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7 Income Streams That Anyone Can Create Easily

7 Income Streams That Anyone Can Create Easily

The days of having one job for 20 or 30 years, retiring and then receiving a pension are long gone. For many years, our parents or grandparents, devoted their lives to one company and were rewarded for their work at a regular retirement age. Unfortunately, that type of devotion no longer pays off. Instead, it’s important to consider you and your family your own personal “company” and to make sure you are being compensated adequately. This might mean taking on extra work, moonlighting or finding other ways to add to your income.

Creating multiple income streams is essential and can be a real boon during a hard time, particularly if you lose your job or have an unexpected expense.

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1. Bank your raise

Do you get a raise each year? If you do, and you are currently able to meet your expenses on what you earn, put the extra away in an emergency fund or savings plan. You’ll be amazed at how much you can save by ignoring the extra.

2. Match your 401k

Most employers offer some sort of match for your 401k plan. If you are not fully vested in your company’s 401k, you should be. Most companies will match your contribution up to a certain percentage or amount. Find out just how much your company is willing to contribute. This is about as close to “free” money as you are ever likely to get and even though it can be difficult, if you need to access that money or borrow from it at some point, you usually can without suffering too much of a penalty.

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3. Credit card points

A lot of credit cards will give you cash back for purchases or points for purchases in various departments — like gas or travel. Find out what your credit card offers. If you have a credit card that offers a good percentage, points or other bonuses, then use your card to pay for all of your purchases in a month and then pay off the balance at the end of the month with your paycheck. This will keep you from incurring interest and still get the benefits of the card.

4. Consulting

Are you an expert in a certain field? No matter what it is from writing to social media to restaurant management, you might be surprised at how much extra money you can make by offering your expertise. Make a list of your skills — things that you do on a regular basis either on your own or in your job. Are you the queen of organization? Do you create social media campaigns that get a lot of followers? Promote those skills and offer them to small businesses, large businesses and individuals. If you’re really good at what you do, start a blog, write a book and create even more income streams from this one area of your life.

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5. Sell it

Whether you have a garage filled with antiques or have a flair for turning someone else’s trash into a treasure, you can make a lot of money by selling things and it doesn’t take a lot of extra time or money to do so. Go through your household items and the stuff in your garage. You might be surprised by how many old toys, small appliances, tools and other items you have and don’t use anymore. Take a little time to take some pics of the stuff and place it for sale. Make sure you post good pictures and are accurate in your description. People are usually fine with something being used, dented or whatever as long as you’re honest about it and you give them a good deal.

6. Fitness benefit reimbursement

Have you recently lost weight or started a fitness program? Your health insurance company might give you some money back for taking care of yourself. Harvard Pilgrim Health, for example, gives up to $150 per family member for belonging to a qualified health and fitness club.

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7. Explore a hobby

Do you love dogs? Do you like to knit? Are you a great baker? Explore these hobbies and see if there are ways you can generate income from them. Even a few hundred dollars a month can contribute a lot to the household. Maybe you could teach knitting at the local fabric store and sell some of your creations at the local farmers market. Or maybe a roadside stand with your vegetables and baked goods could generate some extra income. Whatever your hobby, there is a likely a way to bring home at least enough extra cash to support the habit!

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Michelle Kennedy Hogan

Michelle is an explorer, editor, author of 15 books, and mom of eight.

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Last Updated on June 1, 2020

How to Pay off Debt Fast Using the Stack Method (A Step-By-Step Guide)

How to Pay off Debt Fast Using the Stack Method (A Step-By-Step Guide)

Whether it’s consumer debt on credit cards, student loans[1], or a mortgage, most people find themselves weighed down by debt at some point in their lives. This can keep us working jobs we hate just to pay the bills and keep our heads above water. By learning how to pay off debt fast, you can release this burden and remove some of the stress from your life.

The Stack Method is one way to do this. Once you understand it, you too can learn how to pay off debt fast.

What Is the Stack Method?

The Stack Method, often referred to as “debt stacking,” requires making a list of all your sources of debt, starting with the debts that incur the highest interest. Then, you make the minimum payments for each source of debt, but when any extra money comes your way, you throw it at the debt at the top of the list. This way, you eliminate the debts with the most interest first, dropping extra costs to a manageable level in a fairly short amount of time.

To get started with the Stack Method, go through these steps and overcome those mountains of debt today.

1. Stop Creating New Debt

Most people do not receive training in handling money and how to live within their means. If you’re in debt, then you’re probably one of these people, and it’s time to bite the reality bullet.

It’s going to be impossible to get out of debt unless you retrain your financial habits right now.

