Getting out of debt can be tricky for one very simple reason: It's expensive.
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You fell into debt because you bought things you couldn't fit into your budget in the first place, and that usually doesn't get easier as time goes on, especially because the debt will likely have accrued interest, as well.
Other than cutting back on a variety of expenses, the simplest thing you can do to help get out of debt is make more money. Of course, simple isn't always easy, and assuming you're already working full-time, it can be extremely tricky to supplement your income.
Get Creative About Making Money
There are few places to start when looking for extra money, and many of them are in your own home. First, you can sell things you don't need, like used books and sporting equipment, and you have a variety of channels for doing so.
There are Internet marketplaces, you can have a garage sale, and you can work with a local consignment, pawn or second-hand shop to sell your things. That's more of a one-time bonus than regular bump in income, though.
For a steadier increase in cashflow, consider monetizing one of your hobbies, whether that's offering music lessons, selling crafty goods or teaching a fitness class. These options may mean you have to spend before you can earn (whether that's on marketing, certification or supplies), but eventually, you could produce a lucrative side business.
You could always just look around for part-time jobs that fit your schedule, but if you already have your fill of "working for the man," don't worry — there are plenty more ideas you can come up with.
7 Ideas for Increasing Your Income
In a post from a few years ago, a Redditor asked the community for ways to legally make an extra $1,000 a month to help save a down payment for a house. The more than 5,700 responses included ideas from the typical to the bizarre, and many of them are worthwhile enterprises for people in need of more money. Here are a few to consider (or to help kickstart your imagination):
1. Search the Craigslist Odd Jobs Section Beware of scammers and people soliciting illegal activity, however.
2. Sell Blood Plasma You can do this regularly, but it's not going to get you rich. Various online sources say you'll get compensated between $20 and $40 for your time, and that figure may go up if you regularly contribute.
You have to meet physical requirements and answer a questionnaire, but it's a way to earn cash for minimal effort.
3. Tutor Whether you have a flair for math, writing, foreign languages or computer programming, you can probably help someone learn and get paid for it. You can do this on your own or through private tutoring centers.
4. Dumpster Dive People throw out good things you can sell (or inexpensively repair and sell).
If skulking around for treasures left on the curb or abandoned in an alley isn't your cup of tea, you can accomplish similar feats at thrift shops. Don't forget to look into posting fees on sites like eBay that can cut into your profit.
5. Take Surveys There are some that pay a bit in cash (about $5 per survey), while others are points-based rewards. Search for reputable sites.
6. Walk Dogs Make sure you actually like dogs and are prepared to make the time commitment.
7. Participate in Medical Trials This isn't a decision to take lightly, and you'll want to do plenty of homework before you start swallowing pills and taking injections in the name of science. A lot of these paths require a significant investment of time to be truly profitable, so think carefully before starting your new business venture.
It may be easier for you to analyze your spending habits and make cuts rather than conjure a secondary income source.
Most important, make sure you're not losing money while trying to save — you can easily get caught up in buying things to flip and never sell them, or you may invest in materials for monetizing your hobby and end up in the red. You'll have to find ways to save throughout your life, whether it's to pay down debt or fund a milestone purchase, so don't be afraid to experiment. Realistically assess how much time you can dedicate to a side project, and keep an eye on your finances along the way.
And if you're like the Redditor who posed the fantastic question of how to squirrel away more money for a down payment on a home, keep in mind that your credit will have a huge impact on your mortgage payment and interest rate. You can check your credit scores for free once a month on Credit.com.
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