How to Significantly Increase Your Income Without Working Harder (Part 2)

Last week, we talked about the importance of setting goals and breaking them down into bite-sized pieces (if you missed it, you can read it here). This is foundational for success in business and in life, so if you’ve not set specific written goals, I encourage you to make that a priority in your life in the next few weeks.

Once you’ve set goals and are ready to move forward toward them with focused intensity, it’s time to move onto step two:

2. Change Your Mindset About Your Income

When Jesse and I were going through our lean law school years, I did extensive research online looking into any and every possible way I could earn income from home. The more I researched, the more convinced I became that I needed to change my mindset about earning an income.

You see, for years I’d always worked multiple side jobs. I made decent money, but the income was dependent upon how much I worked. If I didn’t work, I didn’t earn money.

The more hours I invested in work, the more money I earned. So my pay was equal to the effort expended.

I started realizing that, with my current mode of operation, the only way to get ahead financially would be to work more and longer hours–provided I could find work to do. What I really needed to focus on was setting up residual income.

What is Residual Income?

Residual income is a cashflow that is not dependent upon the number of hours you work. In most cases, it requires an upfront investment of time and resources and it requires some maintenance and upkeep, but it continues to bring in a stream of income even if you invest little into it.

My first foray into the world of residual income was my experiment in selling ebooks and printed booklets through my website. Printed booklets took more time to produce than ebooks and produced a much lower profit margin since I had to invest in physical materials. Ebooks, on the other hand, could be an automated source of income.

In the beginning, I rarely made more than $5 per day selling ebooks. But $5 per day was a start. And considering that it only required a one-time upfront investment of time, I quickly realized that making an automated $30 to $50 per week every week for almost zero work (except for the occasional customer service email) was nothing to sneeze at–especially considering that the initial ebook usually only took me 10 hours to put together.

Over time, as my customer base grew and I improved my products and marketing, I was making a guaranteed $400 to $500 per month off of ebooks and ecourses. On the months when I produced a new ebook or put together some sort of package special, I’d sometimes make twice that amount!

Needless to say, I was definitely sold on the idea of residual income. However, as my customer base grew, so did the customer service load. And by the time MoneySavingMom.com had really started to take off, I decided to quit selling ebooks in order to focus on providing high-quality, free content at no charge. We no longer needed the extra income from ebooks and I decided that a business model of offering all downloads for free (resulting in a lot less customer service issues!) was better suited to the season of life and the business direction and goals I have now.

Currently, we’re saving towards investing in real estate as we’d like to take residual income to a higher level. Our dream is to one day earn more from residual income than we do from our business incomes–not only so we can give more generously, but so it frees us up to possibly take new directions with our businesses.

Turn Your Knowledge Into Residual Income

Joy from Preschool-In-A-Box is a great example of someone who turned her knowledge into residual income. She’s a mom of three who started her own in-home preschool a few years ago. In the process of starting her in-home preschool, she found that there weren’t resources out there offering tips on how to do it.

After she figured it out on her own—and made a lot of costly mistakes along the way!—she determined to make it easier for others who wanted to do the same. After months of testing, tweaking, and refining her preschool, she put together Preschool-In-A-Box–a kit that packages up all of her knowledge and everything she’s learned over the past few years to save someone hoping to set up an in-home preschool an enormous amount of time and effort.

This is brilliant! If she were trying to increase her income teaching preschool, she’d have to take on more students or teach for longer hours. Instead, she took her knowledge and created a product. This one-time investment of time to put together the Preschool-In-A-Box kit has likely made her far more than she could ever make in years of teaching preschool–and it doesn’t require her to put in incredibly long hours over a long period of time.

Do you see the beauty of residual income? After the initial investment, it can actually free you up to work a lot fewer hours and make more money.

Since your time is valuable, you might as well make the most of it by looking for ways to set up residual income streams. Best of all, if you lose your primary source of income, these residual streams provide you with something to fall back on!

