Earning Extra Money – 5 Fool-Proof Methods Revealed

Everybody wants to be earning extra money since the recession hit. Many people around the country are struggling to pay their bills, and they want to know what they can do to make up the difference.

Well, I’ve by no means cornered the market on ideas for earning extra money. But I have been working from home for nearly 5 years now, so I’ve got some experience.

Plus, many of my clients are doing well financially — and I’ve gotten to peek inside their businesses. So I know which methods work and which ones don’t.

With that in mind, I offer the following 5 fool-proof methods for earning extra money:

Method #1: Mystery Shopping

One popular way to make extra money is to become a mystery shopper — somebody who gets paid to shop certain stores and report on their experiences.

Companies will often pay for mystery shoppers to shop their own stores because they want to know that the shopping experience is a good one. In a way, it is a form of covert quality assurance.

While I’ve not done this personally, I do know a woman who has quite a bit of experience in the field. Her name is Cathy Stucker. You might want to look her up if you’re interested in mystery shopping. She has a how-to guide available.

Method #2: Sell Products on Ebay

Do you know how to find and buy a certain line of products at or below wholesale prices? Or do you think you could?

Then you may have what it takes to sell products on Ebay.

I have a good friend who has made significant profits (to the tune of $15,000 in a year) by reselling used books on Ebay.

The trick here is to have a consistent supply of products you can buy at a low price. Your profit is based on the difference between your cost and your sale price.

Not all products sell well on Ebay. And it’s not always easy to find a good product supplier. But if you think creatively and do some research, this may be a good option for you.

Method #3: Get Paid to Write Sales Copy

I’m a freelance copywriter. I write direct response sales copy for a living: ads, sales letters, emails, etc.

If you have writing ability, and you like the idea of persuading people to buy products through the written word, then this may be a good avenue for you to explore.

I personally worked as a copywriter for 3 years before going freelance. And I also took the AWAI Six-Figure Copywriting course before striking out on my own.

No doubt, your path will be different than mine. You can research the course I named above. You can also check out classic copywriting books like Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins and The Ultimate Sales Letter by Dan Kennedy.

Or you can check out two online products I have: Copywriting Code (to learn how to write sales copy) and Get Clients Report (to learn how to get copywriting clients).

Method #4: Write an Ad-Funded Blog

If you like to write and think you could write articles about a particular hobby you have, then you might consider starting a blog.

How will you make money?

Simple. Through ads that you place on your blog. You can make money through Adsense blogging, affiliate links, text links, etc. There are actually quite a few ways to monetize your blog writing.

As with any worthwhile endeavor, blogging does take work. And you have to be consistent to attract and retain readers. So keep that in mind before you start a blog.

Method #5: Create & Sell Your Own Digital Product

A fifth and final way for earning extra money is to create your own digital product and sell it. You can write an ebook, record an interview, or make a video.

Then you can sell that product through Clickbank. Or sell it on your own and collect money through PayPal. Or get your own merchant account and shopping cart and collect the money that way instead.

The beauty of a digital product is that it can sell consistently for years. And with the right product and the right traffic to your offer, you can easily make $50 to $250 extra per month. This is conservative.

Earning Extra Money Doesn’t Have to Be Hard

When you use your creativity and start researching your options, you’ll find that earning extra money is much easier than you might have thought.

Even better, you can design your new income stream around the lifestyle you want. You can make money from home or you can choose to do something that gets you out of the house and talking with people.

The key is to just get started earning extra money. Once you’re moving in a certain direction, then you can course-correct along the way. Good luck!

Selling Gold Jewelry – A Good Idea?

Selling gold jewelry has become quite a big business recently. I’m sure you’ve seen the TV ads encouraging you to call and pawn off your gold jewelry for some cash.

It’s tempting, for sure. After all, gold has been sitting at more than $1,000 an ounce for a long time now.

Most of the sales pitches rest on a couple key points. The first key point is that you might need cash fast. Selling your gold jewelry could quickly raise funds.

