Extra Income Ideas

tips to earn extra incomeWhen your household budget isn’t balancing, the first thing to do is cut expenses. If cost cutting doesn’t prove sufficient, it’s time to think about extra income ideas. Making more money will certainly provide a “pick-me-up” for your budget. Lucky for you, we have some simple extra income ideas that our credit counselors give to clients every day.

One of the most common extra income ideas is to get a better job. But, landing a higher-paying job is not your only option. Try this: keep your full-time job and look for opportunities to make extra income after hours or on the weekends. Look around for part-time opportunities and talk to friends and family about small jobs you could do to make extra money.

Here are some other extra income ideas:

  • Have a Yard Sale. Clear the house of unwanted items — furniture, toys, clothing, electronics, sports equipment, video games, housewares, and the like. Sell the items at a garage sale or in a classified ad or online auction. Read these 11 Yard Sale Tips to make your sale a success.
  • Downsize your fleet. Cars are expensive to own and operate. Is public transportation or car-pooling an option? Sell your second car or trade down to an older model to free up some cash.
  • Part-time or seasonal work. Many retailers need extra help during the holidays. Or, maybe you live near a tourist attraction (beach town, ski resort) that hires seasonal laborers.
  • Advertise your special talents. Consider your talents and hobbies. Do you like children or working with the elderly? Many people need help with childcare or elderly parents. Are you fond of animals? Start a pet-sitting or dog-walking service. Do you like to make handcrafts or create artwork? If your talent is baking, sell your cakes, pies or other treats. Amateur photographers can advertise their services to would-be brides and grooms, new parents, and others celebrating a special occasion.
  • House cleaning/maintenance. Do you think you’d be good at cleaning houses or local businesses? If you’re a pro at home maintenance tasks (putting up storm windows, clearing gutters, painting, washing decks, etc.), earn money providing these services to other homeowners.
  • Yard work: Not everyone enjoys leaf-raking, lawn-mowing, gardening, landscaping and other yard work. With the right equipment and skills, you could provide these services to others for a fee. Offer snow-shoveling or snow-blowing services if you live in a cold climate.
  • Are cars your thing? Plenty of people don’t like to wash and wax their own cars, change the oil or do other routine maintenance. If you’re handy with cars, advertise your personalized service and charge less than the local service station.
  • Rent a room or driveway. Do you have a room in the basement or over the garage that sits empty? Rent out the room to a carefully screened tenant. Driveways located near a public transportation stop or entertainment venue are valuable commodities. You could rent out your driveway to a commuter on a monthly or daily basis or to a spectator on an hourly basis. Some people who live in cities that host the Olympics, the Super Bowl or other major events pick up extra cash renting their homes to out-of-towners.
  • Offer tutoring services: If you’re a teacher or otherwise qualified in particular subject areas, make extra money tutoring students. Join up with a tutoring service or offer your services independently.

Each of these extra income ideas will bring you more money and free up more room in your budget (if you devote time and effort to promoting your skills and availability). Advertise in print and online classified ads; post a notice on bulletin boards at work, church, community centers and local retailers; distribute flyers around local neighborhoods; and, spread the word to friends, relatives and colleagues.

Just remember, there are no easy routes to making extra money! Clearpoint Credit Counseling Solutions advises consumers to avoid enticing “work at home” ads, because any get-rich-quick claim is most likely too good to be true. No legitimate business is going to hire a worker, sight unseen, no experience necessary, and pay big bucks for work performed at home. Decline any offer that demands you pay a fee up-front, before providing details about the job.You should also say no to any job that involves your depositing other people’s checks into your bank account and forwarding the money elsewhere. You’ll probably end up emptying your bank account. It pays to check out prospective employers with your local consumer protection agency, state Attorney General’s office and the Better Business Bureau. Instead of choosing to work for a “suspicious” company, use one of our extra income ideas and put some elbow grease behind it.

One final word of advice from Clearpoint’s credit counselors: Put the money you earn from these extra income ideas to a good use! Don’t buy more stuff or focus on satisfying new “wants.” Your primary focus should be to pay down debt and boost savings.