…to be continued next Wednesday

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Comments

  1. says

    Residual income is a beautiful thing! I just put my first ebook for sale this week and I’m excited about the potential. I have a few other ideas to put into my new “store” as well! I truly want to provide value in the lives of others and want these products to reflect that.

    Also, having residual income does allow you to outsource some tasks so you can focus on creating other projects or additional income. I guess it is somewhat true that you need to spend (a little) money to make money. Granted, it’s not a lot of money spent out of pocket, and it may not always be for every person in the season of their business, but it does truly make sense in some circumstances!

    Great post, Crystal!

  2. guest says

    I *love* this. One thing that has often stood out to me on money saving sites is how much time people spend trying to make a small amount of money or save a small amount of money. Please know that I understand many have to do those things because of their current stage in life. For us, though, I’m not going to invest a ton of time for a few dollars made or saved because the return on investment just isn’t there.

    • sarah says

      It’s true…my husband laughs as I cut coupons, because no one has ever gotten rich “saving” what I save.

      • Stephanie says

        I figure it is just another way of expressing my personality trait of not wanting to spend money I don’t have to. Right now I consider it a hobby of sorts. I’m not as into it as I was a few years ago, but I have figured out other ways to save that money. One of these ways has even resulted in me making a bit of money. Not a lot, but for less than 5 minutes each day, even if I only make a few dollars, the return on time is great. (Now, I do have a few hours each week I spend having fun doing this upfront activity, which enables me to then spend 5 minutes each day making that money, but I don’t count in the math because I would be doing it anyway at this stage of my life.)

  3. Michelle says

    Could you recommend some other places we can read about more ideas for residual income sources? You mentioned two, but neither really fit for me so I’d love some other ideas.

  4. jen p says

    Great post! Do you list anywhere on your site about creating an ebook? I understand the definition of an ebook, but how does a person begin to make one and then earn money? Thanks.

  5. Mary says

    What does writing ebooks require? It sounds like it would be something I’d like to do because I love to write, however I don’t know anything about making ebooks.

  6. Amanda C. says

    Woah, Crystal, this is JUST what I needed to hear right now. I’ve been writing down little goals every week (inspired by your post), but I’m realizing I need to have some BIG goals so that the little ones are going in the right direction. This really inspires me, I feel a little lost as to where to start. I don’t feel like I have a TON of exceptional abilities. How do you get really good at something so that you have something that others want? Def. a lot for me to ponder!

    • says

      My advice: just jump out and learn as you go. Start teaching people for free (through classes or blogging) and develop a reputation as an “expert” so then people will be excited to buy your materials. (And if no one wants to learn from you after months of trying to teach on a certain subject, I’d suggest looking for a different subject to teach. :))

      • says

        I think this is key. It’s important to have big goals for your long-term vision, and then goals to work your way towards those. However, you can’t be afraid to for it to not work (I originally used the word fail here, but I don’t believe anything is a failure if you learn and grow from it!!). If it’s not working, then count your losses, learn from what you did and move on to something else. Everyone has talents and gifts, there’s definitely an area where you are an expert…or where you have a passion and you can study to become an expert. BUT, like Crystal stated, if after months if it’s not working look for a different topic.

  7. says

    Great post! I have been thinking a lot about residual income lately, but like Amanda I am struggling with exactly where to start.

    I was blessed to be able to continue working from home after my son was born. The work and the income is great, but like you said – to earn more I have to work more. I don’t have more time to spend (without taking it away from my motherly duties), so I need to work towards having a residual income source.

    Thanks for getting my mind going!

  8. says

    I am very excited to read more about this topic. During my prayer time lately, I have felt that I need to redirect some areas in my life. This just might be an answer to part of that.

    I thought you had previously posted about how to write and sell ebooks. If you didn’t, would you mind giving more direction in that area. Thanks.

  9. Kristy says

    Definitely something to ponder…I’m now brainstorming ideas that highlight my strengths…wondering what skills people may be in need of right now that I could offer…Great post (as always)!

