Usually, people who want to bolster their finances trim their expenses.
But cutting costs only goes so far. Unless you already make a lot of money and spend like a bon vivant, most people can’t eke out that much more from their budget by decreasing expenses. Plus, the more you retrench, the more your quality of life suffers. (It’s all relative, though — certainly some overspenders could actually improve their lives by tempering their expenditures.)
If you’re looking to increase your revenue streams, take heart: Opportunities to earn extra money abound for people at all levels of experience. While the gigs requiring more experience will pay more money, for those starting out, even the earnings of lower-paying jobs will add up over time.
That extra money can be put toward helping you pay down debt, boost your net worth or save for big goals, such as making the leap to freelance.
1. Change jobs.
This is the best way to boost your earnings, as you have the most leverage at the moment that a company wants you but isn’t sure whether it can get you. Use that to your advantage in negotiations. Another benefit of getting a bump up when you switch jobs is that the percentage boost will be baked into all your future raises, elevating your lifetime earnings. Here’s how to negotiate your salary.
2. Request a raise.
Getting a raise is an excellent move because it doesn’t require you to trade more time for more money. You are putting in the same amount of time, but pulling a bigger paycheck. But, it’s always a bit tricky to ask for a raise when your company already has you at your current salary. You’ve got to make a strong argument you deserve the increase. Here are the top 10 mistakes to avoid when asking for a raise.
Freelancing is the next best thing to being paid more for your full-time work, because professional work always pays more than unskilled. To find opportunities, let former colleagues or other personal connections that you’re available for freelance gigs. (Here are some ideas on how LinkedIn could be useful for that.) Or, post on marketplaces particular to your field. For instance, Mediabistro, a journalism site, allows freelancers to post profiles of their experience and services. Though these are more up to chance, designers can bid on jobs at 99Designs.com or submit a design at Threadless, to see if it will be crowdfunded. Elance-Odesk also lists many freelance opportunities, and you can also post your own services on Fiverr, although some freelancers say these services create a race to the bottom on fees and so are not very lucrative. If you’re new to freelancing, here’s how to set your rates, and here’s how to negotiate raises with clients.
If you have an area of expertise, you can create a website with ads and affiliate links, like blogger J. Money did (boosting his net worth $400,000 in 7 years) in and as Smart Passive Income guru Pat Flynn, who has so far earned $3 million blogging, does. Get Flynn’s tips on how to create value for your audience.
If you have enough experience in your field to coach others with their careers, then create a website — or, if you have one, add a section describing what you’d offer as a coach. Advertise your services in industry forums and give new clients a discount or other incentives to refer you.
Whether for high school students or adults, you can monetize your expertise by teaching people with less experience or knowledge than you in that subject area. You can work with an established group like Kaplan for, say, SAT tutoring, or you could try hanging out your own shingle and making your services known either to students, parents and schools in your community. If you are targeting adults, you can create your own website or list your services with adult tutoring companies.
7. Teach an online course.
Many offices need temporary workers, so old-school companies like Kelly Services do still exist and list such opportunities. Indeed.com aggregates listings by location. Do an Internet search to find local listings.
9. Cash in on your craftsy side.
10. Give tours of your city.
Vayable allows you to guide tours centered around a particular cultural experience. Some members’ offerings include a Paris photography tour and a Queens tastes of the world tour.
11. Capitalize on your inner chef.
If your cooking skills regularly impress family and friends, get paid to create memorable meals for clients with KitchenSurfing.
12. Get paid to run errands.
If you’re handy and generally available to run errands, sign up with TaskRabbit or Zaarly, or just put a notice up on Craigslist to get groceries for time-crunched people or do general handy person tasks for the useless-with-a-hammer set.
13. Become a driver.
14. Wash cars.
Even if you don’t have wheels yourself, you can spiff up those of your family, friends and neighbors.
15. Walk dogs.
If you have a flexible schedule and a passion for pets, ask friends, family or neighbors if they might need a dog walker. You can also post your services on dog walking sites.
16. Wait tables or bartend.
Almost anyone can wait tables, and if you know how to mix drinks, bartending can be a quick way to make extra cash. Both can be lucrative in tips. Read here to find out how to earn more in tips.
17. Cater waiter.
Try Waiters to Cater or find a local company offering cater waiters, and sign up for opportunities.
18. Clean homes.
Use a service like HomeJoy to find housecleaning opportunities.
19. Mow lawns, rake leaves or shovel snow.
Again, ask friends, family and neighbors if they’d like to hire you for these services.
Use SitterCity, and ask family, friends and neighbors if they could use a sitter or know of other families looking for one.
21. Photograph or play music at weddings.
If you’re a musician or photographer, advertise your skills for weddings or other commercial events on your own portfolio site or with a service like Thumbtack, Gigmasters, Gigsalad, WeddingWire, and Snapknot.
If you play an instrument and/or sing, take your music to the public squares or popular transit stops, keeping mind of local laws. Hey — even world-famous violinist Joshua Bell does it.
23. Be a delivery person.
You can apply at local restaurants, or try a service like Postmates.
24. Be a mystery shopper.
Get hired to shop and then report back on your experience. Find out how it works and then, to avoid mystery shopping scams, find legitimate opportunities at the Mystery Shopping Providers Association.
25. Promote products and events on the street.
Try Street Team Promotion for opportunities.
26. Rent your car out.
27. Host guests or rent out your place.
28. Participate in focus groups.
29. Be a test subject.
When researchers run clinical trials, they need healthy subjects to use as a control group against the patients with illnesses. Find out more details from the National Institutes of Health, and search for clinical studies at ClinicalTrials.gov. For psychology experiments, contact your local university.
30. Participate in an online jury.
Help attorneys determine case value or public attitudes at eJury.
31. Write software reviews.
SoftwareJudge.com pays anywhere from $1 to $50 for original reviews.
32. Sell your castoffs on eBay.
Make sure it’s a valuable item and not just your old junk. Take good photos, write a compelling description and price accordingly. For more tips, find out how to declutter and profit from it.
33. Sell on consignment.
34. Sell old electronics.
35. Have a yard sale.
For items that won’t sell on eBay, or aren’t worth the hassle of posting, host a yard, garage or stoop sale. Price items low. Think $10 or lower for clothing (except coats can go as high as $15). Antiques and furniture can go as high as $75. Books should be $1, other entertainment items $3-$5.
36. Sell your hair.
Find out what requirements your tresses need to meet before they’re worth money at HairSellon.
37. Sell your photos online.
38. If you’re planning to shop, earn cash back.
Ebates offers cash back if you begin your online shopping there. But remember that if you spend a lot of money to get the cash back, you’re defeating your ultimate purpose to earn more. So only use this when you were intending to shop anyway.
39. Sell your gold and silver.
Find out the weight of any gold or silver jewelry you’d like to sell with a kitchen scale or at a jeweler’s. Find out the purity, i.e. 12K, and use Dendritics.com to calculate the potential value. Search for a reputable vendor at Jewelers Vigilance Committee, and also consult the Better Business Bureau. Then shop around for the best offer.
40. Sell bottled water at events.
Buy bottled water in bulk and sell it at festivals or other large events for $1 per bottle.
41. Collect bottles and cans for deposit.
If you live in one of the ten U.S. states that offer a deposit for cans and bottles, you can collect them and obtain cash.
42. Put ads on your car.
43. Get paid for online searches.
Add Qmee to your browser, and if you click on a search result it offers, you’ll earn some change.
44. Look for unclaimed money.
Yes, sometimes you can have money that you don’t know about. Check in occasionally to see if you are owed any.