Quite often I hear from people who feel trapped in a job (or trapped without a job) and need to figure out a way to make extra money. Regardless of your personal circumstance, making extra money is a key component to your financial success. Sometimes people hear about how I’ve paid off a lot of debt in a short period of time and they wonder if my income has changed significantly. My answer is, yes, I have used a few unexpected windfalls from different sources AND made extra money to get those debts paid off. Making extra money is the key, especially when paired with lifestyle changes that result in frugal living.
One critical lifestyle change is to make extra money.
The old phrase “spend less than you earn” is made up of TWO factors: spending and earning. Sure you can reduce your spending by a great deal, but very few people have saved their way to wealth. They have also earned additional income and then put that extra money to work for them. There are many ways to make extra money, but how you make extra money is sometimes limited to your current sources of income. Since your day job usually pays the bills, how can YOU make extra money? Here’s some ideas to help kick start your brain into thinking about how to increase the earning side of the equation. These aren’t considered “passive” income (filling out opinion surveys for cash & rewards does take time), but they can help generate some take-home pay to help reduce your debt and potentially get you some breathing room. Once you have that breathing room, be sure to use one of my 17 Sneaky Savings Strategies to put that money to work!
Make Extra Money By:
1. Freelance writing. Have a unique ability to pen the written word? Have a solid grasp of grammar, spelling, and communicating? You could become a freelance writer for newspapers, magazines, or other local periodicals. THAT could help you make extra cash! Don’t be afraid to endure a lot of “No’s” and you’ll eventually get that “Yes” that can give you some instant credibility. You can always build a portfolio by guest posting on blogs or by submitting articles to your local newspaper.
2. Buy and sell used cars for profit. With the economy in the doldrums for such a long time, people are more interested in purchasing their vehicles used and if you have the proper knowledge of this niche market, you can easily generate a substantial income for yourself and your family. Do it correctly and you could profit $300 to $3,000 per transaction.
3. Clean foreclosure properties for banks. Banks have foreclosed on thousands of properties and they need to clean these homes in order to sell them. This online course helps you start a business catering to that specific need. It will give you the confidence to approach the right people in the right way in order to get paid (and paid very well) for bringing a piece of real estate up to standards.
4. Tutor. If you have a college degree, use your downtime to tutor kids in the summer or even over the Internet to make additional income. Drop by the local school system and offer your services to the summer school folks after making sure it’s okay with the school staff, of course.
5. Teach a language. Do you speak another language? Do you speak English well enough to teach it? Either way, your skills are in demand and will help you make extra money. People need to learn other languages and non-English speakers need to learn English. Most people prefer to learn a conversational style rather than just conjugate verbs around the dinner table. Who knew just talking and having a conversation could result in earning additional income? Try learning Spanish or step on out there and pick up Mandarin Chinese!
6. Stage homes. Homeowners, realtors, builders, banks, and mortgage companies all need their homes to sell and a home that’s properly staged usually sells much faster and at a higher price than a non-staged home. As a result, these groups will pay good money to someone who knows how to decorate an empty house and make it look more like a home.
8. Start your own vending machine company. The truth is that vending is a great way to make easy cash! Yep! that’s right cash, because when you’re in vending you don’t have to wait for checks in the mail or wait until payday to get paid. In fact you get paid each and every time to go and restock one of your machines. Also you don’t have to wait for your boss to *maybe* give you a pay raise when it comes time for your review. You simply make extra money every time you place your machines on a new location and start selling candy. There’a a reason why little vending machines are all over the place … but they aren’t everywhere.
9. Substitute teach at your kid’s school. My wife does this quite often. Teachers have doctors and dentist appointments just like everyone else. Their children get sick and they have to take care of them. When these events happen, the school needs a substitute teacher. Check with several schools (don’t forget the private schools) to see what requirements they place on subs and how much extra income you could earn.
10. Start a wedding decorations company. If there is a recession-proof business, it’s weddings. People seem to throw budgets out the window when it comes to getting hitched! If you love the idea of decorating for a wedding, this could be the very business you’ll succeed in.
11. Do you have a unique skill or ability? Have you EVER heard someone say to you, “I wish I knew how to do that.” The “that” could be building decks, arranging flowers, baking pies, playing the piano, canning food, making jewelry, framing pictures, or raising roses. People will pay to be taught. They will pay even more if you offer to teach their children. Offer to teach them or their children in their homes and you could earn even more.
12. Start your own daycare. Starting a daycare is more than just keeping some kids at your home. To truly turn it into a profitable business, you’ll need to have the right certifications and insurance. The great thing about starting a daycare is that you probably already have the building! With more and more people needing to find good daycare for their children, you could clean up if you operate a well run, nurturing environment for kids.
