How to Earn Extra Money Even in This Recession, Part 2

(continued from Part 1)

3. Try is a website that allows anyone to post a product or service that costs $5. The website takes $1, so your earnings will be $4 per task. If the task only takes 15 minutes to complete, then you have the potential to earn up to $16 an hour. If you can think of offering a service that doesn’t take a lot of time, you can make some decent spending money. Logo design, for instance, does not need to take that long if you are skilled at PhotoShop. There are also several other websites similar to that allow you to charge up to $25 for quick services or products. A Google search for “Fiverr Clones” should show you several sites that are worth considering. Even if you are working full time, you can use your spare time after work, or even before work or during your lunch hour, to start earning more.

4. Buy a storage unit at an auction.
Or more correctly, purchase the contents of a storage unit. This practice occurs when people put items in storage and then fail to pay their rental fees. Eventually the property devolves to the rental place, who will sell the items in order to recoup their rent. The items will be auctioned site unseen. This practice can be hit or miss, since people might be storing a whole bunch of clothes or other personal items with little to no resale value. However, if you think about the success of eBay, you will know that many people are actually making a living from purchasing the contents of abandoned storage units and selling what they find. CDs, old records, books, tapes, and other collectibles can all be found in this way and sold on. Sell the junk at a garage sale and the good stuff on eBay. With a little luck, that $200 storage unit could be worth $10,000 or more.

There are certain rules, tricks and tips to selling on eBay that you will want to become familiar with before making such a commitment, so start small with a few items in your home and then take it from there. Also consider selling the latest titles as used books on Amazon. Become familiar with good packaging and mailing practices to be sure that any parcels you send out go by a traceable means and arrive promptly and undamaged. Remember that you will get ratings as a seller at all of the sites you participate on, so be prepared to offer good customer service.

If you still have a job but you are underpaid, underemployed, or both, these are just a few of the ways that you can make extra money to pay off debts, start an emergency fund, or start saving for your financial goals for the future.

Further Reading

For more great ideas on how to survive and even thrive in this recession, see: Your Recession Survival Guide

For more information on creating wealth to start your own business, see How to Start a Successful Small Business Even If You Don’t Have Much Cash

For more information on how to start an emergency fund, see Emergency Fund 101: How to Save Money for Unexpected Expenses


How to Earn Extra Money Even in This Recession, Part 1

If you have been affected by the poor economy and are struggling to make ends meet, it may seem almost impossible to come up with any ways to make more money. After all, unemployment is high and there are no jobs, right?

Not necessarily. While there may not be a lot of full-time jobs with high salaries and a good benefits package, the truth is that just because millions of people have been laid off does not mean their work was not important and no longer needs to be done. It is true that some companies have outsourced the work overseas in order to cut down on costs, the truth is that there is a lot of part-time work available if you are willing to take it. And there are jobs out there if you are willing to take a pay cut.

Before you make these decisions, you need to run your numbers. Look at your household budget and trim any luxuries. Then look at the bottom line for the minimum you need each month to keep your household afloat without using credit cards or biting into savings. If you are unemployed, how does your level of payment match up? If it doesn’t you will want to go back to work sooner rather than later, even if you do have to take a pay cut. If you are considering a part-time job, see how it would affect your benefit. You may find that it pays more, though perhaps not much more.

If you are still working but have decided you don’t earn enough and/or want to save for a rainy day in an emergency fund, or for a particular life goal, then you will also want to look at ways to bring in additional income. Here are a few suggestions.

1. Get a part-time job.
This is the first idea that may pop into your mind when you think of sources of temporary income. If you have a certain set of special skills, then you can command a reasonable wage per hour. If you do not have a lot of skills, more menial jobs like shift work and waitressing can help you plug any gaps in your budget. Jobs that pay tips have the possibility of paying very well, though in this economy, don’t bank on it.

2. Freelance.
If you have skills that people need, such as designing websites or creating great graphics or PowerPoint presentations, your skills are in high demand right in your own city and indeed all over the world. Join one of the popular freelancing sites like elance, elancer, odesk or rentacoder and create a great profile for yourself and portfolio of your work There are a lot of people on there now due to so many others being in the same position as yourself, but quality and speed at the right price can help you stand out. You may be able to get enough contract work at one of these sites to keep you pretty busy and you might make more money than you would think. Just remember to stay in close communication with your clients and that good reviews will be the key to getting hired by others.

(Continued in Part 2)


A Budget: Your Ultimate Financial Management Tool, Part IV

(Continued from Part III.)

Now let’s look at your own personal finances in more detail.



Savings should always come first before any spending or investing, except if you are carrying a fair amount of consumer debt or student loans. If you are, make it a point to pay if off first, as we have discussed above.

But do also make sure that there is no penalty actually involved in paying it off quickly. Seriously, they WILL do that. WHY? Because they make more money out of you paying interest, than in paying back the principal (the money owed.

Once you are in the clear on debt, then it makes sense to save.  If an APR is at 15%-29%, then the 4-5% savings you would get from the average online savings account would be meaningless.

Look at your savings options, and choose something with relatively easy access so you don’t run the risk of penalties if you have to withdraw it in an emergency (such as if you had it in a 1 year CD).

If you are thinking of investing it to get a higher return on your money, decide what you can afford to invest and thus risk.

