So... how much money have you got left over at the end of each paycheck after paying for rent and utilities? If it's more than $400 or so (or maybe less), then you're not alone. According to one recent survey, nearly half of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck — meaning they don't keep any excess funds after covering their regular expenses.
It doesn't have to be this way if you know where to look. We've compiled some unconventional ideas that will help you come up with additional income to boost your savings account by another thousand bucks a month. Think about it as a fun challenge with a cool reward at the end. What could possibly go wrong?
Before we get started, let's clarify what exactly "earn" means here. You won't necessarily get paid directly for these activities, but rather receive gifts cards worth enough to cover whatever amount is necessary. For example, if you want to buy yourself something nice like new shoes, you might opt for gift cards instead of cash because they'll take longer to save up.
Here are 23 things you should try out, all of which offer good chances of earning you at least $500 per week later this year.
1) Sell stuff on Craigslist
If you own items you no longer need or use, consider selling them through Craigslist. It takes time, effort, and patience, but there's plenty of people who'd happily pay for goods they find on sale. Just remember to set reasonable prices for your wares. As long as you're honest and upfront about everything, most buyers will respect your honesty even when it comes down to parting ways with hard earned cash. Remember to always check local laws before listing anything!
2) Deliver food/baked goodies
Do you love baking cakes and other desserts? Consider starting your own home business delivering baked treats to neighbors' doorsteps. This job isn't easy unless you enjoy cooking, driving, talking on the phone, etc., but it pays well and provides flexibility. The only downside is having to deal with customers being rude sometimes. But hey, it happens to everyone. Donate leftover cake ingredients to friends and family members next time around. Maybe someone else needs those ingredients too.
3) Tutoring others
You probably already know how beneficial tutoring children really is. Teaching adults also benefits both parties involved. Not sure where to start? Try looking into organizations such as Big Brothers & Sisters, Teach Mentors International, Volunteers of America, or AmeriCorps. These groups provide free services aimed at helping others improve their lives. In exchange, volunteers such as yourself teach lessons either face to face or virtually via Skype. Some may require donations while others accept nothing but volunteer work. Either way, it's a win-win situation.
Another great option for making money quickly is babysitting kids younger than yours. With so many parents working today, finding reliable sitters can prove difficult. However, if done right, it's possible to earn between $10-$20 per hour depending on your location. Alternatively, you can become a caregiver for elderly relatives or sick pets. This typically requires fewer resources since you wouldn't need to feed anyone nor clean up after messes made by little ones. Unfortunately, it's harder to put together a steady stream of consistent earnings for caregivers.
5) Become a personal assistant
Being a personal assistant involves doing lots of different tasks. Depending on how busy your boss is, this type of employment may suit your schedule better than sitting behind a desk during normal hours. Personal assistants are responsible for taking care of clients' errands, running background checks, handling finances, organizing travel plans, etc. While hourly wages vary greatly based on experience level and employer, annual salaries range from $30K to upwards of $90K annually. To see if becoming a PA suits you, read our article detailing whether PAs make good money.
6) Clean house
Are you tired of cleaning toilets yet? No? Well, neither am I. Still, it beats spending my weekends watching paint dry, especially considering how cheap labor has gotten in recent years. There's very little training required for household chores nowadays, although you'll definitely need basic skills such as knowing how to change bed sheets without getting stuck underneath them. When it comes to earning money, there's usually no ceiling. On top of weekly payment amounts, employers often give bonuses and commission packages as incentives.
7) Drive for Uber or Lyft
Uber and Lyft drivers aren't just ride sharers. They're also employees with certain rights. Drivers must follow company policies regarding vehicle upkeep, insurance, fares, customer service, etc. Earning potential varies wildly depending on where you live, car condition, skill levels, driver rating, number of passengers, etc. One thing is guaranteed though — you generally won't make much in tips. Even if you manage to hit 10 rides within 30 minutes, expect to net somewhere around $8-$12 total. That said, if you prefer convenience over earnings, why not sign up for both companies simultaneously? You'll be able to drive for multiple companies at once, provided the two platforms allow for cross promotions.