  10. says

    Do you need specialized software to do an ebook? How do you make one? How do you set up payment options? Do you upload the file to a site or do you email it each time it is ordered?

  11. says

    Yes! My husband does business coaching, and one of the most frequent questions he asks clients is “Does it scale?” In other words, are you limited to earning ___ dollars per item or per hour, or is the potential there for earning much more?

    As for real estate, it’s residual, but not passive, unless you hire a property manager! (It CAN be largely passive, until you have a vacancy, and then it’s a job that takes a lot of time!)

    • says

      I love your husband’s question!

      As far as real estate, we’re planning to hire a property manager and purchase debt-free–two things that we hope will make it much less stressful and keep it simple while still allowing us to earn good residual income.

      • Meghan says

        Depending on the age, condition, location of your rental home (near vs. far to you), quality of your tenants, and how much control you like to have over things, I would suggest not using a property manager when you get to that stage. When we had a property manager for our rental property (which is across the country but is also a newer home…so theoretically less repairs), we were still doing a large share of work of managing the rental (making phone calls to have things fixed because the property management company wanted to use the most expensive contractors, do unnecessary work, etc.).

        We finally fired them and then rented to a family in which the husband was quite skilled in construction/repair due to his job. And he was in the military, which gave us a lot of security about their ability to pay rent and take care of the house (there can be consequences in the military if you have unpaid debts, break contracts, etc.). Since we weren’t paying the 10% to the property management company, we gave them a break on the rent and we made more each month, too. And when a couple of minor things needed to be taken care of, they did them willingly and they left our house in spotless condition.

        Bottom line: a property manager doesn’t always make things less stressful when you are renting out a property. In our case, it added significant stress and distrust and cost us money. We are much happier without one.

        • says

          Thanks for sharing your own experiences; it’s always helpful to hear firsthand knowledge!

          Since we’re hoping to purchase multiple properties over time, we’re planning to hire a property rental management company so that managing the properties doesn’t take over our life and require a lot of additional time. From the research we’ve done, it seems there are some very reliable ones in our area so that’s what we’re planning to do at this point.

          However, we’ve toyed with the idea of starting our own property rental management company–and it’s something we may do in the future as we purchase more property. We’ll see! We’re just learning as we go!

          • sarah says

            What kind of properties are you considering…commercial or residential? We have a residential unit and it’s fairly passive, but things do come up that we have to manage (we do everything ourselves). If we had multiple units, we’d need to be retired to handle things.

  12. says

    Great ideas, Crystal. When I think of residual income I also think of the affiliate links. I’m not always so great about putting them in my posts when I mention a book or some other product, but it really only takes a moment or two and the payoff can come again and again.

    When I think of businesses that have residual income I think of things like self serve car washes or laundry mat. We used to live in a small town and the only 2 laundry mats were very dirty. The few times I had to do my clothes there were terrible. But I could see that if someone remodeled them and kept them nice they could make a decent income with very little time.

  13. says

    I love this series! I think the idea of multiple streams of income & residual income is so relevant in today’s economy, and honestly it’s not something I’ve given a lot of thought to in the past. Thanks for shedding some light, Crystal!

  14. Jeni L says

    Crystal, I am a fan of your site but lately I’ve been checking in less in pursuit of “making” more money as opposed to only saving money. This article is exactly what I’d love to see more of on this site. I won’t give up couponing completely but I won’t be financially free on coupons alone!

  15. Julie says

    I am a single mom of a 7 year old daughter and have had rental property for years now. I currently have 3 units that I rent. While it can be a pain in the butt sometimes when you are between renters or have to deal with someone that doesn’t pay on time, it has been a great source of residual income for me since I can’t really “work” another job. It’s also a great learning opportunity and example for your kids…..

  16. Amy says

    I think this concept is key to acquiring true wealth. My husband and I call it “making money in your sleep”.

    Another way to achieve it is to have people working for you. My husband has a full-time job as an IT manager, but he also owns his own company on the side that does computer programming. He’s assembled a team of low-cost programmers, and he just finds work and manages his team. He charges his clients for every hour worked, and he takes a percentage of that fee for each hour. His hourly cut isn’t huge, but it adds up, and it’s very low stress since someone else is doing the working.

