If you are just getting started in the prepping world, one of the big issues is how to earn enough or save enough money. Survival strategies can be expensive to implement, but I’m going to try and tell you about the strategies that will help you get it done. We will briefly touch on 7 ways you can earn a little extra to help you make those purchases. In another post, I will give you unique ways to save money on your purchases.
If any of the things I mention interest you. Leave a comment and I will expand on the topic as each of these are things I have done.
Assuming you have a job like the rest of us. Meaning you head to work every day and get a paycheck at the end of the week. Here are 4 things you can do in the evenings and weekends to make some money.
1. Scrap Cars
One of the ways I earned several hundred to a thousand extra dollars a month was by scraping cars. Check on Craigslist and keep your eyes open for really cheap cars.
Once you buy one, the truck to making money is not to run off directly to the scrap yard and dump the whole thing. The smart thing to do is:
- Figure out if it is cheap and easy to fix
- If not what parts are in demand
- Separate the good from the “junk”
#1 seems pretty obvious, but I have bought many cars that the owners assumed were goners. Only to find a new battery. Replaced fuel pump. Or I other minor repair straightened the car out. Now a car you paid $200-400 for is suddenly worth $1,000-1,500. There is always someone looking for cheap transportation, and typically these cars sell in a day or two.
#2 this takes a little more detective work but can help distinguish between the bottom barrel guy that scrapes by or actually making enough money to make something happen.
To do this is simple enough. The easiest way to check is by looking on eBay, craigslist, and your local papers. You just want to get baseline pricing. Bonus I made a program that searched eBay and would tell me which car parts are in demand.
#3 once you know what is good you will start to know what is junk. Take the junk and start storing it up till you have a truckload. Each truckload can be taken to your local scrapyard to get some extra pay. I used to like to store these items up for when I need the money. But more recently I have not been in a situation this works.
* Recent changes in the market have made it very hard to find these very cheap cars meaning you need to travel further or look harder; however, the rewards are greater with many care lots buying them up site-unseen and condition not improved. Let them do the dirty work, and you can collect easy profits.
2. Handy Man Work
If you want to homestead, prep, or otherwise detach from the system, an important skill you need is anything handyman-related. Fixing things in the home, remodeling, and other general tasks can keep you busy, keep you learning, and keep your pockets full.
Start by telling the people you know what abilities you have in these areas. I have gotten some extra cash in the past because I know how to do tile, drywall, framing, and general building. I was able to get jobs by simply talking to people and integrating it into conversation goes something like the following.
“Hey, how was your weekend?” Co-worker wanting to have small chat.
“Good,” I start with, “This weekend, I replaced all the tile floor at my grandparents’ home.” It is a stretch since I did it 3 years ago, but now my co-worker knows I can do it, and I do it for others.
Often this conversation evolves into “what else can you do?” Allowing you to share a phone number or email.
Warning to you if you are new. The easiest way to start is to order all materials and add 20-30% on top. You may lose money on the first job(s) if you are very green, but you have options to learn something and gain a better understanding.
Knowing these skills will make your loved ones more at ease too. Now they know you can truly take care of them. In my mind, the next step is to teach them as well. And this is the other benefit of handyman work. You can bring along children or a spouse as a helper, teaching them as you go.
- check your laws – other handymen will get mad if you don’t follow the law and get any needed permits, etc. They will turn you in.
- A good book is worth more than gold. Find some older home repair books along with 1 or 2 new ones. This can be a life saver to keep in your truck. You get stuck now you visit your truck for a moment to check if help is found.
- Don’t get paid by the hour. Work fast and hard. Don’t get trapped.
It seems harder than it was 10 years ago. Many people want you not to do this in the evening these days. However, if you want to break into landscaping and lawn care, doing it on the weekends and evenings might be the best option.
This is very simple. Go around to neighbors and other places close to you. Bid on mowing or other tasks as you see them. Even removing old debris, trees, rocks, etc.
