7 money saving tricks for Students OR Anyone looking for Extra Side Income

A while back, a young college student mailed about an interesting topic. How can I save money that I earn on the sides? Are there any tricks to it?

I immediately got transported to my college days when even I used to try my hands at a few things to save money and earn a bit more on the sides, More about this later.

But his mail got me thinking.

The idea of doing something on the side (as a hustle) to generate extra side income is an attractive one.

Making more money – who wouldn’t want that?

But it is easier said than done.

Making some money here and there, once in a while, on the side is easy. But doing it consistently so that you can call it your regular side income is something different and requires some effort.

But let me remind you of something here – There is no replacement for a solid full-time job or business. Side income is called side income for a reason. If you are skilled and lucky, then it’s possible you may be able to convert your side-gig into a full-time profession one day. But the success rate for that is very small. So keep your expectations in check.

Doing something extra on the side to earn some extra money is still a good thing – if you have time and intent to do so. The extra money you get can be used to help manage extra expenses occasionally, provide more surplus for your regular savings, etc.

But primarily, how your financial life pans out, will be determined by a high savings rate, solid financial planning, and proper asset allocation. Your side income will act as a sort of financial cushion initially.

I know many people who do small side hustles to accelerate their savings. I also know a few who have converted their side projects to successful full-time careers.

So how do you go about it?

I am no expert here but here are a few points to consider:

  1. If you have a long experience in your professional field, then you can act as a consultant for other companies in your domain. That is assuming your existing employer allows that. So check that.
  2. Another option is to see if some colleges/institutes will take you for giving guest lectures in your field. A related angle here can be to give private tuitions if you like doing that.
  3. These days, there is no stopping social media influencers. And there is a growing influence economy out there. I know a few Instagram influencers who earn more than one lakh a month passive income from their influencer engagements? Not bad for a side gig if you like doing videos, etc., and like the following it brings.
  4. If you are good on the coding side, then creating a website/app is what can be done. Many people do get decent recurring income from the apps that they created as side projects. So if you have a tech background, might be a good idea to consider that.
  5. Many people love writing. And content writing is a growing business these days. In fact, if you love writing, then it is one of the easiest part-time income sources that you can get going with, and that too without any initial capital. There is and always will be a demand for good content writers. You can check freelancing portals like Upwork, Freelancer, Fiverr, etc. There might be many others. If you love essay writing that is required in many other nations’ education systems, then you can reach out to sites that allow people to buy essays online for cheap. If you like to write on financial topics, then you can reach out to financial aggregator content portals or successful financial bloggers who might be looking out for content writers. You can even reach out to content writing agencies yourself.
  6. Some people are creative enough and can try their hands at graphic designing or UI/UX designers.
  7. Social media marketing is also a rage these days and can pay you some extra money. If you like handling social media for yourself and spend a lot of time on it, then there are small businesses out there that want to scale up their business’s online presence. You can take up the work of managing their social media channels. Once again, this requires very little initial investment.

These are just a few top-of-the-mind things that come to my mind that you can take up to make some extra money. And please don’t think that it’s only for those who are not working currently. Even if you have a full-time job, you can try your hands at a few things to earn more (if you want and more so, if you need). Based on your interest and time available, you may pick options that are more semi-passive in nature and don’t require a lot of time. It’s up to you. Each person may have a different choice of side gig that will work best for him or her.

Just to share a personal experience, during my graduation days, I used to earn extra money by two things – occasional tuition and stock trading. It was fun and I did not have to ask my parents for money all the time. I also got the bragging rights among my friends that I was earning from stock markets! But if you were to ask me, then I would not recommend trying to generate additional income via stock trading. Please don’t take it the wrong way. There is nothing wrong with stock trading to make money. But it is not as easy or glamorous as it sounds (during rising markets). The possibility of screw-ups is huge. New investors at times, get influenced and are lured by promises of huge returns made. It’s not so simple. But if you think you know what it takes (and you really need to have some skills to do it), then it’s up to you. Take your picks.

That said, there are several different ways to build a side income source. And you need to give it a few tries to know what works for you and what doesn’t. And my suggestion is to pick one that you enjoy and can work for a long time without getting bored. You might already be in a full-time job that you don’t like. So you shouldn’t get into a side-gig that pays but isn’t something you like doing.

And if you were to ask me what is the most profitable niche for a side-hustle or passive income? Then I am sorry I don’t know the answer.

Warren Buffett said that ‘Never depend on single income’. And he was right. We Indians need to give more importance to building multiple income streams in general. So if you want to have a second source of income, then spend some time figuring out what options you have and what you like to do. Starting small is not an issue. Don’t be disheartened by that. And be clear about whether you want to get extra income just now or you want to seriously build a source of regular extra income for decades. The choice you make will decide a lot of things for you.

So that is about generating side-income to supplement your regular income. But just to leave you with parting thoughts – many times, you don’t need extra income. Rather, you need to rationalize your expenses and stop investing in random products here and there influenced by the wrong people.

If you think you are not doing well on the financial front and have no clue where your money goes, then talk to an investment advisor soon. It will really help you clear your money life and put it back on track.

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