Investing in the stock market can be a scary thing to do. Unfortunately, if you don't want to invest your money, you're missing out on one of the most common ways people can turn their paycheck into serious wealth, or at the very least have enough money to live comfortably once they retire.
If you don't want to invest, there are other ways you can bring in extra money on the side to boost your cash flow, as well as help you begin saving for retirement.
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Ask your primary employer for a raise. If you're a valued employee and do your job well, you can actually boost your income without doing a thing--other than asking your boss for a raise.
Earn interest on your savings by purchasing high-yield CDs. It's only 3 to 5 percent interest, but this is guaranteed income, and every little bit helps.
Store your cash in a high-yield savings account. It's not ideal, because most savings-account interest rates only meet or slightly beat inflation, but if you do your homework, there are some savings accounts that yield 2 to 6 percent if you know where to find various rewards-card checking accounts. (See Resources.)
Loan money via peer-to-peer lending websites (also called P2P lending). You are essentially acting like a bank or credit-card company by lending money to finance consumer debt. These debt holders will repay your loan over time plus interest, where you can make a rate of return ranging from 5 percent to 35 percent depending on the borrower's credit score. Prosper.com and LendingClub.com are two excellent choices.
Try your hand as an amateur gambler. If you have the skills to count cards at the blackjack table or think you've got what it takes to win a Texas Hold 'em poker tournament, consider using some of your natural skills. It's risky, but if you start small and find you are good at it, you might have stumbled upon your calling.
Invest in the real-estate market. If the stock market seems like smoke and mirrors to you, try investing in something you can see and feel. If you don't own your own home, buy a home you can live in, then purchase other investment properties that suit your goals. You can buy residential or commercial properties where you bring in rental income every month to offset your mortgage payments.
Tutor the neighborhood kids in math, science or a foreign language. Use your education as a way to benefit your local community, while earning a few bucks doing it. If you are Internet-savvy, create a few YouTube videos to teach a larger audience; you do the work once and harvest the ad revenues as students find your work.
Start a babysitting or daycare service. If you love children and you're a trusted member of the community, childcare services could be a legitimate way to supplement your income without leaving home.
Perform the annual maintenance on your neighbors' vehicles or be a part-time mechanic. If you grew up working on cars and know how to change the oil in a vehicle or can replace a few spark plugs, ask around and find those neighbors who are afraid of being scammed by a shady auto garage.
Do some landscaping or mow a few lawns. There are many people who hate or can't do their own yard work, so identify those people who are willing to pay $10 to $20 for lawn maintenance.
Start a business in a field or concerning subject matter you are passionate about. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit or have a great idea or invention you feel strongly about, spend a few bucks, form your own company and get the ball rolling.
Start your own blog. Blogger.com and Wordpress.com are great places to start a free blog where you can write about a subject you know well. Once you become a known voice in your niche market, you can sell advertising spots on your blog, install Google Adsense technology or create affiliate marketing partnerships with sites like Amazon.com. (This isn't a get-rich-quick idea: It takes substantial time to build an audience.)
Become a part-time freelance professional. There are thousands of people who do freelance work full time, and many more who do it on the side, performing work that parallels their career path or makes use of a particular skill set. Whether it's doing graphic design, computer programming or basic accounting, there is a wide range of freelance jobs available. Websites like Guru.com, GetAFreelancer.com or Elance.com are all great places to get started.
Become an online virtual assistant. There are many professional-level employers who outsource their work to their administrative assistants, and a growing number of these are moving to online communities. If you have the computer skills to use programs like Microsoft Office (MS Word, MS Excel, MS Access) or you can transcribe audio recordings, websites like Odesk.com or Virtualassistants.com are worth a look.
Sell the stuff you no longer use or need. Sites like Craigslist and eBay exist because the neighborhood garage sale just isn't a large enough market for people to make any substantial money. Simply write up a few paragraphs on the product(s) you wish to sell, and you're good to go.
Write a few articles online at established websites like eHow, Hubpages, Associated Content, Helium and BrightHub, and share in the advertising revenue generated from your content. A substantial amount of passive income can start to flow in once you have published several dozen articles.
Making money outside the stock market or a primary job is a time-consuming venture. The worst mistake you can make is to think you can make money quickly and easily.
When looking for a second job or ways to bring in passive income, use some creativity that is related to your individual skill set.
Beware of get-rich-quick or work-at-home scams. As the popularity of any money-making technique grows, the crooks and scam artists will slowly be lagging behind, looking to make easy money from those who do not exercise proper judgment.