5 Ways to Put a Lil’ Extra Cash in Your Wallet

I’m sad to say that I haven’t stuck to my budget for, oh… the last 9 months. It seems that every month, I dip into what should be my monthly savings in order to pay the bills. In addition to trips to Vegas, Hawaii and Philadelphia, two bachelorette parties and weddings (I was a bridesmaid in one), and the birth of my niece, I’ve also succumbed to a surfing addiction, many dinners, and, the crème de la crème, $300 sunglasses.

Unfortunately, living in the red happens to the best of us and it’s not just when you’re starting out. As you get older, you get more financial responsibilities (car payment, insurance, rent, student loans, etc.) and if you don’t set a budget and track your spending, it’s all too easy to live beyond your means.

Here are five things you can do to supplement your income without giving up a 9-to-5:

  1. Part-time work: Yes, you work 40+ hours a week but finding a job you can work evenings or weekends is an easy way to pad your bank account. You can be a weekend receptionist at a medical, dental, real estate or small business office. Catering companies are always looking for servers to tray pass food and wine, or work the buffet line. Of course, you can also be a bartender, cocktail waitress, server or hostess in a restaurant or a barista in a coffee shop. Working retail is another option, especially toward the holidays when most stores are desperate for extra help (and you get an employee discount!). And don’t discredit babysitting just because you’re a student or young professional! Busy parents are always looking for a responsible, mature someone to look after their children – and babysitters rake in upwards of $20/hour these days.
  2. Turn a hobby into money: Are people always commenting on your photography? Do you knit or many jewelry for fun? Do you like working out, doing yoga or pilates? Do you work full-time making websites or doing IT work for a big company? Make it a weekend side business or, for the exercising activities, you can teach classes at local rec centers or gym.
  3. Get paid to participate in research studies or focus groups: Seriously! I have two friends who were paid $150 to test a new alcohol and say what they thought of it (and, no, they did not get drunk!). Another friend also got paid $150 to get a flu shot with three months of follow-up phone calls. You can scour Craigslist for these kinds of opportunities, which can range from car studies to ice cream taste testing to relationship behaviors. You can make anywhere from $20 to thousands of dollars (although those ones usually require you to take medication and/or require a months-long time commitment).
  4. Get paid to write about stuff you know: Websites like About.com and eHow.com are always looking for experts and every day people to contribute content to their site. You usually get paid if your articles generate a lot of feedback, views or high ratings from users so you have to enlist the help of your friends to increase your popularity.
  5. Sell your old stuff on eBay, Craigslist or to consignment shops: Take a look at the listings on eBay or Craigslist and you’ll notice that there’s a market for EVERYTHING, new or used. From used clothes and books to old sporting equipment and CDs (tapes and records, too!), there are also stores in your area that will buy your old stuff so that they can resell it. If you’re even more ambitious, buy clothes or makeup in bulk and sell them individually. Some businesses might require you to have a reseller’s license in order to buy bulk or for wholesale prices; other companies might just require you to pay a little more.

For more money tips from Waste Time Wisely, read:

Do You Need a Certified Financial Planner?
10 Tips to Start Investing Now
Do Men Make More Money by Simply Asking for More?

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Jovie Baclayon is the editorial director for YSN.com and an expert in the experiences faced by emerging adults. To learn more, check out Jovie’s YSN portfolio and feel free to e-mail her! She blogs every Wednesday and Friday on Waste Time Wisely.