A written budget is the line that defines the picture that we color in each month. The line between what is in and what is out of your budget. Color inside the lines and the picture becomes clear, scribble randomly and you are left with a mess.
There are many reasons that can lead us to color outside of our lines. Simply needing to make ends meet, lack of an emergency fund, over spending or temporary desires for material things can all wreak havoc to our monthly finances. The temptation to go into debt as a temporary or long term fix is one that should be avoided at all costs. Debt is coloring outside the lines and the Bible tells us over and over to avoid it like the plague.
Instead of coloring outside the lines, it might be time to draw a new picture and one way to do this is by earning extra income. In Proverbs 12:11 we are told, “Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.” The direction is clear on this one, we need to use our time wisely and get to work. For many, this could be a season to accomplish your goals of cleaning up debt, funding an emergency fund or planning for a major purchase. For others, it might be a needed pathway of more sustainable income to provide for one’s self or family.
Earning extra income comes in all shapes and sizes and there is something for everyone. Finding or starting a job that matches your likes and spiritual gifts is key. Below are some sure fire ideas on how to get started. With all these ideas, there are 2 ways to finding work- online tools and your own network (friends, church, social network, etc.). Both are great ways to get started but putting your own network to use may lead to more rewarding work.
1) Babysitting/Elder care | From full time to occasional hours, helping families to take care of their loved ones is in high demand. It can be as simple as checking in on a senior and running errands or babysitting a few hours on the weekend. It could also be as robust as running a home daycare or afterschool childcare.
2) Driving Services | Do you enjoy meeting new people and driving? This could be the route for you. Multiple rideshare companies claim their drivers can make around $25/hr ! The opportunity of earning an extra $100-200 per week while maintaining your regular job is a real possibility if you are willing to put in the time. There is a cost though in extra insurance and wear and tear on your vehicle.
3) Tutoring/Teaching | Do you have patience? This is a great opportunity to get paid to teach something you love doing or know a lot about. Skilled teachers in music, math, and languages are always needed but you might be surprised to learn how to put your own special knowledge to use.
4) Pets | Love the outdoors and animals? Pet walking and sitting services are in hot demand as people look for alternatives to kennels. Going rates of $25 per 30 minute visits are common. Additionally, pooper scooper yard cleaning services are in demand.
5) Food | If cooking is your thing, you are in demand! Busy families looking for fresh healthy meals are turning to services that provide meal planning and preparation locally. One Saturday in your kitchen could mean an extra $1000 per month.
6) Online Technology | Reaching beyond your personal network to find opportunities to earn extra income has never been easier. Further if you are gifted at writing, home improvement, assembling furniture, moving and packing, or heavy lifting there are several websites that will match your skills to current needs. A simple search of “handyman services” will connect you with websites that offer both services and jobs for those looking to provide the services.
The above list is only a start. There are many great opportunities for earning extra money. By doing a little research, you might be surprised how quickly the additional cash will come in and help you meet your goals.
If you are interested in participating in the next FPU or Budgeting Made Easy workshop, you can learn more and register here.
Written by Financial Stewardship Volunteer Jon Kotraba.