Even though you’re ready to give up your brick and mortar job for the freedom of working from home, your bank account may not be quite ready. Starting your own business or going freelance or starting a blog or whatever you want to do takes some amount of risk. But you also want to be able to pay your bills every month. So having enough in the bank to keep you afloat is always a good idea.
Trudging on the same way doesn’t get you ahead as fast as you want. So the alternative is to find extra ways to boost that savings. You can start by cutting your costs and saving on things like your grocery spending. But you can also get to your savings goals faster by earning extra money. Here are some of the best money making ideas to do just that.
Calculate Your Necessary Savings
How much do you really need? I’m no financial expert. So I’m not going to tell you to save X number of months’ worth of expenses. You have to decide what’s right for you. And even the experts don’t agree. So set your goals based on what you feel comfortable with.
But you’ll need to know how much you need just to stay afloat until your new business starts bringing in money. Looking at your budget can give you a good starting point no matter how much you want to save. Start by figuring out which expenses you’ll no longer have once you quit (commute expenses, lunches out, work clothes, daycare, etc) to get a more accurate view of how much you’ll have in expenses.
Now, look at what you’ll still have coming in as far as income. For example, you might have a spouse who will still have a regular paycheck. Look at the difference between the expenses you’ll have and the income you’ll still have. Say your monthly expenses are $5,000 and your spouse brings home $3,800 per month. You need a way to cover the $1,200 difference. Use this as your goal for savings.
Sell What You Don’t Need
You’ve probably heard this suggestion a million times. But it really is one of the best money making ideas because it’s a quick way to make money. All you have to do is find the things you no longer use or want or need and sell them. Ebay used to be a really popular way to do this. I sold quite a bit on eBay before we had kids. But you have to deal with shipping and they take out fees. So it can be a hassle.
If you want to deal locally, Facebook is a great way to do it. There are all sorts of buying and selling groups for different cities that you can join. There’s also the marketplace thing on Facebook. I haven’t tried that yet. But I did sell a ton of stuff on a local buying/selling group before we moved last time. It does take some time to take pictures and then meet up with people. But we made a decent chunk of money. And you don’t have to pay any fees.
Craigslist is another local selling option. You can post your offerings under specific categories to help people find you easier.
Of course, you can also go the garage sale route. We’ve only done one garage sale many years ago. I’m debating on doing another one. We have lots of smaller things that aren’t really worth selling on Facebook or eBay. I’m trying to decide if I want to go through the work of a garage sale or just donate those items!
Here are some things that might make you some decent money:
- Gift cards
- Brand-name clothes and shoes
- Baby items
- Popular toys
- Current video games or gaming systems
- Antiques or vintage items
Offer Babysitting, Tutoring, Repair or Other Services
What are you good at? Are you good with kids? Do you have a teaching degree? Do you handle your own home repairs? Are you a whiz with a camera? Turn those skills into cash. You can babysit, tutor, handle small repairs, help people move, run errands, take photos, mow lawns, handle yard work, clean houses or offer any other services you feel equipped to handle.
You can start by offering up your services to people you already know. You can also advertise your services on Facebook, Craigslist or other local sites.
Do Market Research
Market research companies often need people to test out things or participate in focus groups or otherwise share their opinions. Sometimes you might get to keep the item you try plus get paid for your opinions. Look for local market research companies first. My son did a toy research study when he was younger and go to keep the toy. Some online survey companies also have market research opportunities that you might qualify for.
Complete Online Surveys
I’ll admit. I’ve never really spent a lot of time doing online surveys for cash. But I’ve always had freelance writing gigs available to me that make me a lot more money per hour. So it’s never made much sense for me to take time away from writing to do surveys. But some people have great success making money with online surveys. If you don’t already have a side gig you can do in your free time, completing surveys may be an easy way to start earning extra money in your free time.
There are many options, but you want to make sure you choose legit options. Vindale Research is one option. When you sign up, you instantly have the option to do a tutorial that earns you $2. The tutorial was quick, and the $2 showed up on my account quickly. There were several other surveys available, too, ranging from about 30 cents to just over $3.
Here are some other survey companies to consider:
Earn on Swagbucks
Sites like Ebates and Swagbucks are good for earning a little cash back when you’re already shopping online. But Swagbucks offers some opportunities to earn extra for things that don’t involve shopping online. You can do things like answer survey questions, watch videos and sign up for freebies to earn extra Swagbucks.