  17. Erin says

    I would love to be able to do this. My field is marketing and I know that there are a lot of people out there who are interested in marketing or already know a lot about marketing. I’m wondering if I might have any experience that would be worthwhile to share/sell, but I have only been doing this for 3 1/2 years. How would someone like me establish themselves as an expert and differentiate from the throngs of people doing the same thing?

    • says

      To set yourself up as an expert, look for ways to become a teacher–teach classes locally, start a blog, etc. You can do it for free at first, in order to build up experience and your reputation. Once you’ve established yourself as an “expert” in your field, then consider producing products to sell.

      • Erin says

        Thanks for the advice! I guess I am a bit hesitant because I consider myself to be pretty green in my career field. It never hurts to try though; I would just hate to get criticized for giving advice when I’m not qualified to do so.

        • says

          Hey Erin,

          I wouldn’t let your lack of experience discourage you from trying. All teachers are new and inexperienced at some point. As a former teacher myself, I can say I definitely learned more about my subject matter by having to teach it to others.

          Good luck!

      • Stacey says

        Thank you for the quick response! My guess is that you offer them free now so you don’t have to deal with the customer service side and you will still be able to draw people to your website which in turn will bring in some income?

        • says

          The income I earn from blogging now is a much better return on my investment of time than producing ebooks was. Plus, I love being able to have all of the information here be free. It makes it a lot simpler for me–and people love free stuff. :) Now if I could just up and finish some of my ebook ideas so I could offer them for free… :)

  18. Wendi S says

    My 2 thoughts:
    (1) You definitely delivered on your promise from last week to make the title make sense. I was one of the ones who complained that the title was misleading, and this post definitely makes me understand the title.

    (2) My first thought when I read this is that it would be a great source of income for some people I know who need both extra income and a sense of purpose/fulfillment/pride in their life. The first 2 people who came to mind were an older relative of mine, and a friend who is having trouble working steadily due to health issues. Both are very wise women and also good writers. Both would be lost on the technology side of things, but I could manage that side. I’m already brainstorming some ebooks we could co-author. What a great way to minister, both by writing ebooks that would help others, and by involving someone in the process who could not do it on their own.

    • says

      I love this, Wendi! What a fabulous idea–and if you end up setting up a business doing this, I know of many people who’d be interested in your services.

      • Wendi S says

        Thanks for the vote of confidence. I have a couple of ebooks written to the rough-draft stage. I guess I need to get with it and publish them, so I know how the process goes first-hand, and then I can start helping others do the same.

  19. Katie says

    This only works if you have the time and knowledge to do it. I work a full time job and a part time job and my husband works a full time job also. That’s 3 minimum wage jobs with horrible hours, neither one of us has a college degree. There’s no money or time to invest in any business, nor to go back to college, no money for extra curricular activities for my son, nothing! I am trying to do the whole coupon thing to help out but its very time consuming. I print out coupons at work but dont have the time to cut them out or time to even go to the store to use them and I feel like all these sites are a waste of time for someone like me. sorry

    • says

      Katie: You’re never stuck–unless you choose to be! There’s always hope! Check out a copy of The Other 8 Hours from the library (or see if they have the audiobook version to listen to while you’re driving to work). It’s packed with ideas of how to earn income on the side while you’re still working full-time or more.

      Also, you might find my Becoming a Work-At-Home Mom series encouraging (I don’t have a college degree and built my business through failure and experimentation):
      http://moneysavingmom.com/2009/10/becoming-a-workathome-mom-its-work.html

      And finally, here’s an article I wrote that might be an encouragement to you right now:
      http://moneysavingmom.com/2010/10/qa-tuesday-is-it-possible-to-save-money-when-were-barely-keeping-our-head-above-water.html

      Don’t lose heart!

