Millennial savings accounts are in trouble. Less than half of people under age 34 have more than $1,000 in savings, a survey by cost information website How Much found. Of the 2,585 people between the ages of 18 and 34 surveyed, 51.8% said they had less than $1,000 squirreled away, while another 18% had between $1,000 and $5,000. Just over 16% had managed to save more than $20,000.
Greater savings were generally correlated with a higher income. Half of people earning more than $150,000 a year had saved more than $20,000. But the group most likely to have paltry savings wasn’t actually the lowest earners. Fifty-six percent of those earning between $25,000 and $49,999 annually had less than $1,000 set aside. In comparison, 44% of those earning under $25,000 a year had less than $1,000 and 28% had managed to save between $1,000 and $5,000. Younger millennials also had less saved than older millennials, and men were better savers than women.
The survey results are a sobering reminder of the financial challenges facing many young people. Research by T. Rowe Price found that while millennials generally had good financial habits, many didn’t have much of a financial cushion for emergencies. Fifty-five percent said they’d ask family or friends with help when faced with a financial crisis and 57% said they’d use a credit card to get through a tough time.
Neither approach to managing financial emergencies is ideal. Generous loved ones can turn off the money tap at any time, while whipping out a credit card when your bank account is low can be a fast path to debt. Saving more money, especially for unexpected expenses, is the best way to protect yourself. If you’re among the group of millennials with a very skinny savings account, here are 10 ways to double your money from $1,000 to $2,000, fast (none of which involve selling your beloved possessions).
1. Share your knowledge
College students can score some extra cash by selling their class notes on Study Soup, an online marketplace for study materials. “Elite Notetakers” can earn as much as $450 by selling the notes they take in class. Udemy allows you to share (and monetize) your knowledge by creating online courses for the site’s 6 million registered users. You get paid every time someone purchases your course; the site claims the average instructor earns $8,000.
2. Find lost money
No, we’re not suggesting digging for spare change between your couch cushions. We’re talking about searching for unclaimed funds that belong to you, like undelivered refunds, uncashed paychecks, missing royalty payments, and forgotten bank accounts. In 2015, $3.235 billion was returned to consumers, according to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators. Check out MissingMoney.com to find out if there are unclaimed assets you’re entitled to.
3. Rent your stuff
If you’re willing to trust a stranger with your wheels, consider renting out your vehicle on Turo. Letting someone borrow your car five days a month could earn you an extra $2,800 per year, the site claims, while renting out an unused parking space with Spot could net you an extra few hundred a month. KitsSplit connects photographers with people who want to borrow equipment. Or you can rent out tools, camping gear, musical instruments, and other items on Zilok.
4. Get a side gig
Driving for Uber or Lyft or renting your spare bedroom on Airbnb are popular ways to make extra cash, but they’re not the only players in the gig economy. Those with creative skills can pick up extra dough as a freelance writer, photographer, or designer, while people who love kids can look for babysitting gigs. Chegg Tutors pays online tutors $20 an hour, with top tutors earning $1,000 a month or more. DogVacay helps you set up shop as a pet sitter.
5. Slash the extras
You can boost your savings total by slashing the fat in your budget, even temporarily. Pause monthly subscription services like Netflix and Hulu and funnel that cash into savings. Commit to not eating out at lunch for an entire month and stop spending money on new clothes or other non-essential purchases. Walk or bike rather than taking cabs. You may even find that you don’t really miss the extras you cut out, which can encourage you to permanently cut your spending and save more.
6. Have a garage sale
For most people, garage sales are a way to clean out the basement while making a little cash on the side. With the average yard sale item selling for 85 cents, according to Statistic Brain, you’d have to sell a lot of old toys and paperbacks to make any money. But if you’re smart, your garage sale can be a real moneymaker. Jamie of Life Is Sweeter by Design made over $1,000 at her sale by choosing a great location (her in-laws house rather than her own small town), advertising, having a lot of stuff to sell, and organizing her wares so people didn’t have to pick up junk off the ground. Not pricing items and being friendly can also help increase sales, according to Consumer Reports.
7. Become a guinea pig
Participating in a clinical research trial can be a quick way to earn money, providing you don’t mind being a human guinea pig. Research institutes are frequently looking for people willing to test new drugs or try out other treatments, and you may be paid anywhere from a few bucks to a few thousand dollars for your time, depending on the nature of the study.
Some trials are looking for people with certain medical conditions to participate, while others are open to healthy volunteers. If you live in an area with a major medical center or research hospital, you can contact them about any trials that are recruiting subjects, or check CenterWatch, which lists clinical trials around the country. One caveat: Don’t let the promise of easy money blind you to the risks of participating in a clinical trial. You should always consider your own health and weigh the pros and cons before agreeing to participate.
8. Work overtime
If your job pays you overtime, take advantage of your boss’s requests to stay late or pick up an extra shift. Depending on your hourly wage, getting paid time-and-half could add up to an extra $1,000 fast. But working too much overtime can lead to burnout, so you need to balance you need for additional cash with your need to have a life outside of work.
9. Get a temporary, part-time job
When money is tight, a temporary, part-time job can help pad your wallet. Even better, you don’t have to make a long-term commitment to a second job. Depending on the time of year, you may be able to get work as a youth sports coach, retail clerk, tax preparer, or tour guide. If there’s a big event or festival happening in your town, you may be able to snag a job as a ticket taker, working security, or helping with clean up. Local staffing agencies may be able to help you find people looking to hire temporary help.
10. Return stuff you don’t need
Do you have bags full of never-worn clothes, unopened DVDs, or unboxed housewares gathering dusting in your closet? You might be able to turn those regrettable purchases back into cash. Having receipts for your items will make the process easier, but if you made the purchase with a credit or debit card from a store like Target, they should be able to look up the transaction. It will be easier to return things that you bought more recently, but stores like Macy’s will take back items up to a year after purchase, while Nordstrom has a no-questions-asked return policy. If you’re a shopaholic trying to mend your ways, this can be a fast way to both clear out the clutter and put money back in your pocket.