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20 Simple And Creative Ways to Earn Money

20 Simple And Creative Ways to Earn Money

We could all use some extra cash. Whether it’s to pay off your debts faster, save up for a vacation, or buy yourself that new gadget you’ve been wanting, it’s always helpful to have that little extra in your pocket. Luckily, there are a myriad of ways to make yourself a nice little side income, and you can do these whether you have a full time job or you’re looking to work from home. Try these tips out and start earning now:

1. Sell your old clothes

You’ve probably got old clothes sitting in your closet that you’ve forgotten all about. Clear them out and sell them online on sites like eBay or ThredUP. With ThredUP, you can get paid almost instantly if you’re selling less than $60 worth of clothes. Clear out the clutter and make some money along the way. It’s a win-win.

2. Tutor children

This tip works especially well for students, as they can tutor in the subjects they’re studying themselves. Teach the subject you enjoy and set your own hours. Sign up with a website such as Tutor.com and make around $9 per hour to start with.

3. Become a mystery shopper

Love shopping? Become a mystery shopper and get paid to go shopping. Sign up with a site like Marketforce and pick out assignments to do. Go undercover in stores and restaurants. Then, fill in the form after your visit and collect your money. The profit you make isn’t large, maybe a couple of dollars on a typical job, but it’s a great way to get your meals out and other luxuries paid for.

4. Scan your receipts for cash

You have to buy your essentials regularly, so why not earn some extra money for doing so? The Ibotta app offers rebates on certain products, from milk and eggs to luxury products like Birchbox subscriptions. If you’ve purchased something included in the app, use your phone to scan your receipt and get a rebate. The rebates vary in price, from 25 cents for a can of Reddi-wip to $2 for a bottle of sunscreen, but they can quickly add up.

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5. Recycle your phone

If you’re about to upgrade your phone, don’t let the old one sit around doing nothing. Try a site like The Whiz Cells, which will find the best price and buyer for your phone. The money you make depends on the model and condition of your handset. For example, an iPhone 4S in good condition can go for around $60.

6. Drive people around

If you have your own car and want to work flexible hours, working as a driver for Lyft could be for you. Lyft is an app that lets people request drivers near them. It promises to be quicker than hailing a traditional cab. As a driver, you can make around $35 an hour with them.

7. Rent out your house

Do you have a spare room you never use, or are you often away from home? Why not rent out your space to travellers for cash? Airbnb will let you list your place for free, and you can set your own availability and pricing. What you can make varies, but this blogger made $2,276 a month renting her place out.

8. Do surveys online

Many companies are looking for people’s opinions to improve their products and advertising, and they will pay you for your feedback. Sign up with a site like Swagbucks or MySurvey and fill out surveys in exchange for points, which you can cash in for Paypal payments or coupons for your favorite stores. What you earn depends on how many surveys you complete, but the smallest payout on MySurvey is $10, which you can earn rather quickly.

9. Get paid to tweet

If you have a large Twitter following, companies may want to pay you to promote their products by Tweeting about them. Companies such as Sponsored Tweets will pay around 50 cents to $20 per Tweet, depending on your audience and the age of your account.

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10. Rent out your driveway

If you have a parking space that you aren’t using and you live in a busy area, you may be able to rent it out to others. It’s free to advertise your spot on sites like Just Park, and you can make up to $150 a month.

11. Sell your photos

Are you a keen photographer? Businesses are always looking for stock photography, so why not sell your snaps? There are plenty of sites that will sell them for you, such as Shutterstock or Getty Images. Starting out, you can make roughly $50 a month, which can go up if your photos are in demand.

12. Participate in medical studies

If you have a flexible schedule and are fairly healthy, this may be for you. Payments can vary depending on what study you take part in, but some people can make a decent living by becoming human guinea pigs. Try sites like the NIH Clinical Center to find studies you may be eligible for.

13. Search the web

Why not get paid for something you do anyway? Qmee puts an ad on onto your browser and rewards you for using your favorite search engine. When you click on a sponsored link, you’ll be rewarded. There’s no minimum payout, so you can claim your rewards quickly. One tester made $1 on their first search, which they could claim straight away.

14. Review websites and apps

Many companies are looking for people to test their websites for usability. User Testing lets you sign up to test and answer questions about these sites, earning $10-$15 for about 20 minutes of work.

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15. Start a blog

If you have a special interest and can write entertaining and interesting prose, you can be a blogger. Pick your subject, start writing, and start building an audience. Bloggers have said that they can earn between $1,000 and $10,000 a month when they become established.

16. Sell your notes

If you’re a diligent student, make some cash from those who aren’t. NoteSale lets you upload your notes and sell them to your less-dedicated classmates. You can make roughly $3 per set of notes, but you can make more if they’re typed up, rather than handwritten.

17. Do odd jobs

Lots of people have odd jobs around the house that they’d rather not do, and that’s where you come in. For traditional jobs such as lawn mowing or painting, try sites like Craigslist. If you can offer a more unusual service, such as designing a logo or even pretending to be someone’s girlfriend on Facebook, try Fiverr, which lets you sell any job for $5.

18. Be an affiliate marketer

Do you have a lot of sales know-how but no product to sell? You could do well as an affiliate marketer. Promote other people’s brands and products, and when they sell, you get a cut of the price. If you do well, you can earn around $100 a day. Try out Amazon or Clickbank to get started.

19. Try new products

Some companies will offer users money to try out new products and services. If you sign up to a site like CashCrate, you can get these products sent to you. Once you’ve tried them, you’ll be paid. Most users average between $25-50 a month.

