Tag: Side Hustle

 

Five New Side Hustles for 2019

Raise your hand if you could use an extra $100-$1,000 per month!

If you’re like most of us, you’d love to make more money. And, about 50 percent of millennials are already taking advantage of extra income opportunities, according to a study by Experian.

Earning more money can help you reach your financial goals, including achieving freedom from debt, saving up for a dream vacation or even coming up with a downpayment for your first home.

By now you may be wondering how you can jump on the side hustle bandwagon. To help you get going and choose the right side gig, we spoke to five savvy women, ages 25-35, who are crushing their side hustles and changing their financial futures. Based on our discussions, here are five new side hustles to consider this year.

1. Delivering Groceries

Constance Tuner, a young mother living in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, was frustrated with “being in the red each month” because her expenses exceeded her take-home pay. Apart from finding ways to reduce her spending, she realized that it was also necessary to supplement her income if she wanted to stop living paycheck to paycheck.

Delivering groceries with Instacart has been one of Turner’s most successful side hustles. She says Instacart makes it easy to start earning more money as quickly as possible.

“You can sign up through the website or use a referral code from someone (who’s already registered with Instacart),” says Turner.

Once you pass a background check, the company will send you a card to use for purchases.

“Then, you’ll take a few tutorials, select your hours and get started the following week. Hours are selected a week in advance,” Turner says.

With a better handle on her finances now, Turner says she’s very close to using her income from Instacart to begin tackling debt.

Turner’s average earnings: In January, Turner made $976.25 based on 57 hours of shopping. She does this side hustle for two hours after work during the week and about eight hours over the weekend.

2. Field Agent 

Laura Smith, a barista in Minneapolis, Minnesota, uses side hustles to accelerate her debt freedom goals.

“It’s easy to lose perspective and get discouraged when you’re trying to pay off thousands, but every single dime adds up and goes towards changing our family’s legacy,” says Smith.

She recently got started with Field Agent, a free app which pays you for completing “missions” such as checking to see if a store has a particular product in stock. According to Smith, “it’s great because I can (earn extra cash) when I’m out running errands or during my spare time.”

Smith’s average earnings: Smith made about $45 during her first month using the app. She says that the payout amount varies depending on how in-depth each mission is. In her experience, the majority of missions pay between three and six dollars, but she’s seen some that offer up to $22.

3. Exam Proctor

Alli Rosenblum, a recent MBA graduate and founder of financiALLIfocused.com is on a mission to pay off six figures of debt (primarily student loans) in a few years. She’s explored a number of side hustles, including tutoring through Care.com.

Recently, the exam proctor company UExamS reached out to Rosenblum through Care.com.  She was asked to proctor exams for a student who needs extra time.

After researching the company and reading online reviews, she accepted the offer. Yet, while it was very easy to get started as an exam proctor, Rosenblum says this is a need-based side hustle and therefore the income is “pretty inconsistent.”

“Side hustles are more important than ever (for my fiancé and myself) so that we can pay off $140,000 of debt faster. We also use side hustle earnings to fund date nights and other treats here and there to keep us motivated on our long debt-freedom journey,” says Rosenblum.

Rosenblum’s average earnings: Her first stint earned her $63 for less than an hour. Better yet,  the exam administrator never showed up but she still got paid for her time!

4. Easy Shift

Tancy Shanelle, a stay-at-home mom with a young family, says that side hustles “make all the difference when you’re trying to set yourself up to be financially stable.”

She is $7,500 away from paying off $100,000 in debt and says that “every amount counts.”

Shanelle earns cash side hustling with Easy Shift, which is similar to Field Agent. The types of gigs include taking pictures of displays or specific products, as well as filling out surveys.

Shanelle’s average earnings: Anywhere from four dollars to $25 per shift, with most gigs paying about six dollars. The shifts are anywhere from eight to 30 minutes. How much you earn depends on what’s available in your area and whether you get selected to pick up shifts. “Depending on where you live, securing a shift can be competitive,” says Shanelle. However, in her experience, if you are dedicated, you can make upwards of $200 per month.

5. Focus Groups

Chonce Maddox, a freelance writer and founder of MyDebtEphiphany.com, uses side hustles as a way to supplement her income and fund “extras” – those bigger ticket items that fall outside of her regular monthly budget.

Using earnings from participating in focus groups, Maddox and her husband, “were able to pay a neighbor to take down some trees in our yard in the fall.” They also both did focus groups – which she found via the site Respondent – in December and January to help pay for their son’s birthday party.

“There is one drawback,” says Maddox. “This side hustle is really sporadic, so I treat it as extra (bonus) income.”

Maddox’ average earnings
: Maddox earns anywhere from $100 to $250 per focus group, yet bigger opportunities will pop up from time to time. For example, “I was really lucky to be selected for the first focus group that I applied to, which paid $500 for four and a half hours.”

Next Steps: Find a Purpose for Your Side Hustle Money

From personal experience, it can be really easy to blow through extra income coming in from side hustle opportunities. That’s why you need a plan for where that money goes. My favorite tip is to keep my extra income in a separate bank account so that it isn’t commingled with my regular earnings from my day job. This makes it less tempting to spend!

Another tip is to automate your savings. Every time you use your Chime Chime Visa® Debit Card, for example, Chime will automatically round up each transaction and transfer the money from your Spending Account into your Savings Account. It’s as easy as that!

With these extra earning tips in mind, what’s holding you back from creating a more abundant lifestyle?

 

How to Budget on an Irregular Income

Understanding exactly how to budget can be difficult, even for someone with a consistent income. But, think about how complicated budgeting would be if you had an irregular income.

This is what millions of Americans deal with all the time.

Freelancers, small business owners, and salespeople all have incomes that can change from month to month. Sometimes the fluctuation can be drastic, and it can make it hard to save money.

If you find yourself in this situation, how can you develop a budget when you don’t know what your income is? Keep reading as we walk you through five steps to budget on an irregular income.

1. Calculate your bare-bones budget

The very first thing you need to do is calculate your bare-bones budget. These are the essential expenses that you need to cover each month. Make sure to include categories like housing (rent or mortgage), utilities, groceries, insurance, transportation (car payments, public transportation), and other essential costs.

