We would all love to have more money in our budget. And sure, we scrimp and we save, but the money just doesn’t seem to add up very fast. While tightening your budget is always a good thing (why waste money?), if you want to increase the extra cash you have available, the easiest way is by bringing in more income.
No, I’m not saying you should go out and find a new job that pays more. That’s never the easiest option. But there are plenty of ways to bring in some extra cash.
As an aside, be careful of the online sites promising easy money. Is there ever a truly easy way to earn money? If you’re sitting around with nothing to do, you can take surveys or play with Amazon Mechanical Turk, but you’re going to be making pennies. Yes, pennies add up, but you could clip two coupons a month and save more.
Can you make money online? Absolutely! There are some great sites out there for freelance workers. Are you a writer or an editor? Check out sites like Upwork or Freelancer. Note that they don’t pay as well as a lot of traditional freelance jobs, but it’s a place to start. A lot of the companies that post jobs there are mostly concerned with the price, so you won’t get rich, and you will need to decide if the time you put in is worth the money you get out.
A better option is to take a look around you. How can you make money locally?
Think about what skills you have to offer. Do you enjoy mowing your yard? Put out flyers offering to mow for the neighbors. Are you good with kids and enjoy teaching? Maybe you have the skills to tutor. The same goes for teaching a musical instrument.
Services like Uber and Lyft are getting a lot of attention lately. While the pay is apparently not great, if you enjoy driving, like meeting people, and have a clean car, it doesn’t hurt to try it out. Worst case, you decide it’s not for you and stop driving. (Though not while in the middle of a ride – that would just be rude.)
Consider offering up your services as a pet sitter. Especially if you have friendly pets of your own, people love being able to leave their dog with a family rather than putting it in a kennel. A friend of mine just recently shared pictures of her dog at the dog sitter’s house. The dog was playing with the other family’s dog and just having a grand time. What a great service and an easy way to bring in some extra money!
Someone in my neighborhood was recently looking for someone to watch her kids before school, in the time between when she leaves for work and the bus picks up the kids. Ideally, she wanted someone to come to her home for that hour so the kids could eat breakfast and finish getting ready. Depending on your work schedule, that might be something you could make work.
How are your eBay selling skills? Plenty of people have things they want to get rid of, but they don’t have the time or knowledge to list things on eBay. Offer your services to photograph and list the items for them – and have your fee be a flat rate or a percentage of the sale.
There are plenty of ways to pick up an extra bit of cash here and there. And even better, there are a lot of ways to take something you enjoy doing and make a bit of money doing it. Think about what you like, what you’re good at, and what you’re willing to do, and then start making flyers and watch the money add up.
Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.