Get Job Loss Insurance By Making Money With A Side Hustle

I know you’ve seen a friend or family member lose their job over the last few years.

Chances are they weren’t expecting it.

They were blindsided. They had no clue their position was at risk.

That could be you.

How did your friend or family member do financially when they lost their job?

Did they have any income other than a potential severance package or a small income from their state unemployment check? I’d bet your friend or family member didn’t have any income coming in at all unless they had a working spouse.

That’s a shame.

We Live In An Uncertain World

Nothing is certain. That should be apparent to everyone after the Great Recession and the slow recovery that has followed it.

So, how do you prevent the total loss of income sudden unemployment can cause? The answer might be simpler than you’d think. You need to start something and you need to start it today.

You Need A Side Hustle

I didn’t say you should have a side hustle. I said you NEED a side hustle. I’m not joking. Working for a company isn’t what it used to be. Very few people work for one company their whole lives, earn a pension and retire all on that company’s dime.

Pensions have virtually disappeared. Companies are no longer loyal to their employees. Instead, companies are now loyal to Wall Street, shareholders and maximizing profit

If that means cutting your job, most companies will do it without a second thought. This is the new reality and you need to accept it.

Your side hustle will help you be ahead of the game should something awful happen that causes your job to disappear. You’ll have at least some form of income coming in. You’ll have options when others are scrambling to take any job they can find.

Side Hustles Give You Options

You’ll have something you can grow into full time money if you decide to put the effort into growing your side hustle into a full fledged business. If that isn’t for you, the extra income will allow you more time to find the right job.

Others might have to take the first job that comes their way, even if it is a massive demotion or pay cut. 

The side hustle, in combination with a well stocked emergency fund, will give you options to hold out a little bit longer and wait for a better opportunity should you want another job.

How To Get Started With Your Side Hustle Now

Think about what you’re good at. Are you an Excel master? Do you know how pick out treasures from garage sales that can be flipped for more money? Do you have any skills people would be willing to pay you for?

Now that you have an idea, think about how you can earn your first dollar with your new side hustle. Next, go out there and get your first client and make that first dollar! The key is to take action.

If you never take action you’ll never have the side hustle income coming in.

Once you taste the first dollar you earn from your side hustle you’ll likely be addicted.

Earning extra money can provide you peace of mind that, should something horrible happen to your main gig, you’ll have a way to provide some income while looking for your next job.

So what are you waiting for? Start brainstorming that list of ideas then go out and get your first client and first dollar this week! If you don’t do it now, you never will.

What ideas do you have for side hustles? Where do you plan to get your first client? What about your second? 

Is It Worth Your Time To Sell Items At A Garage Sale?

it it worth your time to sell items at a garage saleGiven the choice, would you rather sell your old junk for money or give it away to an organization like Goodwill or the Humane Society?

Personally, I like money, so I’d probably want to sell my stuff.

Unfortunately, that’s not always the smartest decision.

While the idea of selling all of your stuff at a garage sale seems like a great idea, it may actually be a colossal waste of your time.

Here’s why.

Garage Sales Can Be Giant Time Wasters

I don’t know about you, but whenever I get ready for a garage sale it takes weeks. Over time, we slowly gather the junk we want to sell in one location and then research how we should price the more expensive items.

To have a successful sale, my wife and I have to advertise for the garage sale. We put up ads on craigslist and other free sites. We also prepare about a dozen signs that will bring cars down various roads to our home.

Next, we prepare for the sale itself. One of us will go to the bank to get change for the people who only bring $20s to buy items for a quarter.

I’ll normally go borrow some fold up tables from my parents. We’ll move everything to the garage and prepare to bring out the items for the morning of the sale.

The morning of the sale, we pull everything out into the driveway and sit there for about four or five hours as people pick through our stuff and haggle us down from the prices we set. At the end of the day, we end up with anywhere from $100-$300.

Is all of that effort really worth $100-$300? For some people the answer may be yes.

The more I think about it, I’m starting to think the money isn’t worth it.

