This is a 3-part series about creating a budget. Part one covered the basics of creating a budget and part two looked at ways to reduce expenses to make a budget more flexible. Today I’ll be examining ways to increase income to help pad a budget, giving a person more money to work with.

Since I use Quickbooks, I can easily use my annual reports to see if my income is increasing, decreasing, or staying consistent from year to year. A couple of years ago, I saw an increase in my income and I was thrilled. However, the following year my income decreased and has stayed consistent for the most part. Yet, because I am a fairly flexible and resourceful person when it comes to working and creating income sources, I decided to share some tips on increasing income.

Tip 1 – Community Work

As a teacher, I often am requested for tutoring services. Because I am not currently contracted with a district, I’m able to provide tutoring for a fee without getting reprimanded from my employer. This past year, I’ve been able to increase my monthly income through tutoring. But there are plenty of other community options out there that could generate a little extra income.

  • Gardening – Does you neighbor need help mowing their lawn? Could you start a weekend lawn maintenance service? For a minimal starting cost, you could help bring in a few dollars on the weekends and get benefit from the exercise. Or, if you have a green thumb, you could sell produce at a local farmer’s market.
  • Driving – Are there elderly people in your neighborhood who need help picking up groceries? Offer to be their driver for a fee.
  • Tutoring or mentoring – Are or were you a good student? Could  you pass your knowledge on to others? Most name-brand tutoring services charge a minimum of $50 an hour. If you can cut that price by $5 or $10 per hour, you could potentially make some spare change by tutoring a couple of students a few hours a week.
  • Handyman – I’ll admit that I can’t fix anything. However, my husband is quite handy. If we ever needed extra money, I’m pretty sure I’d pawn him out for a fee. But for those who are lacking a handy-spouse, I’d bet they’d be willing to pay someone to hang their shelves and fix their fans.

Tip 2 – Don’t Leave Your House

It’s nice to make money without ever leaving home. I’ve found a couple of sources of income that give me this flexibility.

  • Start a blog -I’ll admit that blogging isn’t as lucrative as a newbie thinks it is. In the beginning, it’s all work and no pay. But, if you can stick with it for at least 6 months, write decent posts on a generalized or broad topic, and grow your readership, you’ll find there are opportunities to make a little side income. Heck, some people make a job out of it!
  • Take surveys – Some online surveys pay in cash, some pay in rewards points that can convert to gift cards. Surveys usually don’t pay very much, but they also don’t take very long either and can be done from the comfort of your home.
  • Begin a daycare – To start a daycare you need a license, a safe home and patience, of course. Oh, and you really should like kids. With a little bit of word-of-mouth advertising, your daycare could grow quickly.
  • Sell your stuff – Selling non-used items on eBay and Craig’s List can bring in some fast cash.

Tip 3 – Become a Night Owl

Many years ago, I averaged two to three jobs at a time to make ends meet. Thankfully, I don’t have to …..oh wait a minute what am I saying, I still work 3 jobs! Yes, yes, I have my traditional day job, my blog, I tutor, and I still help my husband. Hello, that’s four jobs. (And I go to school at night. No wonder I’m a little tired and can’t catch up!)

  • Get a night job – There are plenty of night jobs available; anything from Starbucks to pizza delivery to office cleaning.
  • Late afternoons work too – If you must get up early for your day job, finding a late afternoon job can work as well. Some companies are flexible and need mid- to late-day help.

No matter what extra income you bring in on the side, it can help pad a budget making your financial picture a bit brighter.

Do you have side income coming in? Have you taken on part-time work to add a little extra to your budget?


  1. Good list here. I have taken on part-time writing work and I am blogging, but you are right, it is not easy to make money! I mostly blog because I like writing. If you don’t mind me asking, what do you teach?

  2. Thanks for the great list. You have some good ideas. Another thing you can do is teach fitness. The training isn’t that long, you can do it over a few weekends and it pays quite well. I plan on doing this to supplement my maternity leave when I have kids.

    • @Miss T – I’d love to add teaching fitness to my schedule, or yoga. But I think that will have to wait until I’m finished with school – then I’ll have more free time, I think. 😉

  3. As a teacher, I teach an auxiliary and summer school. I also volunteered to teach a computer application class to the other teachers for pay. I will even receive prep time. For me, I do it for more than the money, I like working. I still get more vacation (6 weeks) than I ever had as a CFO. The extra money comes in handy for my International trips.

    • @Krantcents – Wow, you do a lot too! But I agree, the vacation as a teacher is great and it’s something I don’t think I’d give up.

  4. Wow, you are a very busy person, especially considering your guest blogging gigs too!

    I need something like quickbooks… It’s sooo expensive though!

    Great article Little house, I really enjoyed it 🙂

  5. I vote for gardening. For those folks that live in apartments or condos and think they don’t have access to a space or a community garden, there are groups in various cities that promote urban sharecropping. This is where a homeowner makes space available to willing gardeners, in exchange for a share of the produce.

    • @101 Centavos – I’ve seen community gardens in my neighborhood and have often thought about joining one. Thanks for reminding me of this tip!

  6. thriftycheapskate Reply

    Great list of items to make extra money. Found you today and will be back to read more.
    We make money selling on eBay and Amazon and have done so for several years.
    In the past we worked doing taxes at hr block. moved to a small town now and would not make much money for time spent so did not do it this year.

    Will be back

    • @Thrifty Cheapskate – You bring up a good tip – seasonal work like working at H&R Block during tax season or working during the holidays. I missed that category! Thanks for the reminder. 😉

    • @Lisa @ Cents to Save – I never realize how busy until I list all of the things I do. Now I realize why my husband has been complaining about not spending enough time with him. 😉

  7. Jeff @ Sustainable Life BLog Reply

    Wow little house – that’s a lot of hay on your fork! Good luck with everything, and I’m also a fan of the night owl section.

    • @Jeff – I’m hoping that within the year I’ll have one less thing on my plate – school! I should be finished by either December of this year or May of next year (depending on how my student teaching works out.) Then I’ll have more time to devote to other things…can’t wait!

  8. I currently use GnuCash but have been wondering if it’s worth switching to an alternative like Quickbooks… the good side about GnuCash is that it’s completely free… and the downside is that it’s completely free, so it’s developed for the developers and not necessarily the end users!

    • @Invest it Wisely – I’ve never heard of that program. I’ve been using Quickbooks for years and have been able to limp along with a version that is a couple of years old now. I may have to someday upgrade, but for now it can still create my graphs and pie charts to give me a visual of my spending habits.

  9. I think the best part about being a night owl is that you kill 2 birds with one stone. You are earning money AND you’re not in a position to spend it.

    I remember my senior year in college after I had my job offer, I decided to take it easy my last semester and I quit my job. I actually spent way more money than I did when I was working because I had time on my hands to do things like go out and stuff.

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