Using Airbnb To Make Money

Using Airbnb To Make MoneyWhen we went to Kauai in 2012, we fell in love with the island. We fell in love with it so much that we actually thought for a second about living there (we eventually changed our minds since it’s so far away from everyone we love). However, that doesn’t mean that we didn’t find some awesome houses and condos when we searched online.

We found one condo that was a part of a resort and it was very affordable. We had personally made a quick stop at the resort when we were at the island to see their beach (it was situated near one of the island’s famous beaches), so we were sort of familiar with the area.

We knew that the place was too small to live in, but it would be perfect for a getaway for us, and it would be a perfect place to rent to others on websites such as Airbnb and VRBO.

As you all know, I’m always thinking about ways to diversify my income and to find new ways to make an income in my life.

However, there are both positives and negatives of playing in the short-term rental game.

Positive: You can use the property as a vacation home.

If you are buying a property in a vacation destination, then you can possibly use the property when there is a vacancy. It’s not technically “free,” but if no one else is using it then you might as well.

Negative: You will spend more money advertising your short-term rental.

With long-term rentals, you really only need to advertise your property once a year or whenever the contract is about to expire. However, with a short-term rental, the advertising really never stops. You will have to keep your listings updated and you will have to continually keep up with advertising because short-term rentals are usually not for very long.

Positive: You may be able to make more money than with a long-term rental.

With a short-term rental, the amount of money that you can make is usually significantly higher than with a long-term rental. You might be able to charge $200 a night for a place that usually has a monthly cost of $1,000. Yes, that means that there is the possibility that you can rent your short-term rental out for one week and make a similar profit as if you rented it out to a long-term renter on a monthly basis.

Negative: You will be paying upfront for most expenses.

With a long-term rental, usually costs such as utilities, cable, etc. are shifted to the renter and put in the long-term renter’s name. However, with a short-term rental, you will have to pay for all of these expenses as the cost is all lumped together into their nightly rate usually. This means that you will want to make sure that the rental has a low vacancy rate because you don’t want to be losing out on money.

Positive: You won’t have to deal with bad renters for long.

If you do happen to have a renter that you do not like, then at least they are only in it for a short-term rental. If you had a bad renter but you made a long-term contract with the person, then it can sometimes take a very long time to kick the person out.

Negative: Short-term rentals usually require more work.

With a long-term rental, you can usually just hand the renter the keys (after background checks, etc.) and check on them every so often to make sure they haven’t burned the place down. However, with a short-term rental, you might have multiple different people in your rental each week, which means that there will be more cleaning needed (you can charge a cleaning fee though), more maintenance possibly, and so on.

Also, there will be more people living in your rental, which means that there may be more chances for people to ruin things.

Are you interested in making money through a short-term rental? Why or why not?


5 Ways For You To Make Extra Money This Summer

5 Ways For You To Make Extra Money This SummerIt’s finally June. WOOHOOO! Who doesn’t love the Summer? I know I do.

The summer months are great for many people because it usually means that there is more free time. You may be on your Summer vacation, you may be out of school, it may be the slow time at your job, or something else.

Many people have extra time in the Summer and look for ways to make extra money to fill up this time. If you are looking to make extra money this Summer, read below!

1. Lawn care.

Of course I would include this side hustle in this article. Summer usually means that there is grass, and grass needs to be cut.

You could try starting your own lawn care business and start with your family, friends’ and neighbors’ yards. If you like it enough then you may even look for other customers by placing flyers on doors and bulletin boards.

We have a lawn person and we pay him around $28 (for both the front and backyard altogether) each time he mows. We found him because he placed a flyer on our door and after we called him we found out that he lived on the same street as us.

He mows around twice a month (our grass grows veerrrrryyyy slowly) and he only lives two houses away from us, so it’s relatively easy money for him.

What you may need: A good mower (you might want a riding one if you can budget for that), clippers, leaf blower (our lawn guy also does Fall cleanups which are a lifesaver), and more depending on what the lawn care services that you are wanting to offer.

2. Babysitting.

When I was younger, I almost always tried to babysit full-time during the Summer. It was a great way to make money (when I was 14, I was making $10 an hour to babysit my neighbors child full-time) and it can be a lot of fun as well.

There are many websites out there that allow you to advertise your services, or you can also ask those that you know to spread the word that you are looking to provide babysitting services.

What you may need: A car. A car may be needed because you may have to drive the child somewhere, pick them up, or the person’s home may not be within walking distance to your home. Many parents also ask that you have a car in case an emergency arises.

3. House sitting.

Since it’s the Summer, many people leave for vacations. Many people look for house sitters to make sure that their home, pets, and plants are kept alive and well. Rates can vary greatly for this, depending on the size of the home, distance to the home, services needed, and more.