The second key point is a suggestion that gold prices might fall. This creates some urgency for the potential seller: “How long will gold prices stay above $1,000 an ounce? I better sell now while I still can.”

Where Is Gold Headed?

The reason gold seems to be increasing in value is because the dollar is declining in value. So gold is a hedge against the dollar. It is a way to preserve your wealth.

By getting out of gold and getting into dollars, you’re moving out of an asset that is appreciating and getting into an “asset” (the dollar) that is depreciating.

My opinion is that gold is headed higher. I would not be surprised if we see it surpass $5,000 an ounce by 2012.

Of course, I have no magic ball, so I have no idea what the future holds. But generally speaking, I expect the price of gold to continue to go up — not go down.

Selling Gold Jewelry – Timing the Market

You can never know for sure when the price of something has peaked. So your decision to sell your gold jewelry has to be based on your own in-depth research and the urgency of your need for cash.

For the time being (early 2010), I would personally wait to pawn off my gold jewelry. I would attempt to sell other things first: furniture, electronics, appliances, cars, etc.

Again, my logic is based on the simple fact that I believe gold will continue to appreciate. Other possessions like cars, gadgets, and so forth will continue to depreciate.

It’s almost always better to sell something that is losing value instead of something that is gaining value. With that in mind, my personal belief is that selling gold jewelry may be a bit premature at this point.

American Credit Card Debt – Symptom of a Debt-Based Currency

American credit card debt ballooned rapidly in the 90s and early to mid-2000s leaving many families with total combined balances in excess of $10,000. Some used the easy credit irresponsibly, racking up $50,000+ in consumer debt (not even counting car debts).

Then, in the fall of 2007, signs of weakness in the housing market — and the economy in general — began to appear. By the fall of 2008, the entire economy seemed to be falling apart.

All of a sudden, Americans were struggling to repay their credit card debt. They were even struggling to pay their mortgages.

One commenter on Digg suggested that credit card debt wasn’t the problem, but rather that irresponsible Americans were the problem.

Yes, I laughed. On the surface, it’s easy to agree with. Irresponsible people get what they deserve, right?

But the issue is actually much more complicated because the dollar is a debt-based currency. It is not real money. Every dollar in circulation is actually owed to the Federal Reserve — with interest!

In other words, our entire economy is based on debt.

Credit Card Debt Is Inevitable

The way the American economic system works, credit card debt — and, indeed, all forms of debt — is inevitable. Because the only way the economy stays healthy is if the money supply is expanding.

And the ONLY way new money is created is through debt.

This may be hard to believe. And since I don’t have space in this article to explain how this works, I will simply point you to G. Edward Griffin’s masterpiece, The Creature from Jekyll Island.

In America, every dollar magically turns into 10 dollars, maybe more, all through the dubious practice of fractional banking.

American Blindness

Most Americans don’t really understand how our money system works. They are blind. As a result, they hack at the branches instead of striking the root.

The branches are things like credit cards, irresponsible behavior, etc. These are not the real issue. The root is our debt-based money system. This is what is hurting us.

Right now, Americans are paying off debt faster than they ever have before. They’re tightening their belts, cutting back, using extra money to reduce debts. They are borrowing less.

This is all good. All things being equal, having no debt is better than being in debt. So I commend any person or family that is fighting the good fight (so to speak).

But until our money system gets a complete overhaul (including real money), then Americans will continue to bear the burden of oppressive credit card debt.

Become Debt Free – The Secret Nobody Talks About

Here’s how to become debt free in four simple steps:

First, you need to assess your current financial situation. It’s kind of like going to the doctor for a physical exam, except this time you’re examining your outstanding loan balances, your monthly income, your monthly expenses, etc.

You need to have a clear picture of how much you owe, how much you make, and how much you spend. This will tell you how bad (or how good) your financial situation is.

Second, you need to look for ways to trim expenses. Some of the best expenses to cut are those that are a) frivolous and b) recurring. Frivolous expenses that get auto-charged to you every month need to be eliminated if you truly want to become debt free.