    • Rachael says

      I used to feel that way about coupons. I would clip them and forget them in the car or accidently throw them away, or purposefully throw them away. But after we had our second child and I left my job to finish school, coupons became an awesome source of income for us.

      Be patient with the learning curve on using coupons. It took me about two months to really get good at using them, but once I did, it isn’t all that time consuming. Use this site and others to check out deals at chain stores like Target and Walmart to get you started. They do a tremendous amount of work for you.

      Now that I’m back at work, I take a few minutes during my lunch to search coupon sites. I clip and organize while my kids are busy doing something at the kitchen table, such as eating a snack or coloring (they are 1 and 3, so life is busy!!). Some weeks, I don’t save much (maybe $5), but other weeks, I’ll save a lot (maybe $50 or so). I have found that I can make about $20 an hour using coupons.

      Finally, I’ve found this site to be a tremendous source of inspiration for our family. Many people who write on here are also struggling financially or trying to be better stewards of their money. I’m often inspired on how people thrive on such little money. When I’m feeling discouraged about our own circumstances, it makes me feel better to know I’m not the only one with the same worries. So, don’t give up hope–hopefully things will get better. If not, you can find a tremendous community on this blog and others who will help you through.

        • Katie says

          Thank you all for your words of encouragement. I’ll keep trying with the coupons. Right now college is not an option becaue I can’t get rid of my second job and I wouldn’t know what to study anyway.

    • Heather says

      If your income is low enough (and it sounds like it is) there may be ways for you to go back to school (college or other training) with grants. Sometimes grants are for more than tuition and books, so you have help living expenses too. Then you could quit a job and have the time to take classes. Grants do not have to be paid back. If you have a community college nearby, it wouldn’t hurt to check into it. There are people in the Financial Aid office that help walk you through it all.

      I think a lot of high school students and their parents don’t consider college because they think they can’t afford it and/or no one else in the family ever went, and I find that very sad. There are definitely options here in America! It’s not usually quick or easy, but it is possible! I know a single mom with 4 kids who was going to take nursing classes to get her CNA, at no charge. Another friend of mine who was raising her 5 young kids alone went back to school to get her LPN. I’m pretty sure she wasn’t paying tuition – there was no way she could have afforded to.

    • Wendy says

      Like you our income is low. My husband is in ministry and I am a stay at home mom. I do some part time childcare in my home just to make ends meet, and even though my husband has a college degree, not all degrees are created equal. He makes much less than someone who is in a different field or even learned a trade. In fact he made more money working 40 hours a week in the factory—- that was until his job went to Mexico. But the main thing I wanted to say is that I do get encouragement from this website. I can read about other families who are larger and living on less than I am and it does help me to know I’m not alone. I try to concentrate on what I do have. I continue to read Crystal’s blog and other’s comments and glean from it what I can. I definitely don’t do everything she suggests. This post for example, is one I’ll skim over because I know this is not something I have the time, energy or desire to do. My husband has already said he would never have rental property even if we had the money to buy it as he doesn’t want the headaches that go with it, but that’s o.k. Some people don’t mind that. My advice is take the little things you can from blogs like this. And as far as couponing goes, set a small goal for yourself. I began by clipping very few coupons and the goal of stock piling laundry detergent. After a few weeks, I had a stock pile of laundry soap and now I only buy it when it’s on sale and never when I need it. I’ve mastered that goal. Then I moved on to something else. Start small and set small reachable goals. You’ll feel proud once you’ve accomplished them.

      And please know this is just a season in your life. It won’t always be like this. Lots of people in our country are right where you are.

    • says

      Katie, three years ago, my husband resigned from his position at a large church in our town. Since then he has done many things to support us. Currently, he works 3 jobs. He is a hospice chaplain 3 days a week, he does counseling at our current church 2 nights a week and works for a petroleum products company the other 2 days of the work week. He has 2 Master’s Degrees by the way- so a degree isn’t everything.

