11 creative ways to make money on your home

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A staggering 93% of Americans work at least one side job to make extra money or help make ends meet, according to a recent survey from Insranks. Among those, 51% are considering an additional side hustle because of inflation, which sits at its highest point in 40 years.

For busy people and families, side gigs like blogging or selling your DIY wares on Etsy aren’t always possible. However, a busy life doesn’t prevent you from earning extra income.

If you own a home, you can put it to work by using the space in and around it. Many of these income-generating ideas require very little effort after the initial setup. Just make sure you aren’t breaking any homeowner association rules or land-use laws in your area. That said, here are 11 creative ways to make money off your home.

1. Transform your basement or attic into a storage unit

“Some of the most surprising ways to make extra income from your home are by renting out storage space in places like your attic, basement, or even an especially large and unused closet,” says Leonard Ang, CEO of iPropertyManagement. “In high-demand areas, a closet can command $200 a month!” Apps like Neighbor and Stache are forums for listing your extra space for rent. The latter claims hosts make an average of $4,000 to $6,000 yearly.

2. Rent out your garage or extra parking space

“If you live near a public transportation hub, like a train station where parking is hard to find, you can rent out your garage or driveway to commuters,” advises Melanie Musson, a finance expert with Clearsurance.com. “You can earn between $500 and $1,500 a month renting out garage space if your garage is in the right location. (My friends do this in Philadelphia, PA, near the Fox Chase Train Station).” Spothero and Neighbor offer platforms to list your available parking spot. Just be sure you check your association bylaws if you live in an area governed by an HOA.

3. Animal lover? Why not pet sit in the comfort of your home?

One way to make money from your home is to open it up to four-legged friends in your area. Websites like Rover connect pet owners to local pet sitters and boarders, many of whom host pets in their homes. For pet owners who like to pamper their fur babies, it’s an appealing alternative to a less personalized daycare or boarding facility. And as a host, you have control over your rates, booking schedule, and house rules, including the sizes and species of pets you’ll accept! Many pet hosts on the site charge upward of $50 per night, making it a fun and fairly lucrative side gig.

4. Become an RV host

Musson also has friends who reserve a portion of their driveway to rent out to RV travelers. “While this won’t work everywhere, if you live in an area with a housing crisis, there are almost certainly people who will be willing to have a place to park their RV,” says Musson. “All you have to provide is space and electric hookups.” You can also temporarily rent out your RV spot through platforms like Vanly and RVwithme. If you like the idea of turning your unused outdoor space into a campground, you could earn an extra $700 or more a month, according to Vanly.

Keep in mind that some municipalities may have licensing and registration requirements for this type of business. And if you live in an HOA, you may have trouble convincing your neighbors to let an RV move into the neighborhood, but in areas with lax land use requirements, renting out a section of your property to travelers could be a low-lift way to make extra cash.

5. Start a community garden in your backyard

“We decided a few years back to rent out small portions of our property for people that didn’t have space and wanted a small vegetable garden,” says Richard Clews, founder of pantsandsocks.com, who at one point had eight people renting small garden plots on his property. “We rented out plots for $100 per month, plus they needed to pay for a drip system to be installed. We were generating $800 per month, and after about $200 going towards the water bill, we had $600 for groceries every month.”

If you’ve got extra garden space, you can list it through websites like YardYum and SharedEarth. What Clews likes most about the setup is how little effort it requires. “Our garden tenants could enter through a side gate whenever they wanted on the weekends. If there were drawbacks, it was only that there might be a few people on your property every weekend, but we did a good job of screening people and haven’t had any problems.”

6. Turn your backyard into a private dog park

“One money maker that has honestly been a perk in and of itself has been making our yard available on SniffSpot,” says Roland Foss, a senior operations manager at BellHop. The app lets users rent out their yards to dog owners who want a safe space for their pets to run around. (Don’t worry. It’s on your guests to pick up after their pets.) “In addition to providing us with several hundred dollars per month in extra income,” says Foss, “it has also given our very friendly dog and three-year-old daughter plenty of backyard playmates.”

As with any business, there may be local requirements about land use and business licenses in your area, but Sniffspot claims it’s never encountered a law that prohibited users from opening up their yard for this purpose.

7. Have a stylish space? Open it up for film and photo shoots

“Especially for those with a talent for interior decorating and design, allowing companies to film advertisements or take photos in your home can be an excellent and fun way to make some money off your home,” suggests Grace Baena, interior designer at Kaiyo.com. Platforms like PeerSpace and HomeStudio let you list your home for free and take a percentage of the booking fee when a client reserves your home. In addition, they let you name your price, and they provide insurance coverage in case anything is broken or damaged during the shoot.