Look also for ways to save money: on your cars, your house, your food, your health, your entertainment, etc. For many families, it is actually quite easy to cut $100 or even $200 in monthly expenses without much trouble.

Third, you need to put together a plan for credit card debt reduction. Depending on your circumstances, you may want to put together a debt snowball plan. Or you may want to seek Christian debt reduction help.

Every situation is unique and there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. So consider carefully what the best course of action is for you and your family.

Fourth, you will want to increase your income. This is the step that is sometimes hardest. But it is the one step that can really accelerate how fast you become debt free.

You might consider starting a side-business. Your options are endless. There are dozens of opportunities for service-based businesses, as well as online businesses. You may also consider taking a second part-time job.

Okay. These four steps cover the basics. Now here’s the secret…

The Secret to Become Debt Free

So far, I’ve given you the four simple steps to become debt free. But I’ve left out the biggest secret of them all.

The secret is consistency.

It’s always easy to get excited about doing something and pursue it with a passion for a couple weeks or even a couple months. The true challenge is what you do when the excitement wears off and you’re tempted to buy some shiny new toy.

Here’s the truth: You can spend 6 months, a year, or even 2 years following your plan to become debt free. But all it takes is one weak moment to erase all that progress.

Similar to the person who loses 10 pounds and gains back 15, it’s easy take 2 steps forward and 3 steps back — and actually find yourself in a worse financial position than when you started!

So consistency is key. But so is the ability to pick yourself up when you’ve made a mistake. Because, honestly, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll make mistakes along the way to become debt free.

The question is: Will you have the resiliency to forgive yourself, get back on track, and keep moving forward? Only you can answer that question.

Debt Snowball – The Accelerated Debt Payoff Method

The first time you hear “debt snowball,” you’re likely to wonder: What is it? I will tell you…

Did you ever see How the Grinch Stole Christmas — the classic cartoon version? And do you remember how the little dog-reindeer got stuck in a snowball that careened down the hill and got bigger as it went along?

That’s the same idea behind a debt snowball. The more balances you pay off completely, the more money you’ll have available to pay off each successive balance.

Debt Snowball Explained

Let’s say that you have five different balances that you want to pay off. Naturally, each balance is being charged a different interest rate. And you will owe a different amount of money on each balance.

Here’s what you should not do:

If you have $100 extra to put toward your debt each month, you should not divide the money equally and pay down each of your five balances by $20 each.

This may feel good because each balance is decreasing — but it’s definitely not the most effective way of paying off your debt.

But which balance do you attack first? That’s the question.

How to Decide Which Debt to Pay Off First

Usually, you will want to pay off the smallest balance with the highest interest rate. If your smallest balance does indeed have the highest interest rate, it’s a no-brainer. You pay off that balance first.

Then, after it’s paid off, you take what you HAD been paying toward that debt — add it to your debt snowball — and start throwing it at the next balance in line. Here’s a brief example:

Watch Your Debt Snowball Grow!

Extra Money to Pay Off Debt = $100

Debt #1: Minimum Payment = $50

Debt #2: Minimum Payment = $125

In this short example, you pay $150 toward Debt #1 until it is paid off. You then take this amount and add it to the minimum payment of Debt #2. So $150 + $125 = $275.

You now have $275 per month to put toward Debt #2. As you can imagine, you will pay off this debt even faster than you paid off your first balance because your debt snowball is now much bigger.

Imagine how big it will be by the time you get to the fifth and final balance!

Debt Snowball: Better than Consolidation?

Some will tell you that it’s actually more effective and less expensive to use the debt snowball method to pay off your debts.

This is because consolidating debt often has some costs associated with it: balance transfer fees, management company fees, etc.

If you can manage your own finances, and start your own debt snowball program, you may be able to reduce your debt — and ultimately become debt free — faster than you might imagine.

So what’s next?

You might consider searching Google for a debt snowball calculator. There are some free calculators out there that can help you figure out what order in which to pay off your debts.