Even a small amount saved will help you reach your short term and long term  financial goals.



Above all, keep in mind that your budget is a living entity, as the cost of living goes up or down, and your situation changes.  If you are living on your own, make sure you hold yourself accountable, by realizing that short-term sacrifices can lead to long term gains.

If you are in partnership, both of you will need to be happy with the final budget, and feel like it’s something you can stick to. Remember, you’re working together towards a brighter and better future, not playing the blame game.

Once you have your budget, you can look at your overall financial health, and work on the areas that need improvement. At least with your budget, you will have a workable map toward your destination, so while you may not always steer the straightest course, at least if you follow your budget, you won’t sail onto the rocks.




A Budget: Your Ultimate Financial Management Tool, Part III

(Continued from Part II.)

Now let’s look at how to start organizing your family budget.


If you have a spouse or a significant other, you should make this budget together. Sit down and figure out what you are spending money on both collectively and together to run your household. If there is a lot of fat that needs to be trimmed, try to take it a step at a time. Remember, there is no blame involved, it is just looking at the cold hard facts.

Often just looking at them is to see a problem, and once you see it, you can start to work together to come up with a solution.



The next step is to discuss  joint financial goals are in both the short and long term. Car, vacation, house, kids, college, retirement, these are pretty standard goals for most people. You may have other personal goals too, like going to grad school, having to pay off student loans, and so on.

Whatever the goals are, the first step is to identify them. That way you can plan your route to get to those goals.

Every journey begins with a single step, so the first step to attaining your goals is to make a realistic budget that you, or you and your partner,  can live with.



A budget should never be a financial starvation diet. That won’t work for the long term any more than living on lettuce for three months to trim the fat would work. All you will do is get sick of it, and binge.

So, be honest, and realistic. The rate of inflation is about 5%, so make reasonable allocations for food, clothing, shelter, utilities and insurance and then add on 5% for a bit of wiggle room.

Set aside a reasonable amount for entertainment and the occasional treat. If you want a vacation, set aside a certain amount each month, but be clear it will have to come out of your budget, and not from a credit card or at the expense of other crucial items.

Continued in: A Budget: Your Ultimate Financial Management Tool, Part IV


A Budget: Your Ultimate Financial Management Tool, Part II

Continued from Part




The first thing you should do is work out your budget. That means looking at the reality of your situation here and now.

There are a number of free online tools and sample worksheets you can use, including at the America’s Debt Diet website. There are also templates in the Microsoft suite as well.

Then get out your most recent pay stub, and all your rent/mortgage, utility bills, and start filling in the blanks. Look at the receipts for all the things you’ve bought in the previous week. Work out in round figures how much you spend on items like gas, electric, cell phone, regular phone, food, clothes, and entertainment.



Then look at your credit card statements, and the minimums you are paying each month. Is there anything left at the end of your calculations?

If yes, great.

If no, not so great. But take heart.

Now look again. Is there anything you can cut back on, any ‘luxuries’ you could do without, or do with less of? How much would you save each month.

Look at your credit card statements, at the balances, but also at the APRs, the annual percentage rates for the money you are basically borrowing for that new sweater or great pair of jeans you ‘just had to have’.



If you took the money you saved from the luxuries, how soon could you pay down that debt?  If there is any left over, pay down the ones with the highest APR first, then the second, then the third, and so on.  You will improve your credit score very rapidly too if you don’t always pay at the last minute, but rather pay as soon as the bill comes.

In a lot of cases you can even pay quickly and easily online, free of charge.



Once you have filled in your budget, make a calendar for yourself of when all the bills are due. It is easy to lose track of one and then end up with big problems on your hands.

Look at whether your pay cycle is weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. Then you can space out the payments over X number of checks you are getting.


Continued in: A Budget: Your Ultimate Financial Management Tool, Part III.


A Budget: Your Ultimate Financial Management Tool, Part I


A builder uses a set of house plans, or blueprints, whenever he builds a house or office building.

Rocket scientists would never begin construction on a new booster rocket without a detailed set of design specifications.

Yet most of us go blindly out into the world without an inkling about finances,  and without any plan at all as to how we’re going to achieve our  lifestyle goals in the short term and long term.



The most financially successful people have a blueprint or plan, called a  money plan is called a budget, to help keep them on track in both the short and long term when it comes to achieving their financial goals.

Without a plan, they would spend whatever they wanted, whenever, and basically end up living hand to mouth. Worse still, they might end up running up a great deal of debt, spending more than they earned, until they couldn’t even meet their credit card minimums any more.



Credit has been easy to come by for the past few years, but in this current economic climate, a lot of credit card companies are pulling the plug on consumer credit. They might also be inflicting much heavier penalties on anyone who misses a payment, or increasing the interest rate, or, in some cases, even changing the payment date in the hope that you WILL make an error.

They are also making a great deal of money preying on people’s fears of credit card fraud, rather than taking the sensible steps of trying to cut back on credit card fraud in whatever way they can.

So credit cards are not your friend, and yes, it may be tough to get along without them, but your budget will be a lot better for it in the long run. Your budget is the one way to try to make sure you don’t end up on the rocks of a financial disaster. Or, if you think you’re already in danger of running aground, it can be the action plan that helps get you out of danger with persistent effort.


Continued in: A Budget: Your Ultimate Financial Management Tool Part II