11 Ways to Make Your Money Grow This Spring

I'm no fan of winter, but there's an upside to being holed up in my house three to four months out of the year: I spend way less money (outside of Christmas, of course).

Springtime, though — all bets are off. I'm outside most of the time, hitting the beach, grabbing lunches and dinners on the go, planning mini-vacays, buying fresh threads for all those weekend parties, consuming cocktails — you get the picture; it's expensive.

You could avoid spending money altogether when spring rolls around, but what fun is that? If you like to have a great time when the weather is cooperative, read through this list of ways to earn extra income so you can do all the things you like to do in the sunshine without going into debt.

1. Pick up seasonal employment

Depending on where you live, there could be a bounty of seasonal spring and summer employment. I live by the beach, for instance, and everybody's hiring this time of year — boardwalk shops, beach clubs, restaurants, landscapers, hotels, water-sports instructors, and more. But even if you didn't plant roots near a shore, there are still opportunities in your neck of the woods. Consider local amusement and water parks, baseball stadiums (one of the most fun jobs I've ever had!), spring-cleaning side work, camp counselor, and other outdoorsy-type gigs.

Andrew Fiebert, co-founder of Listen Money Matters, a personal finance podcast and blog, suggests, "Jobs where you can earn tips can easily boost the amount you make. Tutoring or private lessons are other great part-time jobs and you have more control over your schedule."

2. Sell your spring-cleaning surplus

I do a deep clean of my house twice a year — at the start of spring and fall — and I'm continually amazed at how much I get rid of each cycle. Instead of sending everything to charity or a landfill, I try to monetize my junk. I sell my unwanted clothes on Swap.com (which has gone fairly well in the past) and I list other household items, electronics, sports equipment, etc., on the Letgo app. Both are super easy to use. (See also: 10 Easiest Items to "Flip" for Cash)

"There are plenty of websites that can help you [unload your toss-outs], eBay being one of the most notorious, but you pay less in fees with Bonanza and eBid." says Natasha Rachel Smith, personal finance expert at TopCashback.com. "If your goods are designer, it's worth checking out Tradesy or Poshmark. BuyBackWorld is great for electronics, and Raise.com will, in many cases, actually pay you $1.50 per gift card you list for sale through TopCashback."

3. Switch to a cash back credit card

If you're not currently using a cash back credit card, it's time to switch — pronto. Credit cards these days offer scores of money-saving benefits, like price matching and return protection. And if you're going to spend money, you might as well get paid for it. (See also: How to Save an Extra $1,094.86 a Year)

4. Take advantage of free outdoor activities

I'm the planner in my relationship and among my friends, and I like to get out and have fun when the weather is nice. But having a robust schedule can be expensive if you let it get away from you. I spend cash here and there (movie tickets, boat trips, parasailing), but I'm primarily focused on all the fun, free activities my area has to offer, like bonfires, movie screenings, hikes, swimming in local hotel pools, game nights on the patio, and dozens of other ideas that won't cost you a dime. (See also: 47 Cheap and Fun Things to Do This Weekend)

5. Put your gym membership on hold and exercise outside

My gym membership is about $60 a month, but if I put it on hold in the spring and summer to exercise outside, it'll only cost me $15 a month. Now, I don't personally do this because I like my classes and instructors — they keep me motivated. But if you're a self-motivator or just focused on cardio, this could be a great place to cut back and put more money in your spring budget. (See also: These At-Home Exercises Will Give You a Gym-Quality Workout for Free)

6. Fight the temptation to spend your tax refund

Everybody gets those twinkly dollar signs in their eyes when their refund checks arrive, but practice self control and try not to spend it on frivolous things. That money is better suited paying off bills, going to your savings account, or paying for/putting a down payment on a vacation (but only if you've got a handle on your credit card payments and other bills). (See also: 50 Smart Things to Do With Your Tax Refund)

7. Plant a garden to cut down on food costs

When the temperature starts to heat up, I crave fresh fruits and veggies; there's just something about a cool cucumber when it's 90 degrees outside (especially in a mojito). You can go to the grocery store to stock up, but if you're resourceful and dedicated, why not plant your own garden to eat from all season long? According to the USDA, a family of four spends an average $1,000 a month on groceries, but growing your own produce will cut that bill. Maybe not significantly, but extra money is extra money. (See also: 10 Most Valuable Things to Plant in Your Garden This Spring)

8. Host guests via a micro-subletting site

I've been a host on Airbnb since its inception and it has completely enriched my life. Not only do I love meeting and hosting strangers from all over the world, but it's also made a major impact on my financial health. The revenue I bring in from my beach house during the summer fully covers the mortgage (with plenty to spare) all year long, which is why I recommend this lifestyle to everyone with the capacity to host guests. (See also: 13 Things I Learned From Renting Out My Home on Airbnb).

9. Nip excessive energy use in the bud

Open your doors and windows and pull up the shades to take advantage of natural light. Hang-dry your clothes instead of running the dryer. Cook on the outdoor grill more than in your oven. Turn on ceiling fans in lieu of the air conditioner for as long as you can hold out. Sleep with lighter blankets or just straight-up naked. Use less water with quicker showers, and by watering plants in the morning or late evening so the water doesn't evaporate as quickly. (See also: 34 Smart Ways to Cut Your Electric Bill)

10. Review your subscription services

Take a look at your subscriptions to see what can go. Maybe you want to keep your magazines because you like reading them on vacation. On the flip side, if you don't consume much content in the spring and summer because you're out and about a lot, you might consider putting on hold or canceling streaming services. Also, take a good look at your online bank accounts to see if you've missed anything; there might be monthly fees coming out that you forgot about. Cancel anything you're not using enough to justify its cost. Saying "so long" to standard cable, for instance, can add hundreds (maybe even $1,000 or more) to your budget. (See also: 3 TV Must-Haves Once You Cut the Cable Cord)

11. Just say "NO"

While I enjoy an active social calendar in the spring, I can't attend everything. And you don't have to, either. If an event (like a dinner group or destination wedding or weekend away with your pals) isn't affordable, opt out. You're not obligated to go to any of these things, and you shouldn't put yourself in a financial pickle as a result.

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11 Ways to Make Your Money Grow This Spring

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