5 New Income Streams Anyone Can Create

by Eric Roberge CFP on 14 May 2014 2 comments

If money were water, your income would be the fresh mountain spring… the source of your spending power. This income "stream" could be your answer to financial independence. So, how do we tap into this spring?

Here is a list of potential new income streams anyone can create (or find).

1. Bank Your Annual Raise

Potential Yearly Income: $1,500

It's amazing how quickly new income gets burned through when people get raises. In 2014, the average raise is expected to be 3% in the United States. When they get raises, many people seem to forget that they were getting by with their prior salary, and before too long, they are just getting by with the new one. It's not mandatory that your expenses increase in step with your salary. All you have to do is take that additional 3% raise and sock it away in a savings account.

If you make $50,000 and get a 3% raise, you will earn an additional $1,500 the following year. To avoid taxes, you could simply increase your 401(k) contribution by that amount. Otherwise, that $1,500 may look more like $1,125 after federal taxes… and more like $1,000 after state, Social Security, and Medicare taxes hit. But, that's still a nice lump sum. And, it may even go up again the following year! Set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to a savings account as soon as the raise hits, and you'll never feel a thing.

2. 401(k) Match

Potential Yearly Income: $1,500

Many companies offer a retirement plan at work. Typically, this comes in the form of a 401(k) plan. If the employee elects to contribute to such a plan, a certain percentage of pay is taken out pre-tax from each paycheck and invested in his or her 401(k) account. Often, the company may sweeten the deal by offering a match. Herein lays your first new income stream.

For example, the match may be $0.50 for every dollar you invest up to a maximum of 6% of your salary. Assuming you earn $50,000 per year and choose to invest 6% of your salary into your 401(k), you will have contributed $3,000 by the end of the year. And, you also get your match of $0.50 on the dollar, which means your company contributes an additional $1,500 per year!

3. Credit Card Points

Potential Yearly Income: $500

We all spend money, right? So, let's get paid to spend it! Many credit cards offer points for making purchases on your credit card. Often, you'll receive points based on a percentage of the money you spend. I see another potential income stream here.

Let's say you spend $25,000 every year and you find a credit card that provides you with points equaling 2% of all expenses paid on the card. To be realistic, not all expenses can be paid for on a credit card. However, if you take advantage of all opportunities (and pay off your credit card each month), you can certainly create a nice little income each year.

Just 2% of $25,000 is still $500 additional income to you.

4. Consulting or Freelancing

Potential Yearly Income: $1,000 (and up!)

Now take a look at the skills that you possess. What do you love doing that you can teach others in your free time? Are you a great musician, tech geek, writer, marketing genius, artist? In the age of the Internet, it seems everyone is creating some sort of service based business.

Let's consider one simple idea. Do you have a knack for growing your social media followers? Turn that into a business. Something that comes naturally to you might seem impossible for others. You could charge $0.50 for every new Facebook "like" you obtain for a non-tech savvy small business owner. The business gets 200 new followers, and you pocket $100! Plus, if it's easy for you, it won't even feel like work. Do that for 10 people, and you'll pull in $1,000.

The possibilities here are nearly limitless, but here are some ideas to get you started:

5. Craigslist/eBay Sales

Potential Yearly Income: $1,200

Everyone has junk in their home that they just don't need anymore. And, as the saying goes, your junk could be another person's treasure. The problem is that no one wants to spend time sorting through things and taking pictures for the Internet. Well, suck it up and create another income stream for yourself!

Just think  Craigslist is loaded with old books, clothes, toys, video games, furniture... and whatever else you can find in your attic or basement. You could easily sell a coach ($200), TV ($100), a few cell phones ($50), several books ($50), a nice piece of wooden furniture ($300), and a box of video games ($150); and you'll be well on your way. Throw in some power tools ($250) and a canoe ($100), and you'll have a handful of cold hard cash!

6. Fitness Benefit Reimbursement

Potential Yearly Income: $150

We all love to talk about how expensive our health insurance is, but it's something we are required to pay. So let's take advantage of the fitness benefit offered by most insurance companies. All you need to do is spend money on a gym membership (which you probably already do)!

Many insurance companies refund a portion of the cost of a gym membership. For example, my health plan gives me $150 every year just for showing them that I spent at least that much to pay for my gym membership. I'm going to the gym anyway, so why not get paid to do it?

So let's stop here and total up our five recently uncovered revenue streams. Yup, that's $5,850! Now multiply that by five years, and you've just generated almost $30,000 — not including interest earned or investment returns. Just think of what you could do with this additional cash flow over your lifetime!

How else have you generated income for yourself? Do you have any tips to share with us?

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Jay DeVincentis

Great article - I do all these things - even found a freelancing job that paid me 1k a week just to write two articles on the stock market!

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Alex @ Credit Card XPO

Getting the most out of my credit card reward points is the easiest income stream for me. I have a capital one business credit card that earns 2 points for every dollar I spend. Since I spend a lot of money on advertising, my points really rack up quickly (about 60,000/month)! I'd then redeem the points for gift cards since gift cards have the highest dollar/point value. It takes 10,000 points for a $100 gift card. So I get about $600 worth of gift cards every month, not bad for doing almost nothing!