Monday, 5 May 2008

Money Matters #5 - 5 Ways to Make Extra Cash

This month's Money Magazine had an interesting article on 5 Ways to Make Extra Money. I think when you are struggling along, raising 2 kids and both working part-time to juggle child-minding duties with earning an income, the thought of being able to bring in a few extra dollars is a welcome one. None of it is rocket-science, but the article by Maria Bekiaris is the inspiration for the fourth Edition of my Money Matters posts.

Five ways to earn extra cash:

1. Make the most of your home:
Ideas include: renting your home out for photo or TV shoots (big dollars if you fall into the small group of houses that this would be suited to. List your house at http://www.filmsite.com.au/); take in a tenant (if you have the space); use it as a space to run a small business, such as a registered child-minding centre or an internet-based selling business (you can find useful information about this at http://www.business.gov.au/ ); or rent out your house and rent a more modest property (an option if you are keen for a move but you will still have to pay rent (check http://www.ato.gov.au/ for deductions you may be able to claim and tax savings you may be able to make if you negative gear).

2. Get a pay rise:
To get a pay rise, you need to be good at what you do AND good at selling yourself. Suggestions on how to get a pay rise include: arrive immaculate and ready to handle any business situation; do every job to te best of your ability, no matter how small; think about how your job fits into organisational expectations and consistently meet and exceed those expectations; tell your boss when you are great; add value to your organisation e.g. attract additional business, implement cost savings and contribute to process efficiencies; demonstrate a 'can-do' attitude, be punctual, show initiative and good teamwork; know what you are worth and how much you are going to ask for (check salary surveys at http://www.careerone.com.au/ ); Timing is crucial - book a time and give them advance notice of what you want to discuss; Be prepared for your meeting - have examples of how you have gone above and beyond your job description; Don't sulk if you are not successful. Use the opportunity to talk to your boss about what they would have you do to get a rise in the future.

3. Get a second job:
Ideas and thoughts include: Do you have a hobby you could turn into a money-making venture?; Work around your current schedule so you may need to work nights and weekends. Industries suited to this include retail, hospitality; Combine fitness with your moonlighting experience and deliver pamphlets - this is often piecemeal work and can be done at your own schedule; party-plans might be an option if you like selling stuff. There are heaps of companies that do this sort of thing. Check out http://www.dsaa.asn.au/ for details; working from home is a very attractive second job (avoid scams). Data entry, ironing service, or book keeping may be options?; Other ideas include walking dogs, babysitting, tutoring, movie extra, participating in market research or ushering at gigs.; Check tax implications (remember you can't claim the $6000 tax-free threshold; you get taxed at a higher rate); Remember to check your main employer's policies on moonlighting.

4. Earn more interest:
A checklist - Are you getting the best rate possible on your savings accounts?; For a modest amount think online savings account vs term deposit but if you have large amounts a cash management account will get you a better rate; Check http://www.ratecity.com.au/ or http://www.infochoice.com.au/ for the best rates; Stay on the lookout for special deals from institutions; Check fine print for conditions such as 'bonus interest', 'introductory rates' and how often interest is paid (the more often interest in paid the better).


5. Sell unwanted items:
One man's trash is another man's treasure. You can do it the old fashioned way with a garage sale, or the new-world way, via online auction sites such as Ebay.
Garage sales - think about when you will have it (avoid holidays); advertise it; market it; think about your prices (forget what you paid for it - what is it worth now? People want bargains, give them to them.); clearly mark the prices on the items; presentation is important; be prepared for early birds; lock your house! For more information on garage sales go to http://www.garagesales.com.au/
Ebay - You will need to register as a seller; do some research so you can set a realistic price; look into the fees structure so you understand what Ebay will make from your item. List low if you think something will be popular. List closer to the expected price if you think there will be fewer bids; Select your category carefully so that people can find your item; use good photos to boost your chances; be clear in your description of the item; Do some research on postage - you don't want to lose money by charging too little, but you will scare people away if it is too expensive. Use Australia Post's postage calculator at www.auspost.com.au/pac; put yourself in the buyer's shoes - what do you want to know about the item to buy it?; when in doubt, use a company that specialises in Ebay selling such as http://www.youdropwesell.com.au/. They will take a cut of the sales (a hefty 35% for items under $1000) but if you REALLY want to get rid of something, that may be an option for you; If it is a big item (like a fridge) place an ad in the local newspaper or Trading Post. 

I don't know about you, but all of these options sound pretty good to me. As a WM of two, I am not sure that I could realistically get another job, or ask for a pay rise for that matter (the fact that I work under an Award pretty much rules that out for me anyway) but I am sure that would be a great way to make extra cash for someone else. I am considering a garage sale and I have "review bank accounts" on my list of things to do, so who knows? Maybe these will be my tickets to a family holiday? What about you? Can you see yourself using any of these tips??
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