We all have dreams and goals that require money. Sometimes it’s a new pair of boots. Others, it’s a new car or a vacation. Whatever your financial goal, it often requires extra cash you don’t have. The good news is there are plenty of ways to line your pockets with more green — and you don’t have to ask your boss for a raise to get there.
“Most people don’t like changing their lifestyle, so they get stuck in this cycle of always wishing instead of acting, even though it doesn’t take much to score a few extra dollars,” says personal finance expert J. Money, founder of Budgets Are Sexy. “You just have to be willing to put in the time and effort.”
Are you ready to be among those who choose to act? Follow these five strategies and you’ll have extra cash in your pocket in no time.
1. SIDE HUSTLE YOUR WAY TO MORE CASH
Thanks to startups like Airbnb, Uber and GrubHub, the gig economy is booming, providing people with the opportunity to work a flexible schedule while earning more cash.
“There are several flexible side hustles that allow you to work as little or as much as you want, whenever you want, to put extra money in your pocket,” says Andrea Woroch, a consumer and family finance expert. “For instance, you can earn up to $1,000 a month by dog sitting through sites like Rover.com.”
When choosing a side hustle, always go with something that excites you. The more into it you are, the more likely you are to work, which means extra cash in the coffers. If you dread your side hustle as much as your day job, your efforts may backfire. “It’s a lot more fun to be working nights or weekends when you actually enjoy the thing you’re doing,” says Money.
2. SELL YOUR UNWANTED BELONGINGS
It’s easy to accumulate things … it’s much (much) harder to let go of them. But if you want to raise extra cash, selling your unwanted stuff is a great way to meet that goal. There’s a reason yard sales are still so popular: People want a deal. You may be over those $150 designer jeans, but someone else may be in the market for exactly that, albeit at a fraction of the cost you paid.
There are a host of Websites you can sell your used goods on including Poshmark for clothes, Letgo for furniture and Decluttr for technology.
“Chances are your home is filled with items you no longer use or need and this is the perfect opportunity to put some extra cash in your pocket by selling these items,” says Woroch. “Check your closets, kid’s playroom, and garage to pull items you want to sell.” Many of these websites and mobile apps make it easy to upload photos, create an ad and chat with potential buyers, leaving little room for excuses.
3. KNOW YOUR NUMBERS
A common reason people are forced to look for ways to shore up cash is because they live beyond their means. They don’t give much thought to the pricey latte every morning or the impulse buys at the drugstore. Many don’t even know what they are worth when all their assets are combined. But knowing your number can actually make you money.
“One of the best things I ever did for my money was to spend 30 minutes figuring out what my net worth was, which gave me a good overall picture of where I was currently standing,” says Money. Armed with that knowledge, the father of three committed to updating his net worth each month with an eye toward growing it. “It didn’t technically earn me money, it influenced my decisions more and ultimately had the same effect,” he says.
4. TURN YOUR HOBBY INTO AN INCOME STREAM
Perhaps you have a knack for making candles with your ten year-old-daughter, or maybe you’re a beast behind the sewing machine. Whatever your talent or hobby is, there’s a you can turn that into an income stream.
Just like the Internet is home to a bevy of websites where you can hawk your old goods, there is also a slew of marketplaces where you can sell your original creations. Etsy and Instagram are just two examples. The great part about it, the sky’s the limit when using your skills to earn money. “Think outside the box and brainstorm with friends that can help you stretch your imagination,” says Jeannette Bajalia, president and principal adviser of Petros Financial.
Bajalia pointed to working for a direct marketing firm as an independent consultant as one option. Whether its a line of cookware like Pampered Chef or skincare like Mary Kay, you get a cut of the product you sell. This route only makes sense if you feel passionate about the product. If you hate cooking it’s going to be tough to sell people on a line of cookware. Draw from your hobbies when deciding what business to get involved with.
5. CUT THE FEES AND FINES OUT OF YOUR LIFE
An effortless way to come up with extra cash is to be mindful of what you are paying in fees, fines, and taxes. Take your bank and investment accounts. You may not realize you’re paying fees to house your money, withdraw it and/or to make investment trades. By going with a lower-cost provider or better yet one that waives a lot of those fees, you’re freeing up money that can be used elsewhere.
That same strategy can be applied to your taxes. If you are among those who owe Uncle Sam each year, identify ways to reduce that outlay. It could mean maximizing your contributions into your 401(k) or health savings accounts so you pay less income on your taxes or engaging in tax-loss harvesting where you offset a gain by selling a stock at a loss to avoid elevated taxes.
Keep in mind that while all of these strategies can line your pocket with more money, not all of them will be right for you. Find the ones that work for you and your circumstances. The last thing you want to do is sacrifice health or happiness in the pursuit of money. “The key is to find ways unique to your financial personality that makes these types of exercises fun, energizing, and empowering,” says Bajalia.
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