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20. Write articles

Much like blogging, if you’re good at turning out entertaining and informative articles, you can make money from it. Try sites like Article Sale and Ghost Blogger to get started. Payment depends on length and quality of articles, but on average you can expect around $25 per article.

For most people these days, it’s getting increasingly harder to feel content working at a 9-to-5 desk job, let alone survive on a single stream of income. Dissatisfaction with jobs not only leads to burn out, high stress levels, and loss of health – it also explains why billions of dollars are wasted on loss of work productivity.

Thanks to the internet, there are hundreds of ways to offer your services and reach those willing to pay you. Make the most of your spare time and make some money on the side — whether it’s to supplement your income or put away for a rainy day.

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Anum Yoon

Writer & Journalist

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

Finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. And that’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

In this article, we will explore ways on how to set financial goals and then actually meet them with ease.

5 Steps to Set Financial Goals

Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task but if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps:

1. Be Clear About the Objectives

Any goal (let alone financial) without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream. And this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it is for. It could be anything like kid’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car etc.

Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives, however small they may be, that you foresee in the future and put a value to it.

2. Keep Them Realistic

It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going out of the line will definitely hurt your chances of achieving them.

It’s important that you keep your goals realistic in nature for it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

3. Account for Inflation

Ronald Reagan once said – “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman”. And this quote sums up the best what inflation could do your financial goals.

Therefore account for inflation whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far away in the future.

For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years hence, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is mere 3%. So always account for inflation.

4. Short Term vs Long Term

Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach towards achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It is important to bifurcate goals in short term and long term.

As a rule of thumb, any financial goal, which is due in next 3 years should be termed as short term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short term vs long term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

More on this later when we talk about how to achieve financial goals.

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5. To Each to His Own

The journey of setting financial goals is an individualistic affair i.e. your goals are your own goals and are determined by your want to achieve them. A lot of times we get on the bandwagon of goal setting only to realize later on that it was not meant for us.

It is important that your goals are actually your goals and not inspired by someone else. Take a hard look at this step at all the goals you’ve set for after this step, you will be on the way to achieve them.

By now, you would be ready with your financial goals, now it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

11 Ways to Achieve Your Financial Goals

Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a 2 step process –

  • Ensuring healthy savings
  • Making smart investments

You will need to save enough; and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals. So let’s get down to ensuring healthy savings.

Ensuring Healthy Savings

Self realization is the best form of realisation and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

1. Track Expenses

The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your monthly expenses. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you would be surprised to see how small expenses add up to a sizeable amount.

Also categorize those expenses into different bucket so that you know which bucket is eating the most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pump up your savings rate.

2. Pay Yourself First

Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classical mistake which almost everyone of us do. We pay ourselves last!

Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and then manage all the expenses from the rest.

The best way to actually implement is to put the savings on automatic mode i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (for example – mutual funds, retirement corpus etc) every month.

Taking the automatic route will make us lose control of our money and hence will compel us to manage in what’s left with us thereby increasing the savings rate.

3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick with It

Budgeting is the best to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be made.

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Nowadays, several money management apps and wallets can help you do this automatically. It’s easy and who knows, you may just end up doing what people fail to do.

At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

4. Rise Again Even If You Fall

Let’s be realistic. It’s not like the world will come to an end if you made one mistake. This isn’t called leniency but discipline.

If you fail to meet your budget for a month, don’t give up the entire effort just like that. Instead, start again.

Remember that flexible plans are the most realistic plans. So go forward and try to follow your financial goals as planned but if for some reason, the plan gets out of hand for you, do not give up on it just yet. This has a lot to do with your psychology rather than any material commitment.

All you have to do is to stay on the road and vow to stay on it, no matter how much you fall down.

5. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

Make Savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counter intuitive to many but there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Usually weekends are expensive. Make it a habit and you would in turn be saving a great deal.

If you are travelling buff, try to travel during off season. Your outlay will be much less.

If you go out for shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

So the key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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6. Talk About It

Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission. And it would be rather easy to lose the grip over your discipline.

Therefore in order to stay the course, it is advisable that you keep yourself surrounded with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

7. Maintain a Journal

For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

So if you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

Use this journal to write down all essential points such as your short term, mid term and long term goals, your current sources of income, your regular expenses which you are aware of and any committed expenses which are of recurring nature.

When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energised to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot more easier for you to follow you and track your progress.

At this point, you should be ready with your financial goals and would be doing brilliantly with savings; now it’s time to talk about the big daddy – Investments.

Making Smart Investments

Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However savings when invested wisely can do wonders and we are at that stage where we will talk about making smart investments.

8. Consult a Financial Advisor

Investments doesn’t come naturally to most of us therefore rather than dabbling with it ourselves, it is wise to consult a financial advisor.

Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

9. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about them.

Just like “no one is born a criminal”, no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference.

Do you remember we talked about bifurcating financial goals in short term and long term?

It is here where that classification will help.

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So as a general rule, for all your short term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less as compared to equity instruments.

10. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

Einstein once remarked about compounding,

Compound Interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.

So make friends with this wonder kid. And sooner you become friends with it, quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

Start investing early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

11. Measure, Measure, Measure

All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments; taking stock of how our investments are doing.

If there is one single step where everything (so far) can go wrong, it is at this step – Measuring the Progress.

If we don’t measure the progress timely, then we would be shooting in the dark. We wouldn’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not; whether financial advisor is doing a decent job; whether we are moving closer to our target or not.

Do measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

The Bottom Line

This completes the list of tips for you to set financial goals and actually achieve them with not so great difficulty.

As you can see, all it requires is discipline. But guess that’s the most difficult part!

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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