      Earlier this year I read No More Dreaded Mondays and then asked my huband to read it. Then we read The Other 8 Hours. These 2 books have really helped us change our outlook. I think that when people are just surviving – something that we’ve been doing for the last couple of years – it’s hard to dream or to think that things can change. My husband has started doing some writing. I don’t know if it will ever produce income for us, but it fulfills him and I think that when you are fulfilled you can live on less income and be content than when your working all the time and not fulfilled.

  20. says

    Residual income is the way to go. I’ve heard so many programs that talk about it and sell a curriculum that requires more purchases…but we have recently joined a network of people who also invest in real estate. This really gives us goals to work towards and eases worry about relying on unreliable employers.

    I also want to say that I visit your blog frequently (at least once a day) and I don’t think I have ever said thank you for the information that you share. Thank you for ENCOURAGING us as well!

    If it weren’t for you posting deals and coupon info we would all have to spend countless hours looking up this information on our own. I appreciate you so much, you have no idea what a difference you have made.

    • Angela Barnes says

      I completely second that. I have learned many things on this site, and been guided to other great avenues of learning. My outlook on things is much different than before I became I reader.

  21. says

    Great post – I have often thought of doing an e-book. I have actually written a fun saving money book and wondered how to distribute it – an e-book might be my answer. Thanks as always for the spot on advice.

  22. Lynette says

    In the area of income, more is not always better (whether residual or earned). Prov 23:4 “Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist.” I think this is sometimes forgotten in our efforts to achieve “financial freedom” etc. When is it enough?

    • Michele Jones says

      I am not sure to whom this comment is directed, but I just wanted to say that there are spiritual and kindgom benefits to being financially free. Financial freedom can give you the opportunity to give more of your time, energy, talents and resources to others. After reading for a while, I definitely get the idea that this benefit motivates this blog.

    • says

      I definitely agree that more is not always better nor do I think we should be striving after increasing our income in order to just have more and nicer stuff for ourselves. However, there is so much Kingdom work that can be done when you are in a position to be able to live simply and give generously. And that’s our desire as we seek to wisely steward the resources God has given us–and what I hope to encourage other Christians to do, as well.

      Thanks for sharing your perspective; I really appreciate it.

      • Lynette says

        Thank you for taking my comment in the spirit in which it was intended. I did not intend to be critical, just to offer a balance to keep in mind when considering increasing our income. There is indeed a great kingdom benefit to being debt free and able to give liberally. I guess this verse was on my mind today because I recently recieved an offer for a great at-home work opportunity. At a different stage of life it would have been a God-send, but it was not necessary right now.

        I really enjoy your blog. :)

        • says

          Lynette, I think you made an excellent point.

          I have struggled with the balance of earning and saving money and trusting in God. At times too large a focus on money seems misplaced – how much is enough? I think it depends on the motivation.

          There is no simple answer and as with everything, there is a balance. But I do think that for certain personality types even something like striving for financial freedom (which is not wrong in itself) can cross over to either a love for money or trusting money more than you trust God.

          I know I have to stop and check my motivations every now and then.

    • Jennifer says

      Lynette,

      The vibe that I have gotten in the comments is not so much that people are looking to make the millions above their income, but that people are looking at how to make a little more for a variety of reasons. Crystal is definitely telling everyone to make more and more and more just for the sake of making more. Case and point that she is giving away the profits of her book to charity. I do appreciate her addressing this topic because my family like many right now is living an exremely frugal lifestyle, but it just isn’t enough with our family situations right now. However, I do agree that it is important to keep your verse in the back of our minds. Money just for the sake of money isn’t a good thing. I just don’t know that that is who this post was try to help.

      • Jennifer says

        Ok, so I meant to say that Crystal is NOT try to tell people to make more and more just for the sake of making more. Sorry.

  23. Antonella says

    Thank you so much Crystal. You make all this “business” (money making and managing, passive income etc) stuff easy to understand even for creative types!

    You surely are helping me so much.

  24. diane says

    I have to say things are really crazy here at my house. I have a 13 year old, a new baby due in January and my husband is currently unemployed. I have to say your site is my daily blessing. I have saved so much money with coupons. Started a small side business by selling books on the internet. All these ideas have come from your site. Blessings to you!