You May Not Have Any Worthwhile Items To Sell

What happens when you gather all of your garage sale items and notice you don’t have any big items to sell? It makes driving traffic to your yard sale very difficult, that’s what.

Normally, you advertise all of the big items you are selling, but without those, you might not get as much traffic to your sale as you had hoped.

Even if traffic is high, you may not sell enough of your junk to make the garage sale worth while.

You Could Sell Your Big Items For More Money On Craigslist

If you want to make about the same amount of money with less hassle, consider selling the big garage sale items on craigslist.

Since the big items normally make up at least half of my proceeds from a garage sale, you’ll still likely make a decent amount of money and you won’t spend a bunch of time gathering and pricing the small stuff.

Instead, you’ll just make a quick listing for things like electronics and furniture. Then, allow serious buyers to contact you to make a purchase. If you want to save even more time, arrange a time and date when all purchasers can come pick up the items at the same time and you’ll be set!

Donate The Junk To Save Time

You could also try to sell the junk, anything that would sell for a couple bucks or less, on craigslist. However, it’d likely take hours and you probably wouldn’t make much money.

Instead, donate the items to a local charity you support whenever you come across them in your home. That way, you won’t clutter your house and you won’t spend time procrastinating on setting a date for your next yard sale.

Your Time Has Value

Your time has value. Instead of preparing for a yard sale or selling things on craigslist, you could be spending time with your family, growing your business or even making some extra cash.

If the amount of money you would get from the garage sale isn’t worth more than your time, don’t bother unless you are desperate for cash.

However, if you’re trying to pay off credit card debt or are living paycheck to paycheck, you might be best off taking the time to sell your junk.

What do you think? Is a garage sale a waste of time, or is it worth the typical amount of money you earn for your work? Do you donate items instead of hosting a garage sale? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments section below.

Photo by: daniel spils Text added by: Lance Cothern

5 Ways My Wife And I Make Extra Income On The Side

5 ways to earn extra incomeMy wife and I love making extra income.

Extra income allows us to diversify where our money comes from in case anything bad should ever happen to one of our main sources of income.

Additionally, it allows us to spend a bit more money if we really want something that is outside of what we would normally consider spending money on.

Unfortunately, many people think they don’t have the skills to earn extra income on the side.

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Here are just a few ways we make extra income on the side.

Use these as inspiration to find your own extra income opportunities or use these exact ideas yourself.

Freelance Writing

I’ve been writing for quite a few years here on My writing here has allowed me to venture into freelance writing for other blogs and websites.

On and off throughout the last few years, I’ve traded my time to write blog posts for others and they give me money in exchange. I honestly never thought about freelance writing until a company asked if I would be willing to write for them.

However, now I realize that this is a great way to earn some extra money on the side.

While technically anyone can start freelance writing at any time, it does help to have writing samples you can share with potential clients so they can see the quality of your work.

In the beginning, you can prepare some examples yourself prior to applying for jobs. After you’ve landed a few freelance writing jobs, you can start using your published work. Alternatively, you can start a blog and use that as your portfolio.

Pretty much everyone can write content for blogs if they put their mind to it. If you’re a big do it yourself project fan, consider reaching out to a do it yourself project blog. If you love cooking, consider reaching out to a recipe blog.

The options are endless if you take some time to improve your craft and find the right clients.

Freelance Photography

Even though I love writing about personal finance, my wife hates writing. Luckily, she loves taking photos and has started picking up freelance photography clients.

She has taken photos for newborn sessions, family beach sessions and engagement sessions just in the short time since word of her work has spread.

She bought all of the necessary equipment and software in advance and offered to do free sessions to build her portfolio.

Now she’s at the point where word is spreading so quickly that she needs to raise her rates to protect her time, as well as to get paid closer to the true value of her work.

You can make money by charging session fees, charging for physical prints of photographs or you could make money by selling the digital images themselves.

I would suggest having a portfolio to show potential clients so they can get a feel for your style. After all, you only want clients that will be satisfied with your work so they will continue to spread the word that you’re an awesome photographer.


