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10 Unusual Ways To Make Money

10 Unusual Ways To Make Money

The median U.S. salary is less than $29,000, and even those who exceed this metric are not likely to make more than $45,000. In other words, individuals who are working a typical 9-to-5 job may not be bringing in enough money to have their version of the American dream. This becomes even more difficult for retirees and those who are not suited to a career in Corporate America. Fortunately, there are several alternative methods you can utilize to either boost your current income or to replace a typical job altogether.

1. Join A Clinical Trial

Not every clinical trial offers cash compensation, and the amount paid in others will vary. However, it may be possible to earn anywhere from a few dollars to almost $2,000 for participating in one clinical trial. The trick is to pay close attention to the qualifying criteria and any applicable payments so that you can choose the right type of trial for you. As an added bonus, some people who choose this route are able to gain access to potentially life-saving medication for a variety of medical issues.

2. Start House Flipping

The housing market is continuously improving, but there are still many foreclosed properties that are available for a discounted price. This gives someone who is handy with tools a good opportunity to get involved in house flipping. In a nutshell, the process of flipping houses involves buying cheap homes with the intention of investing enough time and money to dramatically increase their value. The amount of money that you can make will depend on several factors, but a quick house flip has the potential to bring in several thousand dollars in one month.

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3. Dog Walking And Pet Sitting

Many people who work full-time hire others to walk their dog or even pet sit throughout the day, and this is also a useful alternative to boarding animals during vacation. In the past, this was something that people in the local area could use as a way to make a few dollars, but the rise of websites such as Care.com and Pet Sitters International makes it possible to earn $10 an hour or more offering these services. This is a great way for animal lovers to supplement their income, and some people have even turned it into a career!

4. Tutor Others In Your Top Subjects

YouTube and other online resources can help students get a better grasp on tricky subjects, but there are still many people who need an actual tutor to answer questions and show them more difficult concepts. Tutors for every subject imaginable can be found in-person and on numerous websites. According to Presto Experts, online tutors can earn at least 50 cents per minute for offering their knowledge to others. This may not be a steady source of income, but it is a good way to earn an extra $30 per hour every so often.

5. Sell Your Hair And Plasma

There are many things that you naturally have on and in your body that are worth money to others, including hair, plasma, and sperm. For example, the online hair price calculator indicates that 6 inches of brown undyed hair is valued at $59. Donating plasma can bring in $200 or more per month, and a sperm donation is usually worth at least $35. There are also some much more highly invasive procedures you can go through if you need to make a larger amount of money. Qualified women have the option of selling their eggs, and a completed cycle is typically compensated with an $8,000 payment.

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6. Become A Professional Gamer

Are video games one of your favorite things about life? If your skill level is high enough, you may be able to turn your interest into a viable career. The top professional gamer in the industry earned $454,544 in 2013, but it is important to note that this is not a typical salary. Earning an annual salary of $25,000 as a gamer will require you to win at least one U.S. tournament each year, so you need to be very dedicated and skilled to make a decent living.

7. Turn Your Snapshots Into Stock Photos

Stock photos sites are very common, and almost anyone with a camera can join them in order to make some extra cash. Simply upload any pictures that may be useful for websites or marketers and set your price. Most people will not accrue a lot of money by doing this, and you may end up selling photos for less than 50 cents each. The good news, though, is that this is something that can be done in your spare time, and each picture has the potential to make money after it has been uploaded.

8. Make Your Backyard A Rental Space For Campers

People who do not spend all of their time in one location can turn their house into a rental home, but this is not going to provide any steady source of income unless you have two houses. However, your backyard will always be available, and some resourceful individuals have started renting this space to campers and gardeners. You will need to make sure that you have the proper insurance and that you are not violating any local laws, but most homeowners should have the ability to utilize this unusual revenue source.

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9. Become A Local Tour Guide

Do you live in or near a popular tourist destination? If so, you can turn your localized expertise into an easy way to make extra money! There are multiple websites you can join to advertise your services, and this is also a great way to spend time outside while socializing with new people from around the world. Guides do everything from providing a generalized overview of the city to taking people on specialized routes such as the macabre Jack the Ripper tours that are very popular in London.

10. Flip Items On eBay

House flipping comes with a bigger reward than eBay flipping, but it also requires a larger initial commitment. If this is out of your reach, you can start building some capital by picking up useful and collectible items from yard sales and flea markets. After you clean them up, they can be flipped on eBay for a profit. Make sure that you pay close attention to current trends, and it is also wise to invest in a current toy collectible pricing guide so that you avoid overspending.

Combining these money-making tips with some of the most unusual ways to save money is a great way to boost your bank account! Even if you are only able to utilize one or two of these methods, it should soon be at least a bit easier to pay all of your bills and keep some money in your savings account.

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Featured photo credit: TaxCredits.net via flickr.com

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Holly Chavez

Writer, Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner

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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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