When writing a budget, you start with your income and work out what you can afford to spend. Living frugally allows us to save money on wants, but what if your bottom line (rent, bills, food etc.) is leaving you with nothing left to save at the end of the month?
Ramit Sethi, author of I Will Teach You to be Rich, is well known for being anti-frugal, saying that increased income is the key to financial success. It's definitely true that picking up pennies and getting a cheap haircut isn't going to let me buy a house any time soon! As a PhD student, I get a fixed living allowance and I don't have the flexibility or free time to pick up a part-time job. What options do I have to bump up my income?
Challenge 4 of Money Saving March is to earn £50 of extra income!
I took part in Saving For Travel's challenge to find an extra £50 last May. I managed to pick up a few extra hours at work and sell some stuff on eBay, but only made £29 in the end. This year I'm not paid hourly, but I do have some ideas up my sleeve to bulk up my income.
Firstly, I have signed up to take part in another psychology experiment at the University. These are easy and pay fairly well (about £10 for an hour doing a computer task / test), so I'll definitely be signing up to more of these in the future.
I'll also be doing some laboratory demonstrations for the Undergraduate practical sessions. At the start of the year, each postgraduate is assigned some demonstrating work, which pays about £11 an hour. I volunteered to cover somebody because their shift clashed with fieldwork, and I should get at least three hours of work from that too!
More generally, there are a lot of ways to earn extra money. Here are some ideas:
- Rent out a room or your driveway
- Make something and sell it on eBay / Etsy
- Alter/mend clothes for people
- Take surveys (for example, on YouGov.com)
- Babysitting or dogwalking
- Overtime / extra hours at work
Fancy taking on this challenge? How would you earn some extra cash?