I am overwhelmed by the comments and encouragement I have received from friends and family as well as new friends who have been reading these posts. Thank you for your encouragement. I will keep writing!
The step I’m talking about today is very intimidating for some people. Sure, everybody would like to have a larger income, but doesn’t that mean getting a raise or a better job? Well, those are ways to increase your income, but they are a little more drastic than what I’m going to talk about right now. (Although, I’ve known plenty of people that have paid off their debt by delivering pizzas or being a server at a restaurant on the weekends.)
Analyze Your Skills
When Ryan and I first got married, we weren’t making much. If you’d like to see a detailed budget, check out this post. We realized that we needed some additional income if we were going to just make monthly expenses. We really had to think about our skill sets, and I encourage you to do the same. Thinking about what we could do that people would pay to have done, we came up with this list…
|Ryan’s Marketable Skills/Abilities||Kristen’s Marketable Skills/Abilities|
|IT Help/Instruction||HOUSE CLEANING|
|MOVING ASSISTANCE||GROCERY SHOPPING|
|TUTORING STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS||MUSIC: VOICE & PIANO|
|MINOR REMODELING WORK||TUTORING ENGLISH/GRAMMAR/WRITING|
Ironically, most of our jobs come from things like cleaning or yardwork which are definitely average skills. We don’t do as much with the things we studied in college as far as outside work, but that’s okay. Right now, we can’t afford to be picky.
SO, what skills do you have? Are you techy? Great with kids? Crafty? Can you cut hair? Have experience with laying tile? Everybody can do something, you just need to think about what you can do and what needs might be in your area. Get creative.
When Ryan and I first started doing odd jobs, we were pretty much working off word of mouth with friends or posting facebook statuses. While this worked a little bit, we quickly learned that we could do so much more. We started offering things through our local college on an alumni page. I have friends that have had success on websites like www.care.com or offering things on swap & sell sites. Bottom line, get the word out there. Once you get started, encourage satisfied clients to spread the word to their friends.
A Word on Safety
Please be smart here. I had several times where Ryan took me to my first cleaning at a house or came along with me for certain jobs because I didn’t want to go to a new client alone. It’s better to be overly safe than sorry.
You might also be able to sell items here and there to raise extra money. Just this morning I sold two pairs of pants that I don’t wear anymore and made an extra $10. It’s worth looking around your house to see what you don’t use, and additionally you get more space and less clutter. It’s a win all the way around. There are plenty of online websites to utilize as well as just posting things on social media. Even “junk” might be someone else’s treasure. You could also have a yard sale either virtually or at your home. If you choose to sell via websites that require you to meet up to make the sale, it’s always great to meet up in a well-lit, public place to be safe!
You might be thinking, “Cleaning a house here and there isn’t really going to make much of a difference.” Well, let me share a few figures with you.
In May (two months ago), my husband’s friend invited him to help with a remodel/prep for sale project at a house in town. Ryan would spend maybe one or two nights a week there and an occasional Saturday to earn extra money. Normally, he’d go when I was busy so that when I was free we could spend quality time together.
A few weeks ago, I decided to join them to do some painting. I don’t mind painting, and I am saving up to go on a cruise with my best friend next year (it’s awesome to be able to save for fun things).
This particular job pays $15 per hour, and the person we work for is kind enough to buy us lunch if we work on a Saturday.
So, I went on a weeknight and worked 5-9pm. That’s four hours, $60. Not bad. I decided this was worth it and worked Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Saturday we worked 9am-5pm.
Saturday: $120 plus lunch
So in one weekend, I made $240 spending time painting with my husband and getting good upper body exercise (ha, totally needed).
Am I going to do jobs like this every weekend? No, I don’t really want to spend every weekend painting someone’s home. But, a few of this here and there and we’ve paid off some more debt. I mentioned that my husband worked those three nights/days too so we ended up with about $500 extra between the two of us. Not bad for a weekend.
All this is to say, you have to be willing to put in a little effort, but the return really ads up. Little jobs here and there make paying off our debt quickly a possibility.
In my next post, I going to discuss the fun (and scary!) part, making loan payments.