by Dana George | Updated July 17, 2021 - First published on Oct. 6, 2020
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Extra cash sources are a good way to pay bills, plump savings, and gain security in case your primary income dries up.
If you're concerned about when the economy will recover and what the world will look like post-coronavirus, you may wonder how to earn extra money. Whether you still have a job and want to supplement your income, or are one of the millions who remain unemployed, taking on a side hustle (or even two) can help financially and emotionally.
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We spoke with Eliza, owner of Everyday Finance Gal, in hopes of learning how the single mother of one has earned extra money during the pandemic. Although she works full-time in corporate finance, Eliza is the queen of the side hustle. As the child of immigrants who lived paycheck to paycheck, Eliza says she figured out early how important it is to be careful with finances. "Being careful" in Eliza's eyes, means having multiple sources of income that allow her to invest in the future and protect her ability to pay bills.
Through her website and Instagram page, Eliza passes along the financial lessons she has learned. Here's a sampling of what she wants readers to discover:
We asked Eliza how she earned an extra $2,100 in July.
Decluttered her home: Throughout the pandemic, Eliza and her 11-year-old daughter have narrowed down their possessions, selling furniture they no longer need and toys her daughter has outgrown. The income from selling "extras" in July was just $27, but mother and daughter have earned more than $500 that way this year.
Banked smarter: When Eliza purchases stock, she makes sure the stocks pay dividends so she can count on some income from them, even when the market takes a hit. She also keeps her emergency fund in a certificate of deposit (CD) that pays higher interest than a standard savings account. In July, these two simple practices earned an extra $90.
Offered financial coaching: After starting Everyday Finance Gal, Eliza branched off into business and career coaching. Coaching brought in $450 in July.
Created an online course: Eliza was able to grow her Everyday Finance Gal Instagram page exponentially in eight months (she currently has more than 15,000 followers). She then offered to teach others how she increased page engagement. Enough people signed up for her course in July to generate $1,563.00 in sales.
Although she had plenty to keep her busy in July, Eliza is also a fan of completing online surveys and sharing referral codes for products on apps like Rakuten to earn extra money.
If, like Eliza, you are interested in earning more money but are not interested in starting a consulting business like hers, there are other options to consider. According to Eliza, finding the right gig is all about mindset.
The important thing to know about affiliate marketing is that it's practically effortless. Many bloggers do it, but it can be done without a blog, too. It works like this: You promote products sold by an affiliate (a nice way to say "business partner") through your website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or other social media account. If someone clicks on the link you provide and buys a product, you get a cut of the profit. Sites like Rakuten, Linkshare, and Amazon are great affiliates to start with.
If you appreciate easy-to-use websites, you can understand why companies regularly seek feedback on how their site is working. Sites like UserTesting allow you to create an account and earn extra cash immediately, simply by offering your opinions.
Each time you go to the grocery store (or Target, Walmart, Walgreens, or any of 150 or so other stores), you scan product barcodes, submit a photo of your receipt, and receive cash back from Ibotta within two days. It's not just in-person shopping that counts -- Ibotta also offers rebates for online shopping from major retailers. Companies like Ibotta make money by earning a percentage of whatever you purchase through their apps, as well as advertising fees from featured retailers. If you decide to earn money by scanning receipts, check the fine print to make sure an app doesn't sell your personal information.
If you have office experience or are a great typist, an online service like DataPlus or Capital Typing allows you to take on data entry, transcription, market research, translation, online customer support, or general secretarial services from the comfort of your home.
If you speak a foreign language, know computer programming like the back of your hand, or are a math whiz, sites like Skillshare and Udemy hire folks to teach students who want to learn from your expertise.
While the standard recommendation is to keep enough in an emergency fund to cover three to six months' worth of expenses, Eliza has lived frugally and filled her emergency CD with enough money to carry her through nine months without income. When COVID-19 hit, the lesson for her was that she cannot count on her primary source of income to always be available. With millions of Americans out of work, Eliza knew that she had to create a backup plan. Today, she says that it's due to her alternate sources of income that she feels confident that she can take care of her daughter -- no matter what lies ahead.
Many people are missing out on guaranteed returns as their money languishes in a big bank savings account earning next to no interest. The Ascent's picks of the best online savings accounts can earn you more than 8x the national average savings account rate.
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