When my fiance finally proposed, I was on cloud nine — I couldn’t wait to start planning our wedding.
We were able to settle on a $10,000 wedding budget, and between a gift from his parents and some hardcore saving on our part, we were able to pay for our wedding without putting too much stress on ourselves.
But then there was the honeymoon.
I had my heart set on a Jamaican getaway — an all-inclusive, spend-your-days-at-the-beach-sipping-daiquiris-from-sunrise-til-sunset kind of honeymoon. However, that type of trip costs over $4,000. We had zero extra dollars at this point, and I was bummed.
I knew we could always take a nice weekend trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, or something similarly quaint. We could get a cabin for three days for less than $500 and it would be just as special. After all, it’s not about the location, it is about being together as husband and wife.
But man, did I want to go to Jamaica!
There was no way we could save an extra $4,000 between January and October. We were already funneling all our extra cash to the wedding fund. So the only way to go to Jamaica was to try to make an extra $4,000 in the next 10 months.
It wasn’t easy, and it took a lot of time, creativity and patience. But we were able to make an extra $4,000 (and then some) to pay off our honeymoon in full.
Here’s how we did it.
1. We Rented Out Our Spare Bedroom: $1,600
I’ll admit, this one kind of fell in our lap, but it helped us make a chunk of extra money.
A friend from college needed a place to stay from January through April while she finished up some classes for her degree.
We had a small spare bedroom we only used for storage, and I instantly knew I’d found the first extra income for the honeymoon. My friend and I agreed she’d pay $400 per month to rent the room, including all utilities.
It was a win-win for all involved: We made extra money and she didn’t have to worry about signing a lease or subleasing a room from someone.
2. I Sold With Fulfillment by Amazon: $800
In short, you try and buy items as cheaply as you can and re-sell or “flip” them for a higher price.
It does take a lot of time, patience and work, but as a born bargain shopper, this was a fun way to make extra money. I made about $800 in six months, but there’s much more potential if you put your time into it.
Some of my favorite and most noteable “flips” were:
- A Donald Trump book I picked up for $5 at an antique store and sold for $160
- An ‘80s arcade game I bought for $12 at a flea market and sold for $130
- Several antique board games I picked up for $1 or less at a garage sale and sold as collectibles for $30 and $40
3. I Started Babysitting Again: $2,400
I’ve been babysitting since I was 11 years old. It was my first job, and it probably laid the foundation for me to become a teacher.
If it worked back then to pay for my movie tickets and Mudd jeans, why could couldn’t it work now to pay for my Jamaican getaway?
I created an account on Care.com and found a family right down the road from the school where I teach who needed a sitter for their son one or two evenings a week. At $40 each night, I made an extra $160-$200 each month.
Through a friend, I met another family who needed a babysitter for the summer while their kids were out of school. At $10 an hour, I made $1,400 that summer!
Babysitting has a stigma of being a teenage job, but it’s a great source of income for adults who enjoy kids.
4. We Had a Garage Sale: $1,000
We also asked friends and family members to donate their junk to our honeymoon fund. Instead of having to load their cars, drive to the local thrift store and then unload their cars, we would do it all for them.
Many people were more than happy to take us up on this offer, and the extra stuff helped us double our profits!
In 10 Months, We Made an Extra $5,800
My Jamaican honeymoon challenge was a success: We earned $5,800 in less than 10 months.
Not only were we able to pay off our honeymoon in full, but we were able to start building our savings account again after depleting it with our wedding expenses.
They say where there’s a will there’s a way, and this Penny Hoarder can’t wait to be on her way to Jamaica!
Your Turn: How have you creatively earned or saved money in a short amount of time? We’d love to hear your story!
Brittany Parrett is a fifth-grade teacher and budgeter extraordinaire from Terre Haute, Indiana.