  25. Johnathan Lewis says

    In this harsh economy we live in the rules have changed..back in the day..someone could be hired at a job..work for that firm their whole life then be able to retire with a nice pension or other retirement plan…all that’s gone now..the economy we live in the rules have drastically changed…now if someone is not in a home based business or pursuing income opportunities outside of a conventional JOB they are leading their families and those they care for unnecessarily into the line of fire! literally into harm’s way..its best to generate multiple income streams thereby if one stream should for any reason dry up then other streams of income will still be flowing…
    Unfortunately in America today..people simply don’t care…too many think that an income opportunity outside of a JOB is a scam or something…that’s what i’ve learned..
    have a rocking day!!! Thanks for listening and allowing me to share…

  26. melissa says

    If you only knew how many times my husband and I have talked about our finances in the last few months, scratching our heads at ways we can earn more money, but it always comes down to the fact that he can’t work any harder than he already does and I can’t think of/find anything that I’m able to do from home (and we’re unwilling to put our kids in childcare). It seems like a lot of the opportunities today are computer-related. I can write a Word document, upload pictures, and send email, but that’s the limit of my skills. Even the idea of selling stuff on ebay intimidates me. Is there help for someone like me?

    • Liz says

      Melissa,

      I can understand your reaction to Ebay — it can often be intimidating! I think you’re short-changing your computer skills, though — you didn’t mention web-surfing and posting comments in your skillset, but you still found your way to MoneySavingMom and wrote some comments!!! :o) Every baby step is worth a pat on the back.

      We’re not at the residual income phase of the game yet, but we have currently set ourselves a small goal of earning $100 extra per month to help cover those “things” that always come up. When we set that goal, I had no idea how we’d do it, but I’ve found a few resources (including some excellent posts on MoneySavingMom.com) that have been helpful. In the spirit of helping you brainstorm, here are some suggestions — warning: some ARE computer-related!

      If you’re willing to put in a little time to learn on Amazon.com, that’s a very user-friendly website for reselling items through their marketplace. Through an already existing account you may have, or a new one created for the purpose of selling items, you can set up a seller account. Amazon makes it easy to set prices, describe the item and print shipping labels for sales, and it’s not just for books. We’ve even sold a set of wine glasses on there since we had the original packaging with the UPC label on it! It’s worth taking a look at.

      Amazon also offers a textbook buy-back option that may be helpful if you or your husband have any textbooks. The only downside is that the credit is given in Amazon gift cards, not cash, but then again, there are lots of useful ways that money can be spent on Amazon.

      Our October project toward our $100 extra monthly goal is a tag sale, and there’s a very useful post somewhere on MoneySavingMom about tips for having a successful tag sale.

      If you can surf the web, you can take a survey, and while you won’t make a lot doing this, it’s a little bit here and there. I got my husband to sign up for one of the same survey sites I use and we both cash in once a year at the same time from that site. We were able to use our money this spring to purchase two trees for our yard, as well as necessities for our veggie garden.

      Also, there is a place near me that does laundry. People will drop it off and pick it up, and the woman does their laundry for them. It costs her in supplies, but saves her clients time, and it doesn’t take a ton of effort on her part since she’s able to do things around the house while her washer and dryer are running.

      I hope that helps get the creative juices flowing. Good luck, and hang in there!

  27. says

    I’ve been trying this residual income thing for a year. I have several websites. I try to figure it out every single night. I make a little bit from affiliates. It is definitely hard work to get residual income.

  28. lori says

    Crystal, first off, I love your site! This may be off topic and you may have answered this elsewhere, but how do you budget? Do you use an excel sheet, mint.com, paper and pen, etc.? I can’t figure out what to do but I do know that my current system (an excel spreadsheet) is just not working for me!
    Thanks!

    • says

      We use a hybrid system of cash and online budgeting. We used to use pen and paper, but switched to Quicken two years ago. We also have a Google spreadsheet with our budget on it plus our financial goals and progress.

