Short on Cash? Supplement Your Income with These 3 Tips
Your wallet (and savings) will thank you for making extra money. Check out these 3 ways to supplement your income.
You probably know the feeling: You look at your bills and realize you have more “month” than “money.” While you could likely find some ways to cut costs, many people find that supplementing their monthly income is an even better way to solve the dilemma. Here are three ways you can earn a few extra bucks—and in the process meet new people, banish clutter or even help drive sustainability.
1. Take On a Side Gig
According to the 2020 Side Hustle Report, more than one-quarter of Americans with a side gig rely on it to cover everyday bills and expenses.
Thanks to technology, it’s easier than ever to find a job or connect the service you want to provide to those willing to pay you for it. For example, apps like Steady can help you find a job that fits your schedule and skillset. Steady is a free app that aggregates and curates over 1.5M verified part-time, on-demand, and work-from-home job opportunities in your area. Simply enter your zip code, skills and preferred job type, and Steady will present opportunities to help you increase your income. On average, Steady Members earned over $5,500 per year in additional income.
“Steady provides American workers with a community to gain insights and direction on how to find the right work to increase their incomes, while improving their overall financial health." – Adam Roseman, Steady Co-founder & CEO
An ideal side gig lets you score some cash through talents or interests you already have. Here are some potential side gigs that are both flexible and in high demand:
- Tutoring local students or helping supervise kids who are learning remotely
- Caring for pets, such as walking dogs or providing boarding services while their owners are away
- Cashier at a local grocery store
- Warehousing at a distribution center
- Delivery driver for a logistics company
- Food delivery driver
- Work-from-home customer support representative
- Creating unique handmade items, like greeting cards, jewelry or masks
- Freelancing in writing, graphic design, coding or any area where you have expertise.
Whatever your skill or interest, marketing your talents and availability will put you in touch with those who need it. Put safety first by meeting your buyer in a neutral location and ask your insurance agent whether you need to make any updates to your policy. You also should talk to an accountant about paying taxes on this income.
2. Sell Unneeded Items Online
You’ve undoubtedly heard the phrase, “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.” Nowhere is that more true than in the world of online selling. The secondhand boom is real: A report from resale platform thredUP and GlobalData estimates the market will skyrocket from $28 billion to $64 billion over the next five years as consumers realize the eco-friendly benefit of purchasing gently worn items. And while Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and eBay are tried and true outlets, there are many other specialty sites where you can potentially get top dollar.
Ready to cash in? Check out sites like The RealReal, Poshmark and thredUP to sell premium items like clothing, accessories and shoes. Each site has its own process; for example, with thredUP you send them your items to market and sell; whereas at Poshmark you create your own listing, though they make the shipping a snap by sending you the label once the item sells. The RealReal offers a blend of options.
You can sell more than clothing, too; try Gazelle and Glyde for tech gadgets or Rubylane for vintage and antique items.
If you’re creating the listing yourself, take high-quality, close-up photographs of the item from all angles, remove clutter and use good lighting. In the listing, include as much information as you can, such as:
- When it was manufactured and when you bought it
- Its condition (don’t lie!)
- Fabric details, if applicable
- What accessories, including original packaging or owner’s manual, are included
- Any other details that can help make your item more appealing (and cut down on questions)
If you use a local site where you are meeting a potential buyer, never share your home address or go to their house. Arrange a neutral location, like a well-lighted shopping center or even the police station—many offer “SafeTrade Stations,” which are designed specifically for the safety of buyers and sellers.
3. Join the “Sharing Economy”
Chances are good that you have something someone else wants to borrow and is willing to pay you to use. In fact, the sharing economy is expected to expand to $335 billion by 2025 from just $15 billion in 2014.
While the most well-known examples of making money in the sharing economy include driving for ride share companies and renting out a spare room on a vacation platform, there are other ways to join in, with apps that connect you to people who want to borrow your:
- Car or truck (yes, even without you driving it)
- Parking spot (whether your own driveway or one you aren’t currently using for work)
- Bike or other sporting goods
- Swimming pool
- Closet, attic or basement storage
To find the right app for listing your item, do a search for sharing apps. (Hint: type in “Airbnb for…[fill in the name of your item]” and you are liable to spot a news story or link to a related site.) Or you can see if there’s a community-wide forum for offering stuff to share; you can even create a message board within a platform like Facebook or Nextdoor if there isn’t.
Then make sure you are protected by getting appropriate insurance and working within the platform to adhere to any contracts or other safety guidelines they offer. One of the benefits of peer-to-peer apps is that each party reviews each other so you learn more about your potential share partner.
There are numerous ways to earn cash on the side to help pay bills or even sock it away for your next big splurge. In today’s economy, a little creativity and dedication can be all it takes.