Landscaping work is straightforward. I have been paid $50 to spend less than 30 min removing logs (5-10 ft length), and all kind of other easy work happens all the time. Landscaping and handyman have the unique benefit that you are likely to end up with materials you need. I used to take all the leaves, mulch, and plants to my compost. Logs I would turn into firewood. And building materials. I have gotten more building materials from doing lawn work than handyman work.
A limiting factor for me is bad allergies. Even with the P95 mask, I will not breathe well after cutting the grass. If I touch poison ivy or oak, I will be out for a week or more. So you must know yourself and know your plants and surroundings.
4. Moonlight Machanic, Machinist, Programmer, Other
These things listed are nearly falling into the “specialized work,” however, they are all easy to learn skills and things that will help you in your prepping life. I also tried to keep this first part of the list all things that require you to be active and do not require too much money to get started. The next section is about something different.
Everyone is always looking for a discount on these services. With the lack of overhead of a shop and other expenses, you can do these jobs in a way that will make you lots of extra money with the shallow risk of losing anything.
Let’s examine each of these to give you some ideas.
If you are out on your own land already, you have a few tools and don’t mind traveling. Replacing starters, alternators, batteries, air filters, etc. Are all things that you can do without a lift, starters can get questionable, but I have never had an issue because the $50-100 ramps from the auto store work for the smaller cars, and trucks are generally high enough for one to squeeze under.
People are willing to pay a pretty penny to anyone doing these tasks. For a while, I let my customer pick up the oil and filter for their car, and I would do the oil change for $35 in their driveway. There was an oil recycler I could sell the used oil to. This has changed, and now you might be charged to recycle oil, so check first. However, you can build a shop heater and several other things that can use the oil in a meaningful way.
Working in a machine and fabrication shop was a great experience in my life. One thing I learned is skills that will never leave demand. I also met many people that are doing what I’m going to describe to you now.
It is prevalent in machining to find shops that want to run a second shift but are not there yet to hire full-time people. Something you can offer is pice-mill work. Basically, you can go in and get paid anywhere from $0.25 per part on a fast process to as high as possible. The most I have been paid per part is $45, but each part took 2 hours.
Suppose you have a mill or lathe (they can be ancient and still work). You might have a learning curve to use these, especially for setting them up for accuracy. But if you do it correctly, the sky is literally the limit. I have been in a 1 man moonlighting shop that was built in a backyard shed. 6 machines and 1 guy. He was able to make $2,000 a day in there by himself. He could do this because he had many processes automated and was making 1 part for a company.
I have noticed that many companies have outdated and inefficient processes to make things, but since it gets the job done, they keep doing it that way. It is straightforward to learn the basics and start getting jobs by taking a different approach.
I had a mill setup to drill holes for a seatbelt training device in the airline industry. This paid me $145 /part and took about 17 min each. Good jobs like this are out there. Sadly this job was capped at 3 months and a specific number of parts, but I could get all of them done and ready in the first week freeing me to do other things and only shipping them on the supply dates.
Another job type that might seem intimidating. But this is not too bad. Here I was thinking about programming CNC machines. I did this, and I taught myself to do it over a 6 month period. If I was very focused, I think I could have learned in under a month, but I only spent 1 or 2 nights a week on this issue. You can find jobs that pay $35 /hr to program CNCs for companies.
You can also get paid much more than that to optimize existing programs.
On a side-note, this title is not CNC Programmer because once you understand the basics of how CNC programming works. It is now elementary to get a good look at another programming language.
The point of this section is that there is always a way to make some more money and move away from the system, even if you cannot do the other works listed. We have touched on some of these things that I feel anyone can do with a little dedication and hard work. You may have noticed these are all things that pay you for the job, and that is it.
Now let’s talk about the things you could do and get paid more than once.
Everything listed to this point was called “regular work” because you get paid when the job is done, sometimes before it is done, but that is it. Once the transaction is over, that is it, but there is a way to get paid more than once. Now we will look at those methods.
