In this case, raising the bridge means to increase your income, even if it is only by a little bit or temporary. The following are some examples of ways to do this. Not all of these will work for everyone. We hope that this listing will help prompt you to think of ways you can earn a little extra money.
Mystery Shopping: We mention this one first because it really worked for us. However, there are a lot of scams out there, so you have to be very careful about what you do. To start with, no one is going to send you a check up front for any job you are asked to do. NO ONE.
One really big scam out there works like this: A person is asked to send some basic, benign information like phone number, address, etc., and then the person is sent a check to cash. The check looks and seems legitimate. It is usually drawn on a company that the person has heard of.
The person is asked to cash the check, and then keep a certain amount to be their fee. They are asked to go to a particular Western Union or Moneygram location and send the money to a particular person.
Supposedly, they are mystery shopping the Western Union or Moneygram location. Soon the check is discovered to be bogus. The person who cashed the check will be faced with overdraft fees as well as having to replace the money they sent to the person on the other end of the Western Union or Moneygram. By then, the receiver is untraceable.
The person who cashed the check might actually get arrested, as was the case for one person we ran into. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
There is a variation of this where the person is offered money to have their vehicle wrapped with the logo of a well-known company and then they will be paid mileage for driving around.
Usually there is a sense of urgency because the company wants to have the vehicle wrapped before some upcoming sporting or other event, like a regional gun show.
The person will be sent a check for a large amount and asked to cash it and then send it via Western Union or Moneygram to the graphic design team who will come out in a few days and wrap the vehicle.
There are scores of legitimate companies out there. You can find a great many of these through MSPA (Mystery Shopping Providers Association).
You can find legitimate mystery shopping jobs through them. You can also pay a small fee to become certified through them.
Don’t expect to get rich. However, if you only accept jobs that pay you enough to make it worth your while, you can make money. For instance, we were given a route of banks to mystery shop at $25-50 each. This took us through several small towns. Along the way, we mystery shopped several restaurants. If we had only conducted the mystery shops at the restaurants, we could not have afforded the gas we spent for the trip.
Since we were going to be in that area of the restaurant anyway, it really cost us nothing to mystery shop the restaurants, other than our time. And, we got reimbursed for the money we spent on the food.
Merchandising: Kind of related to mystery shopping is merchandising. Companies who need to have small jobs performed that would be too costly or time consuming, or even just too expensive for them to conduct themselves will hire a merchandising company like Spar to have individuals go into stores where their merchandise is displayed and service it.
Many retail stores have countless lines from multiple manufactures. There is only so much time in a day that store employees can spend on any one product line. Therefore the manufactures will hire a merchandising company go into the stores and work their displays.
We worked for numerous prepaid phone companies who wanted to have their phone displays updated. They would hire a merchandising company to go in and work their displays. The merchandising company would hire individuals at a flat rate. We would go into the stores, work their displays and take a picture showing the before and after of our work.
Notary Public: This one worked well for us, too. We paid a fee to the state to become a notary
We bought two magnetic signs for our car and had business cards printed. We visited several mom-and-pop stores in our area and let them know about our service.
When someone asked the store owner about a notary, they would call us and we would drive to the store, notarize the documents, and collect our fee. Some owners wanted a cut of the fee, but most only wanted to help their customers.
Errands: We never tried this one. However, some people make money by running errands for people. Things like picking up packages at the post office, or running to pay a bill for someone are examples of this service.
Personal Shopper: Some people love to shop. Others hate it. For those that hate it, many are willing to pay someone else to do it. This kind of shopping can include going to the local big box store and picking up groceries. It can also include such things as going to the higher end stores and picking up clothing. Some people hate to try to pick out a gift for someone and are more than happy to pay someone else to do it.
Some busy people are willing to pay a little extra to avoid having to go to the store themselves. In some cases, a person who has a discount card with a particular store will shop for the items, use coupons, loyalty cards sales, and rebates. They will then charge a service fee and provide the item at its regular price.
Gift Baskets: Some people have found that they can custom assemble gift baskets. They take small items that they pay a little for, put them in a well-designed basket arrangement, and sell the basket at a profit. Some people make baskets for a neighborhood welcoming committee where they take coupons and small promotional items and place them in a gift basket.
CheckPoints, ShopKick: These two apps, and we are sure there will be more like them soon, pay you to use your smartphone to scan items in your local store. The app will give you a list of items that they need to verify are actually in that store. Sometimes you are given points for walking in the store.
