5 Ways For You To Make Extra Money This Summer

5 Ways For You To Make Extra Money This SummerIt’s finally June. WOOHOOO! Who doesn’t love the Summer? I know I do.

The summer months are great for many people because it usually means that there is more free time. You may be on your Summer vacation, you may be out of school, it may be the slow time at your job, or something else.

Many people have extra time in the Summer and look for ways to make extra money to fill up this time. If you are looking to make extra money this Summer, read below!

1. Lawn care.

Of course I would include this side hustle in this article. Summer usually means that there is grass, and grass needs to be cut.

You could try starting your own lawn care business and start with your family, friends’ and neighbors’ yards. If you like it enough then you may even look for other customers by placing flyers on doors and bulletin boards.

We have a lawn person and we pay him around $28 (for both the front and backyard altogether) each time he mows. We found him because he placed a flyer on our door and after we called him we found out that he lived on the same street as us.

He mows around twice a month (our grass grows veerrrrryyyy slowly) and he only lives two houses away from us, so it’s relatively easy money for him.

What you may need: A good mower (you might want a riding one if you can budget for that), clippers, leaf blower (our lawn guy also does Fall cleanups which are a lifesaver), and more depending on what the lawn care services that you are wanting to offer.

2. Babysitting.

When I was younger, I almost always tried to babysit full-time during the Summer. It was a great way to make money (when I was 14, I was making $10 an hour to babysit my neighbors child full-time) and it can be a lot of fun as well.

There are many websites out there that allow you to advertise your services, or you can also ask those that you know to spread the word that you are looking to provide babysitting services.

What you may need: A car. A car may be needed because you may have to drive the child somewhere, pick them up, or the person’s home may not be within walking distance to your home. Many parents also ask that you have a car in case an emergency arises.

3. House sitting.

Since it’s the Summer, many people leave for vacations. Many people look for house sitters to make sure that their home, pets, and plants are kept alive and well. Rates can vary greatly for this, depending on the size of the home, distance to the home, services needed, and more.

House sitting can be especially great if you are looking to travel somewhere and want a fun place to stay as well. There are websites out there for vacation house sitters, but the wait is usually somewhat long for vacation destinations.

What you may need: Nothing that I can think of. A car probably if you are not staying at the home full-time and it is not within walking or public transportation distance.

4. Sell stuff.

I know of someone who goes to as many garage sales as she can go to during the Summer months.

She tries to find things that she knows that she can sell for more and then puts the time and effort into putting the items for sale on websites such as eBay and Craigslist.

Also, if your college semester is done for, sell your textbooks! I always made sure to sell mine and often made a few hundred dollars back each semester from selling back my books.

Since selling things can sometimes be difficult, especially with larger items, you might consider donating them in exchange for a tax deduction. If you have an old boat, for example, you can give it to an organization that accepts boat donations and it will be sold at auction.

The proceeds from this auction are then given to a children’s charity. In exchange for your generosity, you are given a tax receipt in the amount for which the boat sold. This has become popular in many states, such as New Jersey, where the tax benefits for donating such items make it well worth the effort.

While donating a boat will not provide you with an immediate influx of cash, it will help keep money in your pocket during tax season.

What you may need: For this, you may need some cash upfront to buy the actual items.

5. Become a lifeguard.

Of course, only become a lifeguard if you think that you have what it takes to save a life. This is an important role!

Many places are looking for lifeguards in the Summer months because it’s their peak season and the pools have finally opened in many places. Becoming a lifeguard can be a great way to make some extra money in the Summer months and to also enjoy the Summer time since you will be near water.

What you may need: You may need qualifications and certifications in order to be hired. You may have to take a few courses in order to receive those. Lifeguard pay can vary greatly, but you may be able to find some community swimming pools in your area that will hire you for somewhere around $10 to $15 an hour.

Are you trying to make any extra money right now? What are you doing as a side hustle, and why?


Image via Flickr by olegshpyrko

How To Budget As A Freelancer

How To Budget As A FreelancerAs a freelancer, I have to find a way to budget my income with different amounts of money. I never make the same amount, and as a freelancer income isn’t always stable.

You might have a fantastic one month and then the very next month have an absolutely horrible one. You just never know what will happen.

What about my experience? Some months I don’t make any income for a few weeks, and then it all comes in at the end of the month. Other times, all of my income comes in at one week and the other 3 weeks almost feel like a complete loss. This is usually because work can vary from week to week, and also because sometimes clients have a 45 day or 60 day wait before they can pay me for my services. As a freelancer, weeks where I don’t get paid much almost feel like everything is just going downhill, even though I know it’s not. It’s hard to get out of that mindset.

Here are my tips for budgeting as a freelancer:

Have a budget!

This should be your very first step. You need to create a budget with your actual expenses so that you have an idea of how much income you need to bring in.

The main way I recommend freelancers to make a budget is to base it off your lowest monthly income. So, if a “bad” month for you is $3,000, then try to make your budget at $3,000 or lower.

However, this is all up to you. If you have an emergency fund (as discussed below), then you may be able to base your budget off of an average instead. For me, I’d rather be more comfortable and base it off a bad month because you never know how long a “bad month” will be. It could just be one month, but what if it happened for 6 months?