You must make a stand against all the marketers trying to take your hard earned money or offering easy finance. You don’t need more stuff to make you happy. What you need is financial peace of mind.

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So cut up your credit cards or freeze them. I mean this literally. Put them in a container of water and stash them in your freezer. Then, when there’s an opportunity to spend, you have time to thaw out (you and the credit cards) and really decide if you need that purchase.

2. Rank Your Debt by Interest Rate

Make a list of all your debt with amounts and the interest rate. The highest interest rate should be at the top as this is what you’ll pay off first.

Paying off your high interest debt is the key to the Stack Method.

Interest is a powerful weapon, and right now the bank or other financial institutions are using it against you. Interest significantly increases the amount you need to pay back, and often we’re completely unaware of how much that is.

For example, if you have a $10,000 credit card debt at 20% interest where you pay a minimum payment of $200 a month, you will end up taking 9 years and 8 months to pay off the actual amount of $21,680 including $11,680 in interest!

3. Lower Your Interest Rates

You can often lower your credit card interest rates by doing a balance transfer. This means moving your credit card to another bank, where they will lower the interest rate to get your business[2].

Shop around and try to get the lowest interest rate for the longest duration (preferably until it’s paid off completely). Just make sure you’re reading the terms and conditions carefully so you don’t get stung by the new bank in other ways.

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Once you’ve done this, you can order your list of debt again if interest rates have shifted.

4. Create a Strategic Spending Plan

This is where we improve your financial control from Step 1. Take a piece of paper and write down your income after tax and all the expenses that you have. This will include the minimum payments on all your debt.

Look at your expenses, and then rank them in order of importance to you. Look at the items on the bottom of your list and decide whether you’d rather have them or be financially stable. The objective is to create a spending  plan where your expenses are lower than your income.

You also decide how much you are willing to spend on each area of your life. You can allocate amounts for rent, groceries, eating out, buying clothes, and other activities. However, realize that once you’ve spent your allocated money, there’s no dipping into other areas[3].

It also helps to have a “Fun Account” that you can spend on what you like, and an “Emergencies Account” in case your car breaks down or other unfortunate incidents come up.

You also want to include the extra amount you’re going to use to pay off debt in your spending plan.

Can you afford $20 a week? $50? $100? $200 or more? It’s important that you get a realistic number that you can commit to each week without fail, and this is your Stack Repayment.

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5. Create a Payment Schedule

The first part of the Stack Method is to cover the minimum payment on every single debt you have. Any time you miss a payment, you incur fees, and these add up quickly. This also includes making the minimum payment on the debt with the highest interest rate.

Then for the debt with the highest interest rate (your Target Debt), you’re going to add the Stack Repayment from your strategic spending plan. You apply this Stack Repayment and the minimum payment until that debt is paid off in full.

As your official minimum payment decreases, you add that extra amount to your Stack Repayment. So, as your minimum repayment drops, your Stack Repayment increases equally. This will compound how fast you pay off the Target Debt by adding even more to the payments you’re making.

6. Reward Your Progress

You want to track your Target Debt so you can see your progress along the way. You can also decide on milestones that you’re going to celebrate and reward yourself for.

A reward doesn’t have to cost money, but if it does then it comes from your previously allocated spending plan.

This is an important step as it will keep your motivation going when you feel your willpower fading.

Just like you’ve trained yourself to brush your teeth and shower, you can train yourself to manage your money. Feel great that you’re now entering the 10-20% of people who are actually responsible with money.

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7. Compound Your Results

Once you pay off your Target Debt, have a huge celebration and congratulate yourself. Then, you move the Stack Repayment (which includes the previous minimum payment now) to the next debt with the highest interest rate.

This becomes the new Target Debt, and you are using your Stack Repayment amount plus the minimum payment for the new debt.

This is why the Stack Method is so powerful. As you decrease a debt, you actually increase your Stack Repayment amount. This means the second debt will get paid off even faster, the third even faster than that, and so on and so on until you are completely debt free.

8. Be Kind to Yourself

During this process, your resolve is going to be tested multiple times. Maybe you’ll have an emergency like your car breaking down or the need to travel for a sick relative. The important thing is to not throw up your hands in despair and slipping back into your old habits.

Life will test your commitment to your new responsible money attitude, and it’s up to you how you respond. When things go wrong (and I guarantee they will), you need to shrug it off and get back on track.

Show compassion when you accidentally go over your target spending amount and decide to do better next week.

The Bottom Line

The Stack Method is a powerful tool, but it’s up to you whether you use it effectively. If you really want results, then bookmark this article immediately and start working through the steps.

It’s only by the decision you make right now that you will enjoy a debt-free future and live a financially responsible life.

More Tips on How to Pay off Debt Fast

Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

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