They also have some low-cost offers that actually end up making you money. Like the Dollar Shave Club deal where you get a starter kit for $5 and receive $20 worth of Swagbucks (plus more if you stay for a second month). Or Kidbox where you can try the service for free and get $10 in Swagbucks. I did a whole post on the best Swagbucks deals that don’t involve online shopping if you want more. I have just over $70 in my Swagbucks account just by making a few online purchases and doing some of those deals. It really does add up quickly, even if you don’t shop online a lot.
Refer People to Programs You Use
Many websites and services you already use may offer referral programs. Even employers sometimes offer referral bonuses for new employees you recommend. Don’t overlook these opportunities. They may seem like small amounts of money, but they can add up quickly.
What type of companies offer referral bonuses? Look at things like membership sites, survey sites, cashback sites like Ebates, software programs, grocery delivery services, and any other services or programs you use. Sometimes you get a credit to go toward future costs. For example, the Walmart Grocery program gives you a $10 credit toward your next purchase of $50 or more. That can take a big chunk out of your grocery costs. Think of it as a 20% discount if you just purchase $50 worth of groceries. That savings then frees up some money in your budget, so it’s like you’re making money.
When getting referrals, you’ll be more effective when you’re honest and not pushy. Think about times you’ve seen other people push something onto you with the sleazy salesman approach. It makes you roll your eyes and move on. Take a more organic approach, share your experience and leave the link in case anyone wants to try it. You might try something like, “I just started using Ebates and I’ve already earned $25 cashback on the purchases I was already making. If anyone wants to try it, sign up here and you can get an extra $10.”
Work for a Ride Sharing Company Part Time
Disclaimer: I have zero experience driving for Uber or Lyft. I haven’t even used them to get a ride. So I can’t give any personal perspective on this one. And you should definitely look into the whole car insurance aspect of it to make sure you’re covered while you’re driving. But it’s an option that may work for you if you want to make some extra money with a flexible schedule. I know of a fellow freelance writer who drives for both services when freelance writing jobs are slim. It’s an option if you’re willing to let strangers ride in your car.
Open a New Checking Account With a Bonus
Tired of your current bank? Interested in opening a second account for any reason? Many banks will give you a special bonus when you start a new account. You may need to be a new customer, and these accounts usually require a minimum deposit, minimum length of time open, or other requirements. But, if you qualify, you can get some extra money just by opening a new bank account. Sometimes the bonuses can be a few hundred dollars, depending on the bank and type of account.
You’re trying to get away from your full-time job. So why would you work more hours? Well, putting in a little more time now can help you get to a point where you can quit faster. Obviously, this trick only works if you’re paid hourly. If you’re paid a salary with no opportunity for overtime pay, there’s really no point in working extra hours. In fact, working overtime when you don’t get paid for it takes free time away from other ways you could earn cash.
Another option is to get a temporary part-time job. Again, it seems counterproductive to get another job when you’re trying to quit to do your own thing. But you can put all of the money you earn at that part-time job toward you’re savings, so you can get to a point where you can quit faster.
Start Your Business as a Side Gig
You don’t have to quit your job just yet to start your dream business/freelance gig/etc. So many people start the business that eventually becomes their full-time flexible income while they’re still working at a regular 9-5. You don’t have to go all-in and start full time. After all, that’s exactly what this blog is about. Starting simply, starting now.
Instead of waiting until your finances are fully in order, why not ramp up slowly while you’re still working? It’s probably going to be easier to afford any equipment or special tools you need while you have your regular full-time income. Start slowly buying the things you need. Just make sure you truly need those things to get started. You can often get by on the bare minimum at first and add to your collection as you start making money.
This is the approach I’m taking with this blog. My situation is a little unique because I don’t have a full-time 9-5. I freelance full time, but I’m not guaranteed a payday. I have to work to get paid. No paid vacay here, baby!
My eventual goal is to give up the freelance writing jobs completely and make a full-time income blogging. But I’m not going to quit writing just yet. I’m being very strategic in balancing my freelance writing time with my blogging time so I can build my blog and still have an income from writing.
What are the best money making ideas you use to help you reach your financial goals? How will the extra income help you? And what’s your long-term goal for making money?