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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 July 10, 2020

The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

Debt can feel crushing, like a weight that is always weighing you down. Looking at those numbers, it can feel as if you’ll never get out from under it. However, if you really want to learn how to get out of debt, it is possible with a great deal of focus and self-control.

Getting out of debt isn’t impossible. Like any big goal, all that it takes is an action plan to identify where you are and creating a plan to zero out your debt.

Identifying All of Your Debts

The first part of paying off your debt is getting a complete picture of what you owe. When you have everything written out in front of you, it makes it much easier to create an action plan. Depending on how much you owe, it might also help you realize it’s not as bad you might have originally thought.

Here’s how you can get started identifying your debts:

1. Own Your Debt

Before you start identifying all of your debts, take a moment to process that you have debt but want to get out of it.

Forgive yourself for any past mistakes, missed payments, or overspending. It might be painful to accept how much debt you have at first, but you must own it.

2. Make a Debt Tracker

It’s astonishing how few people ever created a tracker to understand their total debts. Most likely, it comes from not wanting to accept the guilt of having debt, but, if avoided, it can make it nearly impossible to get out of debt.

Open up a new Google or Microsoft Excel sheet and list out all of your debts. Start with the name of the creditor, interest rates, total balance, loan term length (if any), and the minimum amount due each payment. This will include student loans, credit cards, and any other type of debt owed.

3. Get Your Debt Number

Once you’ve made your debt tracker and taken the other steps, identify your total payoff number. This is crucial, as you will have a starting point and a clear goal that you are trying to achieve.

Prioritizing Your Debts

All debt is not created equal. It’s imperative to understand that there are different types of debt.

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1. Understand Bad and Good Debts

Bad debts are usually paying for things you want instead of always need. While there might be some emergencies that max out your credit cards, often times it’s excessive spending[1].

There are three main types of bad debt:

  • Credit Card Debt: The average American household owes over $16,000 in credit card debt!
  • Auto Loan Debt: According to CNBC , the average auto loan in the US is $30,032!
  • Consumer Loan Debt: Consumer loan debt isn’t as common as credit card and auto loan debt, but it’s still considered bad as interest rates are usually between 10-28%.

Good debt is identified as investments in your future. Here are three common types of good debt:

  • Student Loan Debt
  • Mortgage Loan
  • Business Loans

2. Decide Which Debt to Pay off First

Once you know each type of debt and their interest rates, you can begin to pay off debt quickly.

Focus on paying off bad debt first, regardless of if it is a credit card or auto loan. Start by paying off the loan with the highest interest rate first.

If you have several credit cards with different interest rates, you want to focus on the one with a higher APR. You will actually save more money by eliminating the card with the highest interest rate.

3. Don’t Pay the Minimum Amount

Paying the minimum amount digs you into a hole as interest rates will offset your payment. Even a small amount more than the minimum can help you pay off debt much faster.

Removing Obstacles to Pay off Debt Quickly

Creating a debt tracker and prioritizing a plan is simple, but avoiding temptation can be difficult.

1. Set a Reminder to Track Your Debt

“If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it.” -Peter Drucker

It’s so important to track your debt to ensure that you get it paid off quickly. Similar to working out and measuring your results, you need to track your debt constantly. Start with a weekly reminder, where you sign on and log your updated number. Did you increase, decrease, or stay the same?

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Regularly tracking your student loan balance can be incredibly motivating, as well. You will get a huge confidence boost each time you see your total debt amount decreases.

Set weekly and monthly goals so you can have short term wins and keep the momentum going.

2. Hide Your Credit Cards

If your biggest debt is credit cards, you need to eliminate temptation and remove them from your wallet.

Some people have gone to extreme measures by freezing their credit cards. Why? This would create an ice block around your card, which would require you to chip away at it slowly. This will give you time to think if it’s the best idea to buy that thing you’re about to buy.

3. Automate Everything

Willpower can be a huge downfall to paying off your debt. By automating your bills each month, you will ensure that willpower isn’t involved.

4. Plan Ahead

Getting out of debt will require some sacrifices, but with enough planning, you can make it work.

