If you’re swimming in debt, it may feel like nothing will ever get you back on dry land. Even when you cut back on expenses, devote every extra penny to paying off your debt and avoid adding new debt, the burden can be frustrating.
You may think you need to get a second or third job to cover your expenses, and while that might be a viable option, there are others to get an influx of cash that won’t have you rushing from one job to the next or living on ramen noodles while you pay off your bills.
Read Your Bills
Multiple studies have shown a significant percentage of utility bills contain errors that cost consumers millions every year. Even if you aren’t being overcharged, you may be paying for services or features you aren’t using. It’s a good idea to scrutinize each bill you receive to ensure there aren’t any errors, and to address them as soon as possible. Don’t forget to regularly evaluate your service plans as well. Many providers will allow existing customers to take advantage of promotions, which can put hundreds of dollars back in your pocket. The same goes for credit card providers: If you are a good customer with a solid payment track record, a provider may be willing to waive fees or lower interest rates to keep you. Simply lowering your credit card interest by a few percentage points will save you hundreds, and help you pay what you owe more quickly.
Put Your Talents to Good Use
Maybe you’re a whiz with the sewing machine or there’s nothing you can’t fix. If you have a useful skill or talent, you can put it to work to make some extra money. Try selling your handmade items online or via craft fairs; there’s a significant demand for one-of-a-kind, handcrafted items these days. With the right marketing, you can turn your hobby into a business.
You can also use your skills to teach others. Community college and adult education programs are often looking for qualified instructors, and you can earn some extra cash while sharing your passion with others.
Sell Your Stuff
Be honest: Your home is probably full of items that haven’t been used in ages and are just collecting dust. They say one man’s trash is another’s treasure, so spend some time cleaning out the attic, basement and garage — and sell the items for cash. You may be surprised how much you can make at a simple weekend garage sale or by selling items online.
Don’t overlook items you may think aren’t worth anything, either. For example, that old clunker that’s taking up space in the driveway — you might think it’s destined for the junkyard, but this website will give you cash for your car and then recycle it, helping you get out of debt and helping the environment at the same time.
Sign Up for Loyalty Programs
It seems almost every retailer has some sort of loyalty program these days: When you spend a certain amount of money, you earn perks, including coupons, free merchandise or even cash back. If you regularly shop at a particular location, it’s worth it to sign up for these programs. You’ll earn perks, you’ll often have advance notice of sales and you’ll receive special discounts.
And don’t overlook online rebate sites, either. Several sites will pay you a percentage of your purchase in cash when you shop through their site. If you shop online regularly, you could earn a significant amount of cash for your purchases. Since many stores allow for store pickup of online purchases, you don’t always have to negate the savings with shipping costs — and can earn larger rebates on big ticket purchases.
Getting out of debt – or simply saving for a rainy day – requires commitment, sacrifice and a little bit of creativity. Yet by looking at the resources you have and making small changes to your everyday habits, you can earn some extra money and keep more of it. Then, you can move forward on your journey to financial freedom without working your fingers to the bone.
About the Author: Blogger Carlene Michaelson paid off a large credit card bill with her earnings from custom accessories she sold online.