There might not be a way for most of us to get a million dollars overnight, but there are definitely some quick and easy ways to get smaller amounts of money and those small amount really add up (plus, it feels awesome to deposit the money in the bank!) Do any one of these to add a quick $100 to your savings this week, or maybe use that money to pay down your debt. Do them all to save even more!
#1 Negotiate your bills
One of my favorite ways to save some dough is to simply pay less for what I already have. Call your current providers and try to get them to lower your rates. If they say no, you haven’t lost anything, but they’ll say yes more often than you think. I wrote recently about How I saved $216 in 18 minutes and you can too. I did this without losing any quality in my service. Look at your credit and debit card statements and make a list of who you pay monthly. Then call up your internet provider, your gym, and everyone else to see how much lower those bills could go.
#2 Sell your clutter
We all have stuff lying around the house that we don’t need. I’m often amazed by how much junk I’ve managed to keep in my small apartment. Ok, to be fair, most of it hasn’t been junk. It’s just stuff I don’t need anymore. It was still in great condition, so I sold it to people who would actually get some use out of it. Decluttering netted me over $840 in two years. Some of that came from $5 and $10 sales or from yard sales, but some came from larger sales. Look around. What do you have that you could sell for $25 or more? Find a few of these items, post them on Craigslist, Ebay, or a local site today, and by the end of the week you could have that $100!
#3 Babysit, tutor, walk a dog, or run errands
There are so many babysitting and dog walking jobs out there, I don’t even know how to begin telling you all the ways to find them. You can earn well above minimum wage (one friend gets $25 an hour per dog to walk 2 neighbors’ dogs, another gets $35 per hour to tutor high school kids) doing this. Sites as diverse as care.com and taskrabbit.com help you find local jobs. You can put messages on community listservs or post signs at the local cafe. Ask your local friends with kids if they know anyone looking for a tutor in a subject you specialize in. Play to your strengths and hustle up some clients!
#4 Cook from your cabinet
It happens to all of us: we have a cabinet full of food, yet we spend $100 on groceries. Then, from time to time we clean out our cabinets and find lots of expired foods. What a waste! I’m not judging you – I’ve done it many times myself. That’s why I love this challenge. Buy only minimal produce and no other groceries this week. Don’t eat out. Instead, eat only meals that you create from the food you already have in your cabinet. Type your ingredients into a search engine and see what recipes come up. Many recipe sites like allrecipes.com let you search by ingredient. For example, a search for “black beans” brought up this recipe that I’ve made many times. It’s delicious, healthy, and except for the fresh cilantro (which I prefer to leave out anyway), it uses ingredients that I already have. What can you make from your cabinet?
#5 Entertainment: The best things in life are free
It’s easy to spend a lot of money on movies, concerts, dinners out, and all sorts of other entertainment. But it’s also easy to spend nothing at all. Try not to spend anything on entertainment this week and put that money towards your debt and savings instead! Get creative. Just a few ideas are ice skating on the local pond (make sure it’s frozen through!), sledding, swimming at the beach, going on a picnic, throwing a frisbee in a park, taking walks, volunteering, hiking, watching movies at home (borrow them from the library if you don’t have Netflix, Hulu, or a dvr with movies already on it,) reading library books or books borrowed from friends, watching a friend’s dog for the day (you fellow dog lovers will know why this qualifies as high-quality entertainment!), inviting friends over for a potluck dinner or brunch (where everyone brings a dish to share,) playing board games with a friend or significant other, doing that hobby that you love but never seem to have enough time for. I came up with this list in less than 5 minutes, so I’m sure there’s a ton I’ve left out. What will you add to it?
It’s time to take action!
I could have listed another dozen (at least) ideas. And I’m sure that one day I will. But these 5 are all quick and easy and totally doable for most people. Pick one to get started with and give it a try, because you have nothing to lose and plenty to gain. Then let me know in the comments how it goes! I’d love to hear from you!
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