In today’s tough economy, even those lucky to be employed are finding it hard to survive financially. And while there are infinitetheoretical ways to save money, many people are finding that there are few remaining places to cut back. And while I may just be one of the most frugal people on earth, even I know that sometimes a good path to financial stability is a combination of both saving more and earning more. The tips below can be useful for those who are currently working full time and those who aren’t – I hope you can use them wisely on your path to financial freedom.
One of the best ways to earn more money is by making sure your money is properly invested. I’m not an expert financial advisor by any means, but even I know that leaving your money in a standard savings account is nearly akin to leaving it under your mattress and expecting it to multiply naturally. If you have any extra income, even a small amount per month, make sure that it’s set aside and invested somewhere that it can earn more money. With this type of passive income, you aren’t likely to see the money directly in your checking account, but you’ll know that it’s there in case of emergency.
Filing your taxes is another way to discover some extra cash, because you may just be entitled to a refund. If you’re not earning a lot and you have children or a dependent spouse, you may be surprised at your annual tax statements. Just make sure that you’re getting all of the tax deductions that you can before you sign on the dotted line. It may not seem like a lot, but each deduction counts.
If you have some time on your hands or a special skill that you can share, giving lessons can be an excellent source of supplemental income. I have friends who teach everything from art to English. A creative high school student in my neighborhood even offers soccer lessons to the neighborhood’s boys. Parents can pay $3 for their child to learn how to play soccer (and can enjoy a bit of afternoon reprieve), and the instructor earns $30-$50 per hour depending on how many children show up. Private lessons, of course, can be even more lucrative.
If you have skills that don’t translate well into lessons, why not look for work on Elance? The great part about Elance is that you can find hundreds of projects to bid on. The downside is that you may have to settle for working at a rate lower than you’d otherwise take. Still, if you have time or a serious desire for extra cash, Elance can likely meet your needs.
Finally, if you’re really strapped for cash, consider renting out a room in your home for some quick extra income. SmartMoney magazine recently had an article about mansion owners who took in tenants so that they can avoid foreclosure. In reality, however, this is not a unique idea. When I was growing up, taking in ‘boarders’ was a rather common thing to do, not only to earn extra money, but to help children in need find a place to live. These days, however, taking in a tenant is not only helpful to the tenant, but also a great way to supplement your income.