5 Ways to Earn Extra Money Fast for the Holidays

The following post is by MPFJ staff writer, Chonce. You can read more articles by Chonce over at her personal blog, My Debt Epiphany. Enjoy! 

The holiday season is winding down. While the holiday time is an exciting time to relax and spend time with family, it can also be quite stressful on your finances due to all the costs associated with the holidays.

Many people spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on purchasing holiday gifts, decorations, hosting and attending parties and events, and so on.

Nothing stings more than getting into debt this time of year. One thing you can do to avoid spending more than you earn over the next few weeks is to find ways to earn more money to cover the increased expenses over the past few months.

Here are 5 ways to earn extra money fast to either prepare for or recover from the holiday season.

 

  1. Get a Seasonal Job

 

Earning extra money through a seasonal job is a good idea if you are worried about stretching your budget for the holidays.

Seasonal jobs tend to provide a consistent income (even though it’s temporary) because business usually picks up during the fall and holiday seasons.

Many businesses like Amazon.com will be looking for online customer service reps this holiday season to assist shoppers and answer questions about purchases, shipping inquiries, and more.

This positions with Amazon range from $12 – $15 per hour on average and can last up to 6 months or longer if you leave a lasting impression and they need to take on a regular employee.

You can also try working as a seasonal associate at busy stores like Target, Walmart, K-Mart etc. Or, try getting holiday-themed gigs like doing photography at the mall or decorating store fronts.

 

  1. Test Websites

If you’re looking to earn some extra money from home, you can test out websites during your spare time and offer your honest feedback.

UserTesting is a popular website that pays people to review other websites and blogs.

Testers get paid $10 for each 20-minute review and they just answer simple questions and record their first impressions and experience navigating through the website.

It’s not a ton of money, but it will add up once all those unexpected holiday expenses start trickling in.

 

  1. Sell Items Online

If you’re buying new gifts for people in your family, it’s the perfect time to clean out your home by selling items you no longer use.

You can sell items online via Amazon, Ebay, or Craigslist, or you can sell them directly to buy-back consignment shops.

If you have old clothes, movies, furniture, children’s toys etc. there are many small stores that may buy them back from you if they are in good condition. Plato’s Closet, Once Upon a Child, Clothes Mentor, and Disc Replay are all national chains and there are plenty other options depending on where you live.

If you don’t have many consignment shops in your area, stick to selling your items online for better results.

 

  1. Become an Uber or Lyft Driver

My husband recently started driving for Uber and he loves it. His car is older (a 2006 I believe) and we live in the suburbs but he still gets a decent amount of trips and his side income is currently helping him be able to afford holiday expenses this year.

Uber also pays drivers every week, so if you get started now, you can get paid a few times before Christmas.

One of my friends recently quit a job he didn’t like to drive for Uber and Lyft. Lyft drivers also get paid weekly and Lyft allows drivers to receive tips. According to Lyft, around 60% of passengers tip.

No matter which rideshare option you choose, you can enjoy flexible work and drive to earn money whenever it’s convenient for you.

 

  1. Babysit

If you have friends, family, and neighbors who may be busier over these next few weeks, consider offering to babysit for them. Couples love date nights and since daycares aren’t open in the evening, you can market your services better around that time.

Making a profile on Care.com or Sittercity.com will also help you land clients.

If you can’t or don’t want to watch kids, consider babysitting pets by walking dogs or keeping an eye on them when their owners are out of town.

You can advertise your services in your neighborhood and I always recommend Rover.com which is a site that connects pet sitters and dog walkers with owners who are in need of the service.

If you need extra money to recover from the holidays, you can earn money quickly by trying any of these ideas.

The key is to get started so you know how much you need to earn.

How about you all? How are you earning extra money to recover from the holidays?

Share your experiences by commenting below! 

***Photo courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/76657755@N04/7027602839/in/

Make $100 Tomorrow With These Quick Jobs

money-woman-my-personal-finance-journeyThe following is a post by MPFJ staff writer, Toi Williams, who is a professional personal finance blogger of Fine Tuned Finances. She has backgrounds in personal finance, sales, and real estate.

Having an extra $100 can be a lifesaver in a wide variety of situations. Having that money can prevent a utility from being turned off, put groceries into an empty refrigerator, or help you avoid late charges on a bill that is due. Fortunately, there are many ways available to earn an extra $100 quickly when necessary. Here are some quick jobs you can use to make $100 within a day.

Sell Your Services

Nearly anyone can make a quick $100 over the course of a day by selling their services to their friends and neighbors. There are a wide variety of tasks that you can do that others would be interested in paying you for. These jobs require no special skills, only a willingness to work and a determination to make some money. Here are some easy services that you can offer to your circles to make some quick cash.

