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What to do to Make Money when You’re Totally Broke

What to do to Make Money when You’re Totally Broke

8 Ways I Made Money When I Was Broke

I’ve been completely broke before. I’d left an abusive marriage, had 2 young kids both needing speech therapy, got robbed of everything including my underwear and we ended up homeless.

It was a rough time but somehow I managed to make enough money to pay for our needs and get back on our feet. Here is exactly what I did.

When I was broke and stressed out, I was looking for quick fixes to help get me out of the situation I was in.

If you really want to make money fast, check out the free 7 day fast money challenge too.

Most of the ideas here aren’t things I have continued doing because once I got my basics sorted, I switched my focus to the things that would make me the most money.

Blogging, freelance writing, consulting and similar have made me more money than anything else.

Disclosure this post may contain affiliate links.

1. New Bank Account Bonuses

Getting a signup bonus for opening a bank account can be pretty sweet and it was something I did but not the credit card bonuses. .

I focused on bank account sign-up bonuses because I did not want credit cards as my emotional state at the time meant I would probably get into debt fast.

$100 from ING

If you are a new customer of ING you can get $100 for opening an everyday account with them by doing the following steps:

  1. Open an everyday account, put the promo code CNW116 in the promo box (you must use the code to get the $100 bonus), and complete all the steps below in the first month.
  2. Deposit $1,000 into the account such as your income or Centrelink payments
  3. Make 5 settled transactions
  4. Open a Savings Maximiser (current interest rate is 5.5%)
  5. Deposit any amount into the Savings Maximiser

Then you get your $100 the following month when the promotion is running. Promotion periods vary. The current promotion runs until 30 June, 2024.

$9 from Up
If you’re after an easy-to-use, fee-free bank with great perks, excellent customer service and good interest rates, Up is a fantastic option. Get your $14 sign-up bonus now. I wrote a full review on Up Bank.

I felt like a failure walking in and asking for help.

Being on the single parenting pension was the only way I could see to cover most of my expenses.

It didn’t cover all of them but it helped so much. Family tax benefit, rent assistance and a carers payment meant I got around $1,400 a fortnight.

This sounds like a lot but when you are paying for multiple speech therapy sessions, getting no child support, have a mortgage for a home you cannot live in while also paying rent for a house no longer safe, it’s not a lot.

Plus with the current cost of living increasing drastically, that amount won’t cover much for anyone.

I needed to make more. To be clear, I greatly appreciated this money though!

Check out all my articles on ways to make and save money when surviving on Centrelink plus things you might be entitled to. Every little bit helps!

3. Online Surveys

Living in survival mode I could barely think and not much thinking was required for online surveys.

Online surveys were easy enough to do and the weeks I cashed out they paid for groceries or a session of speech therapy. I have a full list of online survey sites for Aussies here.

Octopus Group pays $16.28 per hour, Pureprofile pays well and both of them pay 10c if you get screened out. PrizeRebel pays in USD and Swagbucks has numerous ways aside from surveys to earn.

4. Buy Things to Resell

At the time I sold mostly books. I could buy them for $1 or less and usually sell them for $10 to $30 online. Clothing was also easy.

I lived in Western Sydney and could get some good brand name clothes for around $1.

I once picked up a few brand new maternity jeans which I was able to sell for $20 to $50 a pair.

A couple of years ago I decided to track it all and see how much I could make.

In my first month, I made almost $3,000 and by my fourth month, I made over $10,000.

Reselling is something I have done successfully in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Noosa.

Some areas were better than others for having great items available but if you know where to look and what to sell, it can bring in decent money.

5. Odd Jobs

I reached out to my networks and let them know I was available to do anything – mainly freelance writing and mentoring as those were the two things I already did.

But I took on babysitting and anything else that came up. Now, it is much easier to find ways to make money.

Check out 43 ways for single mums to make money for ideas and how to do it all.

Last year I tracked my side hustles each month and shared all my updates. It totalled $33,277 in 12 months!

Airtasker is a great place to look for odd jobs as well. I’ve trialled it on and off over the years to see what’s available and made over $800 some weeks doing easy, random tasks.

My ebook 99 Side Hustles for Aussies has 99 ideas, how to get them set up, how to market them and how to make more money.

6. Market Research, Mystery Shopping and Reviews

Paying $100 a session, I took any market research opportunities that came up.

They were few and far between but worth it when I could do them.

Mystery shopping didn’t pay a lot but sometimes I got clothes or food for my kids plus a small amount of money.

Back then, some sites paid you to write reviews. When I couldn’t sleep or I had to wait for something I would quickly write a few reviews.

The pay was only 20cents to $1 per review, so quite small but it was something I could do in a few minutes while waiting to pick up the kids or at the doctors or something.

7. Enter Competitions

While it isn’t directly making money it did see me win hampers, clothes, DVD’s, movie tickets and other things which were not in my budget and helped. 

I’ve written about where to find the best Aussie giveaway and competitions

In 2023, I entered all the competitions attached to items I buy normally and won 75% of them including a $1,000 travel voucher, $500 day spa voucher, $400 Adore Beauty voucher, $100 fuel voucher, food, photography and more.

My preference is to enter competitions connected to things I buy instead of the ones on social media. I’ve been more successful with those than the social media ones for some reason.

8. Cash in Cans

It might only be 10c per can or bottle but since we’d collect them on walks, it was easy to accumulate enough now and then for some groceries.

This program isn’t available everywhere but in the places it is available, it doesn’t take long to cash them in.

Using the app you can get paid directly to your account quickly.

If you decide to collect them when you go for walks or do other things, it is handy to have something you can pick them up with and a bag to put them in so you aren’t personally handling them.

Living near schools and beaches, we often find 10 or more on a walk.

Saving Money

Making money isn’t the only important thing but it was my main focus.

I had to learn to budget better, cut back all my spending in every possible way and still look to the future.

In my view, you need to take some time to reduce your spending, do everything you can to stick to a budget then focus your energy on making more money.

There is only so much you can do to cut back but there are many ways you can make more.

Here are some articles which will help you save:
How to create a budget and stick to it
How this couple paid off $90,000 debt in 12 months (starting unemployed)
How to become a millionaire even as a single mum
Complete list of things you can use your healthcare/pension cards for (check your area to see what applies. This post is a few years old).
12 ways to get coupons and discounts in Australia

How have you made or saved money when you were broke?

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