Housing, insurance and car payments can be easy to factor in as the monthly amounts stay about the same. However, your utilities and groceries can fluctuate. To get an accurate figure, calculate how much you’ve spent, on average, for each category during the past 12 months.

While these are the critical expenses you need to cover each month, you should also include retirement, savings and debt payments. While these are not required, they are still important.

2. Add in your discretionary expenses

Now that you’ve calculated the bare minimum you need to get by, it’s time to calculate your discretionary expenses. These are things that you spend money on but can live without.

These expenses include going out to dinner, a date night at the movies, the cost of your daughter’s dance class, etc. Figure out how much you spend on these expenses, on average, each month.

Looking back through bank or credit card statements is a great way to locate these expenses.  Budgeting apps link Mint also do a good job of breaking down your expenses into categories.

3. Build up an emergency fund

Many of you have probably heard of an emergency fund. Its sole purpose is to cover an unexpected expense. If your income is always changing, an emergency fund is a must. The last thing you need is to have an emergency pop up during a lower income month and not have anything saved.

Simon Moore, a contributor to Forbes, recommends three to six months worth of expenses in an emergency fund. David Bach, a personal finance expert, takes it a step further and recommends that you save one year’s worth of expenses.

To get started, consider opening a Chime bank account. Chime’s Automatic Savings program is a great way to build your emergency fund. Here’s how it works: Each time you use your Chime Visa® debit card, Chime will round up your purchase to the nearest dollar and transfer the difference to your savings account. Plus, Chime makes it simple to save each time you get paid. As a Chime member, you can automatically deposit 10% of your paycheck into your savings account.

4. Pay yourself a reasonable salary

Having an irregular income can be stressful. This is why a budget is so important. It helps you forecast your monthly expenses. It also gives you the ability to see how much you have in your bank account so that you can perhaps pay yourself a salary.

To start, try paying yourself based on your budget the previous month. You can do this by combining the totals from your bare-bones budget and discretionary expenses and depositing that in your checking account on the first of the month. This will cover the entire month worth of expenses. Everything else you might have made will be put toward either short- or long-term savings.

By doing this, you are never spending more money than you actually have. Instead, your income is based on the past.

5. Pay your bills using a zero-sum budget

If you’ve never heard of a zero-sum budget it’s a fairly simple budgeting method where every dollar has a purpose.

At the end of every month, your income minus your expenses should leave you with zero in your checking account. For example, if you have $200 left in your account at the end of the month, your job isn’t done. That $200 needs to be allocated to something. For example, perhaps it will go toward debt payments, retirement or short-term savings.

So, to pay your bills using a zero-sum budget, you need to start with your list of bare-bones budget items and discretionary expenses. Go down the list and pay each item, starting with the most important. Once all those are taken care of, see how much money is left over. Remember what we talked about – every dollar has a purpose. Look for a place to allocate the extra cash.

One important thing to note with a zero-sum budget is that you need to pay attention to your variable expenses throughout the month. Make sure you’re staying below the amount you budgeted for items like groceries, clothes and anything else that fluctuates.

Irregular income doesn’t need to complicate the budget

You can still budget – even with a fluctuating income.

As long as you stick to your budget and live on the income you generated from the previous month, you should begin to see your financial situation improving. Are you ready to give it a try?

 

6 Seasonal Side Hustle Jobs You Can Do in the Spring

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Today marks the first day of spring, a time to renew yourself personally and financially.

For starters, spring is a good time to assess how well you’ve been doing with those financial resolutions. It’s also a perfect time to give your money a good spring cleaning.

While there are many ways to improve your finances, here’s a tried-and-true way to earn extra cash: Pick up a new side hustle.

To get you started, here are six ideas for jumping on a new springtime side gig.

Gardening/Landscaping

The spring season means flowers are in bloom and the grass starts to grow.

This is also when folks need to tend to their lawns and gardens. Many of these people have zero time. That’s where your landscape side hustle comes in.

“It’s a great side hustle that is vibrant during the spring, as everyone starts getting their yards and gardens back up and running to look great for the summertime,” says Dustyn Ferguson of Dime Will Tell.

“People are willing to pay to do a lot of this work, especially for laborious work like placing mulch, creating pathways, picking weeds, and even designing a garden,” he says.

Even if you don’t have the greenest of thumbs, don’t count yourself out; there are always other yard care jobs to be had, like lawn mowing or trimming trees.

Pet Sitting/Dog Walking

Spring begins the vacation season – the time of year when your neighbors and local pet owners will need someone to care for their pets while they’re away.

Pet-sitting can include feeding cats, caring for a pet in your home, and most of all, dog walking.

You can advertise your animal loving, pet whisperer skills by hanging flyers around the neighborhood, but your best bet is to join a dedicated pet-sitting app like Rover.com.

Tutoring and Teaching

The school year is almost halfway over, precisely the time students need tutoring help to boost their grades, and start preparing and studying for SATs and other exams.

“The second semester is often the busiest time as students who struggled in the first part of the year seek additional support to earn passing grades, or to boost skills and confidence,” says educational therapist Ruth Wilson.

“Tutors get the satisfaction of helping a young person achieve success, which makes tutoring as personally rewarding as it is financially beneficial,” she says.

To get started, you can market your own skills or sign up on a site like Chegg.com to find in-person or online tutoring opportunities in a variety of subjects.

Another side hustle in the teaching-related family is to teach something that you have a passion for. For example, you can perhaps teach group exercise classes at a local gym or even teach children’s yoga classes. Whereas you can promote yourself, you can also connect with companies that provide you with all the necessary tools and branding to launch your own side hustle. For example, Boston-based Pretzel Kids trains you to teach yoga and mindfulness to kids via an affordable weekend or online certification course. Once you’ve taken the course, you can then join the licensing program for only $19 a month. This gives you the rights to use all of the company’s branding to launch your own Pretzel Kids business. Pretzel Kids Founder Robyn Parets calls it a “kids yoga business-in-a-box.”

