Short of winning the lottery or getting a bonus at work, a quick boost to your income can be hard to come by without considerable time and effort.
Of course, there are a number of ways to start saving more money each month – for example, you could try a 52-week savings challenge – but if you want to actually accelerate your earnings, you’ll have to look outside the box.
Try these nine easy tips to double your paycheck in just a single month.
Make money off your clutter
Take a look at your house or apartment: It’s time to re-evaluate what you actually use and what’s just taking up valuable space. Sell belongings you no longer need on eBay or Craigslist, or go the old-fashioned route and hold a garage sale. It’s a practical way to free up some space and fill up your wallet.
Get paid to carpool
Switch up your daily commute this month by carpooling with other co-workers. If you have a reliable car, offer to be the driver – on the condition that your carpool buddies take care of all gas costs. If you’re not wild about being the sole driver, work out a plan where you each switch off; you’ll still save money on fuel.
Use your free credit card rewards
Those cash-back points have to come in handy sometime. If you’ve been using a rewards credit card, check your statement to see how much you can redeem. Can you use your rewards points toward gas, groceries or other purchases? Just like money found under the couch cushion, these points were always there – but taking advantage of them is like tapping into free cash you can use throughout the month, without dipping into your bank account.
Pick up your unclaimed cash
There might be forgotten cash belonging to you, just waiting to be claimed. This could be in the form of a missing paycheck, utilities security deposit or annuity you didn’t know you were entitled to. A good way to check to see if you have any money out there with your name on it is to visit MissingMoney.com, which is run by the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators.
Conversely, if you need some quick cash in a pinch, call your utility company to see if you can cash in your original security deposit. You’ll be more likely to get it if you’ve been timely with your bill payments.
Get into DIY
Taking over some of the chores, errands and housework you employ others to do can save you a lot of money in the long run.
This can even help on a short-term basis: Find a service you could do yourself – gardening, cleaning your house, painting a room – and cut it out of your budget for a month. In some cases, you might prefer your own skills and stick with the do-it-yourself method for good. Plus, if you find you’ve got an aptitude for the chore, you might be able to do it for neighbors or friends as a side income.
Sell your blood
Provided you’re not squeamish about needles (and you meet local health code mandates), hundreds of for-profit blood organizations regularly hold drives where you can be paid upwards of $50 for your blood or plasma, according NerdWallet. Do some research and, of course, talk to a doctor to make sure giving blood is in your best interest.
Become an online survey taker
If you have an opinion on a wide range of topics and issues, why not get compensated for it? According to ChristianPF, several websites will pay you for taking online surveys, including OpinionOutpost, E-Poll and Swagbucks. The latter will also pay you for surfing the Web.
Return unnecessary purchases
Are there some impulse buys you made at the mall a month or two ago that still haven’t been opened or used yet? Rather than letting them collect dust on the shelf, go back to the store where you got them (with a receipt, if possible) and try to get a refund. If the retailer’s return policy is too strict, consider selling the item online or exchanging it for store credit (which you should only use on something you were already going to purchase).
Sell unwanted gift cards
Many people are unaware that they don’t need to be stuck with an unwanted or partially spent gift card. Post your cards for sale on one of the many online gift card marketplaces, like Cardpool or CardCash. Depending on the site, sellers can receive up to 90 percent of their card’s original value, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Paul Sisolak is a personal finance columnist for gobankingrates.com.