If you've scrimped and cut back and still have a budget shortfall, it's probably time to take a look at making some extra income. A variety of ideas exist for quickly and easily earning a few more bucks each month. Try several of the following income-boosting techniques and you could bank some substantial savings.
1. Recycle aluminum cans
You probably won't get rich collecting soda cans, but it's possible to drum up a few dollars and do your part to be environmentally friendly at the same time. According to the Can Manufacturers Institute, the industry pays out $800 million for used cans alone each year. According to today's prices, you'll get one to two cents per can, but contact your local recycling center for full details.
2. Sell used textbooks
Educational books are almost always expensive, and though you generally won't get full price for them once you're done with your classes, you can still make a few dollars reselling the books once school is out. How much you receive will depend on the book as well as its condition. A variety of online venders buy back books, so it's worth doing some research to find the best prices for yours.
3. Build a CD ladder
Take advantage of the best interest rates by staggering the maturity date of your CDs. Instead of opening up just one CD, which can limit you by tying up your money until a single maturity date, consider opening multiple high-yield CDs over time so the maturity dates arrive more frequently. Doing so can mean more liquidity in your savings as well as more interest over the long run.
4. Seek out high-yield saving accounts
All savings accounts aren't created equal when it comes to earning interest. Take a look at online banks and you may be surprised by the differences in rates. Though some rate difference may seem insignificant, even a partial percentage point of advantage means more interest earned every month. Some high-yield savings accounts require a minimum deposit and fees, so read the fine print, and always protect your investment by making sure that the account is FDIC-insured.
5. Take advantage of cash back rewards credit cards
Some of the best credit cards reward you with cash when you make purchases. Some offer a percentage of money back on all merchandise, while others only reimburse you when you buy certain products, such as gas. Opt for a card with no annual fee, and make sure you use the card responsibly. Buying something on credit to earn cash back and not paying on time can end up costing you much more than you earned.
6. Use 0 percent credit cards to pay off balances
If you have a credit card balance that's costing you interest each month, it could make sense to open an account that charges no interest during its introductory period. You can save a substantial amount by using a 0 percent card to pay off what you owe on older credit cards. Just make sure you have a plan for paying off the credit card by the end of the introductory period or you'll be stuck paying interest again.
7. Participate in studies and surveys
You've seen the statistics informing you what a certain percentage of people do or believe. Marketers and colleges need study participants in order to complete their research and make those conclusions. You can earn a good hourly rate taking part in studies or focus groups. It's also possible to earn money taking online surveys. The payout tends to be lower than for in-person studies, but you can do the surveys in your pajamas if you want.
8. Donate blood
The medical profession needs blood and plasma for patients and research, and your donations could even save a life. Before giving blood, you'll have to answer a few questions about your lifestyle in order to determine if your blood will be desirable. Generally, you must be in good health in order to donate blood.
9. Hold a garage sale
You can hawk your unused clutter out on your front lawn the old-fashioned way or sell it online. Either way, the crock-pot you never use and the shirt you haven't worn in 10 years could be a treasure to someone else, so dig it all out and let the sale begin.
10. Leverage your expertise
Did you ace math, English or science in school? Or do you have a hobby like playing a musical instrument or a sport? Offering your expert services online or through word-of-mouth can be a lucrative move if your services are in demand.
While the ideas here probably won't allow you to quit your day job, they may earn you enough cash to balance your budget and add to your savings. And when it comes to personal finance, that's a very good start.