“Teaching Pretzel Kids classes using all of our tools and resources is a great way to do something meaningful, while earning money around your own schedule,” says Parets.

Here’s yet another way to earn money teaching something you love: If you’re musically inclined, how about offering guitar, piano or drum lessons? Or, are you a sports lover? Perhaps you can coach or referee in local youth sports leagues.

Become a Tour Guide

Do you know your hometown like the back of your hand? Do you live in an area with a rich cultural history? Consider becoming a tour guide or docent for a local historical society or museum.

“People want to travel, and as a tour guide, you can give them best views of your city. (It’s a) great gig if you are someone who loves exploring and sharing your love for your hometown,” says career blogger Sireesha Narumanchi.

Narumanchi recommends signing up with sites like Vayable to advertise your availability.

Sell Your Stuff

Decluttering your life has a host of mental and emotional benefits, and spring cleaning is the perfect way to get rid of all that extra stuff in your house, apartment, attic or garage.

So, think about selling appliances, electronics, books, toys, bikes, clothing or other unwanted items — either at a local flea market, garage sale or online.

But how do you make it a consistent side gig instead of a one-off sale? One way is to visit thrift shops or department stores, buy items on discount or sale, and “flip” them for sale online at a higher price on sites like eBay or Craigslist.

Of course, the one thing you shouldn’t discount is selling your own creations. If you’ve got artistic skills, you can sell your wares on sites like Etsy.

Ridesharing

Rideshare services like Uber or Lyft have transformed the way we take public transportation, allowing motorists to earn cash using their own cars as a taxi service.

One reason this makes such a good spring side hustle is that the snow, ice, sleet and otherwise treacherous, wintry driving conditions are gone. You can share a scenic, springtime drive with others and get paid to do it.

Driving for a rideshare service also means you can set your own hours, drive when you want to, and get compensated quickly and easily. In fact, enrolling in direct deposit through Chime can get you paid two days early. Score!

Springing for a Side Gig

If you’re looking to rake in some extra income as the warmer weather approaches, this list should give you lots of ideas.

One more tip: Whether your side gig leads to a modest windfall or becomes something more lucrative, downloading the Chime banking app is simply the best way to manage your newfound earnings. In fact, the Chime app includes an automatic savings feature that helps you save money every time you’re paid. Are you ready to get a jump on spring with your new seasonal side hustle?

 

How This Millennial Side Hustled to Millionaire Status

You can call him king of the side hustle, but he will answer to Grant.

Grant Sabatier, 34 and a self-made millionaire, attributes his five-year rise to success to side hustling. Yes, he really side-hustled his way out of $30,000 debt and racked up one million plus in savings while working a 9-to-5 job.

But Sabatier, who runs Millennial Money, wasn’t always so money savvy. Not too long ago, his life looked like that of many millennials. In 2010, he lost his office job and moved back in with his parents with only $2.26 in his bank account. During this time, he applied to more than 200 jobs with no bites – not that he wanted to return to cubicle life.

The Google Searches That Changed Everything

Sabatier turned to Google for answers. And, his search for the best money books led him to Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez.

“I read the book and it completely changed my life,” he says.

“One of the co-authors, Joe Dominguez, actually retired at the age of 30, and it was so mind-blowing. I’d never heard of anything like that.”

Google also led him to the discovery of Google ads. He discovered that running Google campaigns for others was profitable. With the power of YouTube, he learned everything he could.

“The fastest path, I think, to six figures is just to get Google AdWord certified. Google offers a free certification exam, and it’s amazing. I mean, that’s how basically I made all of my money,” says Sabatier.

Not only did his new skillset earn him a digital marketing job in Chicago, but it was the foundation of his side hustle success.

The Many Side Hustles of Sabatier

Running one side hustle is a huge time commitment. Balancing 11 to 14 of them might be downright crazy, but that was Sabatier’s life at one point.

“I was working literally all the time,” he says.

He basically worked late at his digital marketing job to learn more from co-workers. He would then start his side business work after that and work as late as he could. He committed his weekends to the hustle, too.

“About three months in, I got my first side hustle gig, which was building a $500 website for a lawyer,” Sabatier says.

During this time, he started his own digital marketing agency. He also launched a second agency with two others. His businesses grew fast. Three months after his first $500 website, he sold his first $50,000 website.

“By the end of that first year, even though my full-time salary was $50,000, I’d made over $300,000.”

A Closer Look at Successful Side Hustles

You don’t need a dozen side hustles to see financial results. The majority of Sabatier’s side business income came from one area – SEO and digital marketing consulting. Here is a deeper look at his most successful gigs.

SEO and Digital Marketing

Since the beginning, Sabatier booked jobs in this niche. Yet, while his early start in the field proved lucrative, there are now scores of SEO experts for hire and competition is stiff. Does Sabatier still think this is a side hustle to pursue?

 

“Oh absolutely, I mean the Internet’s not slowing down. Certainly, areas are more

competitive than they were before, but demand just continues to grow for these skillsets.”

 

“That’s an important thing to note. Because just working to get a job is different than building a skillset that’s going to help you for the rest of your life. Having a diversity of skillsets in the digital space is setting you up for jobs that don’t even exist yet,” he says.

Domain Reselling

One of Sabatier’s favorite side hustles is buying and flipping domain names. He purchases domains from GoDaddy’s website and through auctions, and then sells them for a higher price. No website building required here.

“The simple rule of thumb is buying the highest value keyword domains,” he says.

“It’s very hard to buy a one-word domain now, but you can still buy two-word domains.”

He suggests combining two popular words and to stick with dot com names. How does he know which domains to buy? “It helps to really specialize in a niche that you know,” he says.

While Sabatier specializes in money and higher-ed domains, he is savvy when it comes domains in any industry. While watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians with his wife, for example, he noticed the way Kanye West was looking at Kim in her Miami store.

“You could just tell how smitten he was with her,” he says. “I was like, oh they’re totally going to date. So, I got on my phone and bought kimandkanye.com and kanyeandkim.com.”

While he can’t disclose how much he made on those sales, you can bet there were a few zeros attached to the price.

