How We Make Extra Money in NYC
How New Yorkers are Earning Extra Cash
As a native New Yorker, I can always tell when a recession/depression is on the horizon; people flock to NYC in droves, in search of jobs. This time it is the young and single - perhaps to pay off their massive student loans.
But NYer's earning extra money - or as we say 'hustling' - is not new. The City has always been an expensive place to live. Right now an average 2 bedroom apartment can run you over $2,500 a month with 3 bedrooms approaching $3,000 monthly - and that's because prices are dropping. If you plan to move here, expect to pay not only federal and state taxes, but city taxes as well. And if you plan to teach here, unlike many states, you will eventually need a required master's degree.
So how do we live? We become what I call "Entrepreneurs of Necessity."
The following are money making ideas that came about by chance, by choice, or by necessity and have sustained many NYers.
- Cooking for Co-Workers - (By Chance) - One woman was bringing her home-cooked meals, as lunch, to work everyday. People began flocking around the good aromas. She did share her food sometimes but it wasn't long before people asked her to bring food and they would buy it. It worked out well because this woman was cooking anyway for her family. It was just a matter of buying a little extra when she shopped and cooking a little extra. Her co-workers were thrilled because they were getting real food at a price better than anything they could afford to buy outside. This is becoming more and more popular as everyone benefits. I know more women now who are cooking and providing this service for co-workers. Everyone eats!
- Braiding Hair at the Day Care - (By Choice) - One woman was just so darn good at braiding the hair of little girls, and for this she was often paid to do hair for special occasions. She was soon asked by the owner of a daycare center if she would provide this service for the many harried moms that just did not have the time and the energy to come home to more work. Parents were quick to sign up for this service. One woman I know paid every week to have both her little girl's hair braided every Friday. That way when the weekend came they were all ready to go out and have fun!
- After School Pick Up - (By Chance) - This Grandmother would pick up her granddaughter after school. She lived in a huge condo complex here in the city - and mom and dad who also lived in the complex, both worked and were not there to see their little girl safely into the building after school. Grandma offered to do it. Soon other parents noticed this. The other parents offered to pay the Grandmother if she would also walk their children home after school. Parents do like to know that their (one time known as 'latch key') children have arrived home safely after school. It is one less thing to worry about while you are hours and miles away from being at home. Soon the Grandmother was walking about 5-6 children home after school and seeing them into their apartments. What was so lovely about this is that all the children seemed so happy to be a part of this. There were lots of smiles and laughter.
- Sweet Potato Pies - (By Choice) (see weird pie link below) - Americans love their pies and cakes and cookies and icecreams and other sweets. If you are a Southerner or have Southern roots you may be familiar with this pie that some people call 'weird.' It is my favorite pie. If you can find someone to bake a magnificent sweet potato pie - like my neighbor across the street - well, you will be part of the crowd watching for her to set up her table out front - and bring out her magnificent pies - which she sold by the slice, along with her magnificent pound cakes and lemon pound cakes. As soon as I caught a glimpse of her I'd sprint out and across the street, dodging traffic - always surprised at all the men who would already be there, somehow. I got smart soon after and would just order a whole pie or cake and find a reason to have people over to eat it. But this was her business for years and years. Haven't seen her yet as winter won't end here in NYC. Her slices run about $2.00 - which is a tremendous bargain here in NYC.
Do men bake cakes ? Yes, they do. A few doors down one neighbor makes the best cheesecake and the best carrot cake as well as others. I saw him a few months ago and he was delivering one of his cakes to a bakery. This is what he does now - at least through the winter. His slices run about $3.00.
- Street Sales - (By Choice and By Necessity) - For some reason we folks in Brooklyn have been allowed to set up tables in front of our homes and have flea markets. And the people come. And they buy stuff. So as weather gets a bit milder you can expect to see tables set up all throughout this neighborhood. People sell everything from furniture to clothes to books (very popular) and absolutely everything else. There are colleges in the neighborhood and when students graduate they sell all their college belongings. Usually people think of flea markets and garage sales as being only in suburban neighborhoods but I'm convinced we have more sales than any suburban neighborhood. Yes, I have done this too. I've sold lots of books and costume jewelry (also very popular).
