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Extra Income

Financial Relief In The Form Of An Empty Bedroom

Mike blogs over at, it’s his story and tips on making extra money from your home’s extra space.  He’s been renting out his spare bedrooms for the past 5 years for extra income.  He’s going to hit one of his financial goals this year in 2011 and be one step further from feeling financial poor.  This is a great guest post for people wanting to make some extra money if your life situation can accommodate it.

When I bought my townhouse, I didn’t have much money; in fact, I had no money to put down. Ultimately, I ended up financing 100% of the purchase price of the property, which was a mistake on my part.  After I bought my townhouse, my budget was tight for months.  Meaning, I had to budget not only my groceries, gas, and utilities but also the tiny details such as a hair cut or going out to eat.  As you can see, it left no wiggle room for fun.

A year after I bought my townhouse, I wanted to go back to grad school, but didn’t want to take out student loans in addition to the student loans I incurred from my undergraduate studies.

Spare Room equals Spare Cash

I definitely didn’t want to take out student loans especially because I didn’t know what kind of return I would get on them to avoid going into debt for graduate school. I told myself after I get accepted to a graduate program, I’m going to rent out my spare room to a roommate.  I found my first roommate and charged him $600 bucks, which was an awesome feeling being able to collect rent that first month.

The Accomplishments

The rental income has allowed me to pay for graduate school (about $32,000) without falling a single penny into debt.  If I took out loans, I would have been in repayment as I’m writing this article.

In addition, the rental income has allowed me to payback a significant portion of my mortgage debt.  Specifically, I have been able to payback over 40% of my second mortgage (starting balance was $35,500).   At this rate, my second mortgage will be paid off by 2012.

Renting Out a Room

The only regret I have about renting out my room is not starting it sooner.  When I bought my townhouse in 2005.  I lived in it by myself on tight budget.  I wish I had started to rent out my rooms sooner.  As with rental income, if your room goes vacant for months, that’s lost income that cannot be recouped in the future.  With that in mind, I wish I had started earlier.  The opportunity cost of the lost income is endless.  It could have replaced my countertops in the kitchen, it could have put a small dent in my mortgage balance.  I don’t want to think about what I could have done with the list rental income.  I can only look forward and prevent the rooms from going unoccupied.

Extra Income

How To Make Money Taking Surveys While Avoiding Scams

Make Money Taking SurveysI’m going to show you how you can make money taking surveys while avoiding the scammers. It should come as no surprise that companies offer paid surveys. All companies need a lot of data in order to know the preferences and tastes of their consumers. Not everyone is open to taking surveys for free that takes up a lot of time. What companies are looking for is extended research and thus they need you to answer a lot of questions about their product and your experience using it. Thus, they offer you the opportunity to make money taking surveys.

Make Money Taking Surveys

A number of companies offer small incentives for taking their surveys. This might range from a small free entre at Panda Express to a discount coupon at JC Penny. The fact is, companies are always looking for user experience and do not mind paying for surveys.

Thus there are legitimate companies out there that offer hard cash for your time while you make money taking surveys. However, there seem to be more sites on the internet that are scam than the genuine ones. It is very important to avoid the scams because you will simply be wasting your time.

Avoid The Scams While You Make Money Taking Surveys

There are several ways to spot the scams. Is the survey promising huge money for a little time? Remember, there is no free lunch, and most surveys go by a standard $8-$20 per hour. Thus if the survey takes about half an hour to complete, you can expect to be paid an amount of about $4-$10. Sometimes you might be paid more but no company is ever going to pay you hundreds of dollars for a simple survey. Any promise of a disproportionate amount of money is bound to be a scam.

It is always better to read the reviews online before trusting a company. A simple Google search with “ scam” should tell you what others think of the company, whether they got paid and if they think it is a scam.

Since companies do not directly reach out to all consumers, they outsource the job to third parties, which will provide you with the required surveys. Thus you will generally need to join a company that collects a number of surveys and depending on some demographic and other information, will provide you with surveys that fall in your categories.

A lot of companies give you a small fraction of money made by your referrals, so you can choose this path to increase your earnings. You should first make sure that the site is genuine and not a scam, and then forward the information to your friends and family. You might also want to attach your payment proof (like a screenshot of your PayPal transaction showing you getting paid by the company) so your friends know this is not a scam.

Just follow those tips and you will avoid the scams while you make money taking surveys.


Extra Income

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Extra Income

How to Make a T-Shirt and Sell It

tshirtYou’ve probably heard those fateful words, “You could put that on a t-shirt!” It sounds like a great idea, or so you tell yourself. You have great ideas, great designs. The world would beat a path to your door – or at least your brilliantly designed website – and soon everyone would be wearing your designs, and you would be rolling in lovely green money.

It’s Not That Easy

Yes, you have brilliant designs and witty ideas, but getting from the Ah-ha Moment to putting a t-shirt on a client’s back is a ride on a learning curve. Don’t let that learning curve scare you off, though, because being able to wake up every day and do something you love is satisfying and fulfilling, even if getting that something off the ground is some heavy lifting.

Printing Your Shirts

You have your idea, you have your design – now what? Finding a printer to put the design on a shirt takes you from the idea to the actuality. Ideally, you want someone a) local, b) good, and c) cheap. Realistically, you might get a and b, or a and c, or b and a, or b and c. It’s going to be a tough haul to find all three. It also means evaluating what you mean by cheap. Most people have paid a good deal for a cool t-shirt that feel like you’re wearing a bulletproof vest from all of the plastisol glopped on. Instead it might be less of a hassle to reevaluate your ideal printer and look for a) local, b) experienced, and c) reasonable. Why?

