The following is a contribution from my blogging friend, Jon.
When dealing with personal finances, there are only two ways to improve a bad situation. You can save money by cutting expenses or you can increase your income by earning more money. Most will only focus on one side of the equation and that tends to be saving money on monthly expenses. The problem with this is that you can only cut so much from your monthly expenses before you will need to focus on increasing your income. After all, you might be able to go without a car, but if you live somewhere that doesn’t have public transportation, your quality of life is going to suffer.
As a result, going without a car is not an expense you can realistically cut.
The problem with increasing your income is that many people are not sure how to increase their income so they don’t do it. The obvious options for increasing your income are to get a raise or work a second job. But what if you already earned a raise or don’t want to work a second job? Then what? Here are 6 overlooked ways to boost your income.
#1. Rent Out Your Car
If you own a car, then you have an asset. Your vehicle helps you get around and increases your mobility. While many will think of a car as just a personal asset, it can also help out others in need of transportation.
There is a growing trend of services that will allow you to rent out your car and earn money. Companies provide a marketplace where people wanting to rent a car can find one from someone willing to rent theirs out. Car owners that live in larger cities and don’t drive their car often can bring in an additional $250 on average per month.
When it comes to car insurance, you need not worry. Car insurance follows the driver and not the car. So for example, if I were to borrow your car and get into an accident, it would be my car insurance that pays for the damages, not yours. I realize that checking and verifying that potential renters of your car have insurance can be cumbersome. That is the nice thing about using a third party. For a small fee, they do the work for you of verifying things and even handle the back and forth in the case of an accident.
Of course, before you go this route, be sure to check with your car insurance provider anyways just to make sure your policy doesn’t have any limitations or exclusions that you may not be aware of.
#2. Rent Out Your Car
Become a cab driver. Thanks to technology, you don’t need to fork over hundreds of thousands of dollars for a medallion that most cab drivers are required to have. You can get a job for Lyft or Uber. You can choose to work the hours you want. Maybe you only want to drive people around on weekends? With either of these apps, you can do this and make some decent money on the side.
And since you are driving people around as a business, you should track your gas purchases, miles driven and maintenance so you can write them off on your taxes.
You might even do this on a short-term basis. Maybe there is a big event in town and many out of town people are visiting. You can just work during this period and earn a few bucks.
#3. Test Websites
Do you spend time online looking at websites or love to shop online? There are thousands of companies that get regular people to test out their websites in order to find issues or just to get general feedback. There are many opportunities each and every day for people to sign up to test a company’s website. You start out earning $10 per website and it takes about 15 minutes per test. If you can do one test a day, you can earn $300 per month.
The great thing about this option is that you don’t need an advanced degree to be able to test the websites. In most cases, you are just clicking on links and making sure you don’t encounter any errors or broken links. In the case of providing feedback, you just have to record your thoughts and opinions as you surf around a website.
#4. Sell Services on Fiverr
One of the most overlooked income generating opportunities is using Fiverr. While it is relatively new compared to other services, it has blown up in popularity. Fiverr is a marketplace where people can offer services starting at $5. When it first started, you could only charge $5 for your service, but the model has changed. You now can provide basic services for $5, but can offer add-on services for more money.
There are thousands of people looking for simple services each day. You might not think that you can offer a service, but check out Fiverr to see what people are offering (I was blown away at all of the various offerings).
Some people offer copy-writing, editing, drawings, design, video work, Facebook likes, back linking, and everything else under the sun. It would be relatively easy to come up with an idea that you can sell. If you can sell one service per day at the base price of $5, then you could bring in $150 per month. That is just one service sold per day. Bump it up to just 5 per day and you are making $750 extra each month.
#5. Running Errands
Do you know that most people hate running errands, but have no problem paying someone else to do it for them? While you might think it could be hard to find such jobs, the best place to go is on Craigslist. You can either promote your services or find people looking for an assistant. The pay will depend on what type of errands you run, but the need is definitely there.
If you aren’t comfortable with Craigslist, then do a Google search for errand runners in your local area. If you live in a well-populated area, you might find a local errand running service website where you can join to advertise your services.
As with the previous tip of driving for Uber, you should track miles driven and gas purchases so you can write these off of your taxes.
#6. Rent Out A Parking Spot
When someone lives in a prime real estate location or owns an awesome parking spot that is not being used, then they can make money renting out that location. Many homes that are near popular locations can rent out a spot in their driveway to people looking for easy parking. This is a popular type of service in small college towns along with large metropolitan areas. If you own a parking spot that you are not using, then it could be easy to rent it out to other drivers for easy monthly income.
I know of a few people that live near the professional football stadium in my city. They have a driveway and a nice sized front yard that they rent out for parking. The price is less than at the stadium, and an additional benefit is that you avoid the traffic jam at the end of the game. I usually see around 10 cars in their front yard/driveway during games. At $20 per car and 8 home games, that’s $1,600 over the course of a few months. And that doesn’t include any baseball, basketball, hockey games and concerts!
When looking for overlooked ways to boost your income, it’s important that you look outside the box. The caveat to this though is that you need to look for solid opportunities to produce income. It would be easy to make money illegally, but we both know it won’t last and odds are you will get in serious trouble!
Additionally, asking for and getting a raise is a great first step, but you can only earn so much from your job before needing a promotion. By diversifying your income to other areas, you not only increase the amount you earn, but you protect yourself with an additional income stream should your main job ever be lost.
Jon writes at Penny Thots, a personal finance blog whose goal is to improve your finances one day and one penny at a time.
Photo courtesy of: Melies the Bunny