When Frugality is Not Enough

by Katy on May 22, 2009 · 17 comments


I am the Jedi-master of frugality. I only buy used, cook from scratch, find free or almost free entertainment and even give home haircuts.

But spending wisely is only half the equation, the other half being income.

Sometimes you need to make more money. This might be because you are saving up for something special, paying down debt or simply don’t make enough money. Whatever the reason, there are a number of ways to increase your income.

The traditional method of asking for a raise is less likely to succeed in today’s economy, but it still might be worth a try. People I’ve talked to are getting creative about bringing in more income without the commitment of a second job. Garage sales, selling on eBay or Amazon; hawking of crafts, and even taking the census takers’ test.

There are many opportunities for supplementing your income, even in today’s challenging times..

I am guilty of not earning as much money as I should. There is a labor and delivery nurse certification test I should take. If passed, it would earn me an extra $1.25 per hour. However, the test (last time I checked) costs $350 to take, and the hospital where I work will only refund the money if you pass it. I’m pretty confident I could pass the test, but have been lazy about making it happen. I shudder to think how much income I’ve missed out on in the the last 14 years that I’ve been in my job.

I am also in the midst of organizing a garage sale for next weekend. A few items will solely get craigslisted, and my goal is to bring in $1000. (Another hope is simply to get rid of all the stuff in the house that clutters our lives, but that’s another column.)

Which brings me to the question — What are you doing for extra money? Are you walking dogs, babysitting or selling your excess belongings?

Please share your money making ideas in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristen@The Frugal Girl May 22, 2009 at 7:06 pm

Oooh, I’ve been doing very well with this lately(and not even entirely on purpose!). I’ve had a bunch of piano gigs show up(weddings and accompaniment jobs, among other things), I’ve done photo sessions, and oddly enough, I’ve been babysitting my niece a few days a week for the last few weeks.

This is all very good news for our emergency fund. 🙂


Julia May 22, 2009 at 7:06 pm

I just sent off my wedding flatware to the online store Replacements.com. They buy china, crystal, and silver. In my case, I’ve already sold the china and crystal. I didn’t use it and was tired of carting it from place to place lo these 14 years…
I’ve also sold a lot on craiglist in the past year, my husband sells from his vast record collection on Ebay whenever he finds the time, and I just sold my first book on Amazon.com. I’m glad there are still people out there buying used stuff, because just about everything’s for sale at our house. Except the Lego, that’s my son’s raison d’etre.


marianne May 22, 2009 at 7:10 pm

about the dogwalking…i am a professional petsitter. i make very good money doing what i do. I am very wary about people walking dogs for extra money because i have seen the disasters that can happen. When a persons dog is in your care, you are 100% liable for what happens. If the dog slips out of its collar and gets hit by a car, your fault. a dog bites a jogger while you are walking it, your fault. the dog pees on the rug and chews up a an expensive piece of furniture while waiting for you, your fault. its a WONDERFUL profession and one i love, but if i wasnt a professional with insurance, i would be scared to just take care of someones pet with what i know. just a warning to others out there. so if you want to dog walk, become a professional! work for yourself, spend your days with dogs that love you and are excited to see you, and be out in the sun.


Sandy May 22, 2009 at 10:20 pm

I just got a part time job, 24 hours a week. Hopefully I will still have time to cook from scratch and do my fun, frugal things. I am looking forward to contributing more to the bills and having a bit more pin money for the thrift shop!


Dana May 23, 2009 at 2:25 am

My husband is disabled and we’ve been managing to live off his disablilty. However, that’s getting harder and harder to do. We also have two young daughters whom we homeschool.

I have an Etsy shoppe and have been doing craft shows for the past two years. It’s not cuttin’ the mustard now.

So, I’m now looking for a job. I have a good line on one, but I haven’t been in the workforce for 6 years.

I have big plans to work and homeschool at the same time. We’ll see how that goes.



Jenn Baron May 23, 2009 at 5:43 am

I am a professional organizer and massage therapist and I have been thinking outside the box. For me, that means being open to working different hours, accepting projects that are within my skill set but have not done exactly that before and volunteering a small number of hours to give back, and potentially meet folks who would be interested in my services down the road. I think it is a great time to diversify and be open to all the great opportunities the universe wants to send you! 🙂


Jinger May 23, 2009 at 6:15 am

I live on a very limited budget as a retired teacher, however, I do surveys online and focus groups to bring in pocket money. I also have a part time job in my field that allows me to work about every other month. My 20 year old college student works in retail and has her tuition fully paid through financial aid, so she is almost fully independent.