Handyman Services – If you are handy with tools, you should consider offering handyman services around your neighborhood to earn some quick cash. Simple tasks like painting, unclogging drains, and putting together pre-fabricated furniture can result in the money you need with just a few hours of work. Maintenance tasks and automotive care can earn you even more. Agree to a price with the customer before the job begins to ensure there are no unpleasant surprises for either party at the end of the job.

Lawn Care Services – There are few people that would claim that they enjoy caring for their lawn on a regular basis and many are willing to pay someone to do these outdoor chores for them. You should initially target homes in your neighborhood with unkempt lawns and untrimmed bushes, as these people may be more willing to pay you to make their yards look presentable. Do a great job and there is a good chance that you will find yourself with repeat customers.

Photography Services – If you have a decent camera, you can sell photography services for special events, like weddings, vacations, and graduations. Many people are willing to pay amateur photographers to avoid paying the high prices of professionals. Several companies have made it easy to get into the photography industry by providing filters and special effects that can be used to enhance the photos you take. Physical copies of the photos can be printed with a home printer on photo paper or at a local drugstore using the available photography kiosk.

Cleaning Services – Many people are looking for others that can help them clean their home or office properly. You can even make money cleaning and detailing cars. Because this is an easy job to do that requires little overhead, there is a lot of competition for these jobs. Browse listings on Craigslist or your local newspaper’s website to find clients, or consider posting your own listing offering your services. There is a good chance that you will be able to find a job and get paid for it the same day.

Babysitting – No matter how much a parent loves their child, they enjoy spending time away from them every once in a while. If you offer babysitting services to your friends and neighbors with children, you are sure to find some takers. Just make sure you have activities to do while you are babysitting, as houseful of bored kids can turn into a nightmare really quickly. You can also offer petsitting or housesitting services for a small fee.

Make Money Online

Since you are paying for your internet connection, why not use the service to make some extra cash. Numerous companies have popped up over the past decade allowing people to get paid to do tasks outside of the normal employment environment. Some of these tasks do not pay very much, but they can be completed quickly or in unison, allowing you to accept more tasks to make more money. Here are some great ways to make extra money online.

Sell Your Photographs – There are quite a few companies online that allow you to sell photographs that you have taken. For example, both Shutterstock and FOAP allow you to post and sell your photos online for a fee. Interested parties browse the site and you get paid for each of your photographs selected. You will make more money if your photographs are of interesting subjects or have widespread commercial appeal.

Perform Tasks for Others – TaskRabbit, Gigwalk, Zaarly and Postmates are platforms where customers list random tasks that they need performed and the amount that they are willing to pay for these services. You chose the tasks that you want to perform and get paid after the tasks are confirmed as completed. Amazon.com’s Mechanical Turk pays a few dollars per assignment for simple tasks like writing product reviews, entering information and editing documents.

Utilize Your Writing Skills – If you are good at writing without grammatical errors, you can earn good money writing things for companies and small businesses. You can join a writing team on a site like Textbroker or Demand Media or find your own clients through job board listings on sites like Freelancer.com or Indeed. The rates for these types of task vary by assignment, so focus on topics and tasks that you excel in to make the most money as fast as you can.

Sell Unwanted Stuff

Most of us have things lying around the house that we either do not use or has outlived its usefulness to us. Instead of trashing these items, sell them for some extra cash. There are a wide variety of ways available to sell unwanted stuff. Here are some of the most common.

Garage and Yard Sales – Garage and yard sales are a great way to sell a lot of your unwanted stuff over the course of a day. With a small investment in some price stickers and poster board to advertise your sale, you can make $100 or more from neighbors interested in what you have to sell. These methods allow you to choose the pricing of your offerings and allows you to negotiate with those who may be interested, but find your price too high for their tastes.

Websites – People have flocked to websites like Amazon, eBay, and Craigslist to sell items that they do not want anymore. On these websites, sellers can list their items individually or in lots and name their price. Listings on these websites include everything from household goods to sports equipment to clothing.

Resale Stores – In recent years, dozens of resale stores have emerged to buy people’s unwanted stuff and resell it to consumers that are willing to buy gently used items. Many of these stores specialize in a single product category. For example, Once Upon A Child specializes in children’s clothing, while Play It Again Sports focuses on sporting equipment and New Uses handles household goods. Be aware that these places pay set prices for particular items, so you will have little control over what your items are worth.

How about you all? Have you tried any of these methods of making money? Are there any other ways to make $100 fast that I might have missed?

Share your experiences by commenting below!

