OUR FAVORITE THINGS: 4 Tools to Earn Extra Cash
[Welcome to Our Favorite Things, a series featuring—you guessed it!—our favorite things. From books to brands to tunes to film, these are all things we at That First Year want to shout from the rooftops about.]
Hello, new graduate learning how to live off an entry-level salary. I am here with you in your budgeting learning curve.
This past year, I’ve been working an Americorps job, which basically means I’m a glorified full-time volunteer who is tossed some loose change every couple of weeks. OKAY so maybe I’m leaning too far into hyperbole (my fave rhetorical device!)—I’ve actually been able to live comfortably AND travel to Norway and London this year (will forever argue that it is SO POSSIBLE to travel on any budget). This is thanks to:
- working additional jobs (hello, Ryman and dog walking—see “Rover” point below) and
- being on my parent’s health insurance and not paying a car note. (I’m fully aware not everyone has this luxury and that I’d barely be scraping by if I had these additional expenses.)
So I can’t pretend like I’ve been sacrificing my way of life all that much, even if my monthly pay is laughably-low.
BUT I can say that this small income has challenged me to be intentional about how I spend my money, including ways to earn additional income, even if it’s only $10. Because every dollar counts when you are getting paid less than minimum wage!
My sister-in-law recommended Ibotta to me and I’ve been using it for two years now. The gist is this:
- You buy something (let’s say, groceries from Kroger).
- You see if there’s a rebate available for the items you purchased.
- You redeem the rebate by snapping a picture of your receipt.
- If approved, the money is deposited into your Ibotta account. Once you hit $20, it can be withdrawn through PayPal or Venmo or redeemed for a giftcard like Amazon or Starbucks.
The newly-redesigned app now includes limited-time rebates for things like Uber rides booked through the app. It’s basically free money for things you’re already spending money on!
Use my referral code to earn an easy $10 welcome bonus when you redeem your first receipt 14 days after joining.
Join today to earn $10 after you make a qualifying purchase of $25. I’m earning mine by buying cat food; I was going to buy this anyways, so might as well get a li’l cash back in the process.
E-Rewards allows you to earn points (measured in a dollar amount) for online surveys you take. These surveys vary in length from 5 - 30 minutes (though I’ve never personally needed a full 30 minutes to complete one of the longer ones). I like to redeem my points for American Airlines miles (‘cuz I’m all about ways to earn airline miles), but you can redeem for e-giftcards from companies like Starbucks and Best Buy.
Learn more at e-rewards.com.
So this actually requires some effort beyond online shopping, but if you are a fan of fluffernutters (my roomie HATES when I call dogs this), Rover is arguably the most fun way to earn a little extra money. Dog owners who are seeking someone to walk or watch their dog while they’re away can search for walkers and sitters in their area to book. You set your own rate and maintain a calendar showing your availability, then respond to potential clients’ inquiries. Keep in mind that Rover takes 20% of all earnings—a bit of a bummer, I know, but I suppose it’s worth it to get jobs that you otherwise wouldn’t have.
I just signed up in May, and so far I’ve earned $500—this partly-funded my trip to Norway in June. I got paid hang out with the dog of my DREAMS—a Poodle / Sheepdog mix. Wins all around!
Learn more at Rover.com.
Just so I make this undeniably clear: I’m fully aware I’m no suffering soul here. Despite a lower-than-usual income, I’m still rich compared to most of the world’s population, which is why I need to loosen up the death-like grip on my money and learn how to give with open hands.
So this final suggestion is actually a way to generously put your money to good use. Kiva is a money-lending program that allows you to make loans to entrepreneurs looking to create a better life for themselves and their families in 84 countries across the world, like Uganda and Cambodia. You lend a loan, say $50, and slowly you are repaid that amount. You can then relend to another entrepreneur, thus giving your same $50 life again.
Join me in lending through Kiva.
Aaaand a bonus for you...
Know of any money-earning tools I'm leaving out? Let me know in the comments below!
This post contains affiliate links. That means that when you sign up through some of these links, That First Year receives a li'l teensy bit of cash money in return. You get to begin earning extra cash and we get to keep running the site. Wins all around!
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