Other Side Hustles

You would need a book to detail all of Sabatier’s side hustle adventures. Speaking of books, Sabatier’s book Financial Freedom has a step-by-step framework to pitch, launch and grow a profitable side hustle.

 

For brevity’s sake, here is a list of some of his other hustles, besides Google campaigns, domain buying and selling, and building websites:

  • Concert and event ticket flipping
  • Dog walking
  • Launching a blog
  • Campers and moped flipping
  • Freelance white paper writing
  • Selling prospect leads to law firms

Words of Wisdom

“A side hustle’s a great thing to do if you have debt. People focus way too much on the debt that they have, and it stops them from going out and making more money,” says Sabatier.

“There’s a limit of how much you can cut back, but there’s not a limit to how much

money you can make. And so, you should spend your time trying to make more money.

The net ROI of that is going to be significantly higher than just cutting back over the long

term.”

 

On that note, go forth and side hustle.

 

Money-Making Apps: What You Need to Know

Is boosting your income on your to-do list? If so, you can start a side hustle or angle for a better a job. But, there may be an easier way to make a few extra bucks: money-making apps.

“While money-making and cash back apps can’t replace your 9 to 5, they’re a great way to earn some change to tuck away for a rainy day,” says Joy Hearn, founder of deal site Cards and Clips.

Indeed, money-making apps can put cash in your wallet. That’s money you can use to pad your savings account or pay off debt. Yet, you may be confused about what these apps do or which ones you might want to try, right? Well, we’ve got the details here, along with tips on how to leverage money-making apps. To learn more, read on.

How Money-Making Apps Work

The basic premise of money-making apps is that they allow you to earn a percentage of what you spend as cash back. You link your debit or credit card to the app, spend at partner merchants and cash back rewards are credited to your app account.

You’re free to use the cash back you’ve earned however you want. And you can double up on rewards if you’re also earning cash back from your linked debit or credit card.

What makes each money-making app and website different is the amount of cash back you can earn, where you can earn it and how that cash is paid out. Some of the most popular money-making apps include:

With Dosh, you can earn up to 10% cash back automatically when you pay with a linked debit or credit card at more than 1,000 stores and restaurants. You can also snag an extra five dollars each time you refer a friend to Dosh and they sign up for an account using your referral link. You can transfer the money you’ve made to your bank account, PayPal account or donate it to charity.

Lushdollar founder Tom Nathaniel likes Dosh because it’s a set-it-and-forget-it way to earn cash back.

“While I could check out which merchants give me cash back, I just look at it as a bonus if my purchase triggers a reward. Since you just add your credit card, the app always knows what you’re buying,” says Nathaniel.

Marc Andre, personal finance blogger at VitalDollar.com says Ebates is his money-making app of choice. Ebates offers up to 40% cash back at more than 2,500 partner retailers. Besides the app, you can also use the Ebates browser extension to make money from your desktop.

“When you’re visiting a website that participates with Ebates you’ll be notified and all you need to do is click on a button in the notification so Ebates can track your purchases. There have been many times when I wasn’t even thinking about getting cash back but the alert from the browser extension reminded me of it,” says Andre.

Another great feature: Ebates automatically searches for coupon codes to help you find even more savings when you shop.

Like Ebates, TopCashback.com is a money-making app that also has a downloadable browser extension. It also features one of the largest merchant networks, with over 4,400 partner businesses.

Hearn at Cards and Clips is partial to Shopkick and Checkpoints, both of which reward you with cash instantly just for walking into stores or browsing retailers online. The difference is that with these apps, you’re earning gift cards instead of cold hard cash. But, the gift card selection includes retailers like Target, Amazon and Starbucks – which can come in handy if you regularly spend with these brands.

Using Money-Making Apps Wisely

Cash back apps and websites can put money in your pocket fairly easily, but there are a few rules to keep in mind as you use them.

1. Set realistic expectations for what you can earn.

Don’t think of money-making apps as a way to get rich quick.

“I think some people download these apps expecting hundreds of dollars. As long as you go in knowing you’ll make a few bucks, they’re fun to use,” Nathaniel says.

2. Don’t try to game the system.

It sounds simple but pay attention to the rules set down by an app for making money. For example, Hearn says that in her experience, survey apps tend to have explicit rules about misuse.

“If they find you’ve created multiple accounts and can track it back to your specific IP address, you can be banned from using the app. Or, if they feel you deliberately raced through a survey to earn money, your account can be terminated,” says Hearn.

Bottom line? “It’s always best to follow instructions and do exactly what an app requires so you can earn your payout,” she says.

3. Be selective.

Deciding which money-making apps to use partly depends on your spending habits, says VitalDollar’s Andre.

Checkout51 and Ibotta, for instance, are designed for earning money on groceries while other money-making apps cover restaurants or major retail brands.

“There are so many different cash back apps that you really can’t use them all effectively. My best advice is to pick a few and stick with those,” says Andre.

4. Don’t let apps dictate buying decisions.

When using money-making apps, it’s easy to get caught up in earning cash. So easy, in fact, that you might end up overspending just to chase down a few extra dollars.

“You have to keep it in perspective,” says Andre.

“Getting 10% cash back on a purchase that you need to make anyway is great. But making a purchase that you don’t need just to get 10% cash back is not wise,” he says.

In other words, keep your spending habits firmly in sight. Getting cash back is great but not if it means blowing your budget.

A Penny Saved Is a Penny Earned

When you’re earning extra cash with these apps, think about what you plan to do with it. Money-making apps can turn into money-saving apps if you’re using those dollars and cents to grow your emergency fund or save up for other goals. Plus, it’s motivating to watch the cash from mobile payment apps pile into a savings account. Are you ready to give money-making apps a try?

 

How to Launch Your Holiday Side Hustle

‘Tis the season to start a side hustle.

Indeed, launching a side gig as we move into the busy and expensive holiday season can help you earn extra money to buy gifts, travel to visit family, host a Christmas or New Year’s party, and more. Best of all, since your new side hustle may be seasonal, you can move onto a new endeavor once January hits – if you want.

With so many holiday-related side hustle options, it can be tough to decide where to start turning your idea into hard cold cash. Luckily for you, we’re to help you launch and grow your side business this holiday season. Ready to get started? Let’s go!

