews, despite the actual quality of the item. Unsurprisingly, this led to companies manipulating reviews and “earning” inflated scores for subpar products. Amazon responded in 2016 by prohibiting incentivized reviews, with the exception being those facilitated through Amazon Vine.

In this program, companies send Amazon products which they distribute to trusted reviewers for free. Then, Vine identifies the most helpful and trusted reviewers (Vine Voices) and invites them to give their opinions on new and pre-release products. Voices aren’t under any pressure to post positive reviews, and sometimes aren’t even required to write one.

Vine membership is by invite-only; you can’t apply to join the program. Amazon watches out for customers who post reviews frequently, are considered the most helpful by customers, and write about the types of items that are typically featured in the program.

Vine is a more transparent program because the decision-making about who reviews what products is in the hands of Amazon. Vendors have no influence over which Vine Voices review their products.

3. Use Influencer (or Micro-Influencer) Status for Freebies

Let’s admit it: most of us don’t have the kind of social media following that gives us influencer status.

But marketing departments also see the value in micro-influencers — social media users that have smaller, intensely-dedicated followings. If you have a blog, Youtube channel or a certain number of social media followers, signing up with a company like Tomoson is one way to get free stuff from Amazon.

Tomoson’s business model is to connect brands with influencers — if you meet the right criteria you’ll be selected for a campaign. You don’t necessarily need to have a huge number of followers; brands care most about someone with an audience that fits the niche of their product.

These reviews or mentions will be posted on your social media so you don’t need to worry about violating Amazon’s terms by receiving a free item for review — though FTC laws require you to disclose your relationship with the brand you’re posting about.

4. Tread Carefully with Facebook Groups and Third Party Review Sites

When searching for Amazon freebies, Facebook groups and third party review sites are a popular recommendation. It’s true these groups can provide vouchers or gift cards for items you’ve purchased on Amazon — usually, in exchange for a positive review — but you need to be careful.

Many sellers on these Facebook groups and review sites aren’t reputable and are violating Amazon’s incentivized reviews policy or soliciting fake paid reviews. This is most risky for them but could result in your Amazon account being suspended. Additionally, most of the products on these sites and groups aren’t name brands and appear to be low-quality.

Free Stuff Anyone Can Get

There are ways to get free things without much effort. Here are some.

5. Free 30-Day Trial of Amazon Prime

If you’ve never had a subscription to Amazon Prime or it’s been a year since your last subscription expired, you are entitled to a free 30-Day trial of Amazon Prime. This membership gives you access to ad-free Amazon Music, Prime Video, Prime Reading and Amazon Photo, plus free shipping on items ordered through Amazon.

6. Amazon Music Free

Like most streaming services, Amazon Music Unlimited has a free three-month trial for new subscribers, giving you unlimited, on-demand, ad-free music and podcasts. Of course, you’ll need to remember to end the subscription before your three months are up or you’ll be charged for a month ($7.99). Signing up for a free 30–day trial of Prime also gives you unlimited access to the service’s deep library.

But did you know that you don’t even need to sign up for a trial to access free songs on Amazon? Head over to the Free Songs page on Amazon Music where you can listen to and download thousands of free tracks.

7. Free Kindle Books

There are a couple ways to get free Kindle books on Amazon. If you’re already a Prime Member, the First Reads program entitles you to one free Kindle book a month. Even if you don’t have Prime, you can use First Reads to pay just $1.99 for one book a month. Plus, you have access to thousands of free Kindle books in the company’s library.

8. Audible Audiobooks

If audio books are more your speed, Amazon offers a free 30-day Audible trial. This includes one credit for a free audiobook that you get to keep after the trial is over.

9. Free Cloud Storage

If you’re an Amazon customer, you can get access to free cloud storage. Every customer has access to 5GB of cloud storage for photos, videos and other files through Amazon Drive. These files can be accessed on your desktop, tablet and mobile phone.

10. Free Baby Box with Amazon Registry

If you’re expecting a new baby, sign up with Amazon Registry for a free gift with goodies for the newborn and parents, with a value of up to $35. The program also has a wedding registry which offers “bonus gifts” for the couple.

11. Get a $10 Gift Card for Signing Up with Amazon Cash

Who doesn’t love free cash? As an incentive for new customers, if you add $50 in Amazon Cash to your account, you’ll get a $10 credit towards your first purchase.

Not Free Stuff, But Free Cash Back

Use your old electronics to get credit? As good as gold.

12. Get Gift Cards with Amazon Trade-In

Like everyone, you probably have a ton of old electronics laying around the house. Instead of sending them off to the e-waste collection, why not turn obsolete devices into Amazon credit? Amazon Trade-In is a program that gives customers the chance to exchange their unused electronics into gift cards. Thousands of items are eligible for the program and don’t necessarily need to be Amazon Devices.

Matt Matasci is a Southern California freelance writer who writes on technology and business, plus travel and lifestyle topics.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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