When you scan the bar code on the correct item, points are added to your account. Once you accumulate enough points to qualify for a payout from these apps, you can request the payout.
These apps payout with gift cards to Amazon, Walmart, Paypal, or other places. The gift card choices vary, so check the app.
Checkpoints can be found at https://www.checkpoints.com/ our referral code is celticmama36
ShopKick can be found at http://get.shopkick.com/parsley59692
By using these links and/or referral codes, we get points towards our next reward.
Direct Sales: Avon, Mary Kay, Tupperware, and other companies like them have traditionally sold their products door-to-door, or as some people call it, belly-to-belly. The idea is that some people prefer to shop face-to-face in the comfort of their own home. A representative will drop off a catalog and the person can choose what they like and order it from the representative.
We sold Avon for a while and found that placing magnetic signs on the car and keeping plenty of brochures on hand were the key. Recently, the company has been through some corporate changes and they are having a problem keeping items in stock. Hopefully things will get back to normal.
Programs like Tupperware can work that way, but have been traditionally sold through the party concept. A person will host a party with the expectation that sales from their party will earn them free gifts.
When we were back in South Carolina, this worked well for us because we could pick up the product at the local distribution center. Once we moved to Texas, the area was starving for a Tupperware representative. However, we could not make a profit because the shipping charges were too steep. Your results may be different.
Multi-level Marketing: Supposedly, multi-level marketing is similar to direct sales. The idea is that you are recruiting others to sell your product, or are you? We sold Amway for a while and did well as far as selling the product goes. The idea is that you will be a good business person and buy from yourself. Then, you will recruit others who will buy from themselves and sell to friends and relatives.
These recruits will then want to recruit more people who will buy from themselves and sell to friends and relatives. We think you get the point.
Although there is money to be had in the sale of the product, most people focus on the recruiting aspect instead of sales. We sold Amway for a while and did quite well with the sale of the actual product. We found that many people were interested in the products.
The only reason we stopped was a change of jobs and that Suzanne got pregnant. We could no longer service our customers with the level of quality we expected from ourselves.
Amway ($62 to $99.99) amway.com
Enrich Unicity enriching lives.com ($40 in USA)
Newspaper Route: Many years ago, we bought a small, very fuel efficient car. It was great on gas.
The great part of the job was that we are normally night people and the hours were perfect. The routes were great and most of our customers were wonderful. They even gave tips and gifts at Christmas.
We increased our profits by providing outstanding customer service. We also put Avon and Tupperware books in the newspapers along our route. We only had one complaint about this.
We did so well with this we were hired by the newspaper as a district manager and a telemarketer. The paper fired us the day they found out Suzanne was pregnant.
Blogging/YouTube: For us the jury is still out on this. However, there are countless people who make large sums of money by blogging, vlogging, and making YouTube videos. The key to this is to find a proper niche in which you have some type of expertise. Then, get advertisements. There are countless books on the subject. Also, there are tutorials on YouTube about how to do this.
The way to monetize your blogs and YouTube videos is to create content that people want to see or read. Then, you need to get these same people to actually watch the advertisements that are played just before your video. Or, they need to be interested enough in a banner or text ad to click on that advertisement and make a purchase.
Get Paid to Search: Sites like Swagbucks and Bing will give you points for searching the web using their search engine. You can also earn points on Swagbucks by watching videos and taking surveys. Points can be converted into gift cards with places like Amazon and Walmart. Sometimes you can earn PayPal credits as well.
Get Paid to Take Surveys: I think everyone of us has been sucked into the vortex that comes from clicking on those advertisements that say “Get Paid to Take Surveys” then, you keep taking them and taking them with no payout. However, there are legitimate places where you can earn a few cents, up to a few dollars, just for taking surveys. Amazon mTurk gives you the security of a top company like Amazon that makes sure you get paid for your efforts.
The pay isn’t great, just a few cents or so for five minutes of your time. But, it does add up. We earned enough from mTurk one month to pay the light bill.
Write ebooks: We have seen the claims about how one can make thousands of dollars by writing ebooks. We have also read countless ebooks about how to produce one or two ebooks per day by paying writers in other places like the Philippines to write books for you.
For most of these ebooks, the quality is very low. But, for many, the price is low, too, so those making the purchase have not lost much. Amazon does have a refund policy that makes risking the 99¢ or so much more palatable.
If you have a great book idea, you can write it and try to find a publisher. You then may have to suffer through rejection letter after rejection letter. Or, you can self-publish at no cost. Zig Ziglar took the chance on his first book, See You at the Top, and it became a best seller. Then, publishers were beating a path to his door.