Where to Find Holiday Side Gigs

As it turns out, no one is going to knock on your door and beg you to be the mall Santa Claus. Here are a few places to start your job search:

  • Online job search: Look up “seasonal” and “holiday jobs” in job search engines like Indeed.com and Monster.com. If your community offers online job listings, don’t forget to check there too.
  • Established side gig platforms: You don’t need to reinvent the wheel when starting your hustle. Instead, use gig platforms like Uber, Lyft, Postmates, Shipt, TaskRabbit, and more.
  • Ask around: Keep your ear to the ground for money-making opportunities. Does your roommate complain about being swamped as a bartender? Ask if his manager will hire seasonal help. Is your aunt stressing about throwing the office holiday party? Offer to be the shopper, caterer, DJ or decorator. Look for a way to fill existing needs.
  • Strike out on your own: If the above suggestions don’t fit your ideal gig, don’t be afraid to create something unique. Your customized stockings or mobile dog grooming biz may be the ticket to extra dough. There is no guarantee for success, but you won’t know until you try.

Picking the Right Side Gig Idea

To set yourself up for success, you first need to choose a gig that aligns with your talents and lifestyle. Don’t pick something your co-worker or friend is doing just because they’re successful at it. Instead, brainstorm a list of possible holiday money-making ideas, even silly ones. Next, ask yourself these five questions:

  • Is this a job I can sustain for several hours without burning out? Ideally, you’ll be passionate about your side hustle, but let’s be real: Not many folks love shoveling snow (but you may be one of the few who does!) Pick a job that you will enjoy and that fits your lifestyle.
  • Is money the only benefit? Answering yes is not essential here. But, fulfilling a need outside of finances will keep you motivated. For example, money may not motivate you if your side gig is wrapping holiday presents, but perhaps you love your co-workers or helping customers pick out the perfect wrapping paper.
  • Do you have enough time or bandwidth to do this? Before you take on a side gig, you may want to consider whether it will interfere with your full-time job or deplete you completely of family time. Even if you have the time, you should evaluate if you have the mental or physical bandwidth to take on another job. Think about it: Added hours of freelance writing may not work for you after a long day of mentally-taxing work. So, respect your limits.
  • Is this something you are good at? Choose something you are already skilled at. For example, if you love knitting sweaters or taking family photographs, perhaps you can start a business selling hand-knit sweaters on Etsy or taking holiday family portraits.
  • Can you afford to start this business? While you can start driving for Uber or Lyft right away if you have a reliable car, other side hustles may require an initial investment. So, before launching a new gig, research and calculate all the costs associated with the new venture. Something to consider: Do you have to buy into a membership or purchase a large order of product or supplies to start? If your answer is yes and you don’t have money available in your savings account, then this may not be the right side gig for you right now.

How to Launch (on a Budget)

If you choose to launch a side hustle that isn’t tied into an existing app infrastructure (like a ride service or renting a room on Airbnb), figure out who your ideal client is. For example, are you selling customized holiday sweaters for an ugly sweater party? If so, your target customer may be college students or millennials rather than older generations. Similarly, if you are selling customized art for children, your best clients may be grandparents.

From here, you can then figure out how to go to market with a website and advertising. You may also want to research other costs like printing for business cards and brochures, logo design, and high-speed Internet. For service-based gigs, see if you can land a client or two before investing in any tools.

Remember, you can always add on as you go. For now, concentrate on making your services look presentable and start hustling.

How to Drive Customers

Now that you’ve started a great side gig, it’s time to keep the momentum going. Here are a few budget-friendly ways to attract customers:

  • If your business is local, then get the word out locally. Go to where your target client shops or hangs out. For example, if you plan babysit, advertise at your local library, community center or via Facebook moms groups. If you are offering winterizing services, go door-to-door and advertise on local Facebook groups.
  • For product-based gigs, use both online and offline platforms. If you have a physical item to sell, then research the best way to sell it. For crafts or sweet treats, for example, you can sell at local craft fairs while using social media to expand your reach. You can also sell crafts through Etsy or Shopify.
  • For service-based gigs, networking is key. Let your family and friends know about your new side gig. Ask them to refer you to their networks. Consider offering discounted services to attract your first few customers. Build your portfolio from there.
  • Don’t miss out on follow-up business. Once you have a customer base, it’s time to turn those one-time customers into repeat customers. For example, if someone hires you to hang Christmas lights, you can perhaps also take the lights down come January. Offering a discount to repeat customers can also help you turn a one-time gig into a regular business.

Keep the Holiday Gig Going

While some holiday hustles, like delivering Christmas trees or hanging lights, are truly seasonal gigs, other jobs may be year-round opportunities. So, while you’re getting your side hustle off the ground, think about ways to keep this business going after the holidays are in the rear-view mirror.

Regardless of whether you run your side gig every holiday season, just this year or all year-round, with a little bit of creativity and commitment, you’ll be on your way to banking more cash.

 

Weird Holiday Hustles You May Not Have Thought Of

Don’t stress if dressing up as Santa’s elf isn’t your ideal way to make money this holiday season. You’ve got standards after all.

But the truth is: You may need some extra dough to buy holiday gifts for your relatives. And, a side hustle can be the perfect way to earn more money.

Not sure what type of side gig is best for you? Take a look at these 7 weird holiday hustles and start saving money right away for the upcoming holiday season.

1. Mobile Gift Wrapper

If you actually like wrapping presents, then you have a real gift. Many people are willing to pay someone to wrap their presents, yet they don’t have the time to drag bags full of gifts to and from the mall’s gift-wrapping kiosk. Here’s where you step in. Instead of working at the mall, you can start your own mobile gift wrapping business. You simply go to your client’s house or workplace, wrap the presents, and leave – with cash in hand.

2. Gift Idea Generator

If only someone would pay you for your amazing shopping skills. Well, someone just might do this, especially if that someone is strapped for time. Here’s where you take over and charge by the hour to generate unique gift ideas for those who simply don’t want to shop for themselves.

