Step 6 - Spend Less or EARN MORE

If you've completed Step 3, then you've already worked your way through reducing your expenses.  The alternative to reducing expenses is earning more money.  If you can pair the two - reducing your expenses while earning more money - you'll start making big strides to paying off your debt quickly.  

There are a zillion ways to earn more money.  First, I'll discuss how I earned more, then I'll walk through some other ideas.

Idea 1.  Get a Second Job

This isn't realistic for everyone, but occasionally not getting a second job is more about saving face and one's ego than the ability to work more.  If you currently work Monday to Friday during the days, could you consider picking up something in the evenings or on the weekends?  Once you're dead set on paying down debt, you're likely to move your ego aside to get it over with faster.  

If you have a full-time job already - think of something on-call, or casual.  That way you won't be bogged down by too much work, but can still add some meaningful cash to your wallet.

Idea 2.  Sell your Stuff

Most of us have way too much stuff in our homes.  I make a few thousand dollars a year selling my used stuff.  Think of anything in your home that hasn't been used recently, or things you have multiples of.  

Here's a list of the stuff I've sold in the last year:

  • GPS
  • Calculator
  • Camera
  • Label Maker
  • Wallet
  • Purse
  • Sewing Machine
  • Used Textbooks
  • Night Table
  • Dresser
  • Elliptical Trainer
  • Throw Cushions
  • Laptop
  • Coffee Maker

Every city seems to have their 'go-to' used selling site.  In Victoria, I take advantage of  UsedVictoria.com.  Kijiji.ca and Craigslist.org are other good used selling resources too.  Facebook has plenty of buying and selling sites as well.  Find one that works for you and get selling!

Tips for Selling Successfully.  In order to sell successfully - look at the site and see what other people are selling similar items for.  Either under-cut their price, or ask the same amount.  If you have no interest after 4 to 5 days of posting an item, reduce your price.  Always clean the item up.  If it has a surface, dust it or polish it.  If it has cords, wind them neatly for the photo.  Ensure photos are crisp and show only the item, and not any of the other 'stuff' in the background of the shot.  The photo should make the 'buyer' feel that the item comes from a 'good' home.  Having lots of crap in the background of the shot can leave a buyer feeling uncertain about where they're buying from.

If the item you're trying to sell still exists somewhere online, find a link and include it.  This is powerful if you can find the 'new' price and demonstrate how much less a person can buy it for, used.

Add as much detail as you can about the item.  If it's furniture for example, measure width, height, and depth and include these in the posting.  If it's an electronic, try and find any features that might have been used in it's original advertising.  If you have manuals, include them as part of the selling price.

Because I find clothes challenging to sell online, I find consigning a better option.  It's as simple as dropping them off, and waiting for a cheque.

I am continually selling things - partially for the cash, but also to purge my stuff.  

Finally, keep safety in mind.  If you're selling something small and live in a condo building, meet people at the lobby.  If you live in a house and have a small item, consider meeting someone in a public place, or if they come to your home, ensure someone else is home with you.  

Idea 3.  Freelance

If you currently work for an employer, but have skills you could contract, consider working for yourself in the evenings or weekends.  Use social media channels to drum up business.  Alternatively, blast texts to your friends to let them know your intentions, and ask them to put the word out.  Doing this once per week, can add a lot to your pocket-book over the course of one month. 

Have a peek at Craigslist.org, and Upwork.com for other possible freelancing gigs.

Idea 4.  Negotiate a RAISE

Ramit Sethi, wrote a book called "I Will Teach you to be Rich".  In it, he details a strategy for negotiating a raise with your employer.  This doesn't involve simply asking for a raise, rather a strategic two month plan to document your contribution to the organization followed by a meeting in which a raise is requested.  It's a good read in regards to personal finance - and perfect if you think a raise might be possible for you.

Miscellaneous Ideas

Pet Sitting

Website Building

Tutoring

House Sitting

Cleaning

Running Errands

Helping Seniors

Driving for Uber/Lyft

If you have other effective methods for making extra cash, will you share it below?