8) Walk dogs
Dog walkers are needed everywhere. Whether you choose to walk pooches in your neighborhood or miles away in nearby parks, walking pet animals can result in lucrative side gigs. Most cities require dog owners to license their pets prior to engaging in off leash activity. Although fees vary widely, you stand to pocket anywhere from $25-$200 per day depending on clientele. Take note that you shouldn't count on receiving large sums of money from this source alone, however. Paying attention to dog poop problems is important for success. Otherwise, you risk losing future requests due to bad reviews.
9) Write letters for Amazon MTurk
Amazon Mechanical Turk offers thousands of opportunities for part time workers. All you need to do is write short essays called HITs. For every completed task, you'll earn approximately 20 cents. Of course, completing assignments faster would increase earnings. Nevertheless, it's still possible to rack up big commissions from writing HITs. Check out our guide explaining how to complete HITs successfully using AMT.
10) Data entry jobs
Data entry refers to transcribing audio recordings or typing information stored elsewhere. Job seekers can perform data entry duties remotely at home or locally at libraries, schools, hospitals, businesses, etc. Once again, the amount of money you'll actually collect depends heavily on your ability to speedily handle transcription projects. A typical gig may involve turning audios recorded in English or Spanish into word documents written in English. Hourly rates vary widely depending on experience, education, region, etc.
11) Translate documents for Google Translator Gigs
This is similar to #10 above except you'll translate text files rather than audio recordings. Like data entry, translation gigs tend to be pretty inconsistent. Translation itself requires knowledge of several languages including English. Because of its simplicity, the rate tends to hover near minimum wage. Still, it's a decent opportunity if you speak two languages fluently. If you decide to pursue this path, ensure you meet deadlines accurately. Failure to deliver translations according to specifications risks lowered ratings for subsequent jobs.
12) Edit videos for YouTube
YouTube editing entails cutting unwanted clips and adding transitions, effects, subtitles, captions, music tracks, etc. Editing videos is extremely popular among teenagers. Since teens spend countless hours browsing social media sites, creating original content is a huge plus. Many video editors also edit movies, commercials, podcasts, TV shows, etc. So, you basically never know until you apply. Typical rates depend largely on previous professional experience, availability, education, and geographic area.
13) File paperwork for Upland Tax Service
Upland Tax Services specializes in filing taxes for independent contractors. Their main office is located in Los Angeles County, California. Generally speaking, freelance tax preparers charge roughly $50-125 per return depending on complexity. You can search for openings by visiting their website. Note that preparation quality does matter here. Preparer salaries vary significantly depending on market demand, educational requirements, geographic locations, etc.
14) Help seniors with technology issues
Not interested in freelancing? Why not turn your hobby into a full blown career? People over 60 represent the fastest growing demographic segment in terms of internet usage. Hence, tech support positions are expected to grow dramatically in coming decades. If you're willing to lend a hand, register with ElderHelp first. Then browse LinkedIn to learn about current and upcoming job openings.
15) Sign up for Netflix Party
Netflix Party allows users to watch Netflix with strangers far away. Basically, you download software onto computers, tablets, phones, game consoles, etc. Next, you invite random viewers to join your session. Everyone watches separate profiles. Afterwards, you split party revenues 50/50 with movie watchers. After setting up accounts, you can easily host streaming sessions any time you wish. Learn more about how to create a Netflix Party group.
16) Post classified ads
You've got bills that need paying and mouths that need feeding... but how do you pay them when your salary is just not enough? If this sounds like you, we're here with some ideas for earning another thousand dollars or more every month (or at least trying).
A quick note before we begin: these aren't tricks to get rich overnight. They will take time and effort — perhaps even years if you want to go really big. But they'll also be relatively simple tasks where you can put in the hours needed without much hassle. With that out of the way, let's get started!
1) Sell something unwanted. Whether it's clothes, books, electronics, tools, jewelry, cars, furniture, sports memorabilia, or other items, there's likely someone who'd love to have what you no longer use. Offer up those goods via Amazon Fulfillment, eBay PowerSeller, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist Personals, etc., and watch your monthly income grow by thousands of dollars.