 

The easiest way to organize this type of business is to take orders through an online form. This way the shopper can specify a budget, gift preferences, and give you details about their gift recipients. You create the list of presents and then place the orders – for an hourly fee, of course.

3. Christmas Light Installer

Another major holiday pain point is hanging Christmas lights. So, why not offer a service to hang and then take down holiday lights?

 

All you need to start is an appealing flyer. From there, be prepared to go door-to-door handing out your flyers and discussing your services. You can also broaden your reach by advertising your business to senior care facilities, small shops, and more.

 

If you are tech-savvy, you have even more to offer. People love lights that are synched with music.

4. Rent Out Baby Items

Tired of having your home look like a daycare? Why not rent out your baby gear to families visiting your area for the holidays?

 

Kaylee Garcia did this last Christmas using BabyQuip, an online platform that allows individuals to rent out baby gear. Garcia, who lives in central Washington, customized her profile to include snow gear and toys. According to BabyQuip stats, an average baby equipment renter earns $600 a month. As for Garcia: She likes helping other families, as well as earning extra cash.

“The best part is that I get to help families pack light and travel happy.”

5. Toy Dealer

You aren’t the only one strapped for cash this season. Parents are also on the prowl for awesome toy deals. Why not help these parents out by buying and selling used toys in great condition?

Take a look at Jeff Neal, who considers himself an expert at this. Neal, owner of The Critter Depot, purchases Lego blocks for two to three cents a piece online and then sells them for double in larger lots on Craigslist.

“They only sell when Christmas is around the corner,” says Neal. “I tried selling them during spring and summer, but there’s never any interest.

6. DJ Jingle Bells

If you know how to drop a sick beat, then you can make some easy money this holiday season. Think about it. If you’ve always wanted to DJ, now is your chance. Start out by offering holiday-themed party music packages. You can advertise your services for office parties, as well as school events and dances.

7. Toy Installer

Are you handy with tools and a pro at reading boring instruction manuals? This may be the perfect side gig for you – and a skill that parents are willing to pay for. Just think: You could be assembling Barbie’s 500-piece dream house and outdoor play equipment – for a fee, of course. If you offer Christmas Eve or Christmas Day rush assembly, even better. Don’t forget to charge a premium for that.

Get Ho-Ho-Hustling

As you can see, you don’t need a lot of money to launch a holiday side gig. You can try one of the ideas here or come up with your own business. All you need is an entrepreneurial hustle and bank app that lets you accept payments easily and instantly. And, while you’re at it: Don’t forget to automate your savings as this will help you save even more money without even thinking about it.

So, are you ready to make some extra money this holiday season? We thought so!

 

The Rise of the Holiday Side Hustle

It’s autumn and you know what that means? Time to increase your budget as the holidays get closer. Before you know it Thanksgiving will be here and then, of course, there’s Christmas.

Holidays are not cheap and you may have to start stashing more money into your savings account – starting right now.

While creating a budget for holiday spending will help you build up a cash reserve, there’s yet another key way to generate extra money: Get a side hustle. Indeed, holiday season side hustling is the new “in” thing.

Want to learn more about how a side hustle can help you pay for your holiday expenses and achieve your money goals? Read on to learn more.

How Popular is the Holiday Side Hustle?

Holiday temporary jobs are nothing new. Many families need to increase their income as this time of year approaches. Taking on a part-time weekend or evening job to help out is a common solution. During the fall season, side hustles tend to pick up, especially when it comes to flexible gigs like driving for a ride service, walking dogs or mystery shopping.

In 2017, about 44 million Americans reported that they had a side hustle or second job during the holidays, and that number is increasing every year. In fact, by 2020, about 43% of the U.S. workforce will be freelancers.

So, how can a side hustle during the holidays help you? Take a look:

  • You’ll Have More Cash Flow

Eighty-one percent of people who side hustle do so to earn more money and the average monthly income from a side hustle is about $686. While there are many side hustles that can be done around the holidays, including working retail or selling items online, the best side hustle for you is a gig you enjoy that helps you earn extra cash.

  • You’ll Have Financial Security

With nearly four in 10 Americans side hustling, it’s safe to say that secondary sources of income are going to continue growing. In fact, Gen Xers and Millennials are leading the pack with more than seven out of 10 of them side hustling. The reason? A side gig offers financial security, especially around the holidays when expenses start rising.

In recent years, some companies have even resorted to layoffs during the holiday season, sometimes just a few weeks before or after Thanksgiving and Christmas. With the fear and anticipation of not being fully secure in 9-to-5 jobs, Americans are now ramping up their side hustles.

Indeed, by taking on a second gig over the holiday season, this gives you an opportunity to save more money, readily pay for holiday gifts, and not worry about whether you’ll have enough cash to pay your bills on time.

  • You Can Avoid Accumulating Debt

Did you know that the average American will rack up about $1,000 or more during the holidays? In the age of instant gratification and expensive technology, more people are turning to credit cards and personal loans  just to have enough money to buy Christmas presents.

However, if you have a side hustle, you can avoid this debt trap. Budgeting and saving can only do so much, especially when the average household has over $5,000 in credit card debt. So, maybe this is the year you should try out that side hustle you’ve been considering. It sure beats staring at an exorbitant credit card bill come January.

  • You Can Put Your Skills to Use

Regardless of what type of side hustle you choose, try to find something you’re good at.

For example, are you a skilled handyman? Maybe you can pick up some side gigs fixing things for your neighbors or assembling furniture. Or, are you a talented graphic artist? Maybe you can take on some clients on the side and help them redesign their logos or brochures.

By doing something you love, your side hustle will help you in more ways than one: You’ll have renewed job satisfaction and you’ll earn enough dough to buy your holiday gifts without stressing about how you’ll pay for them.

Should you join the hype?

With side hustles offering the freedom and the ability to earn extra cash, it comes as no surprise that they are becoming increasingly common.

Starting a side hustle to earn extra dough is a great idea any time of the year, but especially leading up to the holiday season. Are you ready to do the holiday side hustle and start saving more money today?

