Whether it’s doing freelance graphic design or doing handyman work around the house, we all have some kind of assets that can be put forth to make some extra cash. J. Money defines making money from side projects as hustles.
One of my hustles that I’ve been doing for the past 5 years in addition to my 9 to 5 job is renting out my spare bedroom. This really isn’t a skill, it’s more like an asset that is not being utilized to its fullest potential. So why not take full advantage of it and cash it in?
How Did It All Start?
It all started about 5 years ago when I wanted to go to graduate school when I didn’t have any wiggle room in my budget for tuition. The most obvious choice was to take out student loads. However, I didn’t want to take out student loans because I already had loans from my undergraduate studies.
I needed a way to make cash on the side without spending too time on it because anyone that has pursued a degree knows that school work consumes a fair fit of time. Although, drug dealing for profit or operating a ponzi scheme would fit the bill as a money making scheme, it is however, highly illegal. After some thought, the next best option was to rent out my spare room.
The First Few Months
I started by placing advertisements online looking for a roommate that would rent my spare bedroom. It didn’t take too long before I found a suitable roommate who was around the same age as I was, and held a professional job. Now, I’m a seasoned traveler and stayed at numerous hostels (a place to sleep with share common areas) across the globe, so having a person who I didn’t know move in didn’t make me too uncomfortable.
In the first six months, I made $3,600 bucks. Considering the amount of time I put in this endeavor, this was a nice little chunk of change that paid for the first several classes of graduate school, but it was just the stepping stone.
Pimpin’ My Budget
The rental income from one roommate didn’t pimp my budget enough to pay for two graduate classes per semester (one class costs $1,600 bucks). I needed to turbo charge my rental income so that I could afford to pay for two classes a semester and graduate in a reasonable amount of time.
At that point, things were working well with my first roommate; I figured I could get another roommate. I renovated the basement by buying material and such on a zero percent credit card. After finishing the basement, I moved in there and found a roommate for the bedroom I was currently living in. Once the second roommate moved in, my budget was officially pimpin’ – I had enough cash to pay for two graduate classes per semester and then some.
As J. Money put in his post, think about the actionable steps so that if the need ever arises you have a plan to execute. In my case, I did just that. I knew the steps it took to rent out a room – place advertisement for roommate, select roommate, and collect rental income. (it’s a little more detailed than that, but you get the basic idea). The key part was executing the actionable steps when I needed the extra flow. Of course, there was some refinement to the steps. But once I got the ball rolling, I started slow by renting out only one room then learned the ropes of the business and process. I then expanded my operation by renting out another bedroom.
This hustle has allowed me to pay for graduate school without borrowing a single penny as of 2009. I still continue to rent out my spare bedroom because I’ve discovered it’s a great way to make some extra cash without too much of a time commitment. Since I graduated with my graduate degree, I no longer have tuition to pay for, now instead, I’m using the rental income to pay off my underwater mortgage debt.
And if you’d like to be featured in our Side Hustle Series, give me a shout and let me know what you’re up to! (j @ budgetsaresexy dot com)