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5 Alternative Ways to Make Money

5 Alternative Ways to Make Money

Saving money is difficult in today’s world, and making extra money outside of your 9-to-5 is way too much of a hassle to worry about.

The above statement is one that definitely reflected my own attitude towards money for a long time, and I’m sure it’s one that rings true for many others out there as well. There is no denying that it is hard to save money, and most of us just don’t have any energy left at the end of the week to be thinking about getting a second job. However, our financial future is not something we can afford to ignore.

What I’ve come to realize is that saving, and financial planning, does not necessarily mean relying on traditional, low-interest savings accounts, stocks, shares, or getting onto the property ladder. All of these things might come later once you achieve more breathing space, but there are some alternative and possibly fun ways to go about making small amounts of money.

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1. Collectibles (Sports Memorabilia/Comic Books…)

The lovely thing about making money from collectibles is that you will most likely be turning an existing hobby into a money making scheme. Okay, this is a long-term way to make money as the prices of things in this market only tend to rise in value over a prolonged period of time. In the short-term, however, it’s a great way to geek-out and definitely one of the most fun alternative ways to make money. And, you never know, if your chosen collectible is one that hits the cultural zeitgeist further down the road, it might just end up paying for your retirement.

2. Let An App Do It For You

We all know that investing in stocks and shares is how the big boys have always traditionally made money, but you don’t have to be the Wolf of Wall Street to be successful here anymore thanks to the many user-friendly routes that are now out there. It does take a lot of time and hard work to master the markets, not to mention a sizeable starting kitty, but, as with all things in modern-life, there are now plenty of apps ready to do it for you.

From apps that connect to your bank account and round up all of your card payments and invest the total for you, to stock market simulators that let you learn without risking a penny, it’s never been easier for the little man or woman to dip their toes into the world of high finance all through the comfort of your own phone. App options are a great example of how technology is empowering the masses and providing us all with alternative ways to make money.

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3. Peer-to-Peer Lending

When you sign up for a peer-to-peer lending scheme, or lending club, you get the chance to become the bank. With starting investments as low as $25, however, there is zero obligation for you to invest anymore than you can afford. The beauty in this method of making money is that you are always in control, and you get to take pride in knowing that you are helping your peers’ businesses get up and running.

There are obvious risks attached to this kind of scheme, but it’s definitely a light way of learning how finance works and definitely one of the more interesting alternative ways to make money at the same time. This is not to mention that it’s an interesting, potentially quite inspiring, and profitable method as well.

4. Start Ups

Just think of all of those companies that didn’t even exist 5 or 10 years ago which are worth billions today. Uber, Instagram, and Snapchat, are just a few of the examples that come to mind quickest. Now, think about how simple their basic concepts are. The concepts might be simple, but the people behind them all had big ideas. Big ideas that didn’t necessarily have a lot of backing from the outset.

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Today there are so many crowd-funding platforms out there, that it’s not impossible for you to catch that next gravy-train all the way up to a Facebook buy-out. Okay, that is pretty unlikely, but it isn’t impossible. Simply engaging with people with bright ideas who are working in fields that interest you, is a really inspiring way to go about developing yourself.

The start-up you choose to help out might not turn out to be one of the best alternative ways to make money, but just seeing what other people are trying to achieve could very well give you the little push to go out and make sure that the next basic concept to become a billion dollar business is your own.

5. Yourself

This might be a bit of a cheat addition to this list, but it is essential for you to remember that there is only one person in ultimate control of your own financial destiny. Little sacrifices may have to be made here and there, but boosting your education is probably the most surefire way to a brighter economic future.

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Whether this comes in the form of a night-course where you learn how to code in order to make a complete career change, or studying Spanish on the weekends to impress your boss. An investment in yourself is always the one that runs the least risk, and also offers the highest rewards.

Featured photo credit: Sebjanssen via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 2, 2020

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

Personal 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. 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 to set financial goals and actually meet them with ease.

4 Steps to Setting Financial Goals

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

1. Be Clear About the Objectives

Any goal 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’s for. It could be anything, including your child’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 that you foresee in the future and put a value to each.

2. Keep Goals 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 beyond what you can realistically achieve will definitely hurt your chances of making meaningful progress.

It’s important that you keep your goals realistic, as 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.” This quote sums up what inflation could do your financial goals.

Therefore, account for inflation[1] whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far into the future.

For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years from now, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is a mere 3%. Always account for this to avoid falling short of your goals.

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4. Short Term Vs Long Term

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

As a rule of thumb, any financial goal that is due in next 3 years should be termed as a 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.

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

How to Achieve Your Financial Goals

Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a two-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.

Ensuring Healthy Savings

Self-realization is the best form of realization, 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 spending. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you will be surprised by how small expenses add up to a sizable amount.

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

If you’re not sure where to start when tracking expenses, this article may be able to help.

2. Pay Yourself First

Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classic mistake when setting financial goals. We pay ourselves last!

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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 manage all the expenses from the rest.

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

Taking the automatic route will help release some control and compel us to manage what’s left, increasing the savings rate.

3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick With It

Learning to create a budget is the best way to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be organized

Nowadays, several money management apps can help you do this automatically.

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. 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 counterintuitive to many, there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

  • Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Weekends are more expensive.
  • If you are a travel buff, try to travel during off-season. You’ll spend significantly less.
  • If you go shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

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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5. 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.

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

6. Maintain a Journal

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

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.

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

Making Smart Investments

Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However, savings, when invested wisely, can do wonders.

1. Consult a Financial Advisor

Investment doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s 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.

2. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the common ones, like a savings account, Roth IRA, and others.

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[2].

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 compared to equity instruments.

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3. 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.”

Use compound interest when setting financial goals

    Make friends with this wonder kid. The sooner you become friends with it, the quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

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

    4. 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 and taking stock of how our investments are doing.

    If we don’t measure progress at the right times, we are shooting in the dark. We won’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not, whether the financial advisor is doing a decent job, or whether we are moving closer to our target.

    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

    Managing your extra money to achieve your short and long-term financial goals

    and live a debt-free life is doable for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Use the tips above to get you started on your path to setting financial goals.

    More Tips on Financial Goals

    Featured photo credit: Micheile Henderson via unsplash.com

    Reference

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