 

How to Make Your Life Work with Two Jobs

We talk a lot about saving money, but there’s another big way to improve your personal finances: Make more money. Working a second job can be a good way to do that, and a new study finds workers with two jobs perform just as well as colleagues with one job.

But moonlighting comes at the expense of personal and family time, the study published in the Journal of Business and Psychology finds. The study, led by Brian Webster, an assistant professor of management at Ball State University, looked at the job performance and engagement of a sample of bartenders and teachers who moonlighted in a range of jobs.

Webster believes successful moonlighters understand their employers expect them to be focused at work.

“There seems to be that recognition that if I’m at work and I’m doing this, I’m going to perform adequately,” he said.

If people can’t perform, they leave. Webster noted the study didn’t look at people who used to moonlight, but stopped.

This is good news for employers, who can count on their workers being focused, but that extra time and energy has to come from somewhere, and that somewhere tends to be family, the study finds. Only about 4.9% of workers have multiple jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but over the course of a lifetime, many people could find themselves moonlighting, Webster said.

So how can moonlighters find a healthy balance?

How moonlighting affects you

People moonlight for two reasons, Webster said: To make more money or to do something they enjoy, like an accountant teaching a class on weekends. Warren Robbins, senior sales associate for Policygenius, found himself needing to do the former in 2015, when he took a job as a bartender while working full-time at a health insurance company.

Robbins had just learned his partner, now his wife, was pregnant. The pregnancy wasn’t planned, and the two decided they needed more money.

His solution was to take a second job. Robbins worked 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at his day job and took on two overnight shifts at a bar, from Saturday night into Sunday and Sunday night into Monday at 4 a.m.

“My sleep schedule was all messed up,” he said.

The beginning of the week was tough, Robbins said. He would sleep all day Sunday after getting off work early that morning, work a night shift at the bar and then get to the office on maybe four hours of sleep.

His focus and drive at work suffered. So did his personal life.

“It was tough,” Robbins said. “I never saw my wife, and if I did, it was after work on a weekday. We never got to spend quality time.”

The only moments he could take for himself were during closing time, when he would pour himself a Guinness, lock the door and count the money as the sun rose.

How to find balance

Moonlighting can be stressful, but there are ways to make it better, said Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO of Mental Health America. The first is to get enough sleep.

Sleep deprivation can take a toll on your mental and physical health, he said.

Also, take time each day to rest and recharge to relieve any stress from work.

“It’s free to sit back for 15 minutes and just rest,” Gionfriddo said. “It’s free to spend 20 minutes and take a walk.”

Find even a short amount of time for something you want to do, whether it’s family or a hobby, as a break from people telling you what to do, he said. If work becomes life and life becomes work, you can lose sight of who you are and who you want to be.

It’s important to be able to say why you’re working so hard, whether it’s to save for a trip, or support your family or retire early, he said.

“If you lose purpose in what you’re doing, then you’re in a real downward spiral that can lead to some real serious mental health problems,” Gionfriddo said.

You may not notice the signs of a problem, he said. You don’t necessarily have to feel suicidal to be clinically depressed.

If you feel excessively tired, or your eating habits suffer, those could be signs your mental health is suffering, Gionfriddo said.

“A lot of these things happen on a continuum,” he said. “It’s not that one day I have depression and the day before I didn’t.”

The Mental Health America website has free and anonymous screening toolsthat can tell you whether it’s likely you have a mental health condition like depression or anxiety. The tools also offer more information on mental health conditions, referrals to services, self-help tools and engagement with other people who may have the same condition.

If you do have a diagnosable condition, the law offers protections against being fired or disciplined for that condition, Gionfriddo said.

“There’s no shame in having a mental health condition or concern, even a diagnosed one,” he said. “In fact, the sooner you seek help for it if you think you need help, the quicker your recovery and the more likely your recovery is going to be.”

Before moonlighting, you may want to talk to your boss to see if your current schedule can bend enough to take on a second job, Webster said, or try to find a second job flexible enough that it won’t strain your existing schedule too much. You may also want to look for a second job that complements your existing job.

“If you enjoy what you do, the two jobs might benefit or contribute to each other in some way,” he said.

Robbins only moonlighted for three months. The birth of his son made his second job impossible. He wouldn’t moonlight again, given the choice.

“It was this period where you would get revived just to get depleted again,” he said. “I would never do that again.”

A second job isn’t the only way to boost your savings. Try making these small changes.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts please call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or contact them online.


This article originally appeared on Policygenius.com.

 

14 Part-Time Jobs That Provide Health Insurance

Being self-employed, I’m sensitive to the health insurance dilemma millions of people have to deal with.

My family is getting our coverage through MediShare, a Christian health sharing ministry. It’s working well for us, and I strongly recommend it. But there are other ways to get health insurance coverage, if you aren’t participating in an employer plan, or you can’t afford coverage on the health insurance exchanges.

This strategy might be a solution if you’re:

  • In between jobs
  • Self-employed
  • Or in early retirement (no employer plan, but too young for Medicare)

It’s well worth investigating if you’re in one of those three career categories. It may seem like a less-than-perfect solution for health insurance, but there actually are people getting coverage this way.

14 Part-time Jobs that Provide Health Insurance

I recently came across a great article (from Personal Finance expert Kevin Mercadante): 20 Part-time Jobs with Health Insurance that served as the inspiration for this piece.

This list is current as of June 2018. But please be sure to double check each benefit offer before applying for a job. Employers are particularly fluid when it comes to offering health insurance to their part-time employees.

Some drop coverage or change the terms, while others add it, and it all happens on a pretty regular basis.

1. Starbucks

I’m starting with this one because it’s the most frequently mentioned among any time the topic involves health insurance for part-timers. Starbucks runs largely with part-time workers, and they’ve been providing them with health insurance for years. They do it through their program called Your Special Blend. It’s a benefits package that not only provides health insurance, but also other benefits, including dental and vision.

To qualify, you must work at least 240 hours in a three consecutive month period. That works out to be at least 20 hours per week. Their website confirms they pay 70% of the premiums for their employees, and also cover 100% of preventative medicine.

One of the advantages of Starbucks as a source of group health insurance is that they’re located in virtually every nook and cranny in the United States. That means there may be a job available close to where you live.

