It’s not as easy to get a second job or even a job period now, so what can you do to get some extra cash for Christmas or to pay off some bills?
You could do some surveys or sign up for a point program to earn gift cards and other items that could be used for gifts. While these are very nice and you can earn great products and gift cards. What about making a little money on the side by working for cash by babysitting someone or dog sitting for a few friends.
Sell a few items you have that are useable and new. I have a couple of things I bought as prizes for kids and they were left over. Instead of just tossing them or giving them away I could sell them on eBay.
If you have the skills to copy edit or fix things or even if you serve as a personal shopper for one or several people it may be worth it for a couple hours of work to make $50. If you are bidding for a freelance project, you want to remain competitive and not price yourself too cheap otherwise if you do, then you may have a difficult time increasing your prices for the same customer in the future and you might get too much work for such a low price. If you quote a friend a special price, let the friend know that you gave him/.her a special price because they are a friend and tell them what you standard rates are.
Sign up to do some freelance work – work on a PR campaign for a couple of months or on weekends.
Sell some books, dvds or cds to a resale shop. You may not get a lot, but the amount that you get may be enough to buy you dinner.
Throw a party – arrange a seminar or a class where the attendees will get something out of what you are teaching such as demonstrating how to do something.
Cleaning and organizing more your thing? Offer your services as a cleaner or organizer. For this you may want to see what you are dealing with before you make a quote.
Most of these opportunities will allow you to make some quick cash, generally tax-free.
Who is affected by cutting back? It’s not only stores that feel the pinch. If you decide to borrow movies from the library or swap DVDs with a friend the video rental store loses revenue but what about when you decide to use your babysitter less or cut back on other services?
People who rely on a regular customer base for services are suffering as other people cut back.
Susan Reimer really sheds the light on this issue in “Pinching Pennies Pains Us All.” This is true. I never really thought about if I chose to get one or two fewer haircuts or use services where the person doing the service gets the majority of the money.
Though I don’t have a lawn service I do try to cut back on dry cleaning expenses by wearing a washable t-shirt under a wool sweater to extend the time between cleanings. I have tried to do other things.
The economy has already take a hit and things are changing in ways that economists never figured. Yes, some people have acute brand loyalty but others have discovered new brands and a resurgence of quality. Instead of just looking for the cheapest item, people are looking for quality items that make a difference. If you are spending a few pennies more but you know that you are getting better quality and satisfaction or if you are spending a few pennies less and the quality is about the same then guess who wins. The less expensive product/brand.
It is already known that people have pulled back. How far the pullback affects those in your neighborhood or people whose services you depend on makes a difference.
Our economy is sick because two thirds of it requires people to spend to keep the pipelines flowing. When people slow up their spending, then the slow down is apparent and makes things more difficult. Retailers know this but what about other people like manicurists and hairdressers, babysitters and cleaners? They are on the frontlines and when we spend less with them, they have less to spend for themselves and their families. There is no true solution for this especially then the basics like food and gas are increasing.
If you plan to make a purchase now is the time to do it. This is not for a patriotic reason to go out and spend to support the U.S. economy. This is more self serving: stores are hurting and if you had something you wanted to buy the deals are good now.
Do not go out and buy something just to buy something. That is the reason we are in this miss now but if you are planning to purchase something, look around – the next place you look may have the better deal or offer a coupon which will help you save money.
I had been thinking about purchasing another DVD player. The one that I saw at a big electronics store was $100. Since I wasn’t in any hurry to get it and had been thinking about the purchase for a while, I checked online and found the same model cheaper, plus no tax which allowed me to save $18 (if you factor in the tax).
The consumer index grew by .3 percent last month. Why? Because of things that people couldn’t do without: food and gasoline.
Stores are trying to lure you in to make a purchase. Which is probably the last thing a lot of people need to do, but if you do make a purchase make sure you can pay for it – even if you need to use a credit card.
