In this economy, we can all use some extra money to help pay the bills. The cost of basic necessities continues to rise, while companies are asking us to take pay cuts and are scaling back our benefits. So, how can we add to our incomes? Here are some things that you can do for your family:
- Yearly yard sales – Once a year we participate in a large yard sale with several other families. We look through our DVDs, CDs, books, children’s toys, kitchen appliances, the attic, the garage and all the closets for things we no longer use. We advertise on Craig’s list, in the local paper, on our local mommies’ network site and post signs. We have the yard sale in a high traffic area and make sure the public knows it is a multi-family yard sale. Depending on what you have to sell, you can walk away with several hundred dollars for just a few hours of work. At the end of the yard sale, look through what is left and decide what to do with the remains. Options include: swap amongst the friends there, donate to a local charity, take back home for another yard sale, or put it aside for a consignment sale.
- Take in work on the side – You may have a full-time job, but chances are you can also do some of that same work for yourself on the side. Are you a teacher? Tutor kids in their homes or yours, at the library or work part-time for a tutoring center. Are you an accountant or an attorney? Open up a consulting practice and take on clients on the evenings and weekends. Tell clients that you will come to them during off-peak hours.
- Turn a hobby into cash – Think about the things that you do for fun and brainstorm how you can turn that fun hobby into cash. Do you like to bake? Print out business cards at home or using an inexpensive online service to get your name out. Take your baked goods to meetings, school events, play dates and let people taste and see your wares for free. Get them hooked! Then offer to make cookies, cupcakes or other goodies for families that do not have the time or the inclination to bake. Are you an organizational diva? Do you like to knit or crochet? Are you a party planner extraordinaire? Does your husband collect baseball cards? Offer to help the packrats in your area, knit items and place them on etsy.com for sale, become THE party planner for your playgroup set, and sell those baseball cards at your local flea market.
- Direct sales – Many direct sales companies exist today. Think Mary Kay, Avon, Thirty-One Gifts, Tastefully Simple, Tupperware, Pampered Chef, Premier Designs. These companies offer women an excellent outlet for their creativity and people skills. Best of all you can set your own schedule and be your own boss. The key to success here is to pick a company and a product that you are passionate about. You will have a difficult time selling something that you do not believe in or can stand behind 100%. The biggest down-side to this option – it usually requires an initial out of pocket investment. Go to http://www.internetbasedmoms.com/direct-sales/ for a list of companies by category.
- Consignment sales – A consignment sale is a huge swap meet, usually geared towards children’s items. In our area, we have several sales that run twice a year. Gather all your baby equipment, toys, clothing, books, CDs, DVDs, arts and crafts supplies, bedding, car accessories, diaper bags, furniture and even maternity clothes. Rule of thumb is to price your items for 1/3 or less for what you paid for it retail. Most consignment sales require a small fee and will pay you 60% of your total sales. Generally, consignors can retrieve unsold items at the end of the sale or request that unsold items be donated to charity. Be sure to read the fine print in your consignment agreement as rules may vary.