2. UPS

This is another company that frequently appears on lists of part-time jobs that provide health insurance. And since it’s a package delivery company, they have locations across the country. UPS is a company well known for providing full-time benefits for their part-time employees.

For union jobs, which likely takes in the vast majority of delivery personnel, you must work at least 400 hours over three months. That works out to be something like 25 hours per week. That will give you full-time benefits.

If you work between 225 and 400 hours over three months, you’ll be eligible for part-time benefits, which includes health insurance. They don’t give details, but it’s likely to be a stripped-down program. Still, you can qualify by working fewer than 15 hours per week.

UPS may not be your first choice if you’re looking for group health insurance coverage. The work is physically challenging, and you have to be there for a minimum of one year to be eligible.

3. Delta Airlines

This one really surprised me, but in a good way. As one of the largest airlines, they operate out of most commercial airports across the country. If you live close to an airport, this could be a serious option. Not only that, working for an airline brings outstanding travel benefits. Delta is also one of those companies where a job that starts out as part time could go full-time, if that’s a consideration.

Delta provides health insurance coverage to part-time employees and their eligible dependents. They offer three different health insurance plans, depending on where you live. They don’t disclose the specifics of the coverage, so you’ll have to do some serious investigating before accepting a part-time job.

4. Southwest Airlines

Delta isn’t the only airline that offers health insurance for its part-time staff. Southwest does too, so it may be a norm in the airline industry.

Like Delta, Southwest is one of the major airlines, and operates at airports across the country. Their website gives no indication of how many hours you need to work to qualify for health insurance, but they do confirm it’s available. Again, make sure you look into the details before applying for a part-time job if health insurance is the main reason for doing so.

And once again, as an airline employee, you’ll enjoy generous travel benefits.

5. Lowe’s

Lowe’s is another company that has locations all across the country. In addition to the fact that they offer health insurance, this could be a real part-time job opportunity for someone with a background or interest in construction, home remodeling, or any of the trades.

Lowe’s health insurance includes prescription drug, dental and vision coverage. Benefits take effect within 31 days of starting, so this can be a real option if you’re looking for coverage fast. Like other companies on this list, they don’t indicate how many hours you need to work to qualify, so you’ll have to do some digging on that front.

Health insurance for part-timers looks like this:

6. Whole Foods

Whole Foods is another company that frequently makes lists of part-time jobs that provide health insurance. The company has nearly 500 stores across 44 states, so there’s an excellent chance there’s a location near you.

According to their website, you’re eligible for benefits if you work at least 20 hours per week, and have completed an undisclosed probationary period. They don’t indicate the specific type of coverage, but it seems to be dependent on location. You’ll have to do some investigating in the store where you apply.

7. Safeway

Safeway is one of the largest grocery store chains in the country. They operate more than 2,200 stores in 33 states. Their website indicates they offer coverage for part employees, but there’s also some indication that it varies by store location. They may offer the benefit in some states, but not in others. Or it may vary from one store to another. They’re a bit sketchy on the details, so once again you’ll have to do some investigating.

8. Costco

Costco is another company that frequently makes these lists. It’s generally nationwide as well, with more than 500 locations in 44 states. Coverage begins the first day of the second month after you’ve completed 450 eligible hours. You’re then required to average at least 23 hours per week to qualify for health insurance. The coverage includes your spouse, children, parents and even grandparents.

9. Citi Bank

It turns out your friendly neighborhood bank may be a prime source of part-time with health insurance. That includes some of the most prominent banks in the country.

Citi offers coverage for part-timers. You have to work a minimum of 20 hours per week, and you become eligible after 90 days of employment.

The downside is that Citi branches are concentrated in the largest metropolitan areas, so they may not be available in smaller cities. If so, try other banks in your area. It seems to be a common practice.

10. JP Morgan Chase

JP Morgan Chase has a health insurance arrangement for part-timers comparable to Citi. You’re required to work at least 20 hours per week, and there’s also a 90 day waiting period.

Plans are provided by CIGNA and United Healthcare, include dental and vision coverage, and are available for family members.

11. SunTrust Bank

SunTrust is a large regional bank, operating more than 1,400 branches in 11 southeastern states. They don’t indicate how many hours are required to get health insurance, but they do offer it to part-timers. They have different plans, and include prescription drug coverage. And as a bank, they also offer a health savings accounts (HSAs) to cover out-of-pocket expenses.

12. REI

If you’re not familiar with REI, there a company that sells sporting goods, camping gear, travel equipment and clothing. They have 154 retail stores in 36 states across the country. And they do offer part-time jobs that provide health insurance.

Their REI Flex Plan provides health insurance for workers averaging 20 or more hours per week. You can choose between several plans, and coverage extends to your dependents. The website indicates they pay most of the premium cost for the plan.

13. Aetna

Large insurance companies may be well worth a look for part-time jobs that provide health insurance. Aetna is an example. They provide health insurance for part-timers who work at least 20 hours per week. That also includes vision and dental coverage, as well as HSAs.

14. Navy Federal Credit Union

The OutOfYourRut list reports that credit unions are common sources of part-time jobs that provide health insurance. I did some light research to see if that’s true, and it absolutely is. In fact, I hit pay dirt on the first search.

Navy Federal Credit Union is the largest credit union in the country, and yes, they provide health insurance for part-timers. They list comprehensive medical coverage, catastrophic coverage and prescription drug benefits, with a choice of either a PPO or HMO, depending on location.

The website doesn’t give details as to how many hours you need to work, but 20 seems to be the standard among credit unions.

Apart from Navy Federal Credit Union, check with any credit union in your area to see if they have part-time jobs that provide health insurance. There’s an excellent chance they will.

Final Thoughts

If none of these tickle your fancy, you should also look into hospitals, county governments and colleges and universities. They commonly offer part-time jobs that provide health insurance.

In fact, it seems there are more part-time jobs with health insurance than we usually think. Check with any competitors of the companies on this list – banks, credit unions, retailers, airlines and insurance companies.

If one major employer in a field offers coverage for part-timers, there’s probably others.

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