When you hear the word “budget,” what do you think of? Chances are it makes you think of things like sacrificing, cutting back, going without or other restrictive terms that are often associated with budgeting. But a budget is simply a tool to help us achieve our life goals in a more deliberate and successful way. Sure, one way to balance a budget is to cut back, but another way is to increase income. Here are seven ways to do that – several of them that I’ve done myself.
1. Become a Tasker on TaskRabbit. Have you learned how to read the language of IKEA assembly directions or do you get a special thrill from the sound of the vacuum sucking up debris? These are just two of many everyday skills that can be put to flexible and lucrative use via the TaskRabbit app, which connects people who have more money than time to people like you, who have more time than money these days.
2. Babysit. Do you have any idea how much over-worked parents are willing to pay a teenager to watch their kids for a night out? Imagine what they’d pay a fully-employed responsible adult, even for just a few hours on weeknights… easy money!
There are even services like Care, Sittercity and BabysitEase that connect you with families seeking help. I was a sitter for BabysitEase back in my Cincinnati days and it was great! If I had a Saturday night with no plans, I just logged into the website and signed up for whichever family looked like the most fun for me.
3. Take care of cats and dogs. If kids aren’t your thing, consider offering your services as a pet sitter. This is another side gig I held until recently.
I signed up for a local pet sitting franchise that performed a background check on me and then offered me the chance to check in on people’s cats and dogs while they were out of town. I only did the ones I wanted to and they did all the work of collecting the money, providing insurance in case something happened, etc. This was an especially great way to make money when I was in town for the holidays.
4. Teach others your hobby. Are you the person your friends and family turn to with questions about technology, fitness or even just how to properly apply their makeup? Services like Dabble (not to be confused with the dating app) are a great way to teach other people how to do the thing you love while making some extra cash. I have an acquaintance that makes great use of Dabble to teach other crafters how to knit and crochet on weekend afternoons.
5. Sell the products of your hobby. Several years ago, I signed up for a booth at a local craft fair where I sold fingerless hand-warmers that I had knitted myself while binge-watching The OC on DVD. One of my ongoing coaching clients uses Etsy to sell her original paintings in an effort to escape her paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle without having to leave her beloved apartment. It doesn’t cost anything to set up your store.
6. Blog about your hobby. I have a good friend with a day job who started a food blog several years ago to share recipes and entertaining ideas with friends and family. After building up a decent following on social media, she’s now able to pitch large brands for sponsored posts, which has helped her to pay down several thousand dollars in credit card debt!
7. Charge for your carpool. I’ve met some of the most interesting people while riding around town in rideshare cars via Uber and Lyft. They are authors, nurses, and even office workers who just give one ride each day after work before heading home.
No matter what way you decide to earn some extra cash, make sure you take the extra step and actually apply that cash toward your savings goals. While the money you earn may seem like just a little, it adds up. Make the most of your spare time to help get you where you want to go faster.
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