Since asking for a raise is out of the question for most of us, and finding new jobs is becoming increasingly difficult, it would be helpful to know what alternatives there are to help us afford the bare necessities of life. Aside from asking for different job perks or giving blood for profit, there are many inventive ways to supplement your income and avoid a destitute future.
Throw a Gold Party
Forget candle and Tupperware parties — instead sell your gold in style. Gold parties involve appraisers pricing and purchasing gold or other metal jewelry from party-goers. It seems like a great way to entertain and get rid of a few old and forgotten pieces of jewelry while making some extra cash. Find a legitimate jewelry appraiser in your area who will come to your house, invite a few friends over (you could even make it a potluck to save more money), and pick out the jewelry pieces you’re ready to part with. Do some research and take the pieces to a few appraisers in your city to ensure that you don’t get ripped off.
Have a Yard Sale
For those with more than just gold jewelry collecting dust around the house, yard sales are a perfect way to eliminate clutter and earn some spending money. Pick a Saturday or Sunday, gather up clothes, books, CDs, and other valuables that you’re done with, and put it all on the front of your street. Make signs advertising the sale and place them around your neighborhood, or just post your sale on a website like Craigslist. People are willing to buy used things to save money, which benefits our wallets and the environment, too.
Try Virtual Yard-Selling
If planning a yard sale seems like too much work, or if your weekends get filled up quickly, another option is to put all of the stuff online instead. For example, Craigslist is a hugely popular virtual market where people sell everything from collectible tin cans to high-quality electronics.You can even used websites like Ebay and Etsy to your advantage. Sometimes people are unaware that what they’re selling at their yard sales is actually valuable. And sometimes it’s really not all that valuable, but there’s still an interest in it online.
Write Reviews Online
A little bit of free time and some basic knowledge about various products could yield a modest profit. Websites such as SharedReviews pay writers a small sum for a certain amount of reviews. This is a good way to work from home and make some extra money in your down time. Do some research online to see what companies work best for you.
Become a Blogger
If you’re passionate about a certain topic, why not start a blog and join a blogging community? Bloggers, especially those who get a good amount of traffic, can make an impressive amount of money through advertisements on their websites. However, making a profit from blogging requires time and a great deal of effort. That’s why those who blog need to choose a subject that will keep them interested, such as cooking, politics, or parenting. Becoming a part of a blogging community is important too. Advertising your site on other blogs will increase traffic. Starting a website seems overwhelming, but using a site like BlogHer or Word Press can break it down into simple steps.
Start a Change Jar
Sounds suspiciously simple, but think about how much change we accumulate throughout the week. A few coins may not seem like much initially, but if we make a habit out of storing all received change away for an allotted amount of time, the results could be surprisingly rewarding. Think of the cliché: Out of sight, out of mind. If it’s not in your wallet, you can’t spend it, right? All of those loose dimes and nickels add up quickly, too. A change jar doesn’t produce a profit per se, but it is a free, simple way to start saving and prevent needless spending.
Those of us really strapped for cash might consider getting a part-time job. Around the holidays many retail businesses will be hiring seasonal employees. If stocking and cashiering aren’t your things, brainstorm what you’re actually interested in and good at and post your services around town or on an online job board. If you’re a math or grammar nerd, consider tutoring. If you don’t mind screaming kids, try babysitting. The best part about these types of jobs is that we can adjust them to our schedules and work however many hours we want throughout the week.
If one of your skills is creating things that people want to purchase, such as clothes, accessories, or fun trinkets, try selling them online. Websites like Etsy give burgeoning designers and crafters a venue in which to sell their goods. Also look into craft fairs taking place around your area; they are quite popular during this time of year because people are looking for unique gifts and seasonal decorations at affordable prices.
Get a Rewards Credit Card
Most of us have credit cards that we use frequently, probably more than we should. They’re a necessary evil, and while sticking one’s credit card in the freezer is a good way to temporarily prevent using it, some items that we need to live — like groceries or a bed to sleep on — need to be purchased whether we can afford them at the time or not. Since we know that we’re going to use credit cards at some point, it benefits us to get a credit card that rewards us for our spending. Companies like Discover and American Express offer credit cards that give some incentive for using them, such as money back, air mileage, and discounts on future purchases. If you can qualify (and use your credit card responsibly), consider signing up for one of these cards.
Make Money off the Holidays
The gift-giving season is quickly approaching. Some have already launched their gift hunts in the hopes of avoiding holiday stress, but those hopes are usually in vain. Somehow, someway, the stretch from the day after Thanksgiving to January 2 is usually filled with stress, anxiety, and frustration. It’s time to cash in on that! Approach particularly frazzled friends and family members and ask if there are any small holiday-related responsibilities—wrapping presents, enveloping holiday cards, baking treats, etc.—that you could help with for a reasonable fee. Every year my mom enlists my help in wrapping presents, and while I’d never charge her for my assistance (she is my mom, after all), I’ve considered outsourcing my efforts to others this year to help with my post-Christmas debt.
These ideas may be small in financial impact, but in tough times like these, it’s worth exploring whatever we can do to make ourselves financially stable. By attempting at least a few of these tips, we could be well on our way to affording perhaps not the best of everything, but at least what we need to live happily.
Updated June 28, 2016