Ever since Paul and I decided to make the switch (separating the website Deal Detecting Diva into two; this website and Penny Pinchin Paul) back in April, I have felt super broke. Like uber broke.
I’m sure the broke feeling also has something to do with us taking the kids to Disney World and all of the other traveling we have done this summer. I also just finished registering (and paying for) the kids to go back to school and buying their school supplies. Not that it’s a ton of money for my 2nd and 4th graders, but when you’re already feeling broke? Blech.
I have invested in the design and functionality of the new websites, we are now paying for a higher quality email service and platforms that enable Paul and I to easily share and schedule our websites’ content and several other things that will bore the socks right off of you.
With the change in the way the websites are setup, we are pulling in the same (some days more, thank you! ♥) traffic than we were when we were one entity, Deal Detecting Diva. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we are pulling in more money. Dangit.
We have spent a good chunk of change getting things the way I want them, and if truth be told, I’m discovering a lot of small things I should have been doing all along the past 7 years.
I’d rather not talk about it.
I am also enjoying this kind of blogging a whole lot more. But enough about that. The point is: I like to stay a month ahead of my expenses and I know there are tough times ahead. What am I going to do about it, you ask?
There are things I am going to do this month to make sure I can cover my bills next month or even the month after that, and if you’re feeling broke also, tighten those purse strings with me, and boost your income with me as well. Free up some much needed cash flow.
Ways to Free Up Money Immediately (When You’re Feeling Broke)
1. Side hustle. This can be easier said than done. For me, and since I crochet, I am going to let my friends know that I have some time to work on projects. I’ll remind them that cooler weather and Christmas is right around the corner and see if I can drum up some business.
I always ask for 50% of the project up front because I’ve been burned way too many times in the past. So I’ll get cash now, and cash again when the project is finished.
2. Sell used electronics. I upgraded to a new phone not too long ago. My old one works just fine and is still a newer model. So you know what? I’m going to see what an online electronics merchant (like Gazelle) will offer me.
Looks like I’ll get $65 for my old phone, and they even provide the shipping label. Note that the electronics must be in decent (working) condition, so go through your drawers and see what you can find. They take tablets and iPads too!
3. Sell unused gift cards. If you have any unused gift cards laying around, consider selling them. Websites like Raise.com or Cardpool are easy to use. Refer your friends (those are my links, and I thank you for using them!) and get a $5 credit. Use that credit to buy Walmart or Target, CVS, Walgreens or Kroger family gift cards so that you’re using that money to buy your essentials instead of your own – freeing up money for the electric bill. Cha-ching!
4. Redeem your credit card points. Since Paul and I use our credit cards for all of our purchases (and pay them off every month as well) we are constantly earning rewards through them as well. Instead of using all of my own hard earned money to pay off the credit card next month, I’ll redeem some of those points to pay toward my statement balance. This will free up other funds to pay the water bill or internet bill.
5. Cash out your rebate apps. Do you have ibotta, SavingStar, Checkout51, Shrink or Berry Cart? There are dozens of rebates apps, but these are my favorites and I’ve got $100 or $200 sitting there waiting to be cashed out. I’m going to cash those suckers in and have the funds deposited into my PayPal, then transfer those funds to my personal checking account (with no fees). That’ll pay the cell phone and gas bill for next month.
6. Redeem your Recyclebank points for coupons. If you haven’t discerned it yet, I’m big into rewards programs. This is free money, yo! Why not redeem those points?! With Recyclebank, you earn points for using your home recycling.
Sign up and link your trash service to your account. Every other week when my recycling is picked up I earn around 50 points. I can then redeem those points for coupons to save on my local dry cleaning or hair cuts for the kids – something I need to spend money on anyway. Or I could redeem for free mini-golf tickets to break up the monotony of no outside entertainment.
I’m saving money here so that I have money to pay a different bill there.
7. Clean out the junk. My junk could be my neighbor’s treasure. While I don’t have time to have a full-blown garage sale (time to prepare for it or facilitate it) I do have time to post some higher end or gently used/like new items in the virtual yard-sale groups I am a member of.
I could also sell those items on Craigslist using some of my trusted techniques and see how much I can earn there. Bonus: I’m cleaning out clutter! Love that de-cluttered feeling.
8. Do odd jobs. Put an ad out for odd jobs on Craiglist or virtual yardsale groups. Are you good at painting? Are you great at weed eating? What about cleaning out gutters this fall?
While I do loathe painting, if someone wants to pay me $100 to paint a room, I’m game (and I can cut in like a pro).
9. Teach. Now, I don’t mean that you should become a teacher, per se. But, if you are adept at a particular musical instrument (piano lessons finally paying off?) or if you are great at math for instance, why not offer up lessons or tutoring services? Tutors can earn anywhere from $15 – $30 per hour where I live, and piano lessons would offer a steady (and super easy) source of income.
If your English grammar is top-notch, consider editing for a fee. Put an ad on Craiglist. An added plus to this little side job is that you shouldn’t ever actually need to meet the person face-to-face. Email the file back and forth and you’re golden (and in your pajamas). Collect your fee via PayPal.
10. Implement a No Spend Plan. Try going for a week (or an entire month!) buying ONLY the necessities/staples such as milk, cheese, eggs etc. You’ll be able to get by on less, I promise, and you’re using up the oldies in your pantry.
There was a time in my life during which I thought Ramen Noodles with soy sauce was a gourmet meal. I wasn’t just feeling broke. I was broke. Not that I’d opt for that for dinner every night, but I can be super resourceful when needed.
By pooling our resources, we will easily be able to make it through these lean months.
See more tips and tricks for stretching your dollars when you’re feeling broke:
Top 7 Most Frugal Things I Do
Budget 101: How to Manage Your Budget Like an Adult
What is Average Billing with Your Utilities (and why you want it)
5 Ways to Save Money on Laundry
Ways to Make Money Online (Start a Blog)
Cutting the Cable Cord? Top Tips and Tricks to Saving HUNDREDS per Year