8. List your home on AirBnb

“For two years we used our home as a part-time Airbnb to fund traveling with our kids,” says Veronica Hanson, Owner of Nomad Veronica. “The trick was, we set the price high enough that it wasn’t booked that often, and when it was booked, it produced substantial enough income for us to take a fun vacation. We traveled to France, Italy, Switzerland, and a couple’s trip to Mexico while renters were in our house. Sometimes, because of the kids, we ended up doing staycations near their school, but the kids loved having a swimming pool in the hotels.

Hanson says she and her family earn about $40,000 in extra income renting their home an average of 50 nights per year. And it’s fine if you don’t want to pick up and go whenever someone books your place. As long as you’re comfortable hosting travelers, you can rent out your guest bedroom (preferably with its own entrance) and still earn quite a bit of cash in a month.

9. Try your hand at house hacking

While not for everyone, house hacking — occupying a portion of your property while renting out the remaining space — can be an amazing way to cover most or all of your mortgage. Just ask real estate investor Mark Severino, who’s currently renting out half of his duplex in Dallas, TX, while living in the other unit upstairs.

“I’ve experimented with it as a traditional rental, AirBnB, and now a furnished rental (which has had the best return),” says Severino. “The extra income is $2,000 per month and pays the vast majority of my mortgage, freeing up my own money to reinvest into my business and keep my living expenses low.”

10. Turn your backyard or pool area into an event space

Have a gorgeous outdoor area? Or a private oasis with a pool? Consider renting your backyard for weddings and parties. Hardy Selo of Property Guru recommends an app called Splacer, which links you with event planners seeking unusual places. Many spaces listed on the site rent for upward of $1,000 an hour. For those with a pool worth diving into, says Selo, Swimply is another option. The app lets you rent your pool out by the hour to locals seeking an escape.

11. Host an ongoing garage sale

In California, a web developer who just bought his first condo pays for maintenance and upkeep by reselling goods he finds at local auctions. He parks his car in an outdoor parking spot and stores the auction items in his one-car garage. He’s sold everything from rugs to vacuum cleaners to cycling gear. Not every item sells, so he sometimes has to eat the costs associated with the original purchase. However, more often than not, he can earn several hundred dollars per month in extra income, which he puts directly into an investment account set aside for housing-related expenses.

Ready to put your home to work for you?

In times of rising inflation and economic uncertainty, a side gig can be an empowering path toward greater security. Even better if it requires little time or effort on your part. By maximizing the space around your home, you can start generating that extra income without the drag of a second job.

 

This article originally appeared on Clever and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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41 ways to save money during the holidays

 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, as the song goes. And, as celebrations get underway, it’s worth considering that the holiday season is a popular time for Americans to go all out with their spending. Currently, the average person is ready to fork over almost $1,000 on gifts alone. That’s not factoring in entertainment, food, or travel costs, nor the current soaring inflation rate which means your dollars don’t go as far as they used to.

 

But of course you want to have a festive season, filled with good cheer, fun times, and memory making. To help you do just that without blowing your budget and starting the New Year in debt, try these ideas to help you celebrate the holidays affordably.

As you start making your lists for holiday gifts and activities, consider these clever ways not to overspend during the season.

 

 

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An inexpensive way to spread some seasonal cheer is to bundle up with friends and family around a bonfire in your backyard fire pit. With some inexpensive marshmallows to toast and hot cocoa to sip (candy-cane stirrers are optional), you’ll get in the holiday spirit without breaking the bank.

 

 

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Speaking of money, before you start buying gifts or a holiday roast, make a budget for gifts, decorations, and experiences this holiday season. You’ll be able to prioritize your spending in advance and identify where you can make cuts.

 

 

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By making purchases with cash instead of plastic during the holidays, you could end up spending more thoughtfully. Try the cash envelope system to help you stick to your budget. All you do is create a few different envelopes for spending categories like holiday meals, decorations, and experiences, and then put the cash for each into the envelopes. When you run out of cash, it means you can’t spend any more money in that category (or you have to dip into the budget for another category).

 

Recommended: 5 Ways to Achieve Financial Security

 

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Singing is completely free. Whether you want to host a night of carols at home or get a group together to stroll through the neighborhood and bring good cheer is up to you. From “Jingle Bells” to “O Christmas Tree,” there are plenty of tunes to belt out.

