Okay friends. I’m here to talk the good stuff today – the exciting, edge of your seat, can’t get enough stuff. That’s right, I’m here talking personal finance.
Wait, what?? I hear you say. Personal finance? But that is boring and hard and really, who cares anyway? If I just keep working my normal job I’ll be fine? And that credit card debt isn’t really hurting anyone right?
And this is where I step in. Money does not buy happiness. But a bit of knowledge and control over your personal financial situation brings comfort, peace of mind and freedom – it is these things that can make happiness just that little bit sweeter. Even more importantly, women live in an exciting time in history where we can be our own person and have our own things and earn our own money. This is a right that women before us have fought for and withstood great loss for – and it is exciting. And it is our obligation to make those sacrifices worthwhile and hustle the heck out of our rights to live the lives we used to only dream of.
I can talk this stuff all day, but in the end, personal finance boils down to a few key principles. Knowing how much money you have. Knowing how much money you need. Increasing how much money you make. Decreasing how much money you spend. And making those four things work together to form a wonderful four leaf clover of kick-ass personal finance.
Now I’m starting to feel excitement. Particularly since I’m going to be talking about the most fun of those four elements – increasing how much money you make. Otherwise known, for today’s purposes, as…
The SIDE HUSTLE.
Side hustle (defn): The work you do to make income on the side to live the life you want.
The side hustle is freedom. The side hustle is greatness. And the side hustle is the feeling of hard work reaping the rewards that you want.
And today I’m going to tell you my five tried-and-true side hustle techniques that will help you increase the money you make, to empower you to pay down debt, to help afford that trip, to increase your emergency savings, to let you go on a fancy dinner out every now and again, to let you do what it is you want the most.
We’re starting with the simplest and most available of the sidehustles – getting yourself online and earning rewards for doing things that you are already doing. Swagbucks is a comprehensive reward-generating site, and the way I started my side hustle journey. You earn points at random intervals for searching the web, for playing games, for filling out polls, for shopping online (if you shop online – shop through Swagbucks – that’s credit card points, store reward points AND swagbucks you’ll be earning, maximising every dollar you spend to your benefit), for completing surveys. Now I’m not going to lie. This side hustle isn’t going to make it rain. But when I was Swagbucks-ing with regularity, I would make just over $25USD each month with minimal effort. If you sign up using this affiliate link, you’ll start yourself off with some bonus points.
If you’re anything like me, you regularly clear out your cupboards and piles of beautiful clothes (some of which you may have never worn). You may often donate them. That’s great! But my tip for you is – list it on eBay first. Never underestimate what other people will buy. And remember that what no longer brings you joy may bring someone else plenty of joy – and you a little cash. Download the eBay app and get listing – it’s as simple as following the instructions in the app. A few hot tips though – your first month you’re limited to listing 10 items to show that you do faithfully ship your items. As you prove yourself, you earn yourself to more listings. Ebay and PayPal also have fees for using their services. These fees are 100% worth it, as the service they offer is fantastic, but just something to keep in mind.
Start an online store
The internet has opened up a phenomenal world of opportunities for selling products and services online. I began my sticker business earlier this year, selling handmade planner stickers online. Setting up a store is free, and the handmade market is enormous. Success will take some trial and error, and it can be disheartening putting a product out that no one seems to want. However, perseverance and willingness to change are important. And there is no feeling like the feeling of your first sale. Your options also aren’t limited to handmade goods – check out Fiverr for a platform for offering services for $5 or kickstart your own website selling flipped goods you found at roadside pickups.
I tutored my way to affording a year abroad during my university degree. I also tutored my way to funding trips back to visit the boyfriend I acquired during said year abroad. And I tutored my way through building up a savings buffer. I cannot rave about tutoring enough. You have a set of skills and knowledge that will greatly benefit a student in maths / English / woodworking / graphic design / *insert your talent here*. Put yourself out there, whether it be online, by word of mouth, a sign on the local community shopping board or through an established tutoring company (I recommend all but the latter), and get that cash flowing into your pocket. Tutoring is uniquely satisfying too as when you find the right student, you begin to see really amazing improvements, and the investment of time feels infinitely worthwhile.
No matter your age, babysitting is an easy way to make some quick cash. Admittedly it does not provide a regular cash flow, but that is the nature of the side hustle – it is as big or as small as you want to make it. If you do find yourself some distant relatives or friends who are willing to compensate you (even a token amount) for your time and conscientious care of their lovely children, I recommend putting that cash into an un-openable jar. Continue to stuff that jar full of your babysitting dollars, then when it’s full – smash it. You’ll be so proud of what you achieved, and that occasional sacrificed Saturday night will be long forgotten in light of the opportunities sitting before you.
Now I want to wrap this up with a few thoughts. The sky is your limit as to the form your side hustle takes. The only person in the way is you. However, side hustles are a slow burn. While you may be one of those phenomenal people who have a great idea and monetize it overnight, most of you will be like me – feeling that sweet sense of satisfaction in earning those few extra dollars a month, and applying them to your goal. All of these are success stories, and I’m already proud of you. Now go get it girl.
Thanks heaps for posting, Emily! You can connect with Emily via the following channels:
Lena Petrova says
These are great things to do on a side. I’ve signed up for Swagbucks – although not exactly sure how it all works. At what point does one actually get a giftcard and do you get to select to what store? Thank you in advance!
Lena – http://zoyaandme.com/
Emily Zylstra says
Hey Lena! If you click the ‘Rewards’ link in the left hand side bar, you’ll see what different points can get you 🙂 I used to cash out 2500 points for a $25 PayPal voucher. I knew someone who saved up their points to get a free year of Xbox gold – and other people online who have shared stories of using the Amazon vouchers to buy Christmas presents 🙂
Kei Marie says
I wish I could do all but I’ve been looking at possible online tutorials since last month. I’m on immunosuppresants for a muscular autoimmune condition and been in and out of the hospital for years.
I’m sorry to hear that Kei! But I find it super inspiring that you’re working within your bounds to push forward and find something that works for you. There are hundreds of side hustles that can be run through your computer – such as offering a service on Fiverr.com. Drop me an email if you ever want to talk through some of your ideas at email@example.com 🙂