***Photo courtesy https://www.flickr.com/photos/76657755@N04/7658159678

Starting A Side Income Stream: Selling On Amazon With FBA

This is a post by staff writer Jeff. Jeff blogs about finances and going green at http://sustainablelifeblog.com and has started a new project detailing his efforts to earn money online at onlinesideincome.com

There are plenty of ways to earn extra money, and a lot of ways to do it solely online as well. You may needed it for more security, perhaps work from home to watch your child(ren) or some other reason. The reality is that no matter your situation, a little more income every month never hurt.

If you spend your time reading online a lot, you may have heard about various ways of making money on Amazon. There’s the popular Pat Flynn interview with Jessica Larew, talking about how she buys things at clearance sales in department stores and places like CVX/walgreens and resells them on amazon for a profit.

There’s another way, sometimes called “white labeling”, which essentially involves creating your very own product, having it produced in China and then selling it on Amazon FBA (Fullfillment by Amazon). While this takes a lot more capital than the other method, you “own” the buy box (meaning you’re not competing on price with anyone because your item is original) and you can decide the margins of your product. This is very much a capital intensive business, but as you can see from these few posts about Amazon FBA, the potential for returns are huge.

If you’re interested, here’s what you’ll need to do.

First, you’ll want to select a product. This is without a doubt the most important step. You need something that you can buy in China (look on alibaba.com for suppliers) and sell for 3-4x on Amazon.com. You’ll need to make sure your product idea is profitable, which you can do with one of 2 (free) tools: Unicorn Smasher or Jungle Scout. With these tools, you can filter out some lower priced product and find something that you can sell on Amazon.

Second, you’ll need to find a supplier on Alibaba. I was lucky and had a a group to reach out to and got a recommendation from someone who has been manufacturing in China and selling online for almost 10 years, so I greatly trusted his recommendation, and it did not disappoint. The product was high quality and made with high quality materials, and I was very lucky. This probably took a few weeks off of my total product to Amazon time because many need to try out 2-3 suppliers to find one they like.

Once you’ve found a supplier and a product, you need to go through and look at competing products and see what other people who own the product like or do not like about it. There are plenty of reviews online (and on Amazon.com) and there are great ideas in there. For instance, one of my competing products did not have the ability to do something that I (and many others) thought was a requirement, so I easily adapted the product and added that feature. This differentiated my product from the others in the category, and allowed me to charge a higher price point.

What’s important here is finding the right product and making your product better than what’s already on the market. If you can nail those 2 things, you should be fine with your product.

If you’re looking for a few more resources on Amazon FBA, this 17 part series is very through and helped me quite a bit when I got started.

Readers – are you interested in Amazon FBA as a side income source? Or would you prefer something else?

Share your experiences by commenting below! 

***Photo courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/emmajane/65585561/in/

Places to Earn A Little Extra Money in 2016

It’s hard to believe that we’re already almost finished with January 2016. Have you been able to lay out your financial resolutions and/or goals for the year?

Personally, I am a little bit behind on my financial planning and goal setting for the year, as my wife gave birth to our first child on January 7th. However, I have put together a plan to contribute to our pre-tax accounts in order to lower our taxable income so that we’ll be in the 15% marginal tax bracket for 2016.

If you’re looking for some ideas on financial resolutions for 2016, a great place to start is to organize your finances to earn a little extra cash for a rainy day. To bring in the dollar bills in 2016, here are a few places/financial accounts available to help get you there:

  1. Online Savings Accounts

You never know when a rainy day is going to hit, so setting aside money in a savings account is a great way to reserve your cash in case of an emergency. In my personal finances, an online savings account is one of the most important tools I use. I employ online savings accounts to park my emergency fund savings, as well as my savings for life values and dreams based financial planning. An good example of the benefits/features of an online savings account is the Discover Savings Account, which enables you to earn 0.95% APY for all balances, which is 5X the national savings average, and the account has low monthly fees and no monthly balance requirements.

  1. Certificate of Deposits

Another place to earn a little extra money in 2016 (and beyond!) is with a CD, or certificate of deposit. Often, CDs have a few more restrictions/requirements than the online savings account discussed previously, such as a minimum opening balance and minimum investment term. However, if you have more flexibility in your finances, CDs can be a great way to earn slightly higher interest rates in a very secure manner.

  1. Money Market Accounts

If you want to earn high yields but still have frequent access to your cash, then a money market account is for you. For example, Discover’s money market account offers 0.80% APY for balances under $100,000 and 0.85% APY for balances $100,000 and over. And with more than 60,000 free ATMs, you can get your cash fast, often without the maximum number of monthly transaction restrictions that is common to savings accounts.