 

 

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Yes, you may prefer to cook everything yourself for holiday meals, but it can get very pricey, especially with inflation. Hosting a potluck and asking your friends and family members to bring food to a holiday meal is a good way to cut costs on your grocery bill. It could also be fun to sample everyone’s cooking. Just make sure that you ask people ahead of time what they plan to bring so that you have enough food and options for everyone. You don’t want to wind up with six potato dishes and no green beans.

 

 

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If you are hosting a meal, skip the filet mignon and choose some foods that are on the cheaper side to save money. For instance, if you celebrate Hanukkah, you could make latkes, which only require potatoes and onions, plus some sides like applesauce and sour cream. If you celebrate Kwanzaa, try cooking some buttermilk biscuits and plantains. For Christmas, pigs in a blanket and a yule log cake from the supermarket are fun, crowd-pleasing, and affordable.

 

Recommended: 23 Tips on Saving Money Daily

 

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Check out your local museum when there’s no admission fee (many cultural institutions offer a monthly or weekly date) as a fun thing to do for free. There’s a good chance that holiday decorations will be up and that there may be an exhibition of holiday ornaments or trees. It can get your seasonal spirit soaring at no cost.

 

 

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There may be an area near you that’s known for looking spectacular at Christmas time. Or perhaps you just drive around till you find some fun Grinch inflatables. Whatever the case, hop in the car with a friend and tour the local Christmas decor for a festive, free night out.

 

 

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Instead of doing a Secret Santa gift exchange with presents, get together some friends, colleagues, or neighbors and do a cookie swap instead. Everyone bakes a different kind of treat and then shares, so each guest goes home with an assortment of sweets. One note: Before committing to making any cookies, be sure to ask everyone in the cookie exchange if they have any food allergies and make sure each person is making a different kind of cookie.

 

 

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This is a great free holiday activity to do with the kids. Go to the library, take out some holiday books you loved when you were a kid, and then reread them to your children during the holiday season. You’ll get to reminisce about the past while sharing your childhood with your family. “A Christmas Carol,” “The Night Before Christmas,” and “Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree” are all good to get you started.

 

 

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Local rinks typically offer an affordable way to get some exercise while indulging in a classic holiday-season vibe. It can be a great after-work outing with friends or colleagues or a fun family activity.

 

 

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Search YouTube for the best holiday tunes (there are dozens, if not hundreds, of playlists) for showing off your moves with friends and family. Of course, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” may have to be played more than once.

 

 

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Here’s a secret to not paying full price: Go where the discounts are. The dollar store is full of cheap holiday decorations as well as goodies you can put into gift bags or stuff into stockings. You can find low-cost ornaments, lights, balloons, and more to make your home more festive for the season.

 

 

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If you already subscribe to a streaming service, you’ll find plenty of holiday movies featured come December. Look for family fun with “A Christmas Story,” “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” “Scrooged,” and “Home Alone.” Or try some black and white oldies like “The Bishop’s Wife” and “Christmas in Connecticut.” Just add popcorn, and you’ll have a fun, cozy night in with all your favorite flicks.

 

Recommended: How to Save Money on Streaming Services

 

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A custom playlist is a thoughtful gift for friends and family. Now that most music is available online, it’s easier than ever. Just create a playlist on Spotify or another platform, name it, and then share the link. They’ll be sure to appreciate the tunes!

 

 

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Your town likely hosts lots of free and/or cheap events you can partake in during the holidays. Search for Christmas tree lightings, concerts, parades, and outdoor movie nights, which are usually free or low cost.

 

 

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What better way to celebrate the holidays than to give back? Look for local opportunities to volunteer at a soup kitchen or work with the homeless and hungry in some other way this year. Your community will benefit from your kindness, and you’ll feel great for volunteering.

 

Recommended: Tax-Deductible or Not? Your Guide to End-of-Year Donations

 

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Another way you can give back — and get the entire family involved — is to donate toys your kids no longer use to children and families in need. Search for local toy drives happening in your community to find the best place to donate them to.

 

 

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If you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a New Year’s celebration, then crowdsource a New Year’s party at home. You can invite over a few friends and have a potluck or order in some pizzas and have everyone split the costs. Turn on the TV and watch the ball drop, or bust out the holiday playlist and have a dance party.

 

 

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Here’s an alternative to a Secret Santa get-together: Host a regifting party with pals. Everyone brings a gift they received but didn’t like or use and swaps. After all, one person’s trash is another’s treasure.

 

 

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If you can’t be with your friends and family members in person on the holidays, then host a Zoom party. Everyone can pour themselves a glass of something and catch up, without spending anything on travel.