For example, if you know that you have a friend’s birthday or family dinner coming up, plan ahead for the costs. Whether you need to cut back on spending the week before, pick up a side job, or meet them after dinner, do what is needed.

5. Live Cheaply

The only way to get out of debt is to make some sacrifices on your spending habits. Find ways to save money each month so you can apply that amount to your outstanding debts. Here are some ways to save money each month:

  • Live with roommates
  • Cook dinners and prepare lunches for work instead of eating out
  • Cut cable and choose Netflix or Amazon Prime
  • Take public transit or bike to work

Finding the Lowest Interest Rates

The higher your interest rates, the harder (and longer) it will take you to pay off any debt.

If possible, you want to find ways to lower your interest rates to help get out of debt quickly. Here’s how you can get started:

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1. Maintain a High Credit Score

Your credit score will have a large impact on your ability to refinance your loans and receive a lower interest rate. If you have a low credit score, it’s unlikely you will be able to refinance your loans. Use these credit tips to increase and maintain an excellent score:

  • Never miss a payment
  • Don’t exceed 30% of your credit limit
  • Don’t sign up for more than one card at once
  • Limit hard inquires, like auto-loans and new credit cards
  • Monitor frequently with free credit-tracking software

2. Find Balance Transfer Offers

Start by opening a free account on credit.com. Credit.com offers you the chance to open a free account and see what type of balance transfer offers you can receive. Some of your existing credit cards might already have 0% or lower APR balance transfer offers available.

Contact each of your credit card providers to ask about lowering your rate for a one-time balance transfer offer[2].

If you do take advantage of this option, make sure that you use a balance transfer and not a cash advance. Cash advances have a ton of high interest fees (15-25%, depending on your credit card) and will only compound your debt problem.

How to Get Rid of Debt Forever

Setting up a plan, removing temptations, and getting the lowest interest rates is the first step to get out of debt.

1. Keep Monitoring and Adjusting

Once you have a plan, don’t get comfortable. Track your debt payoff plan and make the necessary adjustments when needed.

Monitor your credit scores with a free site like CreditKarma. The higher your credit score climbs, the more likely you will be to secure a new, lower-interest loan.

2. Earn More Money

There are only so many ways to save money. Instead of clipping another coupon or making sacrifices for your morning coffee, find ways to earn more money!

Think about it…it is much easier to find ways to earn an extra $1,000 per month than find $1,000 to cut from your budget.

Here are some examples of ways to earn more money:

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Talk to Your Boss

Have a conversation with your boss about current salary and/or commission rates. If you’re not satisfied or want a change, don’t be afraid to look around at other positions. Some of them might even have a student loan debt reimbursement plan!

Start a Side Hustle

This could be coaching students on the weekends, driving for Uber, or taking paid online surveys. There are tons of ways to make money outside your 9-5. Now that you have a clear plan to pay off your debts, you’ll be more motivated than ever to figure out creative new ways to earn money.

Build an Online Business

There are so many websites and blogs that earn money from ads, affiliates, and other online products. Find your niche and get started.

3. Celebrate Your Wins

As you progress in your debt payoff journey, don’t forget to celebrate your wins. You need to always reward yourself for the hard work and discipline that is required to get out of debt.

While you shouldn’t celebrate so big that it increases debt, make sure to factor in little rewards to keep you motivated.

4. Set New Financial Goals

Eventually, with a plan and these steps, you can rid yourself of your debt. Once you do, make sure to celebrate your monumental achievement, but don’t stop there.

Now, you can focus on acquiring wealth and increasing your net worth. Set new financial goals so you have a new target to aim toward. Here’s how to set financial goals and actually meet them.

These could be anything now that you are debt free! Think about where you want to travel, buying your first home, or saving for your future retirement. Just like before, make sure that your goals are specific, measurable, and achievable.

Conclusion

Congrats, you can now set a plan in motion to finally pay off your debt quickly (and hopefully forever)!

Remember, if you want to get out of debt quickly, it’s not always easy. Just like any big goal, there will be sacrifices, challenges, and problems to overcome.

More Tips on Getting out of Debt

Featured photo credit: Pepi Stojanovski via unsplash.com

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