Take the Frugal Living Challenge! Step 9: Work Your Wisdom


Take the Frugal Living Challenge! Step 9 Work Your WisdomLast month during QuickQuid’s “The Frugal Living Challenge,” we taught you how to learn new skills with free how-to videos, helping you save money on services you normally might pay for like grooming your pet. This month, as an extension, we want to focus on the skills you already have and encourage you to put them to use so they can become a source of income.

Everybody’s good at something — something that people will pay you for. You just have to tap into those skills, then hone and market them to start earning cash. Even if you already have a full-time job, you can put your wisdom to work and pick up side jobs to bring in extra money for paying down debt, boosting your savings, or treating yourself once in a while. Before you can start padding your pockets, however, you have to identify those valuable skills that you can sell.

To help get your mind motor running, here are nine ideas on how to make money doing something you’re already good at.

1. Tutor Students

Not every student is the shining star you were in school; some students require a little more TLC outside the classroom. That’s where you come in. If you’re particularly good at math, science or a foreign language, help someone else get a better handle on the discipline by offering to tutor them. You can tap into your personal network — you may have friends with kids who need extra help — or broaden your reach by contacting your local community college or listing your services online. Tutors generally work in one- to two-hour sessions, but longer and more frequent sessions may be needed if the student is studying for an important exam. Your fee should reflect your proficiency in a particular subject.

 2. Make Crafts

If you’re crafty, you can turn your knowledge of all things hot glue and glitter into home décor and other decorations that people will pay for. There are great online venues where you can sell your goods, but you can also find local craft shows where you can set up shop and watch you wares fly off the table.

3. Sell Baked Goods

Like to bake? To turn your cakes and pies into a profit centre, whip up a batch of your best and take them into local restaurants for the owners to taste. If your recipes make them go mmmmmmm, you might just have a burgeoning business on your hands by supplying your tasty treats to the eatery on a regular basis.

4. Offer Graphic Design Services

Every single sign, card, magazine and website you see has a graphic designer behind it. And in this day and age, there’s no shortage of opportunities in this area. Sure, you have to be trained in this skillset, which you can accomplish by taking classes, but if you’re already skilled there’s no reason why you shouldn’t make it work to your advantage. Big gigs may be hard to come by (at first anyway), so start small with local clients to build your portfolio and your reputation.

5. Landscape Lawns

Mowing lawns may not seem like rocket science — and it isn’t — but having an eye for landscape design is a highly coveted skill for which clients will pay top dollar. If you like working outdoors, know your way around a lawn, and can prune hedges like an artist, then you’re all set to earn some extra money on the side.

6. Walk Dogs

Are you an amateur dog whisperer? If you’re good with pets and enjoying being licked and kissed all over by a bunch of pups, dog walking may be in your future. Many busy professionals pay for dog walkers to take their pets out for a stroll several times a week so they’re not cooped up in the house all day. To start building this business, post notices where dog owners congregate — dog parks, veterinary offices and local adoption agencies. You can also post a listing online.

 7. Provide Child Care

 If you’re good with kids — and have proper certifications — you can parlay your skill with kids into income by baby-sitting or becoming a full-time nanny. You may know plenty of people who have kids, and thus you know people who could use a night out every once in a while. So reach out to your network of friends and family, let them know you’ve got the will and the skill to keep their babies cared for, and start building your business of being the best darn caretaker in town.

8. Teach a Class

If you’re in the market for steady income by being an educator part-time, look into becoming a substitute teacher. You get all the perks of imparting your wisdom on impressionable youngsters without the day-in-day-out rigor of being their permanent and reviled mentor. If you want to teach a little less frequently but still want to impact students while making money, visit your local senior centre, community organisation, or other group and inquire about teaching a class in your area of expertise.

9. Write Blog Posts

It can be rather difficult to start your own blog these days and turn it into a moneymaker, but if you enjoy writing for the Internet there are potential paying opportunities with existing sites that may hire your creativity on a freelance basis. To pursue these opportunities, identify a few sites that are in line with your area of expertise — for instance, if you have a passion for food, contact foodie blogs — and reach out to the sites’ editors with a few of your past posts or clips and new story ideas that they can consider. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t receive a response right away or if you get rejected. It happens. If you’re good enough, however, someone will eventually take a chance on you, and you could see your byline on a blog in no time.


Mikey Rox is an award-winning blogger and journalist whose work has been published by more than 100 regional, national and international publications. Consistently, Rox writes for the personal finance blogs Wise Bread and Money Crashers and lifestyle sites such as FlyLyf and Swagr. Rox lives in New York City with his husband and their two dogs. Follow his OMG! moments on Twitter @mikeyrox.

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