A few years ago, a group of moms were hanging around the playground and the topic of making extra money came up. Some moms wanted to send their children to a specialized camp; others were saving for a family trip, while others were just looking to make ends meet. After a half hour of groaning, complaining and sulking one of the crafty moms piped up. “We’re all sitting around thinking about what we don’t have, which is money. But I’m thinking we should focus more on what we do have.” This one small challenge invigorated the discouraged crowd.
In between changing diapers, kissing boo boos and running after escaping toddlers, a plan began to emerge. Each mom started to think about what she did have to spare. One mom made knitted hats and booties for babies. Another mom dreamed of being a mystery shopper. Another tired mom of four boys said she had a ton of used sports equipment and 12 or 13 boxes of books just sitting in her garage. While yet another realized she might be able to get some money tutoring kids in her native language of French.
From that day on, whenever someone approached me with the issue, “We don’t have enough money for…” I always challenge them by saying:
- Don’t think of what you don’t have ($)
- Think of what you do have – time, books, used equipment, opinions, space, a car, a skill, love for animals
Look around. Money may be just a few clicks away.
Ask yourself, what do you have?
- Extra Stuff?
It may be time to clean out those closets. A garage sale is always a good idea, but if you don’t feel like sitting on your lawn all day, think about eBay or Craigslist. One mom made some good money bundling books by topic and selling them as “Early Readers Series,” “Alphabet Books” and “Middle Grade Books for Girls Who Love Horses.” The mom with four boys gathered all of the used and unused sports equipment and bundled them together as “Soccer for ages 7-9” or “Baseball items for 8-12 year olds.” The simple act of bundling the items made them more marketable – and more clutter was cleaned out of their garages!
Have old books? Check out: cash4books.net. All you do is type in the ISBN number (located on the inside pages of the book) and you will receive an instant quote as to how much they will pay for that book. Another good one is: mybookbuyer.com. Great site and similar to Cash4books, but their specialty is textbooks.
- Extra Time?
Being a mom is tiring and time is often hard to come by. But if you have a few extra hours here and there you might consider Jingit.com. They actually pay you to watch ads online! You can also download the mobile app, look over various products and answer a few questions about those items for a little extra cash. If you are not sure how you might want to spend your time making money, spend an hour searching the jobs at www.wahm.com (work at home mom). If you find an area that interests you, send in one feeler a day until you land a gig you like!
- Are You Crafty?
Do you make jewelry, knit, sew, paint or scrapbook? Check out: etsy.com. It’s a very popular site and easy to use. Just post your items, take a few pictures and you have your own little online store. If you specialize in jewelry check out: jewelrywonder.com. With 30 items you can open a free online store with no set up fee, no monthly or transaction fees – and to top it off you can set your own prices. Artfire.com is another similar site with the added bonus of offering training in marketing and merchandising your products!
- Have a Skill?
Do you love to write? Do you edit or proofread your child’s homework? Can you design a website or create graphics? If so check out: Demandstudios.com. They hire experienced freelance editors and writers all the time. Another great site is: associatedcontent.com where you can get assignments to write an article, submit your own articles or get paid for the amount of views your article gets once published. The last site I really like is www.elance.com. It’s a great online marketplace that matches up computer programmers and designers with real companies that are hiring.
- Have Space to Rent Out?
Do you have a couple extra rooms, a granny flat or perhaps an old igloo out in the back yard? Check out: www.airbnb.com. This site is for anyone looking for, “extra rooms, an entire home or a unique accommodation like a castle or an igloo.” It’s simple to sign up (and truly no igloo required). Just post your space and wait for offers. If this idea is appealing to you, you may also want to check out: http://www.rentingoutrooms.com/ or http://www.wikihow.com/Rent-a-Room-in-Your-House for specific instructions to do it yourself.
- Don’t Need Your Car for a Few Hours?
Don’t need the car while kids are napping or for a chunk of hours in the daytime or at night? Check out: http://www.getaround.com. The drivers are screened to make sure they are safe, there’s insurance coverage and they boast, “By renting your car just 25% of the time, it will pay for itself with money to spare.” If you have extra time in your car and you like to drive, consider signing up for www.lyft.com or www.uber.com these are two new hot sites that passengers all over the country are snapping up. They are fast, efficient and cost up to half as much as a taxi. It’s a swift way to make extra money if you don’t mind continuing to be the wonderful taxi service that you already are!
- Know Something About Something?
We often discount our own knowledge, but chances are you know something about something. Do you know a foreign language? Could you help children learn to read? Do you play an instrument? Do you like math or science? If so, post your services in the local coffee shop, at craigslist.com or on www.tutor.com. It’s a great way to set your own hours and offer your skills to your community.
- Like Animals?
Are dogs and cats just naturally drawn to you? Would you mind stopping by a few houses in between errands or walking a few dogs in the middle of the day? If so, check out Petsitting.com. If you are interested in taking it more seriously and perhaps making it into a career (Yes you can make a living caring for people’s animals while they travel!) check out the National Association for professional pet sitters at: www.petsitters.org/a_career_for_you.php. There is a ton of useful, practical information to get you swiftly making money while caring for furry little creatures.
- Have an Opinion?
One mom recently said to me, “I’ve always been told to shut up. Now I’m being paid to say what I think!” If you want to offer your opinions about products and services for cash, check out www.pineconeresearch.com, www.surveyspot.com or www.cashcrate.com. All three make it easy to sign up, walk you through the process and help you to hone your skills as a paid opinion giver. What’s not to like?
If you need some more work-at-home strategies go to:
Remember, whenever you find yourself getting a bit down, nervous or worried – never forget you have something to offer your community. Just take the time to look around you or look within. Extra cash may be closer than you think!