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 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.
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.
- 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 No. 2 first.
- 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 gig” 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 savings or investments.
Finding the Side Gig That’s Right for You
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, which is 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 16 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. If that sounds up your alley, you can sign up right here.
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.
Tomorrow, we’re going to look at some of the highest-paying side gigs that require little-to-no experience or training.
Until then, take a look at this new strategy for making more money from my colleague James Altucher.
James has discovered a way to rip $3,000 from the stock market every month. Click here and he’ll show you how to do it yourself — and bank an extra $36,000 a year.
Don’t delay. You only have until midnight Sunday to take him up on his offer.
All the best,
Editor, Money & Crisis