Thank you, Debra Lewis, for today’s article.
Whether you’re living on a tight paycheck-to-paycheck budget or you simply want some extra cash for a coveted craft project, there are many ways to make your money go farther. You don’t have to take a second full-time job or work overtime hours to bring home some extra cash. There are many easy ways to both earn and save simply by changing your habits or making sure your hobbies pay off.
Learn to Shop Sales
Image via Flickr by Kevin Dooley
If you’re in the habit of simply buying what you need when the mood strikes, you’re undoubtedly spending more than you have to. You can start stretching your budget further on nearly any purchase simply by looking for sales. Follow the weekly ads at your favorite stores, watching for the items you love most, to get that markdown. Craft stores often have blanket coupons for a certain percentage off your purchase. Grocery stores run a diverse selection of sales that will help you save in every category by buying in bulk when items are on sale and stockpiling your staples.
Clean Out the House
Do you have cash hiding around your home? Though you might not find a secret stash of bills anywhere, you could have hundreds of dollars sitting around in the form of unused goods. Comb through your house carefully with an eye for items that you no longer love or regularly use. Be strict about sentimentality, and hold on to as little as possible. You can then sell these items on Craigslist, eBay, or at a garage sale for some extra money to pad your budget.
Cash In On Your Talents
Make a list of things you’re particularly good at, and look for talents that may have a monetary value. If you can crochet at record speeds, you may find a market selling the scarves that you whip up around Christmas time, right when you need some extra funds for gifts. If you’re a natural people-person who loves networking and growing her social circle, you might make some decent cash selling Amway products on the side. Be creative, and look for unique ways to earn a few extra dollars doing things you enjoy in your free time.
Reevaluate Your Accounts
Take a close look at your financial accounts to see if there are any opportunities to stretch your money. If you’re carrying a balance on any credit cards, you can ultimately put money back in your pocket each month if you’re able to pay them off. Use the strategies already mentioned to make some extra money to apply to your credit card payments until you’re down to zero. The interest accrued on existing balances forces you to ultimately spend more than face value on items you purchase with these cards.
Look closely at your bank accounts as well. Do you have money earning interest in a savings account? Shop around to make sure you’re getting the highest interest rate possible. Make sure your checking account isn’t costing you money in the form of hidden fees. If it is, start looking for a different bank or credit union that will give you the same services at a lower cost.
Stop Buying New
If you don’t want to buy less but you’re serious about saving money, stop purchasing new items, and instead learn to hunt for cheaper used versions. This is particularly helpful if you have children who regularly need new clothes. Gently used items cost a fraction of what they cost new, and in many cases, the difference in quality is hardly noticeable.
You can buy used home goods, books, electronics, and more at stores like Goodwill or Salvation Army. Check out eBay, your local garage sales, and Craigslist. Finally, remember your local library system, and stop by to borrow books, movies, and music free of charge.
With some smart strategizing, you can trim your expenses and increase your income with minimal time and effort. Use one or all of these tactics, and you might find that you can afford the materials for your next craft project.