If your finances are to the point where it is painful to balance your budget, either due to your income not being where you want it to be or your debt is quite large, you may want to find a way to increase your income. Some ideas may take some time and be large changes in your life, like going back to school. Others are small ideas that will bring in a little extra here and there. Just remember the little bits do add up.
Invest in your future:
In your current occupation, is there additional training or a certification you can pursue to increase you income? Is there training you need to change careers?
Get a part time job:
Getting a weekend or part-time job may be the way you need to pick up that extra cash to pay off some debt or increase your savings. Consider something that has to do with a hobby or something you enjoy. Consider retail positions that offer a discount on products you and your family frequently use, or could be great gift ideas. I know of one lady that wanted some expensive furniture from Restoration Hardware. She was able to get a part time job and at the time they offered 50% off from day one of employment. What a great deal!
Being a secret shopper can be fun and rewarding. You’ll be helping out the business by offering a fair and unbiased opinion on what they are interested in. They may want to know if you are greeted with the correct phrase, if the store appears clean, the condition of the restrooms, how the food tastes in a restaurant, or a number of other things. Some questioners are longer than others, but you will be paid more (either cash or reimbursement for a product or service) if more is expected. When you sign up for a job you will be told exactly what is expected of you and what the compensation will be. I have enjoyed free theme park tickets, lunches, and dinners, in addition to payments from $10 to $50 for certain jobs. Some jobs can even be completed over the phone.
Please don’t buy into any of the Secret Shopping scams out there. There are many scams out there. Be very leery if you are asked to pay to work in this field. I have seen many ads that want you to pay even a monthly fee for a list of jobs or companies you can apply to. These lists are available for free at the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) web site. MSPA regulates, provides certifications and training, and is a great resource for Secret Shopping information. If you are interested they offer two levels of certifications. The first level, Silver Certification, can be completed online in about 2 hours for a cost of $15. I have read that some companies will offer you better jobs if you have one or both of these certifications, but they are certainly not required. I recommend signing up for as many companies that you have the time for.
- MSPA Additional Shopping Information
- MSPA Shopping Certifications
- Companies to sign up with
- MSPA Job Search
Sell unwanted items:
There are many options to selling those items that you no longer need or use, but are taking up space in your home.
- Garage sales are a great way to get rid of many items in a weekend, but you may not be able to get the highest price for your items.
- eBay.com and Half.com – For items that are easy to describe and ship eBay and Half may be good options for you. These are both good ways to get rid of those unneeded books, DVDs, designer clothes and accessories, etc. If you have a doubt if something is selling, search for the item and see if there are bids on current items of that type.