5. Website or App Builder (Ads and partnership)
Suppose you have something helpful you can make. Maybe you are very good at digging wells on your own (Drill Your Own Well Site). If you can build a good guide with good pictures, you can make extra money from a website or app. The site linked above is excellent resource for digging a well. I plan to do this soon and post about it.
So if you have specific knowledge, then you can do the same. I talked about learning to make money online in a recent post about where I was recently (Where Was I 2-3/4 Year Explained). Anyone visiting here 3 years ago knows the sidebars didn’t exist at that time. But now I know how to make money online, and I will make some income from this site.
The idea is simple. Make the content explaining what skills people would like to learn, and then as they read it, ads are showing. I plan to outline this process at some point, but I was able to pull in an extra $500 /mo which is enough to make a land payment and then some.
If you do not like ads, you can do partnerships. I had one on this site many years ago. This did not go well because I was new to the process, and the person I was partner with, also new. Both of us know better now and have a better plan for the future.
Recently I helped a friend publish a book on Amazon. This process was straightforward, and I have been amazed at the income from this book just living. Each month it is easy to see $50-100 coming. This was over 1 year ago, and the book is still bringing this consistent kind of payment.
Most of the harder work was formatting the book, but I found a method that made this very easy. For the most part, once you have, published the hardest thing to do is marketing. My friend made a website and went on 20 or so podcasts to talk about his book. Enough people are listening to the podcasts and finding his website to bring the book’s sales up enough.
Getting on podcasts was also not easy up-front. It involved both of us listening to hundreds if not thousands of podcasts and building lists of what we thought would be a good fit. This work is not for the faint of heart, but if you already make a website with helpful information, it is not hard to turn that into a book.
7. Finding Cracks in the Gig Economy
Last on my list, here is something that might be hard to explain. This takes much technical knowledge.
However, there are many digital tasks people want to be done, they could do them very easily, but they want to pay and be done with the task.
For this reason, you can find these tasks on Fiverr, Upwork, etc., add some automation and then have a system paying you for the value you provide and not for the time you spend.
Many types of posts for social media, blog posts, and other content on Fiverr are recycled. The need for technical knowledge comes from knowing how to hook up a spreadsheet of “sayings” to photoshop or gimp. Or another method we tried is using quotes. We were able to sell the quotes as a spreadsheet and take them, adding them to pictures for “inspiration posts.”
Often these gigs once set up, will pay you much better than you think. The first one we set up is still making almost $800 each month.
The process on this gig is that we are selling inspirational social media posts. We have a rotation of 300 stock photos and a spreadsheet of over 500,000 quotes. I have hooked gimp to a python script that will randomly select from the 300 photos and 500,000 quotes. Once the selection is made, the text of the quote is overlaid on the picture.
This is sold as a $45 30-day package. I have the program make 40 total outputs, and I delete the worst 5 and give 5 extra. We have several people that order each month.
Now that you know a few ideas, you might have some questions lets look.
But Which Should I do?
Sometimes you can get analysis paralysis. Knowing too many things can be more harmful if you don’t take action. My solution for you is to start with the things that pay you right away for the work you did. If you do not know how to do some more advanced stuff, you can pay someone.
For instance, I get this domain and website from Easy To Get My Dot Com. They sell me the domain and set up WordPress, so I need to know how to upload pictures and type (I don’t even need to know how to type because I can use speech to text).
So earning some money with something you can do gives you the chance to pay someone or have the time to learn what you need to do.
Another essential thing to watch for is scams. I have had my fair share of scams I tried. Many of them involve working much harder and longer than the person said. Aka, no, it was not 1 hour a day to make money. It was more like 10 hours, etc…
Honestly, there is no way to easily avoid this other than to learn what you are good at and passionate about. The thing you will be most successful in is that you are willing to put the extra time in to learn well. This is why I like the first 4 items so much. If you can get passionate about these first four items, you can learn the skills you will need to live on your own off the land.