If your family has lost income as of late, don’t fear–there are things you can do today that can help steer your finances towards a better tomorrow.
How You Can Make And Save More Money Starting Today
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I know the title says “Make And Save,” but considering the current health crisis that has many of us stuck in our homes, I think it is easier for people to start with ways to save money first and then add in ways to earn money once self-distancing is over. “Save And Make” just didn’t sound as catchy. Now–on to the tips.
10 Ways You Can Save Money Starting Today
Read these posts for more money-saving ideas
- 39 Fast And Simple Ways Busy People Can Save Money
- How To Nickel And Dime Your Way To A Debt Free Life: Stretch Your Budget To The Max
- 52 Money-Saving Tools Our Thrifty Family Uses To Stretch Our Dollars As Far As Possible
The Top Ten Things You Can Do Today To Slow Financial Damage
1. Revaluate Your Budget (Or If You Don’t Have, One Make One)
Now is the time to question every line of your budget and if you don’t have one, stop everything and make one. This post I wrote will help you to evaluate your budget. If you don’t have a budget, the closest budget system I have seen to our family’s is You Need A Budget. I don’t use their software, but I have listened to a recording of their book through the Hoopla app (available for free through my local library) and nodded in agreement the whole way through it–I highly recommend seeing if you can get your hands on a copy.
2. Begin A Spending Freeze
My guess is your income losses are not just a few dollars a month and because of that, you need to do everything you can to stop the outflowing of money until it matches your current income streams. For some of you, subtracting enough from your budget to equal what you lost might not be possible, but that is where part two of this article comes into play. For now, stop as much outflowing cash as possible.
Two books that will help you hold a successful spending freeze
- The Spenders Guide to Debt-Free Living: How A Spending Fast Helped Get Me from Broke to Badass in Record Time
- 31 Days of Living Well and Spending Zero: Freeze Your Spending. Change Your Life
Things to stop spending money on:
- Streaming subscriptions
- Magazine subscriptions
- Gym memberships
- Eating out
- Coffee out
- All sources of entertainment that require money
Don’t worry; I am going to talk a little later about how to still have a life without spending cash.
3. Switch To Cheaper Sources Or Simply Spend Less
If you can’t cut it out of your budget or completely stop spending money on it for a while, see if you can at least decrease the cost of it.
A few budget items you might be able to save money on
- Cellphone service--Switch to a pay as you go plan through Tracfone or Ting. Our family uses these two companies and manage to keep our smartphone service to between $20 to $25 per line.
- Groceries—Here is my post where you can read all the things I do to save money on groceries from writing my list to putting my food away.
- Utilities–You might not have a choice in utility companies, but you can reduce what you spend on them by reducing your consumption. A few simple ideas can be found in this post.
- Vehicle Costs–Can you go with a cheaper insurance provider? Can you walk and bike to a few places on your errand list instead of drive? Can you carpool to work and back? Can you find a cheaper place to have your oil changes done or do it yourself?
These are just a few areas of your budget you might be able to save money in. After you have gone through your budget and canceled what you can and decided what areas you can freeze spending on for a while, brainstorm ways to spend less on everything that is left.
4. Use What You Have
Before you buy anything, ask yourself, “Can I fill this need with something I already own?” If nothing comes to mind, spend a few minutes walking around your home and digging in storage areas to see if there are items there you forget about that could fill a current need.
5. Seek Out Free Options For Everything
There are so many great things you can get for zero money out there.
Here are a few articles I have written that should help you figure out how to replace things you pay for with free options
- 50 Things You Can Get For Free: Reduce Your Budget, Not Your Lifestyle With This List
- Christmas On A Zero Budget
- 50 Restaurant Apps That Offer Rewards (quite a few apps on this list give you a free food item for signing up, no purchase necessary)
6. Evaluate Every Single Purchase, No Matter How Small
In her book Slaying The Debt Dragon, Cherie Lowe mentions that before she heads up to the cashier after picking out her groceries, she puts one item back. Doing this will force you to look at every single thing in your cart and question whether you need it.
Take this suggestion beyond the grocery store and before you pay for your items, whether you are buying online or in-store, take a second to evaluate every item, do you really need it?
Further reading: The One Question Thrifty People Ask That Saves Them The Most Money
7. Borrow or Swap Items
In my article 10 Ways Thrifty People Use Facebook To Save And Earn Money, I refer to something we now call the “Facebook Shout Out.” Essentially anytime we need something we will only use a small handful of times, I head to Facebook and post a status update that asks if people might have that item and be willing to let us to borrow it. Only once have we not able to find an item we needed.
Another great way to save money is to swap what you have, but are not using with others who have what you need and need what you have to swap. This works better when you get a large group of people together and have a “swap party.” Here are ten different types of money-saving swap parties you can use to stretch your family’s dollars further. Plus, here are 7 Christmas themed swap parties to help you keep the cost of Christmas down.
