The monthly bills are due again, and it seems you are getting further and further behind. You've scrimped and cut costs as much as you possibly can, there's no change left in the couch cushions or the car seats, and it looks like another month of Ramen noodles and raising/lowering the thermostat to cut down on energy bills. How about turning things around and looking at this from the income side instead of only cutting expenses?
You may already be working two jobs to make ends meet, but there are legitimate ways to make side money online that don't involve illegal or morally questionable activities. Depending on your skill level and available time, you may be able to make enough to supplement your budget and start chopping away at debt.
The opportunities fall into a few basic categories.
- Marketing Tasks and Surveys – There are dozens of online sites and apps that pay participants simply to take surveys, from Harris and Nielsen polls to sites like SwagBucks and SendEarnings. You can also join focus groups to give marketing feedback on websites' products and services — assuming you are comfortable with the terms of the site and how your information is to be used. Read the terms carefully before signing up.
- Small Odd Jobs – Can you teach crafts or tutor? Try Udemy. Do you like extremely simple and quick odd jobs? Try Amazon Mechanical Turk. Other sites will pay you to do various forms of testing on their sites, such as search engine reliability. You can even propose your own odd job and promote your skills on Fiverr.
- Selling/Renting Things You Own – Consider eBay and similar sites as the garage sales of the Internet, just waiting for you to post your wares. Look around the house for things that you are not using or using sparingly — old appliances, books, clothing items, or knick-knacks you don't care about anymore. Set up a PayPal account and place your unused items on auction sites for sale — but do some homework first on postage and shipping rates so you know how to set shipping costs and maintain a profit.
How about renting out your house straightaway? That's a possibility as well, thanks to Airbnb. We suggest looking over Airbnb and their tips for homeowners. You do not want to come home to find party residuals, farm animals, or a meth lab in your living room.
- Selling Things You Make – Do you like to knit or create special craft items? You might be amazed how much they would bring on Etsy or similar craft sites. Look the sites over for inspiration, as well as an idea of how much you can charge for your creations.
Sale items are not just for traditional hobby store crafts. If you are handy with wood or metal crafts, there are plenty of opportunities to make and sell anything from handcrafted knick-knacks to furniture and accessories. Again, it's important to set your shipping/delivery policies and costs properly.
Another possibility is selling photos to stock photo houses such as Foap. You can even sell smartphone photos if they are high enough quality.
Why not take advantage of all the opportunities you have to make money? You may not get rich, but you may be able to put a dent in your debt and stash some cash away for a rainy day or a special future purchase. If you want to reduce your interest payments and lower your debt, try the free Debt Optimizer by MoneyTips. At worst, you can crank up the heat or air conditioning a bit and add some toppings to your Ramen.