Now that I have “cut the fat” out of my spending, it’s time for me to find ways to earn a little extra money. I am an emotional shopper and I love to buy gifts for people. I have always worked outside of the home and I enjoy making my own money.
I know. I know. My husband and I are a team and so it is still our money, but let’s be honest, it doesn’t always feel that way. So, I have come up with ten different ways that I could help bring a little extra money into our household budget.
These things won’t make us rich, but they did pay for a belated honeymoon to Puerto Rico. And let me tell you, we loved our couple time, and I was proud to be able to do something for him without using the money he was earning.
When I looked at different ways to bring in extra money, I had to break it down into two categories: selling and earning. Both are great options to help with the household expenses or maybe something special, like a belated honeymoon, in my case.
1. Consignment Stores
In today’s budget conscious world, consignment stores are a great option to sell some gently worn items around the house. You must mentally prepare yourself that you will only get a fraction of the purchase price back, but if it is not being used, then it’s just wasting space anyway.
There are consignment stores for almost everything: women’s clothing and accessories, maternity clothing, baby and kids clothing, toys, furniture, wedding dresses and jewelry. I am sure there are many other types of consignment shops but these have been successful so far for me.
Some of my favorites in my area of town have been: Spanky’s located in both Beaverton and Vancouver (Women’s clothing, accessories and some household furnishings); Degrees of Chic located in Canby (Women’s clothing and accessories); Richele Kay in Portland (Bridal); The Shabby Chic Bride in Salem (Bridal); and Consignment NW in Beaverton (jewelry and furniture). These are all great places to sell your once loved items, but also a great place to find a good bargain on high quality items.
Resale shops are slightly different from consignment shops, because they will pay you outright for you items. These businesses have a great knowledge of what sells in their shops and usually give you cash on the spot. Again, much like consignment shops, you must be ready to get far less than what you paid.
A few of my favorite shops in the area are Once Upon a child (baby and kids clothing, including gear) and Plato’s Closet (young adult clothing and accessories). These are both national franchises, so you are still supporting a local owner in your community. I also like This n That in Oregon City (antiques and home furnishings).
As with consignment stores, I am sure there are many other Resale shops out there, but these I have found success with personally. So far, I have found the biggest success with Once Upon a Child. It is amazing how quickly babies grow out of their clothing.
3. Online Apps
There are many online applications out there, definitely too many for me to count. The online companies that want to buy your items is increasingly becoming bigger and bigger business. It is somewhat like a resale shop, but not all sell goods, some only buy.
My favorite Clothing App is thredUP. You simply go to their app or website and order a bag. You fill the bag with good quality items and send it into them. They then look over your items and pay you for what they want through PayPal.
I’ve had some success with them. The thredUP app and website are user-friendly and void of a lot of clutter that many sites have. Mainly I like the idea of out of sight, out of mind. Any clothes or accessories they are not interested in, they give to local charities. Thredup is also a great place to buy clothing and accessories as well. They have high-end items at a fraction of the price.
I’m in the process of trying a few other apps, but for now thredUP has my vote.
I think it’s safe to say that most people have heard of Craigslist and have probably used it a few times themselves. Craigslist has almost completely taken the place of the classifieds in the local paper. On Craigslist you can sell almost anything. There are many varied sellers on Craigslist, dealerships and local stores, but mainly individuals who want to sell their once loved household items.
Craigslist is a wonderful option to get rid of furniture, especially. It is amazing the things that we have sold on here and also found. One person’s trash can definitely be another person’s treasure.
But a few keys to selling on Craigslist: give a full description of the item, post a lot of actual pictures of what you are selling and most importantly, be safe. Remember a stranger is coming to your home. I like have a friend or family member with me, but just remember to be safe.
5. Garage Sale
Last but certainly not least, is the old standard, garage sale. It is a time-consuming endeavor, but it is a great excuse to clean out your home and make some extra money for all of the little trinkets that you once loved.
You can sell almost anything but make sure to advertise what you are selling. From signs to ads on Craigslist to sending out a Facebook event, if people don’t know you are selling things, no one will buy them.
Again, it is important to take a lot of pictures. Make people want what you have to sell. The more pleasing to the eye, the more people will want to visit your sale. Clean all items and gather like items together when selling. For example place all kitchen items in one area, clothing in another area and tools in another. This makes it much more pleasing to the eye.
And remember, once the garage sale is done, don’t move any of the items back into your home. Last resort (or for some the first option), donate your items to charity. There are so many amazing charities that survive on donations: Dress for Success, Goodwill, Salvation Army and others. If you keep good records, this could help come tax time, but please consultant a tax advisor, I am definitely not that.
You have now cleaned your house out of at least some of your once loved items. What next? After a few months of using the above techniques, I had paid for our two-week vacation in Puerto Rico. But I didn’t just want to pay for our honeymoon, I wanted to not worry about the spending money on our honeymoon. And I especially did not want my husband to worry about it. I wanted to be able to tell him “I’ve got this” and mean it with absolutely no apprehension.
1. House Sit / Animal Sit
A great way to earn some extra money is house or animal sitting. Think of all of your friends that have animals, but still like to travel. Most people will kennel their animals if they are going out-of-town, but would much prefer to have someone care for them and love them in their own home. Church bulletin boards and Craigslist can be great options. If you want to put a wider net out for people looking for this, Care.com is a wonderful option as well. I am sure you have seen their advertisements on television. They have drastically expanded their business, from childcare to many other facets.
Today with the most public schools overcrowded, even the best teachers have a difficult time giving each student the one on one time needed. And if a student has extra needs, it can be overwhelming for any family. Many families are now looking for tutors for their children. If you have a background of working with children, tutoring might be something that would work for you. With pay starting from $20 per hour, depending on the area.
Many times word of mouth is enough to find families in need of tutors, but don’t forget Craigslist, church bulletin board and school bulletin board. Also, as stated above, Care.com is a great option as well to see reviewed tutors in your area.
If you are a person that loves to write or take pictures, freelancing might be the perfect thing for you. Most online publications are constantly needing new and fresh material. Sites like Elance have job postings for many various projects, from blog posts to in depth articles.
Istock is also a great place to sell photos. As with online publications needing fresh written material, sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.
4. Etsy/ eBay
Do you have an artistic side? Do friends constantly compliment you on items that you have made? Etsy is a great option to sell items that you create. It has a low start-up cost and has a worldwide following. From artwork to clothing to antiques, Etsy has unique finds for everyone and is increasingly becoming more and more popular.
In the past I had heard about mystery shopping and thought that it was some sort of scam. I couldn’t believe that companies would really pay me to evaluate their service. But the reality is mystery shopping is a viable way to bring in some extra money. It will definitely not make you rich, but it can add some extra money to your household.
I have made about $1500 over approximately 7 months completing various mystery shops. I have worked for many different mystery shopping agencies as a contractor. Some of my favorite companies to work with are Ath Power, KSS International and Bare International. But I have found the easiest way to find shops is by logging into Jobslinger. Jobslinger is a mystery shopping job board that lists most available mystery shops in the area. Some companies don’t use this job board but more and more are starting to use it. If in doubt, always check with MSPA Trade Association for peace of mind.
Whether it be selling some unneeded things around the house, or earning money through mystery shopping, the above ten ways can help bring in some extra money in almost any household. I have to admit, it feels wonderful to earn money yourself. I appreciate my husband so much, and he works so hard for our family, but being able to pay for our amazing honeymoon brought me a little added self-confidence and self-value.