8. Use Cash For These Two Types Of Expenses
I love to eat out and grab a sweet treat now and again; however, if I don’t spend cash on these items, I quickly lose track of how much I am spending in this area.
Around where we live, several different gas stations offer a five cents off per gallon incentive for those who use cash–so we take advantage of it.
These are the only two areas of our budget we currently use cash for.
Decided what your hot spot budget categories are and pay cash–it really does stop overspending in its tracks.
9. Think Outside The Box
This tip has saved us so much money over the years. For instance, my husband saved us thousands of dollars by buying an old box truck before our move from Canada to the United States years ago instead of paying for a moving company to take our stuff to our new home. After we were settled in our new home in Indiana, he then resold the truck for what he paid for it. Our move ended up costing us just fuel and hotel bills.
10. Don’t Be Afraid To Be Weird
Be the family who only has one car. Be the family who doesn’t have a Netflix account, a Hulu account, or any other streaming service for that matter. Be the family who only eats out to celebrate someone’s birthday or an anniversary. Be the family who only has enough clothes in their closest for three to four days. Be the family who lives in a modest size home in the neighborhood closest to your work to cut housing and commuting costs. Fall in love with being weird for the sake of your finances!
10 Ways You Can Start Making More Money Today
So with restrictions on where you can go and who you can see, you might not be able to start a lot of these ideas this second, but you can begin researching about them and getting them ready to go when social distancing boundaries are lifted.
Read these posts for more money-making ideas
- 6 Ways To Turn Your Laptop Into A Money Making Machine
- 19 Ways To Turn Your Smartphone Into A Money Making Machine
- How To Earn More Money: 12 Side Jobs Anyone Can Do
One Way You Can Earn More Starting Today
1. The One Small Income Stream You Can Get Going Today
Back when my children were tiny, I didn’t have much time to devote to a side income. Plus none of my children slept well until the age of two (and one not until he was four), so my brain was too mushy to try and launch a new side hustle. Instead, I brought in around $50 a month in gift cards to all types of stores (today some offer PayPal deposit) through filling out surveys and other little online tasks for what I call point reward companies.
Yes, $50 isn’t much, but every dollar counts and that was almost 20 years ago–now I think if you were to devote one hour a day, five days a week to these sorts of programs you could earn double what I did and bring in $100 in gift cards, perhaps more.
I have an entire page devoted to these reward programs. On this page I share which programs I have tried and liked. I only share programs that I have tried personally from signing up to receiving and using the gift card I earned from them.
Yes, these gift companies do pay in gift cards and not cash (although some do offer PayPal deposits); however, I am sure that each company offers a gift card for at least one store or restaurant you already spend money at.
The way to earn as much money as possible with point programs and survey programs is to sign up and use more than one company. Once you sign up, learn the fastest ways for you to earn points and stick to those at each company.
Here are the top three point reward programs I recommend:
The first thing I like about Swagbucks is that it offers over 20 ways to earn points, which means you will probably find a few ways to earn points doing things you already do online. The other thing I like is that cash outs for gift cards start at just 300 points for a $3 gift card–no waiting forever to earn enough points to get a return for your time spent. Go here to sign up for Swagbucks.
MyPoints is the first point rewards program I ever joined, and I am still a member today over a decade later. My favorite way to earn points with MyPoints is through their emails, where you can earn 5 points just for clicking through to the website advertised in the email. I earn several $3 gift cards to Amazon each year just by doing this one point earning action–and MyPoints offers many more ways to earn points. Go here to sign up for MyPoints.
The “insta” in InstaGC stands for what I love most about this point rewards company–you get your gift cards instantly. No waiting days or sometimes weeks for your hard-earned rewards. And cash outs for gift cards start at just 100 points for a $1 gift card for some options. Go here to sign up for InstaGC.
Here are the top three survey companies I recommend:
What I like about PrizeRebel is that they offer a few other ways to earn points beyond filling out surveys–such as watching videos. I also like the lower cash out options, such as the $2 Amazon gift card available for just 200 points (or 194 if you are at Diamond level). If you reach Gold level or higher, most rewards (not all) are delivered instantly! Go here to sign up for PrizeRebel.
PaidViewpoint is still on my daily “do it” list. Each day I hop over to PaidViewpoint and check and see if they have any surveys for me. I spend the time doing so because the surveys are always short and sweet. Sure, they don’t pay much per survey, but I also don’t have to deal with the frustrating and time-consuming survey screening process. Go here to sign up for PaidViewpoint.
I tried out Survey Junkie after a reader recommended it. Yes, there are surveys there with those irritating screening questions, but Survey Junkie usually gives you a few points for your troubles if you should get screened out. When I tried it out, I was able to reach the $10 cash out level within a few short sessions of working at the site. Go here to sign-up for Survey Junkie.
Three Things You Can Do To Get Ready To Earn More As Soon As Things Settle Down
2. Gather Your Clutter And Get It Ready To Sell
I have heard it said over and over that the average household in America has a thousand dollars or more of stuff lying around their home that they are not using and could sell. Just last year selling only here and there on eBay, I made over $800 selling mostly homeschooling curriculum we were finished with, so I believe this statement to be true.