  1. Cash Back Credit Cards

Of the various types of rewards cards out on the market today, cash back rewards cards are my favorite. This is because I get cash back from my purchases, which of course, can be used in a variety of ways instead of being restricted to purchases from a single industry or vendor. When you are shopping around for a cash back card, it is good to have a minimum expectation for the cash back you receive. First, you should get a minimum of 1% cash back on ALL purchases, regardless of category. Second, in today’s competitive market, the card should have opportunities to earn a higher percent cash back either from a specific vendor or in rotating categories of purchases.

Discover has a few great options for cash back cards;

  • The Discover it® offers 5% cash back on quarterly rotating categories on up to $1,500 in purchases and 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • The Discover it® Chrome offers 2% cash back at restaurants and on gas on up to $1,000 in purchases per quarter and 1% cash back on all other purchases

How about you all? What are your favorite ways to earn a little extra side money?

Share your experiences by commenting below!

Disclosure: I am a paid brand Blogger for Discover Financial Services My views are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Discover Financial Services and its affiliates. Specific interest rates are subject to change with market fluctuations.

How to Rake in the Dough at the Farmers Market

farmers-market-my-personal-finance-journeyThe following is a post by MPFJ staff writer, Derek Sall. Derek is the owner of the blog, LifeAndMyFinances.com, where he teaches people how to get out of debt, save money, and become wealthy.

Have you ever walked through a farmers’ market and thought, “I could do this. I could easily grow something and sell it here.” But the next question is, what would you sell? What is it that you could easily grow at home and then sell for a hefty profit at the farmers’ market?

At my local market, there are about four different vendors that sell the normal veggies like strawberries, beans, and tomatoes, and they all seem to leave with more than half of what they came with. If I wanted to sell something, it surely wouldn’t be something ordinary like this, because there are simply too many people selling the exact same thing!

5 Plants to Grow and Sell at the Market

If you want to rake in the dough at the farmers market, then you’ll have to grow something that’s desirable but different. The five options below are a selection that almost anyone can grow, but perhaps could be unique to your farmers’ market.

1) Landscaping Shrubs

Now that housing values have been on the rise for a few years, people are really starting to improve their properties, and this most definitely includes the landscape. Find out what types of shrubs are most popular in your area and try your hand at growing a few dozen. They’ll likely take a couple of years to mature to a point where you can sell them, but the profit margins are enormous. Buy the seedlings for $1 or less and sell the nearly mature plant a couple of years later for $15 or more!

2) Flowers

Everyone loves flowers. People plant them, exchange them, and guys even by flowers after they’ve done something that require forgiveness. People of all ages and gender buy flowers from time to time. If your farmers’ market is currently without flowers on a regular basis, consider growing them (either inside or outside) and setting up a station at the market. Seeds can be purchased for pennies on the dollar, and an assortment of flowers will often sell for $5 at the minimum. The profit margins are good, and if the interest is there, you might just make a killing when you try to sell them!

3) Gourmet Mushrooms

Personally, I’m just starting to develop a taste for them, but there are a lot of people that are absolutely crazy about their mushrooms. They search for good flavors at the store, they ask their friends if they have any fresh ones, and some people even go out and hunt for wild mushrooms in the woods!

If you have some room in the house or outside to create a greenhouse space, with just a 10 foot by 10 foot space one can grow up to 2,500 pounds of mushrooms, which, at $7 per pound, you could potentially develop sales of $17,500. That’s not too shabby considering that the initial expense is minimal, as basically all planting options are.

4) Japanese Maples

Japanese maple trees are absolutely beautiful. They don’t grow so big that they’ll overtake your yard and they can be grown with a variety of different colors. Personally, I would start by growing a few full Japanese maple trees so you can give people a real live look at what they look like. Then, start growing them into 6 foot trees and sell them based on your photos (and of course, other online photos that could be helpful). Become an expert in what you’re selling and people will have confidence in buying from you.

5) Sweet Peppers

Finally, sweet peppers aren’t seen too often at any farmers’ market that I’ve been too (not when compared to strawberries anyway – those are everywhere!). Like mushrooms, many people love them, plus they are pretty easy to grow and preserve once you pluck them from the vine. Become the hit of your farmers market by providing your customers with sweet peppers!

Summary

If you really want to reap the benefits of selling at your local farmers market, you’ll have to find something that quite a few people are looking for, something that’s relatively easy to grow, and something that you can make a tidy profit on, even with competitive pricing from nearby venders or from your local garden center. The item you have in mind might not be in the list above, but if it fits these criteria, then give it a try. After all, what do you have to lose? A few bucks in seeds? This could become a $10,000-$20,000 a year business. I’d say it’s worth giving it a shot!

How about you all? Do you plan on selling something at your local farmers’ market soon? Have you been successfully selling items at a farmers’ market in the past?

Share your experiences by commenting below!

***Photo courtesy https://www.flickr.com/photos/nataliemaynor/2539111053/