6. I sold unused frequent flyer miles
With the right credit card, you can earn between 1% and 5% cash back on most purchases and-even better-you get the peace of mind from knowing there is a buffer between you and a hacker who might get ahold of your card.
Yes, you typically are not liable for fraudulent purchases even with a debit card, but theres a difference: If someone puts charges on your debit card, that money comes right out of your bank account, and it may take several days for your bank to return the cash. In the meantime, you may be stuck unable to pay bills or, worse, charged overdraft fees for pre-scheduled withdrawals. (Youd likely be able to request these be refunded due to the fraud but, still, having a debit card compromised is a much bigger hassle than if it were a credit card.)
On a related note, if youve collected a substantial amount of frequent flyer miles, there are websites that will buy them from you. Like anytime you sell something to a third-party broker, you get far less than the miles are worth, but if you’re in debt, cash is far more important than a few frequent flyer miles.
I will say that this is a somewhat sketchy move, as the airlines prohibit it. I didn’t actually sell my miles; rather, I exchanged them for points that could be used for gift cards at places like Amazon. This site describes how selling frequent flyer miles works (and the risks).
7. I got freelancing gigs online
If you know your way around a computer, chances are you can earn a few extra bucks providing a service online. At the most tedious level, services like Amazons Mechanical Turk will pay you (mostly pennies) for transcribing audio, categorizing images, and other mundane tasks. If you have a talent, such as mastery of multiple languages, you might earn more for translating. I did this for a couple of weeks-and earned probably $100 (my rate ended up being less than $1/hr, so I moved on).
Moving up the pay ladder, Fiverr is renowned among web workers for being a reliable source for people who do small tasks well. The gist is you offer to sell a service for $5. The services on Fiverr range from the useful (designing a logo, recording a podcast intro, retouching a photo) to the wacky (roasting you on Twitter, recording a funny voicemail greeting). Although initial tasks sell for $5, Fiverr gives you the opportunity to earn more by selling upgrades, such as a premium price for expedited delivery or additional services.
Upwork is the leading marketplace that connects digital freelance workers and clients around the world, from writers to coders to virtual assistants. Unless you have a very specific (and in-demand skill), landing your first few gigs is a competitive process.
If youre already working with a few clients, ask them to run their next project through Upwork so you can begin collecting feedback, which will make you more attractive to future clients. (You may have to offer to pay the fee Upwork charges clients, but it could pay off in the long run).
8. I started a business
I started MoneyUnder30 at about the same time I began working a second job at Starbucks. (A luxury of the young, single, and childless, I realize). But within a few years, my blogging was earning enough money that it seemed like a better use of my time than an hourly part-time job. Without a doubt, blogging helped to pay off my debt.