Save for taxes.

Saving the correct amount for taxes can be difficult because as a freelancer it is unlikely that you will know the exact dollar figure that you will owe at the end of the year. However, there are ways to help you estimate your taxes.

Two different ways include saving 25% to 35% (or whatever percent you think is realistic for you and your business) of how much you make each month. Or, you can try to estimate how much you will make throughout the whole year and save the amount of taxes that you think you will owe each month.

Have an emergency fund.

If you are a freelancer, I really hope you have an emergency fund. I know that some people are forced into the freelancing lifestyle suddenly for different reasons, but I think that you should work towards having a well-funded emergency fund no matter what.

Having an emergency fund is a good idea for many reasons. If you have a bad month, an emergency fund can help you through that so that you don’t feel like it’s the end of the world. An emergency fund can also help you get through a month with higher expenses, such as due to car or home repairs.

Read How Much Do I Need in My Emergency Fund for more information.

Keep your business and personal finances separate.

Keeping your finances separate is something that you definitely need to do. It’s easier just to keep everything separate so that you can keep track of business and personal financial goals, and it also makes it easier when it comes around to tax time.

You don’t want to have to weed through hundreds or thousands of transactions when it’s tax time to try to figure out if it was a business or personal expense.

Don’t forget to save for retirement.

One thing that some freelancers forget to do is to save for retirement. You should have a line item in your budget for retirement so that you are “paying yourself” in your budget as well.

How do you budget as a freelancer?


Image via Flickr by Seniorliving.org

Ways To Become A Successful Online Freelancer

Ways To Become A Successful Online FreelancerBack in September of 2013, I published the article Tips For Successful Freelancing Part 1. Well, today you finally get to enjoy Part 2 🙂

Online freelancing is hard work. I don’t care what anyone says.

Yes, I occasionally work in pajamas from the comfort of my bed, but that doesn’t mean that my work is easy or that becoming a successful online freelancer is easy.

Here are my tips to become a successful online freelancer (don’t forget to read Part 1!):

Take each job seriously.

Whether you are getting paid $100 or $1,000, you should be taking your role seriously. You should always make sure that your quality is the best that it can be. It is important to keep your level of quality high because you never know who may find your work. You don’t want your reputation to be forever doomed because you slacked off on a project.

Of course, you still want to remain realistic as well. Working 100 hours to earn $10 would not be worth it to most people.

If you do not see value in a project that you are asked to do, you are not required to say yes! I know that many freelancers try to take as many jobs as they can, but you really do not want to undervalue yourself or wear yourself out. You should be pricing your services out to a rate where you feel comfortable working.

Always stay up-to-date.

The online world changes quickly, so you should always try to stay on top of it all. I know, I know, it can be hard, especially since you probably already have 1,000 other things on your plate.

However, you should always try to learn new things such as by attending conferences (I love FinCon), networking with others, reading freelancing-related articles, and so on.

Do you want to be an expert or be diversified?

Some will probably disagree with me on this, but for the most part I think becoming an expert in just a few areas can really help a freelancer out.

If you are focused on just a few things, you can really try to improve yourself and the services that you provide. I think it would be much more difficult to offer 100 different services, because the chance of you being an expert in all 100 is very slim.

I recently came across a freelancer (I won’t share their name) who seems to do everything. They design websites, staff write, manage their own website, manage websites for others, have an online store, sell their photography, do virtual assistant work and more. It is just insane the amount of jobs that this person does, I’m not sure how they even have time for it all!

There is one BIG positive to offering several different services though, and that is that you are probably well diversified. If one area completely tanks, you can then rely on the other areas instead.

What do you think? Would you rather be well diversified in the online freelancing world, or would you rather be an expert? Is it possible to be an expert in multiple areas?

Get on social media.

If you are an online freelancer, then I really hope you are active on social media. I would look into Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and possibly others as well. You should see what works best for you and your industry, but in many cases having each of the above accounts is a good idea.

Social media can be a great way to network with others, and it’s always a great way to keep in touch with past, future and current clients.

Provide great customer service.

Whatever you do, please always try to provide great customer service. I always cringe whenever I see a person who is super talented in what they do, yet they are very unapproachable because of how “mean” they seem.

Your reputation will eventually get around and it may cost you business down the line.

No, the customer isn’t always right. However, I’ve seen freelancers be catty and mean to perfectly nice people. It just doesn’t make sense to me!

Learn how to take criticism the correct way.

I know others who hate to be criticized. Even if a client says the smallest thing that wasn’t meant to be mean, they will take it like an insult.

If someone has a critique, you should at least TRY to see their side. You never know, they may say something extremely valuable that will actually help to improve your business.

Have an emergency fund.

This last tip is a little bit different from all of the rest. This is mainly because if you have an emergency fund, it doesn’t mean that you will be a great freelancer.

However, if you are already a great freelancer, an emergency fund can keep you in the game even when you have a bad month.

If you have a bad month, it can real put a sour taste in your mouth and put you in a horrible mood, and this horrible mood may affect your work. Having an emergency fund is a definite need in the online freelancing world!

Are you an online freelancer? What tips do you have to share?