  • Going with a local printer means that you can keep an eye on your print run. Being able to check your order in progress means catching problems before you’re stuck with 1,000 shirts that look like bad and feel like the previously mentioned bulletproof vest.
  • While there are t-shirt machines out there, unless you have the time to really learn how to use them and the design software, experience is going to trump DIY. An experienced printer stands a better chance of delivering a crisp, clear shirt in a timely fashion and at a better price than a print on demand provider.
  • Reasonable over cheap is a matter of opinion, but a cheap cotton shirt with design that looks like one of those old 1970’s iron-on decals is not going to make a customer happy or inclined to buy your next cool idea.

Some printers will accept a test order – a smaller run of shirts – against the possibility of future business. You will have to pay a higher rate, but being able to evaluate the quality of the production can have you angry customer service hassles later.

Pricing Pitfalls

Yes, you have cool shirts. Now, that you know how to make a shirt, how are you going to price it? According to Statistic Brain Research, one of the primary reasons that 63 percent of retail businesses fail in the first four years is because of “emotional pricing.” Emotional pricing is essentially thinking the product is worth more than it is simply because it’s your product, your design and your work. As much as you value everything you’ve put into your brand, a casual shopper is going to look at the price keep going. On the other end of the spectrum, racing to the bottom and marking your price to a super-low retail price gives you no room for sales and promotions, and maybe not even enough to clear your overhead. A clear idea of your operational expenses is a must before you post that price to the web.

Building Your Site from Storefront to Doorstep

A clean, professional-looking website puts your shirts in the spotlight. You want your customers to remember the shirts of course, but also to look back and think what an easy checkout there was, and maybe there was that free shipping thing, too. UPS, in a survey of online shoppers, found that the number one customer-pleaser for 81 percent of respondents was ease of checkout.

Right behind that was the variety of payment and shipping options, and the ease of making returns. Plotting your shop’s path from the point of view of a customer is a good idea, because the things that please or aggravate you are likely to do the same to your site’s visitors.

Go Forth and Sell a Shirt

Now that you know how to make a shirt, and have a rough idea of how to sell that shirt, start assembling your ideas for your store. Most of the popular eCommerce platforms can hook you up with customizable, brandable templates so that your site can be just as cool and unique as your t-shirts, connect you with payment methods, and shipping solutions. With worldwide eCommerce sales about to hit $15 trillion worldwide, you have a lot of backs looking for shirts. Start turning your ideas into moneymakers today.

Extra Income

What Could You Do With an Extra $100 in the Bank Each Week?

What would you do with an extra $100? Maybe you’d take your partner out to a nice dinner. Or buy a sharp new outfit. Or finally treat yourself to that mani-pedi you’ve been putting off.

All fine goals. But what if the smartest course of action was simply to do nothing—and then keep doing nothing, every week, for the foreseeable future?

Saving just $100 per week and investing that money in the market can radically alter the course of your life. Here’s what you can do with that money—and why you should think seriously about drawing up a weekly savings plan this weekend.

Build an Emergency Fund

As they say, life is what happens when you’re making other plans. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan for the future—only that you need to be prepared to face whatever life throws your way. Kiplinger outlines nine common reasons to build an emergency fund, and you can probably think of a few more that apply to your unique financial situation.

As a very rough rule of thumb, your emergency fund should be sufficient to replace at least three months’ income. Six months is preferable; the more, the better.

Earn More Opportunities to Beat the Market

Novice investors understandably seek out conventional investing wisdom, sure that professional money managers know better than they do. However, as investing legend Ken Fisher notes in Beat the Crowd, investors who apply contrarian principles can actually come out ahead relative to the market (and their fellow investors). The more you save, the more opportunities you’ll have to hone your investing strategy—and the more risk-tolerant you’re likely to be.

Secure Your Children’s Future

Education isn’t getting any cheaper. If you want to send your kid to a competitive private university, you’re looking at a tuition bill north of $40,000 per year, maybe more. Out-of-state public university tuition typically runs $20,000 or more per year, depending on the institution. In-state tuition isn’t what it used to be either, thanks to widespread state funding cuts. In an increasingly competitive global economy, the single most important gift you can give your kids is the gift of a good education, so make sure you’re in a position to do so without taking on tens of thousands in high-interest debt.

Pay Yourself Back for All That Hard Work

Saving isn’t only about delayed payoff, though the bulk of your saving and investing activities should be done with an eye to the long term. By earmarking portions of your savings for “selfish” outlays like vacations, spa treatments, nice restaurant meals or whatever floats your boat, you make the rest of your financial planning a bit more bearable. It’s the least you can do to reward yourself for all that hard work.

Save According to Your Means

For many Americans, $100 per week is a lot of money. According to Esquire, more than half of all Americans live paycheck to paycheck, with less than $1,000 to their names. A busted transmission or emergency room visit is enough to wreak havoc on their finances and send their lives into a tailspin. Far too many working-class people face homelessness or worse after financial emergencies that manifest as mere annoyances for families of means.

On the other hand, millions of more fortunate Americans are capable of socking away more than $100 per week—in some cases, far more. If you can put away $200, $300 or $500 per week, it should be clear by now that you have every incentive to do so. As they say, a penny saved is a penny earned—except it’s more accurate to say that a penny saved today is a dollar earned tomorrow.