I was hesitant to include this in the list, but we’ve made a lot of money through this blog since I started it years ago. While I don’t think anyone should start a blog solely for the purpose of making money, you can make a decent amount of money blogging.

I currently make money through the ads you see on this site, as well as through some affiliate relationships which pay me if you sign up for their product or buy something through their site.

Other ways people can make money blogging include selling products such as ebooks, meal plans or budget templates. You could come up with a subscription service that adds value to your readers’ lives. Just make sure that you stay true to yourself with blogging.

Don’t sell out for a quick dollar. Your readers will know.

In the past, I’ve made thousands of dollars a month blogging, but more recently I’ve just been making a few hundred dollars per month. I hope to grow this income back to prior levels over the coming months.

Just remember, it often takes at least six months to a year before you make your first dollar blogging. Blog because you want to, not because you want to make money.

Selling Household Items

Selling household items is a super easy way to bring in extra income. Whenever we replace a large item or want to get rid of something smaller, we consider a few different ways to sell it.

Sometimes we’ll post an item on craigslist. If that doesn’t work, we normally wait until our annual neighborhood yard sale to sell the item.

Of course, there are other ways to sell household items, too. You can sell smaller items on eBay or other websites and ship them to the buyer. Just make sure you insure the item and get paid before you ship the item.

Credit Card Sign Up Bonuses

The easiest way we make extra income by far is through credit card sign up bonuses. Since we put all of our spending on credit cards anyway, we might as well have the banks pay us money to do so.

Of course, we pay our credit cards off in full every month and never pay a penny in interest.

We easily make at least $1,500 a year in rewards. Some of these rewards are a credit on our statement while others will direct deposit the rewards in my checking account. Other times, we use our rewards to pay for our vacations like a cruise.

All we have to do is calculate our future spending and make sure that we get a credit card that allows us to qualify for the sign up bonus in the proper time frame. For instance, many cards offer a bonus, sometimes as much as $500 or more, if you spend $3,000 in 3 months.

We can easily do this if one of the months includes our 6 month auto insurance premium. In years where we have unusual spending, such as buying furniture or upgrading our home, we can get even more credit card rewards and sign up bonuses due to our higher spending.

If you want to earn credit card sign up bonuses too, make sure to check out my list of the best credit card sign up bonuses available this month. Some of them are worth over $500 in value.

As you can see, my wife and I make extra income in quite a few different ways. I honestly believe there are thousands of ways to earn extra income.

If you’re in a tight spot financially, find a way to make more money. You’ll be glad you did.

What ways do you make extra income in your life? Do you do earn side income in any of the ways I described above? Which is the easiest for you? Which is the most difficult? Let me know you thoughts in the comments below!

Image by: docoverachiever Text added by: Lance Cothern

Extra Income Challenge Update – December 2014 Results

Will You Accept The Extra Income ChallengeBack in October 2014 I issued the Extra Income Challenge to anyone who would accept it, including myself! In case you weren’t around back then, here is my acceptance of the challenge using my December 2014 goal as an example:

I, Lance Cothern, accept the extra income challenge. I challenge myself to make an extra $750 of income this month. I plan to make this income through freelance writing. I will report my progress next month on the next Extra Income Challenge update.

If you’d like to accept the Extra Income Challenge this month, simply replace my name with yours and change your income goal and how you’ll make the money in the statement above. Then, you can post it in the comments below or email your acceptance directly to me here.

Ideas To Earn Extra Income in 2015

If you’re looking for some ways to earn extra income in the new year, there are an unlimited number of things you could do to earn more money. Here are a few ideas I think would be great for this time of year.

  • Shovel or snowblow snow from driveways, sidewalks, etc.
  • Declutter your house and sell bigger items on craigslist or smaller items on eBay.
  • Offer tutoring for topics you’re knowledgeable in.
  • Sell unwanted gift cards for cash.

Of course, you can always go with the traditional ways to make more money like earning a raise, working overtime, finding a new, higher paying job or taking a second job.

Did I Meet My December 2014 Goal?

December had the potential to be a really slow month with the holiday hangover from Thanksgiving and the slow down around Christmas. Luckily, I did not fall victim to that slow down. In fact, I beat my goal for the second month in a row.

