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Gas prices are up. Your electric bill is through the roof. A trip to the grocery store can set you back hundreds of dollars. It may seem like you have no other choice but to downsize your life and cancel your Netflix subscription.
What if you could weather the inflation storm without sacrificing your quality of life? Instead of waving the white flag and surrendering to the current situation, look for the silver linings in the dark storm clouds! Here are some creative ways to increase your income to offset rising costs.
How bad is inflation now?
It’s hard to believe that it’s been over two years since the pandemic began. It feels like yesterday that we were scouring every supermarket in our neighborhood for toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Thankfully, that nightmare has (hopefully) come to an end. But even though our fear of contracting a life-threatening virus is less intense, we’re now faced with a new devil: inflation.
Have you noticed that your weekly grocery bill has been steadily increasing, even though you’re buying the same stuff? You’re not imagining things — common household items are now a luxury for the average American family.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the May 2022 Consumer Price Index (CPI) shows that the 12-month change in inflation is at 8.6% — reaching a 40-year high. Meat, fish, and eggs are now 14.2% more expensive than last year — if you’re an avid burger connoisseur, becoming a vegan probably doesn’t sound too bad. Electricity bills have also risen 12%. If you’re used to putting the AC on full blast, you might be in for a shock this summer.
The cause of this record-high inflation is rooted in several problems — from the Russia and Ukraine conflict to the supply shortages caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. We’re all feeling the effects in our wallets. According to AAA, the average US gas price hit $5 for the first time on June 13th, 2022. This is the highest gas price AAA has ever recorded since it started collecting data in 2000.
Inflation is crunching everyone’s budget, and there’s little we can do to bring down the surging prices. But one action you can take on an individual level to fight back: increase your cash flow.
Make more money by reselling online
Have you ever gone to a Sunday garage sale and found hidden treasures that you know you can resell for ten times more than the price tag? If you’re struggling to keep up with the surging inflation rate, it’s time to put your bargain-hunting skills to work.
You can resell pretty much anything online as long as there’s a market for it. A Sony Walkman cassette player, vintage high-waisted jeans from the 80s, a Bob Marley & The Wailers’ vinyl record: you name it!
To get started, find a platform that you’d like to sell on. There are plenty of online marketplaces where you can list items for sale and reach a wide global audience: Amazon, eBay, Depop, Craigslist, and Etsy, to name a few.
All you have to do is sign up, upload pictures of your product, write a compelling product description, and voila! You’re officially a reseller. There are an endless number of products you can resell for a profit: Sneakers, furniture, home appliances, baseball cards, textbooks, smartphones, baby strollers, and even concert tickets. With a little effort, you can turn your knack for finding hidden treasures into a profitable business.
How to sell stuff on eBay
Apart from reselling bargain items, you can also make money on eBay by selling stuff around the house that you want to get rid of. Here’s how to get started:
First, create an account on eBay. Once you’re registered, take some time to browse the site and familiarize yourself with how it works.
Take some clear and well-lit photos of the products you want to sell. A picture is worth a thousand words — and in the case of online sales, a thousand dollars. If you want your products to sell, showcase your products in the best possible light. And don’t be afraid to get creative! A little staging can go a long way in making your listing irresistible. Set up a nice background, arrange the items neatly, and snap away. Include all details in the product description and be honest about the item’s condition. Finally, set a fair starting price and press publish.
Once your listing is live, sit back and wait for the bids to roll in!
Rent out any space you have
Don’t let your extra space just sit there gathering dust — put it to work with Neighbor. Whether you have an unused driveway, a spare parking space, or even an empty garage, you can start earning money every month by renting it out.
To become a host, simply head to Neighbor and list your space. Then, respond to lender requests and schedule a move-in time. It’s as straightforward as that. Not to mention it’s completely free to list your unused space on the platform!
Creating a passive income is your best bet if you’re bombarded with work and don’t have time to run a side business to generate extra cash flow. You can find discounts and deals for Neighbor and other Chime partners in the Chime Marketplace, right in the Chime app.
Monetize your skills
With a little creativity, you can turn any of your skills into a profit. Let’s say your patience level is out of this world; you can monetize that talent and get paid thousands to stand in line for people. I’m not joking! According to an interview in Money, some professional line-standers can make up to $35 an hour. Mind blown!
And if your friends always rave about the fluffy cinnamon rolls you make, consider turning those homemade goodies into some real dough by selling them at the local farmer’s market — no pun intended. So, don’t be shy. Your talent and skills are worth a lot of coins!
Pet-sit furry babies
If you’re obsessed with animals but can’t commit to a furry friend of your own, pet sitting could be the perfect gig for you. Not only will you get to cuddle adorable fur babies, but you can also make some extra cash on the side. It’s pretty hard to find a better combo than this!
Of course, pet sitting isn’t all furballs and rainbows. Your clients are entrusting you with their most precious four-legged companions. But if you’re up for the challenge, it can be a rewarding experience.
To get started, see if any of your friends or neighbors need a pet sitter. You can also create a profile on a pet-sitting platform like Rover or Fetch.
Investments: how to hedge against inflation
You may have heard the phrase “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Well, the same principle applies when it comes to investing, especially during inflationary times. When you diversify your portfolio, you’re essentially spreading out your risk and reducing overall volatility. So, what types of securities should you buy to diversify the ingredients of your investment pie?
According to Investopedia, one of the best ways to hedge against inflation is to invest internationally. Investing in different countries and currencies can hedge against market volatility during times of high inflation.
The world is a big place, and there are many investment opportunities outside of the United States. According to CNBC, international markets represent over 60% of the global public capital markets. But because of our ‘home-country bias,’ international securities only make up around 21% of US investors’ portfolios. This means that if, God forbid, the US economy starts declining, US-centric investors will be first to feel the pain.
So if you’re only holding S&P 500 index funds in your portfolio, consider adding some international index funds.
As prices go up, the value of paper currency declines. This is because there’s more paper money chasing fewer goods and services, which drives up prices.
On the other hand, gold tends to hold its value even in times of inflation. Why? Because gold is scarce and there’s a limited supply — the Fed can’t just perform alchemy and inject more gold into the economy. Gold’s value isn’t based on the whims of the central bank.
Investing in gold doesn’t always mean buying a physical block of gold and locking it away in your safe. Gold ETFs are also a thing!
According to Investopedia, an ETF (exchange-traded fund) is a type of investment fund that owns a basket of assets, such as stocks, bonds, or commodities like gold. One of the main benefits of investing in an ETF is that it offers diversification in a single investment. If one asset in the basket declines in value, the other assets may offset some of the losses. According to a NASDAQ report, investors poured around $7.3 billion into SPDR Gold Shares (the largest gold-backed ETF by asset) in just the first quarter of 2022 to combat inflation.
If you’ve never heard of floating-rate bonds (FRBs) before, don’t worry. It’s not as complicated as it seems. These bonds have interest rates that adjust based on changes in market conditions.
If inflation goes up, the interest rate on your bonds will also go up. According to Investopedia, FRBs can help you avoid the market price volatility during inflation since there’s less opportunity cost. In layman’s terms: Your FRBs’ returns will keep pace with the rising costs of goods and services, unlike traditional fixed-rate bonds.
Even if the value of your crypto coins or stock portfolio has taken a dive, that doesn’t mean you can’t continue to invest and generate new income streams! Take action to fight against inflation by stacking up your dough as high as you can, whether that’s by becoming a part-time pet nanny, a host on Neighbors.com, or a professional line-stander.
And if you ever fall in love with one of these side gigs, we have the blueprint you need to turn a side gig into a full-time hustle.