A blog about spending wisely in your twenties, with advice on everything from cooking to saving money on gas; how to teach yourself to save money instead of spending it, traveling without breaking the bank, and much more.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Make Yourself a Windfall

If the fact that you need to save your money finally hits home and simply cutting back isn't giving you very much to save, sometimes it's easier to bring in a little extra money and toss that in savings. Once you've got a little bit in the bank, that little balance can become an inspiration to start finding more ways to save. While creating a steady second stream of income can be difficult in your twenties, it's not terribly hard to make a little extra here and there. Here are 9 ideas that can bring in a little extra cash.

  1. Your Day Job : If possible, pick up some hours at work. Not many, maybe just two to six hours. If you get paid two hours more than you usually would, bank the extra.
  2. Ebay: This one is obvious. Dig through your closets and see if you've got something that might be valuable to someone else.
  3. Half.com: I list this one seperately from ebay, because the income is a little more passive. Listings last until an item is sold, and you don't need to worry about making sure your seller fees are paid. Simply wait until someone buys the item, ship it, and wait for the money to show up in your bank account.
  4. Etsy.com: If you're crafty, whip up a batch of cute pillows or wallets or whathaveyou and list em for sale.
  5. Have a yard sale: If you don't have a yard, ask your parents (or someone else's parents) if they'd be willing to let you borrow their lawn in exchange for a free grass mowing.
  6. Get Paid To sites: Sign up for a survey site and diligently click those buttons and confirm paid emails. Try not to get too sucked into "free" trials with a high payout. If you spend less than two minutes doing one or two surveys a day, you'll eventually hit a payout worth at least a tank of gas.
  7. Domestic Services: Offer yourself up as a part-time house cleaner, nanny, or gardener. Or post an ad on craigslist offering to help someone move. (Try Saturday morning, ask for $20-$60, more if you have a truck.)
  8. Sell Some Food: If you get fairly good at cooking, find one of your under or badly nourished friends and offer to make them dinner for a week. Make something easy to re-heat and charge them less than the drive-thru lane.
  9. Have a Car Wash/Maintenance Party: Offer to wash your friends' cars and/or change their oil. Set yourself up on a Saturday (with a partner), charge less than Jiffy Lube.

You could also get a second job, but if you're not really interested in working 60+ hours a week, then creating the occasional small windfall for yourself is probably a better plan. There's still no substitute for cutting back on the crap you dont need and living within your means, but if you're used to an over-the-top, ultra-consumerist lifestyle then living more frugally is going to be tough for you at first. In that case, taking some baby steps toward spending less and finding a non-stressful way to make a little extra cash might be the best way to get started.

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