What if you’ve already cut back as much as you possibly can to save money? You need to start looking at the income side of the equation.
It’s like losing weight, you either eat less or exercise more. If you’re down to bread and water, it really doesn’t help to read another article about how eating celery can help you lose weight. At some point, you need to start reading about working out. Let this be your article on working out your wallet and bringing in a few extra dollars.
- Work overtime: If you have the opportunity, consider working some overtime at your current job. Some places offer it, some places don’t. If yours does, ask your boss if there’s some extra work you can do.
- Return stuff you bought but never used: Just the other day I returned some bottles of contact lens solution to Costco because my eye doctor recommended I use a different solution. Rather than try to sell these unused bottles, I simply returned them. Do you have anything around the house that you bought and still haven’t used? You may be able to return them and get all of your money back.
- Sell stuff you don’t use anymore: Whether it’s on eBay or something local like Craigslist, selling the stuff that you don’t use anymore is a great way to earn some extra cash. It’s a bit misleading to call it “earning money” because you’re simply recouping what you’ve already spent but it’s still money in your pocket. There are some surprising things you can sell online.
- Get a second job: This is a bit of a “duh” suggestion because it’s so obvious but getting a second job is one of the easiest ways to earn some extra money. I would recommend getting a second job that is not physically demanding because you don’t want your primary job to suffer.
- Visit Unclaimed Money: There are billions of dollars “missing” and some of it may be owed to you. I recently discovered some money owed to me when I used to live in Texas, likely from my days of buying free after rebate products and selling them on eBay. Visit the official site and see if you have some missing money you can recover.
- Turn a hobby into a business: Some hobbies are easier to turn into businesses than others. One great hobby that many have turned into a side business is photography. If you’re reliable, have a good eye for composition, and are willing to work long hours, a wedding photographer can make plenty of money even in a down economy.
- Tutor: If you were strong academically in high school or college, consider tutoring. Put up flyers where parents will be and get a few clients. Tutors can earn a tremendous sum if they are good at teaching and can deliver results. When I was in high school, I earned $30 an hour tutoring younger students math and I had no formal teaching experience whatsoever. The best part about the process was the sense of accomplishment helping someone who once scored a 40 on a Regents math exam turn it into a passing score.
- Handyman: If you have good handyman skills, you can earn a little extra money doing home improvements. Be careful not to take on projects that are outside your skill-set and don’t take on a project that might require a license, you don’t want to run into any legal problems.
- Mow lawns, shovel snow: Fire up the lawnmower and go door to door, offering your lawn mowing skills for a few bucks. Now that’s it a little colder, consider walking around with a snow shovel and offering to shovel driveways and sidewalks for pay.
- Clean houses: If you aren’t allergic to vacuum cleaners and dusters, consider becoming a house cleaner. With how busy people are these days, you can earn relatively easy money picking up after other people. You can figure out what the going rates are just by calling up some local cleaning services for quotes.
- Painter: This is similar to becoming a handyman but requires slightly different skills. If you’ve ever quoted a painter, you’ll know they’re remarkably more expensive than you expected. A few hundred dollars to paint a room is not unheard of and some people are willing to pay that to avoid having to deal with the hassle themselves.
- Become a wedding planner: If you’ve gone through the process of weddings, you have the expertise to be a wedding planner. You don’t need to have extensive contacts or a lot of experience, you just need to be detailed and good with research. You’re just helping out the bride and groom at a time when they’re most stressed.
- Walk dogs: If you have time during the day, consider becoming a dog walker. How much you can earn will depend on where you live but $100 a week per dog isn’t unheard of (more if you live in cities like New York). You can earn a tidy sum walking other people’s dogs while getting some extra exercise!
- Sign up for credit card offers: Some credit card companies will give you $50 and $100 gift cards after your first purchase, you can take advantage of them if you don’t plan on getting any major loans in the next year.
- Babysit: Babysitting isn’t just for teenagers anymore, consider babysitting to earn a few extra dollars if you’re responsible enough to take care of someone else’s kids. It’s not an easy job but you could earn a few easy dollars for not much work.
- Donate plasma: You can’t get paid for donating blood but you can get paid to donate plasma because it’s such an intense experience. You’ll need to make sure you are very well hydrated, in good health, and pass all sorts of medical checks. If you qualify, you can earn around $30-40 for each donation, they take about an hour and a half, and you can donate twice a week (7 day period).
- Become a freelance writer: Freelance writing has gotten a lot easier with the explosion in opportunities in writing for blogs. The pay won’t be income-level, it’ll be more like hobby-level, but it’s often very low stress. Heck, you could even start your own blog!
- Participate in focus groups: I joined a focus group and even attended a focus group meeting last year and earned a quick $100 for my input on window commercials. They take quite a bit of time but you do get fed and you can voice your opinion on whatever it is they’re studying. I actually had a pretty good time doing it.
- Become a mystery shopper: I signed up to be a mystery shopper last year but never went on a mystery shop because they never matched my plans well enough. I learned enough about them know that they are a great way to earn some extra cash but you have to be careful not to join a fraudulent mystery shopping organization. You won’t get rich being a mystery shopper but you could earn a little shopping money doing it.
- Dumpster dive: After you’ve confirmed that dumpster diving is not illegal in your legal jurisdiction and after taking all the necessary precautions to ensure your own safety, you might want to consider dumpster diving. I used to do this in college from time to time (I wasn’t brave enough to go into dumpsters, I sort of “area around dumpster scavenged” a few times) to get some stuff I could later sell on Craiglist-equivalent websites and eBay).
There are plenty of ways to earn a little extra money on the side. The real trick in all this is actually doing it. You can read all the articles you want about becoming a handyman or participating in paid focus groups, but you have to go out and actually do them before you can make extra money. When all else fails, and if you are a entrepreneur, you can get a quick business loan from an online alternative lender.