House sitting can be especially great if you are looking to travel somewhere and want a fun place to stay as well. There are websites out there for vacation house sitters, but the wait is usually somewhat long for vacation destinations.

What you may need: Nothing that I can think of. A car probably if you are not staying at the home full-time and it is not within walking or public transportation distance.

4. Sell stuff.

I know of someone who goes to as many garage sales as she can go to during the Summer months.

She tries to find things that she knows that she can sell for more and then puts the time and effort into putting the items for sale on websites such as eBay and Craigslist.

Also, if your college semester is done for, sell your textbooks! I always made sure to sell mine and often made a few hundred dollars back each semester from selling back my books.

Since selling things can sometimes be difficult, especially with larger items, you might consider donating them in exchange for a tax deduction. If you have an old boat, for example, you can give it to an organization that accepts boat donations and it will be sold at auction.

The proceeds from this auction are then given to a children’s charity. In exchange for your generosity, you are given a tax receipt in the amount for which the boat sold. This has become popular in many states, such as New Jersey, where the tax benefits for donating such items make it well worth the effort.

While donating a boat will not provide you with an immediate influx of cash, it will help keep money in your pocket during tax season.

What you may need: For this, you may need some cash upfront to buy the actual items.

5. Become a lifeguard.

Of course, only become a lifeguard if you think that you have what it takes to save a life. This is an important role!

Many places are looking for lifeguards in the Summer months because it’s their peak season and the pools have finally opened in many places. Becoming a lifeguard can be a great way to make some extra money in the Summer months and to also enjoy the Summer time since you will be near water.

What you may need: You may need qualifications and certifications in order to be hired. You may have to take a few courses in order to receive those. Lifeguard pay can vary greatly, but you may be able to find some community swimming pools in your area that will hire you for somewhere around $10 to $15 an hour.

Are you trying to make any extra money right now? What are you doing as a side hustle, and why?


Image via Flickr by olegshpyrko

How To Budget As A Freelancer

How To Budget As A FreelancerAs a freelancer, I have to find a way to budget my income with different amounts of money. I never make the same amount, and as a freelancer income isn’t always stable.

You might have a fantastic one month and then the very next month have an absolutely horrible one. You just never know what will happen.

What about my experience? Some months I don’t make any income for a few weeks, and then it all comes in at the end of the month. Other times, all of my income comes in at one week and the other 3 weeks almost feel like a complete loss. This is usually because work can vary from week to week, and also because sometimes clients have a 45 day or 60 day wait before they can pay me for my services. As a freelancer, weeks where I don’t get paid much almost feel like everything is just going downhill, even though I know it’s not. It’s hard to get out of that mindset.

Here are my tips for budgeting as a freelancer:

Have a budget!

This should be your very first step. You need to create a budget with your actual expenses so that you have an idea of how much income you need to bring in.

The main way I recommend freelancers to make a budget is to base it off your lowest monthly income. So, if a “bad” month for you is $3,000, then try to make your budget at $3,000 or lower.

However, this is all up to you. If you have an emergency fund (as discussed below), then you may be able to base your budget off of an average instead. For me, I’d rather be more comfortable and base it off a bad month because you never know how long a “bad month” will be. It could just be one month, but what if it happened for 6 months?

Save for taxes.

Saving the correct amount for taxes can be difficult because as a freelancer it is unlikely that you will know the exact dollar figure that you will owe at the end of the year. However, there are ways to help you estimate your taxes.

Two different ways include saving 25% to 35% (or whatever percent you think is realistic for you and your business) of how much you make each month. Or, you can try to estimate how much you will make throughout the whole year and save the amount of taxes that you think you will owe each month.

Have an emergency fund.

If you are a freelancer, I really hope you have an emergency fund. I know that some people are forced into the freelancing lifestyle suddenly for different reasons, but I think that you should work towards having a well-funded emergency fund no matter what.

Having an emergency fund is a good idea for many reasons. If you have a bad month, an emergency fund can help you through that so that you don’t feel like it’s the end of the world. An emergency fund can also help you get through a month with higher expenses, such as due to car or home repairs.

Read How Much Do I Need in My Emergency Fund for more information.

Keep your business and personal finances separate.

Keeping your finances separate is something that you definitely need to do. It’s easier just to keep everything separate so that you can keep track of business and personal financial goals, and it also makes it easier when it comes around to tax time.

You don’t want to have to weed through hundreds or thousands of transactions when it’s tax time to try to figure out if it was a business or personal expense.

Don’t forget to save for retirement.

One thing that some freelancers forget to do is to save for retirement. You should have a line item in your budget for retirement so that you are “paying yourself” in your budget as well.

How do you budget as a freelancer?


Image via Flickr by