Happy almost end of April, everyone! We’re drawing to a close on our monthly series, Budgeting 101, so let’s recap everything we’ve learned so far before jumping into today’s topic:
Week 1: We asked why we should even care about budgeting (spoiler alert: it’s important!!)
Week 2: Week 2 we really got into it, discussing how to prioritize our budget, and tracking our income and expenses. On Saturday, I gave you a bonus print out budget tracker that you can use to get started on your budgeting journey, if you don’t already have something in place.
Week 3: We got into the nitty-gritty in week 3, talking about emergency funds (aka just-in-case funds) and whether we should prioritize saving for retirement or paying off debt.
Week 4: We discussed the pitfalls of budgeting, including letting the fear of missing out (FOMO) dictate (and derail) our budgeting habits. We also crowd-sourced some tips from other leading personal finance bloggers to compile a list of the 5 Habits of Successful Budgeters.
If you haven’t gotten a chance to read through our Budgeting 101 series, go ahead and click on the links you missed – they’ll all pop up into new windows, so you can finish this post then go back and review anything you may have missed. You can even read them now – I’ll be here! 🙂
Today we’re going to discuss something that inevitably happens when you’re looking at your budget and tracking income and expenses: needing to make more money. It happens to (almost) everyone! You can only cut back so much before you realize you may need to make extra money.
Now, making extra money isn’t for everyone. If you’re okay with what you’re saving now and don’t want to sacrifice free time or time with family to work a side hustle, that’s okay! Side hustling (aka working in your free time or taking on extra hours at work) isn’t for everyone, and that’s absolutely fine. In fact, Done By Forty has a great post on why he isn’t doing any side hustling, if you’re curious! But for those of you who don’t mind working a few extra hours, here are a few ways to make extra money.
Make Extra Money By Asking for a Raise
Yes, one of the best ways to make more money is simply pursuing a raise (or more hours, if you’re an hourly worker) at your current job. Why is this one of the best ways to make more money?
- You already know the job – and the extra things you would need to do if you got a raise, promotion, or more hours
- You know what your employer is looking for and you’re a known commodity (your employer isn’t hiring some unknown person off the street who doesn’t know the culture, procedures, etc)
- You may not have to add on very many hours, especially if you’re a salaried employee (making more money for the same amount of work? Sweet!)
Consider approaching your boss for a raise if you’ve been at your company for a while and have worked on significant projects. Note I said significant and not high-profile. You don’t need to work on a huge project everyone knows about to prove your worth. Just as valuable is someone who works behind on the scenes on an important database, or who keeps the procedures and manuals up to date for the organization.
Anything you’ve done above and beyond your regular job duties is a good thing to highlight when investigating a promotion or raise. During your investigation, try to get a pulse on how the company is doing: are they hiring more people? Or are they discussing layoffs or cutting back educational training?
As long as your company is growing, you’ve gone beyond your regular job duties, and you’re not brand new to the organization, it may be a good time to approach your boss for a raise. Check out these articles about how to approach your boss to ask for a raise.
Make Extra Money Using Your Skills
Let’s say your boss says no, or for some other reason you’re not able to get a raise or more hours. Time to think of something you do well and can monetize. I know, I know, many of us say “I’m not good at anything!” But if you really think about, you’re bound to be better than some people at one or two things, right?
If you have any of the following skills, consider turning these into your extra money/side hustle!
- Blogging – Do you like to write, and do people refer to you as a good writer? If you’ve ever wanted to write for people and get paid for it, start a blog! Now, you won’t make a ton of money with your own blog right away, but you will build a portfolio of work. Once you have several posts, have engaged with other writers/bloggers in your niche (personal finance, fitness, health, pets, etc.), reach out to other successful bloggers and ask if they need a staff writer. You can point to your blog as examples of your writing.
- Tutoring – Were you good at math, English, music, or maybe a foreign language? Anything you’re proficient at (i.e. better than a high schooler), you may be able to market! If you were a math whiz, for example, consider advertising your skills to tutor students in algebra, trigonometry, calculus, or even studying for the math part of the SATs.
- Cooking – Let’s face it: there are a lot of bad cooks out there (no shame – I’m one of them!) If you’re a good cook or baker, consider selling your delicious goods at farmers’ markets or bake sales. Yes, I know, bake sales may seem hokey or intimidating, but you can start small. A friend of mine set up her bake sales during garage sales. If you (or people you know) are planning a garage sale, see if you can tag along and set up your own baked goods/food table. Not only will you make some extra cash, you may find people who want you to cook for them on a regular basis!
- Be a Server or Bartender – These are quick cash jobs with high turnover, which means you should be able to get a job in a reasonable amount of time. Especially if you’ve ever been a server or a bartender, this should be a fairly easy (although maybe not as enjoyable the second time around), gig, since you already know the job and can manage multiple tables in your head!
More Ways to Make Extra Money
Really don’t have any skills you can market? Not at all? That’s okay too! The following jobs require some things (access to the Internet, a car, etc.) but don’t require a ton of skill.
- Mechanical Turk – Amazon’s Mechnical Turk program has you complete Human Intelligence Tasks (HIT) for a nominal amount of money. The tasks are fairly simple, and pay is low, but you can knock out a couple of jobs in a day and make some extra cash for the week.
- Uber Driver – You will need a car, a willingness to let strangers in your car, and basic knowledge of your city, but being an Uber (or Lyft or Sidecar) driver can be a fun way to make some extra money. The best part about being a rideshare driver is you control when you make money. Only want to work on busy weekends, when surge pricing is occasionally in effect? Do it! Only want to driver during the weekdays while kids are in school? That’s great too! Depending on the size of your city, you may have consistent customers generating money for you every week.
- AirBnB – Have an extra room in your house, and are you okay with strangers staying in it? You may want to consider renting it out on AirBnb! I’ve covered AirBnb before, and I am a huge fan of the service. Yes, the people renting your room are strangers, but you can chat with them online, and in order to rent through AirBnb, customers do have to go through screening to make sure they’re real. That said, if you live in a popular tourist city, this could be a great way to make some extra money!
Want to get $30 off your first stay through Airbnb? Click here to get $30 off your first stay at Airbnb – one of my favorite ways to travel on a budget!
- Petsit – Have a lot of space, some free time, and love dogs? Petsit! It’s like babysitting, except the dogs won’t talk back (at least, not in a language you’ll understand). You can get started by posting ads on Craigslist or at your local Starbucks, but one sure-fire way to find customers is signing up with DogVacay.com. You’ll have to be approved through the site, but once you are, you’ll be able to set up a profile, show off your home/the spaces the dogs will roam, and your qualifications. Get paid to hang out with dogs all day? Sign me up!
- Be an Online Juror – We’ve talked about taking surveys before, but what about being an online juror? With EJury.com, you act as a pre-juror to a case. After reviewing the facts and answering a few questions, you are paid $5-10 per case. While this isn’t a lot of money, doing these surveys doesn’t take very long and is a good way to make extra money if you have some free time.
Sometimes when making your budget, you realize you have a lot more expenses than you have money coming in. While you can cut some things, others (like car insurance payments) have to be paid. If you need to make some extra money, consider taking on one of these side hustles. It can always be temporary, particularly if you’re saving up for something, like travel or completing your emergency savings fund, or you can make it a permanent side job.