In December 2014, I was able to earn $1,017.30 from my freelance writing efforts. I actually didn’t face the slow down that I was expecting as my clients kept on the normal schedule despite the holidays. I didn’t mind, either, because it helped me blow my extra income goal out of the water this month.

My Goal For January 2015

This month is the beginning of a new year and I’m ready to kick my goal up another notch to the $1,000 mark for the first time. This shouldn’t be a stretch, but we’ll have to see what ends up happening with my freelance writing efforts to see if I hit my goal in January.

I’ll be focusing on maintaining my current efforts as I recover from the holidays and begin working on my plans for 2015. Hopefully those plans include even more extra income in the months to come!

How Have You Done With Your Extra Income Goals?

I like to try to help keep others accountable through these posts, too. Below are the people who publicly or anonymously challenged themselves to make more income in December 2014. I’ll update these as people share information with me or you can check the comments below as people self report their results.

  • Emily @ Evolving PF challenged herself to earn $1,000.
  • Anonymous 1 challenged themselves to earn $600. (They earned $719.11. YAY!)

As always, feel free to email me your acceptance of the extra income challenge this month or post a comment publicly declaring your goal in the comments below. Stepping up and challenging yourself is a great way to start to improve your finances in 2015.

Photo by: Tom_Bullock Text added by: Lance Cothern

Extra Income Challenge November Results – Did I Hit My Goal?

Will You Accept The Extra Income ChallengeLast month I issued the extra income challenge to myself as well as every single person who read the post. Here’s a refresher of what I accepted:

I, Lance Cothern, accept the extra income challenge. I challenge myself to make an extra $500 of income this month. I plan to make this income through freelance writing. I will report my progress next month on the next Extra Income Challenge update.

Did I Accomplish My Goal?

I’m happy to announce that I’ve beat my goal! In fact, I more than doubled it.

I earned $1,089 from freelance writing in November based on the work I submitted and invoiced for the month.

Note, I didn’t received $1,089 in payments, but I will in December. So how did I end up doubling my goal?

In November, I worked hard to keep my current clients happy which would have kept me on track for about 50% of my initial goal.

However, my challenge wouldn’t have been much of a challenge if I just set my target at what I was currently earning. Instead, I aimed to double my current earnings. Basically, I had to hustle to get more clients. I actually ended up adding a couple of new clients in November and have another couple of potential clients I’m currently waiting to hear back from.

This is super exciting because it means I’m expanding my freelance writing business to earn more for my family every single month! That’s exactly what I wanted to get out of this challenge.

My Goal For Next Month

December will be a strange and busy month for me. The holidays should be keeping me busy and things slow down in the online world during big holidays like Christmas. Due to these circumstances, I’m not aiming to grow my income in December.

That said, I’m aiming to earn $750 in December from freelance writing. That’s still above my goal from last month and I believe I should be able to hit it. I’ll be thinking hard about my plans for 2015 throughout December and will have another update about my future extra income plans in early January.

How Much Will You Challenge Yourself To Earn?

How much do you challenge yourself to earn for the extra income challenge in December? I’m looking forward to hearing your goals and how you plan on achieving them. Leave your thoughts in the comments or if you want to keep things anonymous, feel free to email me!

How Did Everyone Else Do Last Month?

In November, a few others had accepted the extra income challenge as well. Below are the people who accepted the challenge that commented on the post or emailed me. As they let me know how they did, I’ll update this with their results:

  • Kate Horrell said she was aiming for $500 (via comments)
  • Liz said she was hoping to earn $50  (via comments)
  • Old School wanted to earn $100  (via comments)
  • The Roamer was shooting for $100  (via comments)
  • Doug wanted to hustle for $150  (via comments)
  • Anonymous 1 wanted to earn $600. They ended up earning $724.40! Way to go! (via email)

Want to see your name here next month? Make sure to announce your extra income challenge goal for December in the comments below or send me an email!

Photo by: Tom_Bullock Text added by: Lance Cothern