    • Dawn says

      I have been using mint.com since the beginning of the year and really like it. I noticed that you can earn swagbucks if you sign up through the special offers.

    • says

      Lori, you might try YNAB (you need a budget). Its a pricey application that works on a desktop and iphone (don’t need the phone to use it — it just syncs with it if your the tip to update your spending as you shop), but its much more tangible and manageable for me than quickin or excell. It allows you to create categories in your budget. When you spend something, it deducts the money from the proper category. IT also allows you to add investments and banking with it, and carries over your budget month to month. Its very helpful. But everyone is different — its not for everyone.

    • says

      It’s just a Google spreadsheet with our budget categories that my husband made. On the sidebar, it has our goals, projected dates, and progress. It’s super simple.

  29. says

    I know you’ve got a ton of comments here so I am not sure if you’ll see this, but your title has me curious about blogging for residual income.

    Right now, I blog for fun. I’ve toyed with the idea of trying to make money off blogging, but it seems like it would mean working harder. Especially with deal blogs, it seems like you’d have to be constantly posting to stay up on the latest deals and scouring the web to find them. As it is, I feel like I am on the computer too much, and a blog would mean more time spent typing than with the family.

    How do you balance family obligations with the need to keep the blog constantly updated? Did you find that once you hit a certain level of success, the deals started coming to you rather than you hunting for them? Do you write your entries in one shot and then schedule them out throughout the week?

    If these questions are too personal, please disregard. I don’t mean to pry, but I am really interested! Thanks for a fabulous site and being so open and honest with your readers. I love coming here – always inspires me to be a better mom, a better wife and better homemaker. :)

    • says

      A lot of bloggers I know do blog almost 24 hours a day for an income the same amount as one who works in the workforce. In my business, I see the same thing. Someone is making $100,000 a month selling essential oils. But googlie, she has NO life, working 80 plus hours a week. Why have money if you can’t enjoy the roses along the way? I’m a full-time missionary, and homeschool three kids. I can’t be running a business that takes up my time.

      So a lot goes back to time management and outsourcing your work. Other people can do a lot for you.

  30. Liz says

    I’m a 2L in lawschool and we are defiantly going through the lean law school years. I’ve seen a hundred money saving blogs but I can’t get off this one. That’s not good since I’m in Constitutional Law but your DIY projects are amazing! Your blog helps with our financial situation. It also helps remind me that my husband and I will have a life soon. Thanks for keeping me grounded.

  31. Stacy says

    Great article! Residual income is awesome but figuring out how to GET it is the tough part. I have about 30 articles written at Associated Content that have been there over a year- I make maybe $2/month in residual income.
    I’ve debated the e-book idea before but I always run into the same issue whenever I think about it:
    I don’t think I have EVER paid for an e-book (to be fair I have paid highly reduced prices for two e-courses, one of which I asked for my $$ back for). There is SO much information available for free online that any e-book I would consider paying for would have to be better than what is out there for free, and I just don’t see that happening. Writing an e-book would be the same issue- I’d have to come up with something great and mind-blowingly original to make it better than what is already out there for free. I just don’t see people paying for e-books when you can read a blog or website for free.

    • Stephanie says

      I’ve had the same result with AC. I submitted several articles at first, got paid upfront for them and had a few pageview payouts, but not a lot. I’m wondering if there is a better place to write for or submit articles to. I know there are and that it will just take time and effort on my part to do so.

      Also, though I like the idea of an ebook, I too have never paid for one and would be hesitant to do so. Yes, I understand the contrast in thinking it would be fun to do, yet unwilling to pay for one myself.

      • says

        What about Kindle books? There’s some people that have made a hundred thousand in passive income and more a year from selling there. I really want to figure out how to do it.

        • Stephanie says

          Interesting. Never thought of that. Being as I don’t have a Kindle, it just never came to mind that they are also considered ebooks (I think). Thanks for pointing it out.