Can you sustain your lifestyle if you spend once in a while on well thought out purchases that are within your budget? Yes. Can you sustain your lifestyle if you spend more than you make and are in debt up to your eyebrows? No. Not spending anything and waiting until retirement may make you bitter. Save enough to support your future and spend a little on an occasional treat. Make thrift popular again!
The more you spend the less you have, but if you save everything, then when it does come time to buy something other than the bare necessities then you will freeze up. Frugal and miser are not synonymous. Material things do not mean that you have a better life but if you want to enjoy yourself within your means it is possible. If that means that you buy less and thereby have less.
A miser buys nothing and is stingy even with personal consumables. It may take you a little while to think about what you would like to purchase. Does your money work for you? Having what everyone else has won’t make you happy but you won’t be happy with a lot of debt or unwanted purchases.
If living the frugal life is getting you down. Think of some ways that you can splurge within reason. Learn to cook one of your favorite meals. The ingredients will cost more than a regular meal but if you prepare it yourself at home you will spend less than if you were splurging on a fine meal in a restaurant.
Another way to do this would be to maybe treat yourself to one special item at the grocery store once a month and make a night of it.
Food not your thing… then buy (or rent a dvd), make some popcorn and enjoy yourself. Saving money is a way of life but you should not let saving money rule your life. Money is a tool. Many people forget that and just like when you go to the hardware store you may see some tools that cost more money or require more use to get the best results. Just because you have a little money doesn’t mean that you can not enjoy nice things once in a while.
If you are a crafter and want to buy a special sewing machine, drill or whatever… then plan for it. If you use the item often enough and you buy a quality item then you will not have to worry about replacing the item in a few months because you bought a cheaper or less well crafted item.
All things in moderation… that includes spending. A splurge can be included in your spending plan, if you do not work so close to your earning threshold. Conversely, saving all of your money or investing all of your money is just as bad because then you do not have anything to live on.
A former co-worker of my mother’s invested a lot of her take home salary in the stock market each month and kept moving things and trading them, so much so that she had nothing to live on. Investing and saving is admirable but it is also important to be able to give your investments time to grow. Adding to your investments regularly helps but not selling and trading at the drop of a hat.
You will not get rich quick by living a frugal lifestyle. But living a frugal lifestyle will allow you to try and correct some past financial mistakes by paying off creditors or allowing you to save for a larger purchase so you won’t have to go into debt. Just like a diet or new eating plan… if you only save all the time then you will become resentful of money. When you splurge occasionally then you will appreciate your efforts in moderation.
I saw an article this morning called worth it gifts and included in the list of “worth it” gifts was a complete boxed set of Harry Potter books, a Coach tote and a HDTV. The additional clincher to make you think this was worth buying… Go ahead and splurge.
If you splurge on too many people on your Christmas shopping list you will be way over budget. Let’s say you have 10 people to shop for and you decide to splurge and the splurge equates to an additional 10 dollars per person. That’s one hundred dollars more that you have spent.
It is possible to shop around and make it seem like you splurged on someone and you spend $10 less than you planned to. Yet, this was merely a list of items that showed more expensive items. What about buying a good quality leather bag for less than a non leather designer bag? There is always someone with a book or DVD lover on their list. You can always save money on the majority of titles by shopping online.
Again I say look at your list, do not let the retailers tell you what the perfect item is for your recipients. Let’s say because of the list, people decide that they want to get this particular bag because it was mentioned. The brand doesn’t always equal quality.
What about some gifts that are really worth it? For the price of a lower end designer bag you could make a donation to a cancer, diabetes or Alzheimer’s organization.
If you are feeling really generous buy an ark or a water buffalo or a knitting basket. If you think you don’t have a need for any of these items maybe you could use a rabbit, or a tree.
What about a malaria net instead?
If you give someone a malaria net who was looking for a cool electronic gadget, you may not get the thanks you deserve. Making a donation to an organization or a cause is a tricky situation. You can’t just decide that you are going to give someone what you want them to have because you like it. And as simple as it would be to donate to a charity, even your local food pantry would do, you need to make sure that your recipients would like to know that you donate to an organization for in their name.
I already have a flock of ducks.