If You Rely on Tips, Make These 6 Moves

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When you rely on tips to pay the bills, managing your money can be tricky. It’s hard to know exactly how much cash you’ll be taking home after each shift, which makes planning and budgeting seriously tough.

Not to mention the fact that the service industry took a huge hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. Add in rising costs of living and bad tippers, and it can all feel a bit overwhelming.

But don’t fret — if you rely on tips, here are some things you can do right now.

1. Make Sure You Have a Budget

When you rely on tips, your take-home pay might be wildly different from shift to shift, week to week.

This can make planning tough. The first step is to start tracking your income. Contributing writer and bartender Jeff Morrison suggests tracking your income after every shift for 10 weeks to find your average weekly pay.

“Pick the lower of the averages and base your budget on that figure,” says Morrison. “Just to be safe.”

Then pick a budgeting method. We like the 50/20/30 method because it makes things super easy, and it offers a lot of flexibility.

Here’s how it works:

  • 50% of your income goes toward essentials.
  • 20% goes toward financial goals.
  • 30% goes toward personal spending.

Once you get the hang of it, you can tweak the ratios to fit your specific situation.

2. Let This App Pay You up to $83 When You Win Solitaire Games

When your budget is unpredictable, extra money is always helpful. We like this free iPhone app called Solitaire Cash that lets you play for real money. You could get paid up to $83 per win.

No, it’s not one of those spammy gaming apps. There really isn’t a catch. Most of the games are free, but cash players can join higher-stakes tournaments for bigger cash prizes. But there’s no pressure — there aren’t even any annoying ads.

With each game, you’ll play Solitaire against at least five other players, who all get the same deck. So winning is totally a matter of your skill. The three players who solve the deck fastest can win real money — anywhere from $1 to $83.

On the App Store, it’s rated 4.7 out of 5 stars and has over a million downloads.

Just download the free app and start playing your first game immediately.

3. Get Paid Up to $40/Month — Just for Sharing Your Opinion

It’s no secret that the service industry has taken some hits. If you rely on tips, you might need a little extra cash more than ever. We found a super low-effort side gig you can do in your free time while you’re just lounging on the couch.

A site called Survey Junkie could pay you up to $40 a month just for filling out surveys. Seriously.

There are a bunch of paid survey sites out there, but this is one of the best we’ve found.

They’ll ask you questions about things like, what kind of laundry detergent do you use? Or, Do you prefer Pepsi or Coke? You get points for answering, and many people accumulate enough points to request a check within a few hours. Completing just three surveys a day can earn you as much as $40 a month.

More than 10 million people already use Survey Junkie, and it has 4.5/5 stars on TrustPilot.

See how much extra cash you could earn by visiting Survey Junkie and clicking the “Join Now” button. It’s free.

4. Immediately Set Aside 10 to 15% of What You Make Each Shift

Here’s another bartender tip from Morrison. Doing this helps with taxes; set aside even more, if you can.

Most people who rely on tips have a pretty low base pay rate, which means they’re often stuck with a large tax bill every year. Start planning and saving for it now so you don’t find yourself in a bind later.

5. Earn $300+/Month in Passive Income with Your Extra Space

Got a garage? What’s it doing right now — collecting dust?

With a website called Neighbor, your extra space — whether it’s a spare room, an empty garage or a parking space — could be earning you an extra $300 a month in totally passive income.

Neighbor finds people who need storage space and connects them with hosts who have the room to spare. The average host makes about $300 a month, but some people have earned up to $50,000 a year just by letting people park on their property.

You can get started in 10 minutes. Just answer a few questions about your space, take some pictures and set your asking price. Neighbor will recommend a dollar amount based on your location and type of rental, but the final listing is up to you.

Don’t worry: You get up to $1 million in free protection as a host.

It’s free to list your space, and you’ll only be charged a 4.9% processing fee from the profit you make each month, so there’s no risk to you.

Sign up here and see how much you could earn.

6. Cancel Your Car Insurance

Working for tips, you don’t really have the luxury of working from home. And for a lot of people, that means driving to work. When was the last time you compared car insurance rates?

If it’s been more than six months since your last car insurance quote, chances are you’re seriously overpaying.

And if you look through a digital marketplace called SmartFinancial, you could be getting rates as low as $22 a month — and saving yourself more than $700 a year.

It takes one minute to get quotes from multiple insurers, so you can see all the best rates side-by-side. Yep — in just one minute you could save yourself $715 this year. That’s some major cash back in your pocket.

So if you haven’t checked car insurance rates in a while, see how much you can save with a new policy.

*Cash tournaments aren’t available in Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Montana, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee or Vermont.