Create courses for uDemy: This is something we are currently working on. Chances are very good that you are reading this through uDemy. If you have a skill that can be taught, you may be able to turn it into a marketable course via uDemy.
Baby Sit: We live in a world where it is almost impossible to find reliable childcare. When parents can find a place that will work for them, chances are good that the center is full and booked well ahead into the future.
There are many people who make a little extra money by watching other people’s children after school, when they are too sick to go to school or daycare, or when the parent cannot get the child into daycare due to scheduling or heavy enrollment levels.
Take in a boarder (roommate): This one might not be for everyone. And, it is one that involves certain risks. If you have young children that might be exposed to a boarder or roommate, there are risks. Also, there may be extra insurance costs and government regulations that are involved, but it might work for you.
There are services like AirBnB that allow potential landlords or hosts to link up with paying customers.
Ebay: Many people start with Ebay by selling an unwanted item or two. Soon, they are scouring the local thrift stores, second hand shops, and yard sales searching for items to sell on Ebay. There are countless books available on how to sell on Ebay.
Sellers pay a small fee for each item listed. When it sells, if it sells, the seller will also pay a small commission on the sale.
Some people make a good living using Ebay and/or selling local using Craigslist and other similar services. Be careful with meeting anyone face-to-face or giving anyone on the internet your address. It works well for some.
Etsy: Etsy started out as a place where someone who handmade items could sell to people who wanted to have handmade items, but didn’t have the skill, the time, or just plain didn’t want to do it. However, recently they have allowed items that have been manufactured commercially to be sold via their service.
Sellers pay a small listing fee for each item listed. When the item sells, the seller pays a small commission on the sale as well.
Hobbies: Hobbies such as photography, pottery, and gardening can all be turned into money-making activities. If you have a hobby, chances are good there is someone out there willing to pay for what you produce. Suzanne is a professional photographer. There are numerous websites out there dedicated to selling digital photographs as stock images.
If you can start plants from seeds or cuttings, you may be able to start plants and sell them to nurseries and greenhouses in your area that cannot keep up with the demand.
Tax Preparation: Big name tax prep services like H & R Block and Jackson Hewitt offer classes each year in tax preparation. They hire some of their students. Other students will work for other tax services or hang out their own shingles and prepare taxes. With today’s modern software, it isn’t that difficult to prepare someone else’s taxes. It just may be a bit time consuming and nerve wracking.
Bookkeeping: There are numerous small businesses out there that need someone to take the receipts they accumulate during the year and put them in a form that can be used by their accountant or tax preparer. If you are comfortable with spreadsheet programs, this may be a choice for you.
Lawn Care/Landscaping: If you have a lawnmower and a few basic tools, you can start a little side job mowing other people’s grass and performing basic yard care services. If you have even greater skills, you may add landscaping and gardening to the mix. Print you a few business cards and pass them out.
In a small town, mowing a yard might fetch $50+. In a more upscale area, even a small yard could bring in $200 or more. You just need to know what the market will bear.
There are new ways to make money every day. Just be sure that whatever you do, you keep yourself and your loved ones safe. There are services like Uber where you can drive people to their desired destination during your spare time when it works out for you. However, you must keep yourself safe.
You never know if the person on the other side of the transaction is on the up and up or not. Even if the person’s profile checks out, it is always possible that the profile was hacked and you now have some type of serial killer in the back seat. Stay safe! No amount of money is worth your life or the life of someone you love.
Sarah Titus was once living in a women’s shelter. She was able to get out of that situation and into a place of her own by working every angle she could. One angle was finding discarded items, reconditioning them, and selling them. She also shopped yard sales and listings where people were selling items before they moved. She would resell these items at a profit.
The blog Financial Panther tells of a young lawyer who fought hard to pay off his student loan debt in two and a half years. He did this by living frugally and working several side hustles, as he called them. One of these side hustles was to work as a bike messenger when he wasn’t working as a lawyer.
Don’t overlook the idea of having a yard or garage sale where you sell items that have been given to you by friends and relatives. You may be able to have one every few months, depending on the laws in your area.
You may also find odd jobs housesitting and pet sitting.
We have attempted here to provide some ideas of ways to earn a few additional dollars. Most of the ones mentioned can be started for a small investment or even no money. Hopefully, we have given you some ideas that will work for you.
You can use that extra money to balance your budget, pay off some bills, and hopefully restore order to your life.
An interesting article we read about making a little extra money at home can be found at:
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