Guest author Bryan Williams writes about strategies to get out of debt and save money to build long-term wealth.
How much credit card debt are you currently carrying? If you’re like the average American, it’s right around $8,000. That’s a lot of money, and if your game plan is to simply pay the minimums on your cards it could be years before you’re out of debt, if ever. Most Americans want to establish healthy retirement funds, save for their children’s education, and own a home outright. These are not easy things to accomplish when you’re deep in debt, but they are possible eventually.
To help get you closer to your financial goals, try looking into ways to earn money in your spare time. Many of the viable strategies out there do not involve special skills, and several don’t require much of a time commitment. Even if you have to cut back on “fun time” it will be worth it to solve your debt problems. Continue on for some pointers.
1. Join Market Research Websites
Market research websites may not be very well-known, but they represent an excellent opportunity to generate cash. Sign up at a site like Delve or FocusPointeGlobal and from time to time links to questionnaires are going to be sent to your inbox. The questions involve demographic and career information to begin with, and depending on your answers you may get a follow-up phone call. If you qualify for a research group, you usually have to go to the offices (although some groups are conducted online) and participate in a discussion on anything from coins to sandwiches. The payouts range anywhere from $50 to $200.
2. Start a Part-Time Business
Think you can’t start a business part-time? Well, if you know how to operate a lawnmower or weed eater, or if you’re well-versed in computer repair, or even if you have a talent for baby-sitting, there’s opportunity to make cash in your off hours. Get some inexpensive business cards made up (you can get 250 at the VistaPrint website for $10) and pass them out around the neighborhood. Tell your friends and family too, and before you know it you might find yourself with more clients than you know what to do with.
3. Have a Garage Sale
Although a garage sale is a one-off event, you can generate good money with one, especially if you have a lot of stuff. Plus, it has the added benefit of helping clean your home. Round up all the clothes you haven’t worn in the past year – you’re unlikely to wear them again if it’s been that long, dust off your old books, and look for no-longer-needed appliances, kitchenware, and furniture. Price your items cheap and get rid of them. Even though you won’t break the bank with this effort, every little bit helps.
4. Sell Your Old Electronics Online
Any of your belongings that have a little more value and are in good working condition can be sold on Amazon or eBay. Account set-up is simple; then, you just list your items. You need to take pictures of them if you’re selling on eBay, and you’re going to be a bit more limited as to what you can sell on Amazon, but you may be able to price items a bit higher in these forums, especially if they’re in tip-top shape. Just be sure to ship them fast and package them securely.
5. Take a Part-Time Job
Plenty of employers have started hiring more part-time workers lately, so these jobs might be more prevalent than you think – and they can be of great benefit to you. Suppose you have $3,000 in credit card debt. If you find a part-time job paying $13 per hour and you work ten hours per week, in just under eight months you could be out of debt. Now, that’s certainly not easy, but even if you work just a few part-time hours it can help accelerate your debt paydown.
6. Look online at freelance websites
These days, there are a lot of freelance websites out there that allow anyone to sign up and start connecting with potential jobs. The types of jobs listed are usually short-time things like transcribing a series of documents, writing a blog post, or helping to design a logo for a new website. What’s great is the variety of skills and tasks that are needed. Most likely, you’ll find something that applies to you.
Paying down debt in a shorter period of time can definitely be done by generating extra income, but that shouldn’t be your only strategy. Get yourself on a budget, reduce what you pay for your monthly bills if possible, and cut back on personal purchases. You only have to do this until your debts are gone for good, and once that happens you’re going to be stunned at the amount of extra money you have leftover each month.
What other ways can you think of to generate income in your free time?
Image credit: Felipe Neves