This Weekend, Go on a Treasure Hunt!
Angelique is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.
When you're trying to figure out how to get out of debt, it's obvious that you have to spend less than you earn (at least I hope that's obvious) and stop using your credit cards. But, after you've created a budget, cut out all the incidentals, started making your own coffee in the morning rather than hitting Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) and are buying all of your clothes at The Goodwill. What's a girl (or boy) to do?
That's right, find some extra income. And, there are plenty of options here. Some of them will be ongoing sources of income that you can hopefully apply directly to your debt paydown on a regular basis, others may be a one-time cash influx.
- Check out http://www.missingmoney.com/ to see if you've forgotten about any lost accounts. I did this last year and found about $1,200 between an old escrow account and a closed brokerage account, so it's definitely worth doing!
- See what you can sell. That bike that you haven't ridden in the last 3 years belongs on Craig's List more than it belongs in your spare bedroom (okay, so this is a call to action for myself).
- Turn your hobby into cash! What's your passion? Photography, cake making/decorating, flower arranging, graphic design, dee-jaying? I have a girlfriend who is getting married in the fall and these are all services that can be quite expensive. If you let friends and family know that you're willing to help out with a wedding for less than the pros charge, you could score a little cash and a wedding invitation!
- Odds and ends - let your neighbors know that you will paint rooms, walk dogs, cat sit, water plants, clean house, babysit, help an elderly person grocery shop or pay bills, or organize closets. These are all services that people pay for and would more than likely rather pay someone they know and trust, rather than someone that they don't know, to do.
On-going cash streams:
- Rent a room, basement or attic out. This is a great way to help someone else out and for some of us, it's just nice to have someone else around. Oh, and did I mention...ongoing income to apply to that debt balance! When you're out of debt, you can consider living single again. You might even decide that you just like having a roomie.
- Pick up a part-time job. This is also a great way to protect yourself a bit if you're worried about job security at your full-time gig. Having your foot in the door somewhere else could provide you with a fall-back if you need one.
- Start a business. If you have some special skill that you can put to use in your spare time like grant writing, speech writing, or editing and you've been thinking that it would be nice to start your own business - if only you could afford to, why not start it now? I have many friends who run businesses "on the side." Just don't foget to pay Uncle Sam or you could end up in worse financial trouble than you're currently in.
Be careful about being talked into businesses that require you to put in capital or require inventory that you might lose out on - these probably aren't the best choices for you right now. My mother and other friends have tried selling Avon (NYSE: AVP), Tupperware (NYSE: TUP), Amway, Mary Kay and PartyLite (NYSE: BTH). I know that some people are good at this kind of selling, but I think that most are not and in every personal case I can recall, the seller ended up poorer rather than wealthier as a result.
What other income generators have you used?
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