 

 

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Have some board games in your closet? Or maybe you have access to online games on your television? Invite over your loved ones, and host a game night. Buy some cheap snacks like popcorn, chips, and pretzels, and pair them with soda and bring-your-own beer to stay on budget.

 

 

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Groupon is home to some amazing deals, and during the holiday season, the site may offer discount codes on experiences as well. Look for local holiday events in your local area, or get creative and gift a discounted experience to a friend.

 

 

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Do you have credit card points racked up? Then the holiday season is the time to use them. You may be able to use your points to purchase gifts as well as book hotels and flights at a discount.

 

 

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If you get some significant snow, don’t sit inside. Instead, pull on your base layers and challenge friends and family to a snowball fight or go sledding. It’s the stuff wonderful holiday memories are made of.

 

 

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Instead of spending thousands traveling on a plane to some exotic location, stay home and explore your town, or take a road trip to a local destination. If you bring friends along, you’ll have more fun — and you can split the cost of gas and food.

 

 

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E-cards are free or cheap, which makes them much more affordable than traditional holiday cards. Show your family and friends that you’re thinking about them by sending them a personalized e-card leading up to the holidays.

 

 

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Ask your loved ones to bring over their own prepared cookie dough, and then give out the supplies to decorate the cookies, such as sprinkles and icing. The finished cookies can even be used as small holiday gifts.

 

 

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If you have a natural area nearby where pinecones are abundant and yours for the taking, consider a winter walk to gather some. You’ll get some fresh air and exercise, plus these and any pine boughs on the ground can make a festive seasonal display at home.

 

 

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If you log onto Pinterest, you’ll find a number of DIY holiday decorations you can make yourself for a fraction of the price of store-bought. For instance, you could create a wreath out of old wine corks or string up popcorn on your Christmas tree. Make sure to ask your family and friends to join in on the fun.

 

 

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Rather than buying expensive wrapping paper and ribbons, find some low- or no-cost ways to make gifts look great. You might snag some newspaper pages (color comics work well) or kraft paper that you decorate with a few flourishes using markers. Yarn can work well in place of ribbon and save you a bundle.

 

 

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Thrift stores sell holiday decorations and cards at much lower prices than a typical retail store. Go to your local Goodwill, Salvation Army, or other local thrift shops to find great deals. It’s also a more sustainable way to shop.

 

 

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Many times, churches, synagogues, and other houses of worship will host holiday celebrations for free or a donation you can afford. Whether you’re attending formal services or a special holiday event, you’ll be sure to meet people from your community and make new friends.

 

 

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Look up the rules for playing dreidel and then host a dreidel competition at your house. Remember to whip up some latkes and donuts for the Hanukkah celebration and to create prizes for the winners. (Don’t worry: Simple items from the dollar store should suffice.)

 

 

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You can find a cheap advent calendar at the store — or make your own — and then use it to count down every day to Christmas with the kids. You can’t go wrong with a traditional candy advent calendar, but those with large collections of holiday-themed books can also try a book-a-day countdown.

 

 

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You can construct some great gifts at home without having to spend much on materials. For example, you could make a family cookbook containing recipes and fun stories about the person they came from. If you sew, you could whip up embroidered items like handkerchiefs or tote bags, or if you’re a whiz in the kitchen, you could make jams and jellies, and more!

 

 

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You may have saved up holiday cards over the years. Now is the time to break them out and decorate your home. When you look around, you’ll have fond memories of past holidays.

 

 

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Ugly holiday sweaters are officially a thing, and donning one might help you keep your thermostat lower come heating season! Find a goofy sweater online or at a discount store to wear proudly throughout the holiday season. Better yet, break out the one that your grandma made when you were a kid (if it still fits, of course).

 

 

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An artificial Christmas tree will likely cost more upfront than a real tree, but it’ll last you for years to come. Even if you shell out $300 on a fake tree, if it lasts for 10 years, that’s $30 a year. When compared to the average cost of a live Christmas tree — which can easily be between $100 and $150 — the savings are clear.

 

 

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Black Friday and Cyber Monday are great times to save on certain items. The key is knowing in advance what price actually constitutes a deal. Many stores advertise their upcoming sales around this time of year, so you should have plenty of time to comparison-shop.

 

 

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If you put off shopping until the last minute, you’re much more likely to blow your budget. Schedule time to shop before the holiday season is in full swing to help you avoid the overspending trap.

 

 

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The holidays can be expensive, but they don’t have to be. Focus on spending time with friends and family, investing in your community, and exploring your DIY side to get the most out of the season while spending the least.

 

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This article originally appeared on SoFi.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

 

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