A thousand dollars could go a long way towards building an emergency fund or paying off high-interest debt.
3. Take Advantage Of Free Educational Trials To Learn Skills
Right now, online learning platforms are offering longer than average free trials for those who are stuck at home. Take advantage of these to learn new skills that could come in handy for starting a stream of income.
I am a member of Skillshare. Their two-month free trial convinced me that their online learning platform has all I need to keep my blogging skills up to date. Skillshare covers a lot more than just how to blog, though; they cover home design, YouTube, Photography, web design, computer animation, and more. Here is my referral link to try Skillshare out for two months for free.
4. Start Laying The Foundation For New Income Streams
If you have had an idea for a side hustle rolling around in your mind for months or perhaps even years, now is the time to do the foundational things to get it started.
For instance, if you have wanted to start a blog, you will need to:
- Pick a domain name (blog name) and register it: I use Go Daddy.
- Pick a Web Host: I started out with BlueHost and I still believe it is a great low-cost host for beginner bloggers. However, once your blog starts getting 50 000 or more page views a month, I recommend switching to BigScoots.
- Get started on WordPress.org: Start with a free WordPress template for now.
- Start blogging: I simply jumped right in and published posts right away (yep, that is my first post; it makes me cringe, but I put it out there). I did not wait until I had things just so. I learned as I went, and I don’t regret it.
- Start earning money: This is how I added income potential to my first posts so that I could make money as my traffic grew. Again, I didn’t wait until I had traffic to add in ways to earn. I worked with what I had and added in new ways to earn as I grew.
Most side jobs have foundational work like blogging; perhaps you need to fill out an application to become an app worker, or brush up on your photography skills so you can sell stock photos. Use the time you have now thanks to canceled events to do these foundational steps.
Once We Can Be Out There Again, Consider These Flexible Income Streams
5. If You Can Drive, You Can Sign Up For These Flexible Earning Apps
If you have a vehicle, a smartphone, and a clean driving record, there are a wide variety of apps you might be able to work for, including:
- Turn your car into a taxi with Uber or Lyft
- Become a food delivery person with Doordash and Grubhub
- Become a personal shopper with Instacart and Shipt
- Deliver packages and other items with Roadie and Postmates
6. Other App Income Streams You Might Consider
- Walk and house-sit pets with Rover
- Be a tutor with Chegg Tutor
- Become a Handyman with TaskRabbit
- Get paid for your photos with Foab
7. Spend The Upcoming Yard Sale Season Doing This
When my kids were little, I went yard sale shopping almost every weekend during summer as it drastically cut the costs of clothing three growing kids, as well as reduced our homeschooling expenses and more.
To make the time I spent yard sale shopping even more profitable, I began looking for items I could buy, clean, and then sell for a profit on eBay. I spent roughly 4 to 5 hours a week listing and mailing items and made enough for family camping trips, swimming lessons, gymnastic lessons, etc.
8. If It Doesn’t Make You Faint, Consider This
I have a friend whose sibling donated plasma throughout their college years for spending money. I looked into it, and here in Indiana, you can make roughly $200 a month doing this. You make even more your first month if you are faithful to donate on their timeline.
9. Create An Additional Stream Of Income From Your Talents
What are you super talented in? If you can’t think of something, think about the things that people always compliment you on or say, “Wow, I wish I could do that!”
Spend some time thinking about how you could make money off that skill. Perhaps you could teach how to do it by producing a course for Skillshare or writing an ebook and self-publishing through Kindle. Your talent might be something that you can sell as a physical product at craft fairs, farmer’s markets, Etsy, or Shopify. Or perhaps your expertise is service-oriented, and you could market it through apps like TaskRabbit or a website like FlexJobs.
10. If You Have Set Hours Of Work, This Just Might Work For You
Since the beginning of our marriage, my husband has had one full-time job with fairly set hours that he has then been able to work a part-time job in either the same industry or a different one. Usually, the full-time job is regular hours, whereas the part-time gig is on an as-needed basis. He usually averages at least one day off a week during the busier season and as many as 3 in the down season due to his longer than average shifts each day.
This way of generating extra income is steadier than some on this list, but it is more rigid. You can’t put a part-time job aside for a day or two while you attend your child’s soccer tournament as easily as you can if you are working for an app like Uber or selling items on eBay.
I hope these ways of earning and saving money help you and your family get back on your feet financially. I would love it if you joined my Thrifty People Of Snail Pace Transformations Facebook group where I share free and low-cost deals I find as well as new ways I discover to make money from home.
3 More Posts To Help You Save & Earn Money
- 52 Thrifty Tools That Will Help You Spend Less This Year
- How to Evaluate Your Budget: Perform A Spending Tune-Up
- 10 Ways Thrifty People Save Money On Groceries