2) Hire yourself out as a freelancer. You could offer freelance writing services, web design work, programming skills, data entry, graphic design, virtual assistant, social media management, photography, translation, legal assistance, medical transcription, customer service, event planning, SEO consulting, technical support, marketing solutions, product creation/editing, tutoring, software development, sales training, coaching, consultation, life coach, ghostwriting, proofreading, and so many others things that people would happily pay money for. Start small or start now.
3) Take on side jobs. We all know about Uber drivers making six figures, right? Why stop there? There are plenty of other opportunities to pick up additional gigs while doing existing ones. For example, try selling homemade crafts at craft fairs during festivals, sell baked goodies around town, run errands for neighbors, wash their car, clean their house, walk dogs, babysit children, pet sitters, gardeners, dog washers, mop makers, baby-wearing consultants, sewing enthusiasts, personal shoppers, seamstresses, photographers, videographers, baristas, bakers, manicurists, makeup artists, hair stylist, chefs, painters, window dressings, interior designers, florists, grocery baggers, party planners, caterers, laundry specialists, landscapers, pool cleaners, dishwashers, tent set ups, camp grounds, party rentals, garage sale organizers, photo booth operators, pizza delivery men, parking lot attendants, valet parkers, lawn care providers, home repair experts, handymen, shoe shiners, gift wrap makers, tincture vendors, sandwich servers, street performers, snowplow drivers, ice sculptors, movie theater concession stand workers, and yes, truck drivers too. No matter which career path you choose, always keep an eye open for any new opportunity that may arise.
4) Get a second job. This one might require you to sacrifice sleep a little bit, but think about how great it would feel once you hit that next level of financial success. It's easier than ever today to find part-time employment in retail stores, restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, schools, hospitals, office buildings, airports, casinos, shopping malls, supermarkets, libraries, amusement parks, bookstores, fast food places, nail salons, dry cleaning, banks, gas stations, auto dealerships, hardware stores, construction sites, pharmacies, post offices, travel agencies, video game arcades, tax preparation companies, and anywhere else there's a human being willing to exchange money for products or services. Use apps like FlexJobs, Gigwalk, TaskRabbit, JustHired, Zirtual, LinkedIn Jobs, Indeed Job Search, and Career Builder Job Search to help locate openings near you. And don't forget to check out our list of best remote workplaces.
5) Rent your stuff. When renting becomes less expensive than buying, consider getting rid of your old gear. Sites like LetGo and Declutterly allow users to rent their used belongings by the hour, day, week, or month. Other options include Gumtree Auctions, Kijiji Classified Ads, Facebook Marketplace, Thrifty Fun Stuff Offered By Owner classified ads, Airbnb, Roomi, Postlets, Vintuit Coupon Cloud, BorrowLenses, Poshmark, Glyde, Fancy Hands, The Lending Tree, eBid, BidVertiser, Freecycle Network, Facebook Events, Reddit Gift Exchangers, Groupon Goods, Swappa, Trulia Real Estate Listing Club, GoZappo Shopping [Broken URL Removed], OfferUp, Shopkick, Wishlist Member Benefits, Text Message Deals, Dealicious Life, Daily Candy, Bargain Betty, Black Friday Sales, Goodwill Industries International, and Salvation Army Donation Centers. Also, remember that your local paper, radio station, TV news channel, public library, school administration building, police department, fire department, university student center, gymnasium, church, hospital, supermarket checkout lanes, flea markets, thrift store, consignment shop, yard sale, community market, farmers' market, bike share kiosk, bus shelter, bulletin board, and everywhere else there's free advertising space should welcome your donation efforts.
6) Spend less. One thing you shouldn't overlook when looking for extra money is cutting down on unnecessary spending habits and expenses. Consider giving gifts instead of receiving them, eating cheaper foods, living closer to work, trading cable television for internet streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, using coupons, finding deals through RetailMeNot, checking current offers on websites such as DiscountMags, SmartSource Grocery Store Tracker, Money Saving Mom, Google Shopper, Google Current Prices, PriceGrabber Local Currency Converter, Honey Bee Inbox Savings Tips, Penny Saver, Mint Bills Paypal Alternative Budget Calculator, and so forth. Remember to spend smarter and save more. That said, don't give up dining out altogether, especially for family meals.
