If you're in a money crunch (and who isn't?), you can do one of two things: Sulk or go out and earn some extra dough. We vote for the second. Here, inventive ways to line your purse with a little more green- and five things you should never scrimp on.
1. Sell stuff on eBay.Clothes, exercise gear, books, housewares - anything you've got lying around that's in decent shape can be put up for sale on eBay or another Internet auction site such as craigslist.org. Post decent digital photos of your items so browsers can really see what you're pawning off; credibility is key to making a sale. Also, ask that the buyer pay the shipping charges, not you.
2. Become a dog-walker or pet-sitter. Rates for walking a single pooch at a time run from $10 to $15 per half-hour. If you critter-sit at a client's house while they're at work or on vacation, you can make even more dough. Post ads for yourself at veterinarian offices and the Humane Society, and put signs up at dog runs to spread the word.
3. Sign up with a temp agency. Even in tough times, temp agencies still have openings for office work or retail help during evenings and weekends, so you can work a regular job yet take on the occasional shift elsewhere. If you're stuck in a sucky job, turn your job-from-hell into a happier situation with these tips. Yeah, it's not the ideal way to spend a Saturday, but you can rack up at least a $100 for a day's work.
4. Hold a mega-garage sale with friends. There's strength and money in numbers. Combining lots of items for a blow-out rummage or stoop sale will bring in more crowds (and cash) than if you sat in your driveway with just your own wares.
5. Get crafty. If you make crafts of any kind (knitting, jewelry-making, pottery, T-shirt designs, for example) advertise your goods on the superpopular site etsy.com. Listing yourself and what you can make is cheap, and you're instantly connected to millions of shoppers worldwide looking to buy original, eclectic gear.
6. Personal shop for male friends and coworkers. If you love to shop and earn kudos for picking out great gifts for people, offer to hit the malls or go through catalogues and help pick out presents for the girlfriends, mothers, and wives of shopping-averse guys. They'll be grateful for the time you save them, and they'll have more trust in your instincts that the gift ideas you come up with will win raves. Consider charging 10-20 percent of the cost of whatever you're shopping for, plus gas if you have to hit the road to get it. These tips will help you find some great deals for your friends.
7. Take on seasonal work. Even when the economy sucks, business still goes up (though not as high as in banner years) for companies and stores during the December holidays. They may not be hiring as many people as when the economy was in top shape, but it can't hurt to stop by your local mall and look into gift-wrapping and retail sales opportunities. Valentine's Day, Easter, and Mother's Day are also busy times for service and retail companies, and they're prime time to reach out to neighborhood florists, who always need delivery help then. Cash in on these interview tips to score a PT job you dig.
How do you make extra cash? Tell us below. Plus: Make your money go further with these painless budget tips.
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.