With the pandemic making itself comfortable in our lives, millions of Americans have come face-to-face with the vulnerability of their financial situations. The idea of increasing your income sounds amazing, but one online search can leave you overwhelmed and feeling the pressure to build the next BuzzFeed.
As a financial coach, it’s been critical for me to help my clients understand their finances in the context of a pandemic. What I didn’t expect was to be pleasantly surprised by all the ways my clients have been able to bring in extra income and make their finances work for them.
Whether you need to entirely replace your income or just get some extra grocery money each week, consider this your refreshed list of ideas (put together with the ongoing pandemic in mind), which I have personally used to increase my own income or have witnessed my peers and clients use.
Before we dive in, it’s important to mention that I am not a COVID-19 or medical expert. I’ve included some COVID-19 relevant notes with each idea, but please use your own judgement and follow the rules, laws, and regulations in your local area before moving forward with any of the below ideas.
1. Flip Furniture
Everyone says to sell your stuff online to make money, which you can absolutely do, BUT I find furniture flipping so much more fun and intriguing. My friend and fellow money coach, Whitney Hansen, is an inspirational furniture flipper. She can make up to $500 per month indulging in this hobby. Furniture flipping usually looks like purchasing used furniture off sites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, giving the item a little makeover, and reselling it for a profit. If you’re on a tight budget, you can flip items you own or even find free items online or from your neighbors.
COVID-19 Note: Depending on how you choose to purchase your DIY supplies and pick up and pay for the furniture, this money maker can certainly be done with minimal to no contact.
2. Rent out Your Space
Although you might be using more of your space these days (ahem: home office, required), many of us still have excess space that we could leverage as a money-maker. If you’re comfortable with it, try renting out a spare bedroom, or even safer, a basement with its own entrance, to a trusted roommate. If you have unused storage space or a parking space, those can also be good rental opportunities to bring in an extra $100 to $1000 or more. When I lived in Chicago, I rented out my spare bedroom to a trusted friend and my parking space to the owner of the tattoo parlor I lived above. This allowed me to basically live rent-free.
COVID-19 Note: Other than a spare bedroom, these other rental ideas require little to no contact. With a flat mate, you just want to ensure you come to an agreement on your household policies.
3. Freelance Editing & Proofreading
One of my clients, Samantha, was asked by a friend to proofread and edit a book, and in exchange, she was paid $200, which helped her make a big payment toward an outstanding bill. Little did she know, this is something she can do on a regular basis through various online platforms like Wordvice and UpWork. Whether you find opportunities like this online or through pals, don’t sleep on the opportunity to set your own rates and get that extra cash!
COVID-19 Note: This can be done completely online! (Also, can be done via snail mail, I suppose.)
4. Freelance Writing
If you have a knack for writing and an interest in a particular topic, freelance writing may be a great way to completely replace a lost income or set up a stellar side hustle. Before going out on my own as a money coach, I was creating social media posts for a furniture company; however, I loved talking about money, so I started freelance writing for financial websites and financial services companies that happened to have blogs of their own — like Ally’s Do It Right community. If you have an interest or a specific expertise, I’m willing to bet there is a website out there that could use your writing skills. This requires some time to prepare a couple writing examples, research websites, and pitch a lot of ideas to various content editors, but it can pay off in a very lucrative way.
COVID-19 Note: You can do this in your PJ’s from the safety of your own home!
5. Online or In-Person Tutoring
Now, more than ever, students are in need of some extra help with schoolwork, and parents are happy to pay for it. Armed with your own knowledge in a subject, you can apply to online tutoring services, or even make your services available to local residents and neighbors in your area. Set your own hourly rate and time availability. If you choose to do in-person, work out a COVID-safe policy between you and the family you’re supporting. BONUS: You can also offer language learning if you’re proficient in another language — some sites are even looking for native English speakers. I am personally paying $35 for 50-minute Italian lessons!
COVID-19 Note: Depending on the agreed terms, and laws and regulations in your area, in-person learning and tutoring may be available; however, there are plenty of online options out there.
6. Childcare or Online Learning Supervision
With everything sort of flipped on its head, the need for childcare or even online learning supervision is high for parents who are also juggling the work-from-home life. One of my clients, Cassie, a stay-at-home-mom, offered to supervise her neighbor’s daughter, along with her own son who happens to be in the same class. Her neighbor pays $100 per week, and they’ve agreed on specific guidelines to keep both of their families COVID-safe, while lending each other a helping hand.
COVID-19 Note: There’s obviously some risk here, especially with children involved. Follow the laws and regulations in your area and ensure open communication with any families who might be participating.
7. Companion Care for Adults
Health safety is of high concern for many, especially for the families of individuals who may be immunocompromised or elderly. What’s even more difficult is if the families live far away from their loved ones or have a career or lifestyle that could put their loved ones at risk; yet, they still believe it’s important that the person has social interaction, can get access to food, and is able to be cared for in other ways. In this case, there is an increased opportunity for paid adult care. Another client of mine, Sarah, was offered a paid opportunity to provide companionship and personal home care for an elderly person who lives in her town. Depending on the need, this could be a full-time or part-time gig, and the pay could be very good.
COVID-19 Note: Again, there’s obviously some unknown risk here, and that’s especially important to keep in mind if helping someone who may be immunocompromised.
8. Food Delivery
Whether you deliver groceries or cooked meals, there are plenty of individuals who either can’t or just don’t feel comfortable to leave their homes. If you have a car, bicycle, or some other type of vehicle, and you don’t mind giving up your nights and maybe weekends to bring in some extra cash, you can sign up for apps like Uber Eats, Postmates, DoorDash, or whatever other delivery service is being used by local restaurants and grocery stores. You can also go more local, like my client Jodie, who offered to pick up groceries for a friend’s elderly father and, in return, get $100 per month.
COVID-19 Note: Many delivery services have put policies in place for safe pickup and drop-off between restaurants, delivery folks, and customers.
These are just a few of the many ideas available on the internet, but my hope is that you can see how real people have been putting them into practice during a global pandemic, and received real relief in their financial situations and lives as a whole. The most important thing to keep in mind is that increasing your income this way isn’t a “get rich or bust” kind of situation. You don’t need an extra $1k per month for the effort to be worth it. Even an extra $100 per month can go a long way toward buffering your savings, reducing your debt, or just padding up your grocery budget for the next couple weeks.
Tess Wicks is the founder of and voice behind Wander Wealthy, a podcast and YouTube channel for millennial women who want to make smart and savvy financial decisions. She is a wealth and mindset coach, who provides tools and education for online coaches and service-based entrepreneurs.