Updated: Aug 30, 2018
When we hear from many renters about their personal finances, it is most often about how much things cost (expenses), rent going up (expenses), electric bills getting bigger (expenses), the flat tire they had to get fixed (expenses) and the cost of gasoline (expenses).
It mirrors the rest of society in that the mentality is all about how to squeeze down, tighten the belt, and live on even less. But just like a belt, there is only so much that you can tighten before you start to hurt your bodily organs!
So what's the answer? More income. Here's a few ideas how:
At Your Current Job:
1. Ask for a Raise. Many employers have specific times of the year they do reviews and raises will be discussed. If that time of the year is coming, create the best argument you can for why you deserve a raise. In other words, increase your value to your employer - finish projects, sell more, reduce your company's expenses.
2. Get a New Job. Sometimes to climb the ladder, you need to jump to a different ladder. (Whatever you do, find and accept a new job BEFORE you quit your current one.) But at least try #1 first.
Outside of Work Hours:
3. Babysit. Go to Care.com or SitterCity.com and sign up as a care provider for children, if you are good with children and you have time in the evenings to spare (i.e. you are not working or have your own children to care for). For the best rates and number of jobs, take the time to write your profile and go ahead and spring for the background check. Parents want to feel comfortable with the person they hire to be in their home with their kids.
4. Become a pet sitter. If you love pets, are good at caring for them, and (ahem) don't violate your landlord's pet policies, pet sitting might be a good option for you. In particular, you can offer your services as a dog walker or for drop-in care, through websites such as Rover.com, Care.com, SitterCity.com and PetSitter.com.
5. Become a driver. Services like Uber and Lyft have changed the taxi business forever. No longer do we have to call Yellow Cab or another taxi company, wait for the old Lincoln Continental to show up and slide in to the plastic bench seat in the back, trying not to imagine the puke cleaned up from the floorboards the weekend before.
Now, you can use your own vehicle to take driving jobs during your off time so you can make the car payment for the month, pay the rent (my favorite), save for your emergency fund, or to take that weekend trip you've been planning.
6. Run errands or do odd jobs. Offer your services to do small tasks, run errands and other things in your spare time. Check out websites like TaskRabbit.com and GetMagic.com. Also, check the jobs section of your city on Craigslist.com.
7. Sell stuff on eBay or Craigslist. Find and purchase items from thrift stores or yardsales (and/or sell some of your own stuff you don't want or need). How much you make selling things online largely depends on how much you know about the items you're selling. The best advice I've heard is to focus on only a few things - you can easily make a few hundred to a few thousand dollars every month with consistent effort in your off hours.
Best advice I heard on this was from social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk, whose advice was to find old magazines at yardsales on the weekend, purchase them for pennies and then sell them online for dollars. Check out the eBay Magazine Back Issues page and be amazed!
8. Sell your old clothes. Go online and search for "sell old clothes" plus your city's name to find local consignment companies who will sell your gently worn, vintage or designer clothing. You can also check out Poshmark.com, Tradesy.com or ThredUp.com for other options.
9. Participate in focus groups. I did this in college several times. It's somewhat irregular, but can be a nice pop of cash every now and again - often $50 to $200 per 2 hour session. The key is to sign up with a focus group company and if the timing works out when they call, great. I would not use this as the only way to increase your income.
Check out "Available Studies" at FocusGroup.com or go to FocusGroups.org and select your city. Don't be shy - you're hustling, remember? - call and email as many as you can in your city so you are on their list.
10. House Sitting. Personally, I don't really understand why this is a thing, BUT people seem to pay for it, especially when they go on extended vacations. You may be able to (or have to) travel, stay in a great house and earn money while doing it. But you'll need to establish yourself on house sitting websites, submit to a background check, get some great references and develop some skills you may not have currently (pet sitting, gardening, phone answering, housekeeping). Check out HouseSitter.com, Care.com, TrustedHouseSitters.com and HouseCarers.com.
11. Freelance. Apply your writing, design or technical skills for some off-hours cash. Check out SkyWord.com for writing assignments for established writers. If you are good with computer design tools, check out 99designs.com or CrowdSpring.com. There are dozens of other things you can do for some extra cash at UpWork.com, Freelancer.com and Fiverr.com.
12. Tutor. Are you skilled in a subject area and have some teaching ability? Care.com is a resource for offering your in-person tutoring skills. For doing tutoring online, check out StudyPool.com for helping with homework questions, or Chegg.com or Tutors.com for in-person or online tutoring.
13. Do deliveries. We're becoming a delivery society and retail stores are closing down all over. Food, groceries, and everyday products are being delivered on the fly in most big cities now. Do deliveries on your off hours and make some extra cash. Check out Uber, Amazon, DoorDash or Instacart. I have personally used each of these for deliveries and expect to do so even more in the future.
14. Sell Parts of You. Mostly to not end with 13 things, I'll go ahead and float this one out there: you can make some extra cash by selling, well, parts of you. So, here goes the list - you can be a sperm donor (go here for more info), and egg donor (go here), you can sell your hair (go here), donate your plasma (go here), or even join a paid clinical trial (go here).