What if you offered to keep kids all night long for parents who worked third shift? What if you offered to keep kids who were feeling a little sick (nothing major)? Most day care centers won’t accept a child who has a fever or a runny nose, but if you contacted several day care centers for referrals of mildly sick children, you could carve out a profitable market niche for yourself. Make certain you follow all local laws when keeping children.
13. Clean businesses and offices for profit. It would probably blow your mind to find out how much businesses pay to have their offices cleaned. With a couple of good connections and your willingness to ask for the business, you could make a very good living by simply dusting, vacuuming, emptying the trash, and other general cleanup. The key is knowing what you’re doing – cleaning a business is different than cleaning your home and this online course explains why … and how.
14. Do you love to garden and use organic methods? Depending on how large your harvest may be, you could offer “in season” locally grown, organic vegetables and fresh herbs for sale to a restaurant. Take a basket of your most beautiful vegetables and visit several restaurants. Chefs are always interested in getting the best, the freshest food for their patrons. You could pick them, wash them, and deliver them within the hour. You can’t get much more fresh than that!
15. Know your antiques? Spend your weekends scouting those garage sales, thrift stores, estate auctions, and flea markets to score old treasures on the cheap. Do some research to discover the real value of your finds and spend your next lunch hour auctioning it on eBay.
16. Set up computers, home theater systems, or wireless networking systems for the technologically challenged. Even though technology is a constant presence in our everyday lives, some people just can’t seem to get the hang of it. You can offer to come in and help those with new gadgets get them set up, install new programs, organize the spaghetti mess of cables, and make sure everything is plugged in correctly.
17. A year or so after you’ve set up those computers, offer to help clean and speed up computers that may have been infected with viruses, malware and spyware. You know it’s going to happen and someone will get paid to clean those systems.
18. If you’re really on the technology band wagon, you could offer to help people change the formats of their media. Changing VHS videos to DVDs, scanning old photos, moving CDs to MP3s, or other format changes can make you some additional income.
19. Install Christmas lights on high end homes. Work three months — earn 12 months of income! I’ve literally heard of people who make six figure incomes simply by decorating the homes of people who compete with their neighbors for the most decorated home. Setting up those lights is a pain in the neck and people will pay good money to impress others. Cash in on that …
20. Are you a genealogy buff? People love to know their family histories, but don’t have time to do the research. You can offer your services as a “family researcher” and help clients learn about their roots, learn about your own in the process, and generate extra income.
21. Can you bake? Making and decorating cakes can allow you to show off our artistic side. You could also offer to bake pastries and other goodies for local coffee shops, a local deli, or even sell them in local office breakrooms.
22. Run errands. The last time I checked, the IRS rate for mileage was just north of 50 cents per mile. By offering to run errands for people (dry cleaning, drugstore, grocery store, post office, etc), you could earn extra money for your time while reducing your taxable income from mileage.
23. Cater business meetings and events. Love the idea of starting your own restaurant but don’t want the headache of having a building and having to deal with employees? Love to cook and entertain? Catering could be right up your alley. But there’s more to catering than just popping some canapés in the oven, putting them on a tray and setting them out for a party. Catering is an intense business that requires precision and organization … two of the issues addressed in the course linked above.
24. Got a sewing machine? Many local clothing stores, particularly upscale stores, men’s suit stores, and even dry cleaners need people with sewing skills. Here’s your chance to show off your skills and make a little extra income.
25. Pet sitter. Right now I’m looking for a pet sitter for my miniature dachshund. The kennels charge at least $20/day. Could you undercut the kennels, charge $15/day and keep a few pets in your home? If you’re wary, you could always set a weight limit and only keep those little guys (like mine). People need help with hamsters, guinea pigs, cats, dogs, and even exotic pets. If you live in an apartment, you could offer to feed, water, and check on pets kept in their homes. Then you could deduct the mileage from your taxes for an additional bonus.
26. Photography. Do you have one of those fancy cameras? Know how to use it? You could potentially start photographing people’s children, their weddings, their anniversaries, or their parties. Set up your own market photography business (no expensive studio required!)
Here are a few tips to follow in your quest for extra income.
- Always get everything in writing.
- Always consult with a qualified tax adviser for mileage and other potential deductions.
- Always try to get payment up front.
- Always ask for referrals from your existing clients.
- Always follow all local, state, and federal laws, especially when dealing with children.
Note: This article was included in the Carnival of Personal Finance #155 at Moolanomy.