7) Make use of technology. Nowadays, there are several ways to earn an extra few hundred bucks each year. Websites such as Survey Savvy, Pinecone Research Panel, Opinion Outpost, CashCrate, MyPoints, Raise, PayPal Here, Teaspoon Of Sugar, Earny, CPAearningOnline, Tiptailer, Easy Online Surveys, Vermi Beta Test Program, ProBlogger Referral Marketing Programs, BloggingPro Training Course, SoloAds, TopCashBack, and DoshDish often reward customers with cash back rewards for completing various surveys, signing up for promotional programs, referring friends to sign up, sharing content, taking pictures of receipts, reviewing products, testing beta versions of applications, writing reviews, participating in contests, playing games, contributing to blogs, tweeting, following brands on Twitter, liking pages on Facebook, subscribing to newsletters, creating videos, blogging, submitting articles, joining groups, commenting on posts, uploading photos, answering questions, watching YouTube tutorials, searching Bing and Yahoo Answers, reading Kindle Books, posting comments, responding to emails, voting, bookmarking, promoting businesses, spreading word of mouth recommendations, helping out fellow members, attending meetup events, starting a Meetup group, running charity fundraisers, volunteering, donating blood plasma, becoming an organ donor, adopting pets, raising guinea pigs, learning Chinese characters, recording music, singing songs, learning Spanish words & phrases, gardening, organizing parties, mentoring teens, hosting housewarming gatherings, baking cakes, painting houses, remodeling homes, cooking, fixing appliances, moving, packing boxes, mopping floors, vacuuming, going to movies, driving taxis, delivering newspapers, waiting tables, working in call centers, picking produce, washing dishes, filing papers, and yes, truck driving too.
8) Do some research. People often ask me how they can learn everything they need to know in order to become successful entrepreneurs. Well, I'm glad to report that you already possess most of the knowledge required to succeed — you simply haven't been taught properly yet. All you must do is dedicate some time to researching business trends, industry information, entrepreneurship tips, startup strategies, financing plans, marketing techniques, technological advancements, business systems, branding, strategic alliances, negotiation tactics, intellectual property, venture capital, employee benefits, franchising, supply chain management, and anything else you can imagine. Once you master the fundamentals, you'll be able to apply them immediately to improve your own situation.
9) Save money on utilities. Many homeowners end up wasting large amounts of money on energy costs each month. To avoid this problem, invest in smart thermostats, water heaters, furnaces, air conditioners, solar panels, LED lights, motion sensors, power strips, weather radios, backup generators, and geothermal heating units. These devices will automatically turn off whenever you leave your residence, adjust themselves according to real-time temperatures, regulate indoor humidity levels, control outdoor temperature, monitor electrical usage patterns, reduce peak demand periods, lower operating costs, protect against blackouts, and provide emergency power supplies.
In 2021, the average American household makes just under $50k a year — even if you're lucky enough to live in one where that's true.
That means there aren't too many people who have this kind of disposable income every month, but it also leaves plenty of room for earning more when you need it most. And with COVID-19 still wreaking havoc around the world and beyond, we all could use some additional savings right now.
If you want to know how to get that extra $500 or so each month, keep reading. We'll show you how everyone can make an extra thousand dollars without breaking the bank.