Kristin May 23, 2009 at 6:43 am

I just added a supplemental 2 day/week dietitian job to my main dietitian job (3 days/week plus health benefits). For several years I worked a “fun” job at a picture framing shop to supplement my dietitian work, at which I didn’t make a lot of money but I enjoyed it. Business at the frame shop declined recently and my hours petered out, and I knew with my credit card debt growing it was time to work within my profession 5 days/week. So now I am making much more money with the intent to maintain a frugal lifestyle and put the extra money towards my VISA bill and other debts. I have always resisted the full-time work week and do believe that when I am making more money but have less free time that I feel the need to “reward” myself with purchases. I am trying to resist this tendency (which I believe is human nature) but have already found in the 2 weeks since being full-time that I have justified purchasing several hundred dollars worth of bicycle clothing and camping gear. True I will use these things and they are helpful in the pursuit of cheaper and healthier entertainment, but before taking on the extra work I managed to resist buying them as I was in “don’t buy anything you don’t really need” mode. I find the struggle between no time versus no money to be a difficult one, and tend to prefer more free time over more money.


Mari May 23, 2009 at 2:47 pm

I work full time as a nurse, but I also sell on craigs list and my husband sells on ebay. I walk everyday but take different routes picking up aluminum cans. all the extra money goes into the IRA or other investment. My plan is to retire early and to live a minimum lifestyle


tammy May 23, 2009 at 4:36 pm

I sell plants from my yard in the spring and summer. Luckily, this was the former home of a garden crazy retired man! Anyone need HOSTA? Or LIROPE???
Seriously, I generated enough last year to partially help fund a trip to the beach with my mom and sis. I also sell on craigslist and I sell books at half.com, a site I highly recommend. I get alot of free products from bzzagent.com just for trying. I refund and use coupons. I’m a frugal gal from way back so this is nothing new to me! I’m a seasoned pro!


Karen May 23, 2009 at 6:12 pm

I’m a piano teacher (adults and teens only) and I have begun to work longer days to make room for more students. That will help long-term. In the short term, I just finished writing a new book of piano music. There are other local piano teachers in my area who like to buy my music. So, I have a built-in customer base whenever I write new books. I love to do the composing, and I ask them what sort of things they are looking for and try to meet their needs with what I write.


BarbG May 24, 2009 at 12:53 pm

I see that that others are doing surveys too Katy. Are there any sites that you can recommend?


Jeanine May 25, 2009 at 6:42 am

I recently had yard sale with some of my husbands’ sisters. I only made about 90 bucks. I think I will do it again closer to September, as more than half of my wares are winter wear. Bad for the yarders, because I had everything a dollar and under, because it was out of season. The price just doubled!

I am looking for a second job for the summer to help pay for Sylvan for my oldest daughter, maybe I can find one that can become an every summer thing.


WilderMiss May 25, 2009 at 10:41 am

I’ve always cleaned out my closet a couple times per year to declutter and given the disgards to Good Will. I always end up giving a few nice items away (largely hand me downs from my sister who works for a high end retailer). It always made me sad to think of those items in a Good Will bin so I’ve started selling them at a really cool second handstore called Buffalo Exchange.

I get a little cash (or trade) out of the deal, but mostly it just makes me happy that these nice garmets go somewhere that they’ll be shown off for how nice they are rather than being thrown in a heap with a lot of crappy stuff at Good Will. The more worn/cheap items that I get rid of still go to Good Will of course.

Also, when I won some free tickets for an in demand concert from a radio station I decided to sell them. Easiest $100 I’ve ever made!


Jessica May 26, 2009 at 9:43 am

I am a Pampered Chef consultant part-time. It is nice to supplement my income by doing something fun that I enjoy doing! It seems like less of a job, more of a hobby, really, but I get paid for my efforts!


Tracey May 26, 2009 at 10:29 am

Last August I signed up to take the HR Block Tax Pro course. It cost $150 and the class was three times a week for three hours over about six weeks. After passing the final with 80% or higher you are eligible to work during tax season, which I did. I really enjoyed learning to do taxes and helping people get their refunds. I worked from Janury 2 – April 14. It was nice to have the extra cash. This is something I can do after I retire and build up a clientele.


Deb May 28, 2009 at 12:09 pm

I only work 32 hours a week, but can work up to 35 hours a week if I choose. Because I telecommute, I often put in at least 1-2 extra hours a week and almost feel guilty if I don’t!

I’ve sold on Ebay, usually second hand/vintage items from garage sales or thrift stores. The neat thing about this is not just the extra income, but the tax deductions you get for having a small home based business. If you commit to doing this somewhat steadily (even if it’s just 10-20 items a month) and you earn a small profit – all sorts of things become tax deductible, such as mileage, inventory receipts, a percentage of utilities, etc.

Lastly, my mom is retired, but wanted to boost her modest income. She has a decent sized rambler home and a nice sized backyard. She does doggy daycare at her home (no license required for under 6 dogs). She even had the back patio covered, and during nice weather, the dogs spend virtually the entire day outside playing & having fun, or resting on their beds on the covered patio. For some special clients, she offers boarding . Even without advertising, and with never more than 4-5 small dogs at a time, my mom makes an extra $800-$1,400 a month in the comfort of her home. She keeps active with the dog walking and playing, and stays socially engaged with her clients.


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