The economy today is forcing many families to make cutbacks or search for ways to increase their income. Austerity is the word of the year (Merriam -Webster editors pick). Many families are feeling the pinch of the tight times and feel that instead of tightening the belt, they are cinching the corset. So what can you do? Examine your spending habits and determine where you can make cutbacks. Also, evaluate your free time and skills to determine opportunities to increase income. Here are some money making opportunities that will require little of no monetary investment.
This is something that your 14 year old can do or that you can turn into a family business. My husband and I chose a middle road with this venture. He offers mowing services at reasonable rates and he will weed eat and of course blow sidewalks, porches and driveways when done. We are not going to quit our day jobs or get rich quick with this business. But, we will get some tax breaks and some extra money. Our out of pocket expenses were minimal since we already had a commercial weed eater and blower. We invested $700 hundred dollars in a walk behind 48″ John Deere mower. The best time to find inexpensive lawn equipment is in the winter months when it is not being used.
My husband has gotten work just by word of mouth; so we have had no advertising expenses. But, you can advertise with little or no cost to you. Post flyers on bulletin boards at local stores, place flyers in mailboxes of neighborhoods where you would like to mow, or invest in magnets for your vehicle with your business name and numbers. How much can you make? Well that depends on how much time you want to invest and the services you offer. We are making a few hundred dollars a week extra, but my husband only has a couple of evenings to devote to mowing. Even at just a few lawns a week, that money adds up quick. But like I said, don’t quit your day job just yet.
Lead generation is a great option for you to make some money at home with little or no start up investment. No one likes to cold call people, so if you are willing to do this you can get paid. Some non for profit agencies will provide you a list of names to call asking if the household will set out donated items for pick up. Then you get paid per pick up that is made. In addition to cold calling perspective donors from a list, you have to call and remind the donors the night before pick up to have their stuff ready. This job requires organization and a quiet place to make calls. I have made up to $2 dollars per pick for this job. The trick is to locate these type of jobs. You can call Foundations or just watch for postings on Craigslist. You might even post your willingness to do this job on Craigslist. Other companies such as those in the home improvement area will pay you to appointment set. This is basically the same concept, cold calling. If you have thick skin and can handle rejection while staying focused on the task you can do this job. One tip, make sure your caller id is disabled before you place a cold call.
If you live near college campuses you can offer typing services to the students. It is amazing how many kids make it through high school without learning to type or keyboard as they call it today. I will admit that I do not know much about this service since it has been awhile since I have typed papers for money. When I did offer this service, I used to charge by the page. You could research this option by going to the local campus and checking the bulletin boards. Set your prices accordingly and buy the brightest neon paper you can find to make your flyer so it will stand out in the crowd. Overhead is low if you already have a computer and with today’s technology you can just email the finished product and save on ink and transportation costs. One tip here, I would only accept cash or Pay Pal and would not provide the finished outcome until you are paid.
Years ago when I worked in the pizza delivery business we used to pay people to “door-hang” our flyers. This involved giving the door-hanger a set amount of flyers that fit on door knobs and having them go door to door hanging them in a pre-determined neighborhood. This was not much fun, but I used to get an extra $50 bucks to cover a small neighborhood. Granted, I was in much better shape back then so the walking did not bother me. The pizza place’s manager would have an employee drive through the neighborhood a few hours into the project to make sure the door-hanging was actually being done, so don’t get the bright idea of taking the flyers and pitching them in the trash. It won’t work.
You could also consider providing handy man services. That is if you are handy. Take out an ad in a small, local paper or post flyers offering to help with honey do lists. If you can do minor repairs or if you are a jack of all trades and have your own tools give it a try. I have not done this myself, but I do know a person who coordinates handy men providing services and she makes a living at this. I do not know if you need to be bonded or insured in any way, but if this sounds like something that interests you do a little research. Or locate a handy man company and offer your services. Typically the company will outsource the job and give the laborer a percent of the fee they collect.
The key to relief in this economy is finding that balance of being thrifty while adding to your income. This balance can help you stay afloat in this uncertain economy. While these are not jobs that allow you to spend your days at the spa while the work gets done by itself, they can generate extra income to help provide some breathing room in your budget.