A 16-year-old boy (or girl) needs about $1400 a month to survive and be comfortable. That amount is based on spending less than 50 percent of his monthly earnings at restaurants or bars, buying new clothes, paying off debt, saving for emergencies, etc., according to CNBC calculations. So, what does he actually make after taxes? According to the same source, here's the breakdown by state:
District Of Columbia: $2100/month
New Hampshire: $2390/month
New Jersey: $2020/month
New Mexico: $1890/month
New York: $2220/month
North Carolina: $1470/month
Rhode Island: $2650/month
South Carolina: $1090/month
West Virginia: $960/month
The range varies widely across states because those areas vary greatly in cost of living and tax rates. If your teen lives in a high-cost area like New York City, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Miami, Seattle, Portland, Columbus, Detroit, Nashville, Orlando, Denver, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Charlotte, Birmingham, Jacksonville, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Oklahoma City, Louisville, Memphis, Tulsa, Des Moines, Omaha, and Honolulu, then you might not see as big of a boost to his wages compared to someone else. But even if you don't live in these cities, you may find yourself making slightly higher wages depending on which state you call home.
So your child has been working part time since they were 11 years old, helping out family members during their summer break, babysitting other kids while mommy shops for groceries, writing papers, doing laundry, cleaning houses, waiting tables, tutoring younger siblings, mowing lawns, driving friends back and forth between homes, giving tours of town, delivering pizza, washing cars, selling homemade cookies, working retail jobs, bagging groceries, packing boxes, painting rooms, building furniture, running errands... any chance you've missed? Now imagine having no parents and being forced into such a job situation full time starting at age 12. That's exactly what happened to 19-year-old Victoria Morales last year, who was left alone to work long hours as a stripper and housekeeper. She told The Guardian she became addicted to cocaine shortly thereafter and spent months homeless before landing herself a modeling gig. "I had to do something," Morales said through tears.
But her story doesn't have to end badly. There are things you can do to help ensure your teens' future financial success, including learning basic life skills early. Not only will this prepare them for real employment later on, but it will also give them confidence in themselves and foster self-esteem. While getting good grades is important, remember that college isn't necessary for your children to succeed financially. You can teach them valuable lessons without ever sending them off to school.
Here are some tips to consider:
Help them set realistic goals and avoid impulsive purchases.
This tip goes hand in hand with the previous one. Set up an allowance system rather than handing over wads of cash whenever your child wants a pair of shoes or a pack of gum. Allowance systems allow teenagers to learn budgeting skills and practice impulse control. They can decide how much money they want to save toward specific goals, like buying a car, going to the mall, or dining out once a week. This way, your kids won't feel pressured to spend everything they receive immediately upon receiving it.
Teach them how to manage credit cards wisely.
It's never too soon to start talking to your kids about how credit card companies trick consumers into opening accounts. Explain why interest rates are so high, especially considering the fact that young people often pay down balances quickly. Once they understand how easy it is for creditors to charge exorbitant fees, they're likely to think twice about applying for multiple plastic devices at once.
Set aside emergency funds.
As mentioned above, a healthy wage earner shouldn't rely solely on credit cards to cover expenses throughout the month. Make sure they have access to small loans, grants, scholarships, parent support, discounts and coupons, and free samples. Some banks offer overdraft protection plans that automatically reimburse customers' debit accounts for unauthorized charges made elsewhere. They can also open checking and investment accounts specifically for this purpose. It's worth noting that a few large banks recently announced plans to stop offering auto insurance policies aimed exclusively at students. These products were deemed risky given recent claims against student insurers. However, smaller local providers continue to exist, though, so check with yours to see if it offers similar coverage.
Encourage them to go to trade schools instead of universities.
Trade schools typically require fewer credits to graduate, provide hands-on training, and offer degrees relevant to careers. In addition, tuition costs tend to be lower overall, meaning graduates may stand a better shot of finding steady jobs. Trade schools often come with mentorship programs designed to connect students with experienced professionals willing to share knowledge and advice. Research trade schools thoroughly, including career placement services, salary information, and whether potential employers participate in recruiting efforts on campus.
Don't let past failures discourage you.
You probably went straight from middle school to college, leaving little time for personal development. Your kid may experience similar challenges if they take longer to finish high school. Don't worry! Help them build character and develop professional skills with community service activities, internships, volunteer experiences, and classes. Teach them how to network effectively and search for openings within organizations. Encourage them to apply for positions they really enjoy so they can gain insight into different fields and figure out what type of work truly motivates them. Most importantly, encourage them to ask questions and seek feedback regularly.
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