Dat Side Hustle, Tho

Ahh, the side hustle.

As much as I hate that term, I’m well acquainted with the art of the side gig, the extra work, whatever you’re doing for pay when you’re not at your 9-5. I come from a line of people working a variety of jobs at one time. My great uncle and grandfather each had full-time jobs and large families and simultaneously were market gardeners. My Dad has done the same. My grandmother grew flowers and operated as a florist and peddled her wares alongside my grandfather – and at age 87, she’s still at it, taking veggies and flowers to market and fulfilling orders for her long-time customers.

When I worked full-time, I also sold scrapbooking supplies through a company and hosted events for my customers to work on their albums. Additionally, I took sports photos for a local newspaper.

So when I see posts popping up from popular money-saving sites about the side hustle, I often click on them for inspiration. I’ve been left deflated most of the time. Suggestions range from opening a new bank account for a bonus – a one-time action – to opening my home on airbnb, something I don’t think any traveler would be interested in at the moment. Therefore, I’ll share with you some of the ways I’ve made extra money that are doable.

This is a stock photo. I don’t have man-hands.

First of all, I suggest you learn about shipping to maximize your earning potential. It isn’t difficult, just something I never really knew anything about until I bothered to learn. I bought a cheap scale on Amazon (scroll to the bottom for a link to the one I have – I’m a big fan) and found a chart that tells me how much it will cost to mail per ounce. I also familiarized myself with flat-rate boxes. It took a bit of trial and error, but now I think it is simple. Of course, you can also package your item and head to the post office for a quote, but I find it easier (and cheaper) to print my own labels at home. I usually hit the post office at the same time as a local elderly etsy seller, so I’m confident you can figure it out with a little googling.

  1. Amazon Selling. This is much easier than you might think. I recently took a magazine I had no use for, an architectural digest I perused while planning to build a home. I took a photo of the cover, listed the details on the website, and when it sold, Amazon sent me an email letting me know it was time to ship. Because it was a magazine, I shipped inexpensively via media mail and netted a decent profit for something I would have otherwise recycled.
  2. Ebay Selling. This may be something you’ve considered and wrote it off as too difficult. The app has been my favorite thing. Every Sunday, I locate something in my home I no longer want, snap a few pictures, and list on ebay. I might start with a search in the app for similar products and shipping prices. I might weigh my object on my scale to get an idea of what it will cost to ship. But the entire process takes minimal time, and by the next Sunday, if my item sells, I prepare it to ship the next day. Easy peasy.
  3. Instagram Selling. My sister and I both have resale “stores” on Instagram where we list our outgrown children’s clothes and adult clothing. We simply name our price for what we list and if someone wants it, they contact us. By networking with other shops doing the same thing, I’ve made several sales so far. I’ve also worked to build myself a good reputation by shipping quickly and by making sure the items are as described (much like on ebay). We invoice them through paypal (go to “send and request” and “create invoice” and enter your details there). When they pay, we ship, which is also handled through paypal. Because I’m cheap, I save my old packaging materials in a box and use them to ship, so I’m only out the cost of my packing tape.
  4. Garage Sales. As rudimentary as this sounds, if you have a lot of stuff to rid of, it can be worth the time it takes to commandeer one of these. My friend hosted a garage sale last month, and I joined. My sister is in the process of moving, so we hosted a garage sale together last weekend. Those sales not only netted me a bit of extra cash, but rid of items I had deemed no longer useful. Additionally, I had several large baby items, which my local charity shops won’t accept, and instead I was able to help out fellow moms looking for a good deal. If you have a sale with friends, it can be fun, too!
  5. Lionbridge or Leapforce. These companies are real and legit. I worked for Lionbridge until I was no longer able to meet the requirements thanks to a difficult pregnancy. They pay well and the work is somewhat entertaining, and all from home. All it takes is studying the requirements and testing into the program, and you work a minimum of hours per week. You can also earn bonuses for the quality of your work. Openings are listed on their respective websites. I remember reading that someone made “only” $800 per month through Lionbridge, and I thought of all the things I could buy here in rural USA with that amount. It was worth it for me.
  6. Ibotta. I downloaded ibotta onto my phone a year or two ago, but never really did anything with it. But a few months ago, I hit Target pretty hard and opened the app. I simply chose the items I was interested in buying, then took a photo of my receipt when I was finished and submitted it. I got a message back saying it was received, and there was money in my account. Even though I primarily shop at Aldi, I have earned over $100 this year with almost zero effort. You get $10 just to sign up! Here is my link: https://ibotta.com/r/nkqvbau
  7. Ebates. This app (or website) is even easier than Ibotta. Let’s say I want to buy something at Old Navy. I just open Ebates and click on the Old Navy icon and shop as usual. When I’ve placed my order, I’ll receive cash back in my account. I especially like to do this with Kohl’s when they already have 30% off and free shipping. I often forget I have this link, and I don’t do a ton of online shopping anymore. However, I’ve still made $30 this year from items I would have purchased anyway. Sign up through my link: https://www.ebates.com/r/RINGOJ8?eeid=28187
  8. The part-time gig. I’ve worked as a sports photographer for about 12 years now in a part-time, freelance capacity. I currently work for a television station, and the position also allows me to stay home with my babies. But this spring, I asked a local restaurant if they ever hired someone for a night or two per week. I had never worked as a server before, but I was interested in netting a bit of extra cash to send my husband back to finish his grad degree, as he only lacks a class or two. Anyway, they said yes, and asked me to start the next day. I’m only filling in there every now and then at this point, but it was a rewarding (although tough!) way to make an extra buck.

Those are the top eight ways I’ve added some extra cash to my family’s budget while I’m a stay-at-home mom of three. My middle daughter heads to school this fall and I have a few more ideas in the works, so stay tuned!

What have you done to add to your income?

Here’s the scale I own and love:

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