This guest post is brought to you by our friends at Modernize – experts at increasing home value through remodeling.
Whether you own your home, or are considering buying one, carrying a mortgage can be a scary prospect. Any dip in your income – like losing your job or having your hours cut back – or an unexpected cost – like a new baby, a major car repair, or a family illness – can turn making your monthly mortgage payment into a seriously stressful challenge.
At Modernize, we recommend that you plan for those inevitable “rainy days” by creating a financial safety net. Think of small things that you can do on a regular basis — not necessarily a second job — that will help offset your monthly mortgage expense and build your savings. Read on for five suggestions on how to make extra money to help with your mortgage payment and build your savings to keep you afloat during financially lean times. You may even have fun with some of them!
airbnb is a home-sharing site that allows you to rent out your entire home, a spare room, or just a couch or an air mattress. airbnb is an affordable way for people to travel more frequently, and it’s preferable to many travelers who want to feel like a local. With airbnb, travelers are typically removed from hotel districts or tourist hotspots and immersed in neighborhoods, enabling them to have a more authentic experience in your city.
As a host, you can review a potential guest’s ratings from other airbnb hosts before your decide to rent to them. You can also verify their identify on Facebook and ask for other information so that you feel secure about having them in your home. They’ll be rating you, too, though, so make sure you have pictures that accurately reflect the space you have to offer. You can get positive reviews from travelers by providing a clean space and small gestures of hospitality like tea or coffee in the morning or a walking map to local restaurants that you would recommend. Recently, I stayed with a homeowner who loaned us bicycles to help explore the city during our trip. And in Asheville, NC, my host enjoyed hiking and invited me along to explore the Pisgah National Forest with her.
To make your property competitive, check out what similar properties are going for in your area and you’ll get a better sense for what you should charge guests on a nightly basis. If there are major festivals, concerts, or events happening in your city, you can charge a premium during those periods and still be competitive with top hotels in the area.
Busy professionals, parents with young children, people who are injured or disabled, and the elderly are some of the types of people who could benefit from the help of a professional dog walker. If you are comfortable with dogs, this is a great way to make extra money, get exercise, and put a dog owner’s mind at ease. Start out by walking the dogs of your neighbors or friends so that they can provide you with some positive reviews or customer testimonials.
Photo from Earth Pets Organic
Once you have some professional experience, you can advertise your services on your own or consider working with a local dog walking agency. You can typically charge up to $15-20 per dog per walk. This is a business that is largely based on word-of-mouth, so as your reputation grows, so can your salary. Just be careful not to take on more than you can handle. We’ve all seen images of dog walkers (especially in New York City) walking 10 dogs at a time. Know your limitations and be realistic about how many dogs you can safely attend to at a time. The last thing you want is to lose someone’s beloved pet!
If you do a good enough job, your clients may even ask you to dog sit for them when they travel rather than paying the high fees at kennels and potentially exposing their pets to ailments like kennel cough. If you enjoy dog sitting, consider signing up for Rover, a site for dog sitters to advertise their services. Taking photos of your clients’ pets (with their permission of course) or serving organic dog treats during “yappy hour” are great ways to rack up positive reviews, build repeat business, and make your listing competitive on Rover.
Focus groups always need participants, and based on the particular product or study, you can earn up to $150 an hour just for giving your opinion. Worst case scenario, you’re a little bored and may have to taste a company’s new food product that you don’t particularly like. Research local focus group opportunities in your area.
Photo from Usability.gov
Typically, you’ll start by filling out a short survey online that provides the company with some basic demographic information about you so that they can fill their study with diverse participants and/or the company’s target population. You may not get selected for every study, but they’ll tend to reach out to you at least a couple of times a month with opportunities to participate. Sometimes you can even fit in a focus group session on your lunch break!
Do you have a penchant for organization? When you see a home office with piles and piles of papers, do you start getting excited thinking about file folders, labels, and color coding? TaskRabbit may be for you.
Photo from Metropolitan Organizing
TaskRabbit allows you to bid on projects that clients need help with because they lack the time, skills, or desire to complete the project. Projects range from data entry, to kitchen and closet organization, or even simple errand running like picking up dry-cleaning or grocery shopping. You bid against others for the projects, but once you get enough jobs and good reviews under your belt, you’ll find that you can increase your prices because clients will pay a premium for your reliability and competence.
A yard sale won’t give you a recurring income stream, but it’s a great way to free yourself of some clutter and make a little extra money. Go through your home (storage areas and closets are treasure troves for items to sell) collecting books, kitchen goods, electronic gadgets, sports equipment, dog crates, and anything else that you might not use anymore. A good rule of thumb is that if you haven’t used or seen an item in a year (and it’s not sentimental), let it go!
Photo from Enviro Dad
Coordinate with your neighbors to get a group of people to host a sale on the same day and time. While this may seem to increase competition, multiple sales in close proximity to each other will actually attract a lot more buyers, while providing a great opportunity to connect with your neighbors and build community. Advertise your sale on social media and be sure to include pictures of items that will be for sale. On the day of the sale, turn on some music, set out some comfortable chairs, and get ready to free yourself of belongings that you never really use. Consider selling waters, sodas, and baked goods, too, as many of your buyers will be dedicating their entire day to shopping and will appreciate the refreshments!
By observing unmet needs of your neighbors, friends, or city visitors, there are countless ways you can make extra money to offset your mortgage. It just takes a little creativity and elbow grease.
Danielle Hegedus is a freelance writer based in Atlanta, GA. She currently pursues her passion for all things home decor by writing for Modernize.com.
Featured image from Modernize