I post lots and lots of shopping deals, here, but Want Not is supposed to be about overall budgeting (even if it may not seem that way, some days) and living well within your means. It seems like with the holiday shopping season and then subsequent post-holiday belt-tightening, it’s kind of been all deals, all the time, lately.
Let’s change that.
The very pretty Kristy writes:
I love your websites and I enjoy all the deals you post on Want Not! You’ve helped me start a gift closet and I’ve saved quite a bit of money along the way thanks to you! Oh, and you’re so very pretty that I feel prettier just reading your posts!
My stupid, er rather, less new and inexpensive townhouse has broken all kinds of major things (roof, furnace, exterior walls) and I’ve racked up a lot of debt fixing it. I’ve been as smart as I can be about the debt (0% interest for a year) but now I’m taking a hard look at it and how fast I can make it go away.
Saving money is one half, but the other half is how to make a little money on the side. My husband and I work full time, but we do have nights and weekends. You’re so smart and pretty and web-worldly, I thought you might have some ideas on supplementing a paycheck. Do you have any tips for me?
First and foremost, Kristy gets 10 points to Gryffindor for her excellent powers of flattery. You’re pretty, Kristy!
Second, how about it—are there good ways for “regular” people to make money from home, tucked into the bits of time between work and life?
I have to be honest here and tell y’all that I sort of hate the whole “Make Money At Home!” rallying cry—which is a little ironic, considering that I work from home. Many, many of the places that want to hire you to lick envelopes or sell timeshares are not legitimate organizations, and I encourage anyone looking into such things to be very wary.
On the other hand, there are valid and legitimate ways to supplement your income on your own time. Let’s examine the options.
Sell stuff online. Craigslist and eBay are full of people who want to buy your junk, er, treasures. I used to do a lot of children’s clothes resale on eBay, years ago, and I made a nice profit picking up stuff for pennies at Goodwill and reselling it. Nowadays eBay’s rules (and high percentage of numbskulls) make it a lot harder to turn a buck that way, but it can still be done if you’re very patient and remember never to accept money orders from Zimbabwe. Craigslist is also full of people who really want to buy your kitchen table, but who can’t seem to remember to actually come pay you for it… but, again, it can be done. Do you have stuff laying around that you don’t need? Sell it! Do you have a local thrift or antique store where you could potentially find items others would pay big bucks for? This is an option to consider if you’re very patient and have a good eye (and source) for items in demand.
Sell stuff in person. I’m not a big fan of yard sales as money makers (to my mind, it’s a lot of aggravation for not too much profit), but again, if you already have stuff around you’d like to rid yourself of, it’s not a bad option. Another very flexible “selling” idea is anything you can sell via home party; Tupperware, Lia Sophia, Pampered Chef, Arbonne, etc. This sort of option is not for everyone, but I know a few women who make a nice side income this way.
Unskilled services. Anyone who’s enterprising (and trustworthy) can build up a little business doing things like dog-walking or house-sitting. And you’re probably thinking, Hey, does anyone hire someone over the age of 15 for this stuff? And the answer is Yes, people do, when they want someone more reliable than a teenager. The bad news is that you won’t make a ton of money this way. The good news is that it’s a fairly low-stress, small-time-commitment kind of thing. If you decide to do this, print yourself some free business cards and let people know you’re looking for gigs. Easy.
Skilled services. What can you do that other people can’t? I write; my husband takes pictures. Both of us freelance in our fields. But I have friends who teach classes in various things, who do interior design, who make art or clothes or jewelry on commission, who cook for others. Surely there’s something you can do that others can’t; that’s your skill, and now you just have to figure out how to capitalize on it. Even something as pedestrian as babysitting—if you love kids, of course—is a way to make some extra money.
What I don’t have for you, Kristy, is a list of get-rich-quick schemes. But I’m guessing that I’m overlooking some other options, and the rest of the pretty readers here are going to let us know. Right? Readers, please tell Kristy and me what I’ve missed!