Dear Money & Crisis Reader,
Earlier this week I received an email from a woman in Baltimore who feels like she’s “stuck in a financial rut.”
Here’s a snippet from the end of her letter:
It seems like no matter what I do, I never seem to have enough money.
After the car loan and the mortgage and the bills, there’s never enough money to save or invest or build an emergency fund.
I’ve created a budget but I just don’t have any money left over at the end of the month.
What am I doing wrong?
— Sophie B.
I’ve been there, Sophie.
Almost everybody gets stuck in a financial rut like this at some point in their lives.
You’re budgeting. And you know exactly how much money you want to save and invest.
But the money is going out as quick as it’s coming in. And nothing you do seems to alleviate the pressure.
The worst part is you’re probably getting by OK for now… but if a financial crisis were to hit, you’d be totally unprepared… and financially ruined.
Heck, even one big unexpected cost — like some urgent home or car repair — could scupper the delicate balance of your finances.
At this point you really only have two options.
1. Change Your Situation
This is a drastic tactic that most folks will try to avoid at all costs. It involves making radical changes to your lifestyle in order to rebalance your income and your expenses.
This can involve changing jobs, moving to a more affordable neighborhood or even moving to an entirely different state where the cost of living is low.
Obviously, this strategy isn’t going to be for everyone. Which is why I usually recommend that folks try option #2 first.
2. Make More Money
I know, I know. “Making more money” is easier said than done.
But without a doubt, it’s the best and fastest way to increase your spending power without making any drastic life changes.
And in today’s “side hustle” economy, you can easily pick up a part-time gig where you can set your own hours and work in your free time.
Even if you only log a couple of hours a week, that’s going to be extra money you can put toward your emergency savings and investments.
Find Your Own Hustle
The best side gigs are flexible, pay well and build off your strengths.
For me personally, that’s freelance writing.
I have a background in writing. I can set my own schedule. And I can pick up a job whenever I need a little extra money to spend or invest.
I simply head over to Upwork.com, a website that matches freelancers with folks who are looking for work.
But your perfect side gig is going to depend on your own experiences and talents.
For example, if you’re a music lover, you can earn an average of $40 an hour playing music or singing in live music venues.
According to Payscale.com, this is one of the highest hourly rates for a side gig. But keep in mind, the typical musician only works four hours a week.
Still, an extra $640 a month for just a few hours of work is nothing to be sneezed at.
Photography is another hobby with big potential for a lucrative income. The average side-gig photographer earns about $36 per hour and typically works five hours per week.
Obviously, camera equipment can be expensive and you need to know what you’re doing. But if you’re passionate about photography and already have the equipment, this is a great way to earn a side income.
If you’re handy, you can earn $20–45 an hour doing handiwork or cleaning. Handy.com is a great resource for finding jobs and operates similarly to Upwork but for handiwork.
You’ll determine your own availability and work schedule. And payment will be directly deposited into your account after each job.
That said, your perfect side gig will probably be something only you can do.
Maybe you can translate your experience into an online consulting job… or an online training job.
A few times a week, you simply load up Skype, impart your wisdom and name your price. An online tutor typically commands about $20 an hour. But the more specialized your knowledge, the more you can charge.
Take Your Hustle to the Next Level
All if these side hustle ideas are great for earning a little extra money. But if you want to kick your hustle into overdrive — and turn it into a six-figure income — I highly recommend you check out Side Hustle Bible.
In it, side hustle expert James Altucher reveals 177 six-figure income opportunities to earn passive paychecks for the rest of your life — including 10 separate, fully legal ways to make two grand in the next 48 hours.
All the best,
Editor, Money & Crisis