Back when things were simpler, one job can provide a decent income that’s enough for a small household. It can put food on the table three times a day, send children to a good school, and even have enough to set aside for vacations.
These days, however, a two-income household would still struggle to make ends meet. While wages have been increased, so do education, healthcare, and housing expenses—and the cost of these things has increased by a long shot.
But as Oxford economist, Tim Harford, said: “Problems inspire creativity.” People tend to do their best when faced with the worst, coming up with somewhat unorthodox but effective solutions. Hence, there’s no shortage of novel ways to save or make money on the side. This article will give you several ideas to try.
Non-Traditional Ways To Save Money
Typically, you can save money by simply allocating a portion of your income to a separate account or by putting it in a personal stash. However, there are more ways to pinch pennies, just take note of the following tips below:
1. Use Coupons and Gift Cards
Given a chance to save money on groceries and other purchases, no shopper would ever ignore an opportunity to use coupons or gift cards. Since these items apply to specific transactions, they can help you spend less on essential things.
Coupons and gift cards typically entail a purchase, either directly (through the store) or indirectly (in newspapers). However, some gift cards like birthday freebies don’t require you to buy anything. In this case, the only requirement is that you claim and use it on your birthday.
2. Pay In Cash
Credit cards offer a great deal of convenience for buying expensive stuff on wallet-friendly terms. But unless you can exert maximum self-control, using a credit card to pay for purchases can quickly spiral out of control. Before long, you will find yourself in huge debt. When the bill arrives, so does a heavy sense of regret.
Loading up your wallet with enough cash can help mitigate overspending. It’s easy to get complacent with a credit card since you’ll be paying for stuff later. On the other hand, running out of cold hard cash will remind you to stop spending. So, as much as possible, pay for your stuff in cash and don’t use your credit card unless it’s for emergencies.
3. Rewear Your Clothes
This tip may sound gross, but it depends on the clothing. For obvious reasons, by no means should you even wear the same underwear every day. On the other hand, shorts, jeans, and dresses can still be useful for several more wears—unless they’re soiled. Rewearing clothes can help you save money. Fewer washes mean lesser wear and tear, and thus helps clothes last longer. Consequently, you don’t need to buy new clothes for quite some time.
4. Buy Smart
When it comes to buying items by piece or in bulk, shoppers are divided. Many believe that buying in bulk is the more cost-effective option, but it’s more complicated than that. Contrary to popular belief, some items are much more affordable in retail.
Items that you’ll need for a long time, such as toilet paper and dried goods, are best bought in bulk. Meanwhile, perishables such as fruits and vegetables should be bought in small quantities to avoid wastage. It’s also important to keep in mind that buying wholesale also means paying a lot upfront. If your budget is really tight, buying per piece would be a more cost-efficient option.
Non-Traditional Ways To Make Money
You can’t save a lot of money if your income is just enough for basic needs. So, apart from a regular day job, you must look for ways to earn some income on the side. Here are several ideas to get started:
5. Sell College Notes
To help pay off student loans, some college students sell their old notes and texts online. Special online services pay around $20.00 per class per week, with some offering bonuses if the notes pass strict standards.
However, this industry has been heavily scrutinized in the early 2010s as some colleges pushed for banning the practice due to copyright concerns. Since then, the services have clarified the kinds of notes that aren’t sellable, such as old exams, scanned textbooks, and published journals. As an alternative, you may opt to offer professional services that can help college students research and write academic papers for a fee.
6. Make Memes
Bernie Sanders practically stole the show from President Joe Biden during the latter’s inauguration in January—by merely sitting and looking cozy. When netizens turned him into a viral meme, his campaign website took the opportunity to turn it into merch. Plastered on T-shirts and sweatshirts, his meme merch generated around USD$ 1.8 million, earmarked for various charities.
Memes are all over the place these days, and they’re no longer confined to the bowels of the World Wide Web. People love seeing mashups of pictures and text that speak about the highs and lows of daily life. Aside from making merchandise, you can also earn from memes by making compilation videos.
7. Try Freelancing
The freelancing industry houses an array of niches, but mostly in corporate, marketing, and media-related fields. If you have a knack for writing, designing, and editing, you’ll find plenty of opportunities and gigs that can compensate you well. There are also tons of freelancing opportunities for those who work in the IT field.
Freelancing is a great option if you don’t plan on leaving your regular full-time job. You can just take on projects and work on them after your day job. However, since you are still working full-time, you need to set up your priorities and manage your time well.
Hard times will demand, if not inspire, the average employee to get creative in making or saving more money. It doesn’t matter how unusual the solution may seem, as long as it’s legal and helps you pay the bills. If you’re resourceful enough, you can save and make more money with the tools and resources that are readily available to you.