Being a grown-up no longer comes in a nice, neat package. The current 20-something generation was by and large sold on the ideal of a high school diploma turning into a college degree, which then turns into a job, house, family and happily ever after for adulthood.
Unfortunately, many recent college grads are learning this idealized dream is no longer attainable. Instead they're stuck in limbo where the best options are working menial, mundane jobs or heading back to grad school to pile on another mountain of debt. If you find yourself in this sort of quarter-life crisis and are struggling to make ends meet, here are a few ways to boost your budget in the meantime.
1. Join a Campaign
When every other commercial is a campaign ad, it's a sure sign election season is in full swing. While the presidential candidates get all of the face time, there's a dedicated team behind them making the machine run. Many campaign jobs look for young, energetic individuals and don't require significant experience.
2. Empty Your Wallet
The option to sell bodily fluids is always available, but if you prefer to avoid getting poked and prodded you can always exchange gift cards for cash instead. Sites like Gift Card Granny will help you find the best price from trusted resellers who pay up to 92 percent of the card's remaining value.
3. Move Home
The thought of graduating from college only to move in with mom and dad again can be cringe-inducing. In this situation you have to ignore emotions and trust logic. A few months of sleeping in your old bedroom eliminates most major expenses. Even if your parents ask you to chip in on the bills, it's likely way less than you'd pay anywhere else.
4. Get Jury Duty
Generally people avoid jury duty like the plague and go to extreme measures to get excused. While you can't actively campaign to serve on a trial, you can join one virtually at eJury.com. All you have to do is register, read through trial details and answer a few related questions. Each trial typically pays $10 and most can be completed in less than an hour.
5. Share Your Knowledge
Did you play a sport in college or even high school? There are lots of little kids that could use a qualified coach to teach them a thing or two. There isn't a ton of money to be made as a coach or referee, but it puts a few dollars in your pocket and spares kids tales of the glory days from an aging armchair-quarterback.
6. Sell the Shirt off Your Back
Ok, keep your shirt on, it's just a figure of speech. However, clothes you no longer wear can be sold online at sites like RecycleYourFashions.com. They'll pay for you to ship them what you don't want and then they sell the best quality stuff online for a cut of the profit. If you prefer to eliminate the middleman, look in a local directory for consignment shops and make the sales yourself.
7. Learn Something Online
With most job hunting done online, it's easy to get sidetracked with status updates and StumbleUpon. Though hilarious cat videos provide endless hours of entertainment, your time might be better spent brushing up on Photoshop or learning interview strategies. Not only does this equip you with new skills, it also shows employers you know how to use your time wisely.
8. One-up the Young Ones
College may not have given you instant career experience, but it does show you can commit to something and follow through. If 40-year-olds are taking jobs from 25-year-olds, then sometimes you have to fight fire with fire. In general, people are more willing to let a college grad babysit or walk dogs because of the proven responsibility. Don't worry about taking little Timmy's lawn mowing job; it's an important lesson in capitalism and he probably still gets an allowance anyway.
9. Get Paid for To-Do's
Reviewing Monster job postings for the hundredth time gets depressing, and there's only so much cleaning you can do to your apartment. Thanks to TaskRabbit, you can get paid to help other people complete their to-do lists. Peruse tasks in your area and submit offers for such activities as grocery shopping, dog walking and even photography.
I'm a former 7th grade Science teacher turned stay-at-home mom that lives in Houston, Texas. I am married to my college sweetheart and have a beautiful daughter named Riley, who definitely keeps me on my toes! I am also involved in starting a small business which would both manufacture and sell an invention that I've patented, called Toothpaste 2 Go. I love interacting with my readers and hope to learn as much about you as you learn about me!