Right around now is when it hits…
You’ve (hopefully) gotten most of your gift shopping done. You’re waiting for the last stragglers to be delivered. All your purchases have now cleared your credit cards — and the final number is causing heart palpitations.
How does it happen? That every year — despite your best efforts — you spend much more than you’d promised yourself?
Then again, maybe that doesn’t happen to everyone. Maybe there’s just a small segment of the population that’s like me and gets overexcited buying gifts for the young folk in our lives.
But even if you’ve been responsible and tracked every expenditure to the penny, odds are good gifts have blown a hole in your budget.
After all, holiday sales make up around 20% of total annual sales in the retail sector. Unless you’ve had a special cash cache saved up for December, you’ve probably seen a lot more money go out the door than usual.
Even if you’ve got a big nest egg of savings and investments, you can easily wind up cash-poor at the end of the year.
You don’t want to sell off any investments — and some of them, like IRAs, you can’t touch anyway unless you’re over 70½.
And we certainly don’t want to see you entertain the notion of selling off any of your unconventional investments. They perform best when you hold onto them for the long haul.
But at the same time, you don’t want to have to eat ramen for New Year’s Eve, either.
The solution if you’re scraping the bottom of your budget this month? Or even if you just want a bit of spare cash to start the new year?
Pick up a few odd virtual (and in-person) jobs over the internet using one of the platforms I’m profiling today.
Some of these “jobs” can take seconds and pay a few bucks. Others could get you hundreds of dollars… with a much steeper time commitment, as you’d expect.
The one unifying fact is anyone can do these odd jobs. With so many options, everyone can find one they can do, even if some of the skill-based gigs aren’t in your wheelhouse.
Let’s dive in so you can see exactly what I mean.
Hop to It With TaskRabbit
How are your handyman skills? Can you mount a TV to a wall or build an Ikea-bought desk? Replace a light fixture?
How about pure brute force? Do you mind carrying furniture up and down stairs? Can you pick up boxes and stack them in a moving van?
Or can you clean a kitchen? Plant a garden? Hop in a car to deliver a package across town?
If you can do any of these things or similar tasks, you can make good money renting out your services with TaskRabbit.
Acting as a place to buy or sell help with everyday chores — from picking up groceries to painting a bedroom — TaskRabbit puts busy people with too much money in touch with those who can trade a little of their time for cash.
And the cash can be pretty good…
Painting a small bedroom, for instance, costs an average of $100–200 on TaskRabbit, for what should be only a few hours of work. Putting together an Ikea desk often means a $100-plus fee, even though a skilled practitioner can get it done in under an hour.
In fact, you can actually choose how much you get paid — you set your rate. Of course, if you’re completely out of line with others on the site, you won’t get hired. But you also won’t get coerced into a job you don’t think is worth the money.
Here’s how it works:
- When you sign up as a tasker, you tell TaskRabbit what you can do, what you want to get paid and a general outline of your availability
- TaskRabbit performs a fairly simple background check to make sure you aren’t a dangerous felon or anyone folks would feel unsafe around
- You get listed under various tasks on the site, with your rate attached (the amount you want to make plus TaskRabbit’s cut)
- Buyers browse through the taskers available in their area when they want something done. If a buyer selects you, they give you a range of times they’d be available and you decide whether or not you want to help them out
- If you agree to a time and price, you get together, do the job and then get paid.
Simple as that.
TaskRabbit has a heavy emphasis on manual work. You might think that would mean less pay — for less skill, compared with information work — but actually, the opposite is true.
Simply because supply is on your side. TaskRabbit spans North America… but physical work has to be done by someone local. That’s a relatively small pool of people. And prices reflect that.
If you’d like to pick up some extra cash — on your own schedule, for relatively simple work — TaskRabbit is one of the best places to take your time.
Earn More Than a Fiverr
Fiverr was one of the first task-related platforms out there, and it’s probably still the most famous.
Fiverr works almost exactly like TaskRabbit… only instead of focusing on physical jobs, Fiverr almost exclusively deals with information work.
If buyers want a logo designed for their small business? Find it on Fiverr. Need help crafting a social media account for a company? Fiverr has experts. Need an article written? A voiceover for a video? A redesigned website? You can find it all on Fiverr.
Despite the name, most tasks will pay well over $5. Indeed, quite a few pay hundreds of dollars.
On Fiverr, you (the labor) bid on a project and buyers decide who to go with based on price, experience and portfolio.
Granted, unlike on TaskRabbit, there will plenty of jobs on Fiverr that you simply aren’t qualified to perform.
But if you’ve got a skill that Fiverr users need, you can do surprisingly well here. And you never need to leave your couch.
If You Can’t Beat ’Em, Join ’Em
Automation may be reshaping the job market, but there are still some things only a human can do… Enter Amazon’s Mechanical Turk.
It’s a fascinating platform with all sorts of jobs — often very small jobs that require a lot of people performing quick tasks.
The name comes from a once-famous mechanical chess player constructed in the late 18th century. The mechanical Turk purported to be a chess-playing machine… but in actuality, there was a person behind the scenes deciding on the moves.
That’s a lot like what Amazon’s Mechanical Turk does. It takes tasks that feel like a computer should be able to pull off… but until computers get smarter, we actually need humans to perform these tasks.
In many cases, human judgments are being used to train AI to do the same thing in the future — like identifying cats in photos.
The bad news about this platform is most of the jobs are low-paying — often under a buck.
The good news is the tasks are usually extremely easy and short — like seeing a photo and saying whether there’s a cat in it. It’s the sort of thing you can do semimindlessly while doing something else — like catching up on Disney+ content.
And if you are pulling lots of tasks during your free time — while watching a movie or riding the subway, perhaps — and you consistently fill your free time this way, the pay can add up.
Regardless of which platform or platforms you’re most comfortable using, I can think of no better way to — immediately, starting today — pay for all your holiday festivities.
Editor-in-chief, Unconventional Wealth
P.S. While each of these platforms can provide you a nice supplementary income — to pay off holiday purchases or add some spending cash year-round — TaskRabbit will generally pay you the highest rates. That’s why we decided to partner with them and give them our highest rating. You can get started right now, right here.
err users need, you can do surprisingly well here. And you never need to leave your couch.
Ryan Cole is the editor-in-chief of Unconventional Wealth. He’s been covering the alternative investment space for nearly a decade and writing about finance and investment for almost 20 years.
Ryan has walked the walk for years, living a very unconventional life. He’s led snowmobile tours through the mountains of Colorado, settled in Japan for five...