- Dog Walkers - (By Choice for the Walker, By Necessity for the Dog Owners) As mentioned - I can always tell when we are entering a recession/depression. Yes, history repeats itself - and people flock to the city in droves. I have never ever seen such an influx of people into Brooklyn, NY, as I have seen in the last 5 years - the foot traffic never stops now. This time it is young people, probably out of college and strapped with million dollar student loans. And for some reason all these folks seem to have a dog - or two. I have never in my life seen so many dogs in Brooklyn. Well, the thing is - if you have a dog and are working 2-3 jobs to pay your debts - someone HAS TO walk the dog. This has become such a big business here in the City. I know one young man who tells me that this is his sole job - all he does is walk dogs 7 days a week and earns about $500.00 a week. I met a high school student the other day and he was walking two dogs to earn extra money. A woman from CA here to spend time with her daughter decided she needed to earn some extra money and went to a dog walking agency so she could earn some cash. This dog traffic just never stops.
- Nannies - (By Choice for the Nanny, By Necessity for the Parents). Eventually, if you put millions of young women together with millions of young men, somehow there will be millions of babies - I have never seen so many babies in my life. In fact I think some people are combination nannies and dog walkers as this is a common sight: a woman (sometimes a man), a baby filled stroller, 2-3 dogs.
- Putting Your Dog (and Cat) to Work in Show Biz - (see link below) - Yes, eventually it had to happen. I think some folks are getting aggravated going to work all day and night, and having to pay a dog walker while Fido and Rex are lounging on the couch, not even bothering to open their eyes to see their loved ones (you) off to work. One article in a local newspaper talked about how people were putting their pets to work in show business. The link below will include agencies. By the way, if you can find a cat who will condescend to going out to work, your kitty will earn more than a doggie.
- Renting Out Home Space - (Most likely - a Horrid Necessity) Yes, people have done this for ages, it's not new. Someone is always looking for a room to rent - signs for roommates are hanging everywhere here in the City. But...if you are addicted to the judge shows like I am you will see that this is causing a lot of problems. I'd say it's because of the sense of entitlement that seems to permeate our culture for some odd reason. It seems if someone rents just a room from you, they feel they are entitled to the run of the whole house and:
1 - to bring home anyone they pick up in a bar
2 - to constantly have a bunch of overnight guests no matter how weird they are
3 - can sleep on your couch (or worse)
4 - can turn on your plasma TV whenever
5 - can use your computer while drinking gallons of sloppy beer
6 - can cook in your kitchen using all your pots, pans, dishes, and condiments
7 - can call the police on you
8 - can get out of paying you because they are having tough times and you should understand - while they still live with you
9 - etc. etc.
Good luck if you do this.
- How have I survived in my past life on a lowly teacher's salary, you ask?
I have always had a small home business. I have made and sold chocolates, I have sold ceramics that I would take to a friend to be fired, I have shopped wholesale and resold items at retail - usually accessories. My various small businesses allowed me, down through the years, to take various tax deductions. Also owning a condo has given me some tax breaks - otherwise, and I mean this - otherwise, I would have been among the hardworking highly educated poor. In addition to all the expenses of city living - for teachers here you have to add the cost of going to school to get a master's degree - and there is no teacher anywhere who does not spend her own cash to provide for her students and to make her classroom teaching more successful. We always reach into our own pockets to purchase resources. Further, NYC has a closed union shop for its teacher which means you have to join and pay monthly dues.
The sheer volume of people living in New York City allows for entrepreneurs to make money. Whatever hands-on service you may want to supply, there may just be enough people here, somewhere, to pay you for it.
Here's wishing you much prosperity wherever you are!
See links below!
Putting your dog to work/ Weird Pies
- Is It Time For Your Dog to Get a Job?
Are you getting a little tired of seeing Rover and Fido reclining on the couch with sleepy eyes, while you go out to work a second job - or to find a job? It seems people in New York City are sending their...
- Weird Pies for Dessert!
What is a weird pie? Depending on where you live you may consider a bean pie a weird pie. Beans as a pie filling? Yet, it is one of my all time favorite pies but then I live in Brooklyn, NYC where beans pies...
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