Most of us would love to be bringing in more money -- perhaps just to spend for pleasure, or perhaps for a more critical purpose, such as beefing up our retirement accounts. It's easy to assume making more money would simply be too hard, given our current jobs and busy lives. Think again, though, because there are lots of money-making ideas that could serve you well.
Here are just a few to consider.
Turn your hobby or skills into a little business
Do you like to knit? To make furniture, or jewelry, or soaps? To take photos? You can make a little business out of many activities, perhaps selling crafts on sites such as Etsy.com, or photos or images via sites such as CafePress, Zazzle, Alamy, SmugMug, iStock Photo, Shutterstock, and Flickr, among others. Local flea markets and farmer's markets can also be opportunities to sell your offerings. If you enjoy gardening or creating edible goods such as cheeses or candies, you might make extra money selling those at a farmer's market, too. If you know your math, science, or a foreign language, you might tutor kids in your spare time.
Make a few phone calls and save big
You have more power than you think. An afternoon spent making some phone calls can yield hundreds of dollars in savings, if not much more. For example, grab a copy of your latest car insurance bill and call other insurers, asking what they'd charge you for the same coverage. You might be surprised. You can do the same with your home insurance, too.
If you're paying steep interest rates on credit card debt, call your lender and ask about a rate reduction, letting them know you'll look into moving your debt elsewhere if they can't improve your situation. If you're a loyal customer, you might get better terms. Similarly, call your cable company and let them know you're shopping around for a better deal than you have -- and call competitors, too. You might nab some sizable savings.
Raise those deductibles
Speaking of insurance, you can save a bundle by hiking your deductibles. Make sure you don't exceed a level you can pay if you need to, though. A recent survey found that, on average, you can save 7% on car insurance by upping your deductible from $250 to $500, and 9% by upping it from $500 to $1,000. Considering that many of us spend $1,000 or more per year on car insurance, that can amount to $90 per year, and around $900 over a decade. Even if you end up having to spend that extra $500, you'll still come out ahead. Depending on your state and your insurer, you might get an even bigger discount. Hiking a car insurance deductible from $500 to $1,000 can lower your rate by nearly 20% in Massachusetts, on average. The same deductible increase on your homeowner insurance policy might save you 20% to 25%. Raise it to $10,000 or $25,000, and you might be able to cut your premium in half!
Make savvy replacements
You can achieve major savings by replacing big expenses in your life with smaller ones that don't really hurt. For example, replace three lunches per week that you grab from local eateries with brown-bagged lunches, and you might save $15 to $20 per week, or about $750 to $1,000 per year.
Meanwhile, if you're paying $80 per month for cable television, you might cut the cord and switch to streaming services. Netflix costs $8 per month, though it's expected that new members will soon pay $9 or $10. Hulu Plus charges $8 per month for a lot of television programming as well as movies. A $99 Amazon Prime membership from Amazon.com includes streaming access to a large library of movies and TV shows. HBO is offering itself as a stand-alone streaming service for $15 per month, while newcomer Sling TV is offering ESPN, CNN, A&E, AMC, the Food Network, and more for $20 per month. You can probably assemble a very acceptable line-up of viewing options for far less than you pay your cable company.
Clean out that attic or garage
This money-making idea will provide not only money, but also a less cluttered home. You can sell all of the items you no longer need in a yard sale, or perhaps on eBay. If you don't have time for that, middlemen will sell them for you, for a cut. That might still be worth it. While you're at it, if you simply donate lots of stuff to a reputable charity and get an itemized receipt, you can claim a deduction at tax time. Donate $1,000 worth of stuff, and if you're in the 28% tax bracket, you pocket $280 in tax savings.
There are many other money-making ideas that can plump up your coffers. Spend a little time thinking in detail about where your money goes and how you might keep more of it, and also about skills and interests you might leverage into a little income on the side.
Longtime Fool specialist Selena Maranjian, whom you can follow on Twitter, owns shares of Amazon.com and Netflix. The Motley Fool recommends Amazon.com and Netflix. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com and Netflix. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.