How to Live Without a Job and Still Survive (Practical Guide)
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So far, 2023 has been a rough year for layoffs. The year-to-date job cuts are the highest they’ve been since 2009. Tech giants like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft have all been in the news for major layoffs.
Suddenly, hundreds of thousands of people find themselves without a job. If you’re one of them, you’re faced with earning a living while many companies cut back and limit new hires.
Aside from those who’ve lost employment, others have decided to leave jobs voluntarily. The workforce has changed significantly over the past few years, partly due to the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact.
You may be wondering how to live without a job or if it’s even possible. Well, living without a job is possible, but it does require discipline.
In this article, we’ll look at all the details related to earning a living and paying the bills without income from a job.
Ways to Make Money Without a Job
Living without a job is possible, but you need a source of income or a nest egg of savings. Assuming you’re not independently wealthy and don’t have millions of dollars to support yourself indefinitely, you’ll need to find a source of income.
I haven’t had a traditional job since 2008. I still work hard, but I’ve been fortunate to enjoy the benefits of flexibility and the freedom to pursue what I want while providing for my family.
While it’s not for everyone, there are many benefits of living without a job if you can earn a living in other ways. Here are some of the best options to survive without a job. Keep in mind that you can combine a few of these income sources to create the income that you need.
You can offer many services as a freelancer, including graphic design, web design, web development, writing, proofreading, and much more. You probably already have skills and experience that you could use as a freelancer.
The benefits of freelancing over a traditional job include:
- Flexibility. Set your own schedule, and work when and where you want, part-time or full-time.
- Excellent income potential. Many freelancers earn more than they could by doing a similar job as an employee.
- Choose your clients. Work with clients and on projects that interest you.
I’ve done a lot of freelancing over the years (mostly writing) and found it an excellent way to make money. It’s not perfect, and some frustrations come with it, but the pros outweigh the cons.
There’s no denying that freelancing is work. You might not have a boss, but you still answer to your clients. However, the freedom and flexibility make it far more enjoyable for most people than a traditional job.
Rent Out a Room on Airbnb
If you have a spare bedroom or unit, you can rent it out on Airbnb. Short-term rentals are excellent for generating significant income without a traditional job. In fact, many homebuyers choose a particular home because of the potential to rent out a room or a unit.
A few years ago, I interviewed Riley about his experience as an Airbnb host. He and his wife rented a unit in New Orleans to supplement their income. Thousands of people use a similar approach to make money outside of a job.
Even if you don’t have a home with a separate unit, you may be able to rent out a spare bedroom. And if you’re currently looking to move, you can consider this during your home search and look for properties with excellent short-term rental potential.
Rent Out Storage Space
Renting out a separate unit or extra bedroom is an ideal way to make money, but many people don’t have the extra space in their homes. However, most people do have space that can be used for storage.
If you have extra space in your attic, basement, garage, shed, or a spare room that isn’t being used, you can rent it out as storage space. Neighbor is an excellent platform for connecting people with rental opportunities.
Storage space rental is perfect for those who don’t need to move and don’t have a spare bedroom or unit in their home. It’s also especially useful if you live where short-term rentals (like Airbnb) aren’t allowed. And depending on your location, the income potential can be excellent.
This is one of the most passive side hustles you’ll find. Neighbor will promote your rental space and handle all the details related to collecting payment. All you need to do is ensure the renter can access the space. It’s a great way to increase your income without adding more work.
Neighbor makes it easy to earn extra cash by renting out storage space in your basement, attic, garage, or even a shed. Make extra money each month without needing to spend time on a side hustle.
- Earn thousands of dollars per year
- Very little time or effort required
- Neighbor markets your space to people in your local area
- Set your own rates
- Neighbor handles all the payments for you
Rent Out a Car or Truck
Another way to make money from rentals is to rent out your car or truck when you’re not using it. Turo is a peer-to-peer car rental platform that allows you to choose when your vehicle is available for rent. You can use it on days when you need it and make it available to renters when you don’t need it.
Renters love Turo because the prices are much lower than the major car rental chains. Even with lower prices, you can make a decent income thanks to lower overhead.
Fetch is a similar platform focusing on pickup trucks and cargo vans. Many people need to rent a truck or van to move furniture, an appliance, or something else. Fetch offers an excellent solution for both renters and truck or van owners.
You can make a significant income by listing your truck for rental with Fetch. They claim you can earn up to $1,800 per month per vehicle. They’ll market your rental for you and handle all the payment details.
Rent out your truck and make money passively with Fetch. Fetch's platform automates most of the process for you. They'll promote your rental to people in your local area, handle all customer inquiries, renter verification, and payment. The Fetch smart device even allows renters to unlock your truck with their phone so you don't have to meet them in person.
- Great side hustle for busy people
- Turn your truck into an income-generating asset
- Excellent income potential
- Rent out a single truck or build your own fleet
- Fetch guarantees that you'll make at least $1,500 in the first 90 days
Rent Out an RV or Camper
If you have an RV or camper, you can easily turn it into an income-generating asset. Most people don’t have an RV or camper, so they’re very popular for rentals. You can earn a significant income by making yours available when you’re not using it.
RVshare is a popular peer-to-peer platform for RV and camper rentals. You can use list yours on their platform and get exposure to their audience of renters. You can still use it whenever you want. Just block off the dates when it’s not available.
Invest in Income-Generating Assets
Another way to generate income is through investments and assets that you own. The previous ideas of things you can rent are all examples of income-generating assets, but there are many other possibilities for passive income.
Real estate is one of the most popular options. Owning rental homes is a proven way to build wealth over the long term. The profits from your rentals could be used to cover living expenses instead of relying on a job.
Aside from traditional rental properties, you can invest through real estate crowdfunding platforms. You won’t be responsible for being a landlord, so it’s completely passive.
Fundrise is the most popular real estate crowdfunding platform, which pays investors quarterly dividends. With a minimum investment of just $10, Fundrise is easily accessible to new investors.
Fundrise is the easiest way to invest in a portfolio of income-generating properties. You'll get the benefits of owning real estate with a totally passive, hands-off investment.
- Excellent track record and historical returns
- Invest in a diverse portfolio of properties
- Earn quarterly dividends
- User-friendly platform
- Start with as little as $10
- $10 bonus with your first investment
Another way to earn income from an investment portfolio is by investing in dividend stocks. Many companies pay quarterly dividends to investors (see our Dividend Aristocrats list for examples). With a portfolio of dividend stocks, you’ll have a consistent source of supplemental income.
The easiest way to start with dividend stocks is to use a commission-free trading platform like Public, Webull, or Moomoo.
For more ideas, see our article on income-producing assets.
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Start an Online Business
One of the best ways to make money on the side is to start an online business. It requires more work than renting out a room or car, but the income potential is unlimited.
You can follow many online business models, so finding something that fits your skills and interests is essential. You could start a blog, grow a YouTube channel, build an e-commerce site, or sell digital products.
Your online business could provide a supplementary income source or grow into something much more significant.
One of the most appealing aspects of growing an online business is building an asset that can be sold. At some point, when you decide the time is right, you can sell your online business and collect a (potentially) sizable lump sum.
The amount of money you’ll get for your business will depend on many factors, but it’s possible that you can get a life-changing amount of money. You can use that money to cover your living expenses or invest in other income-generating assets.
Dog Walking and Pet Sitting
If you’re an animal lover, why not make money caring for them? Dog walking and pet sitting are both popular options.
You can set your own rates and choose the types of pets you want to work with. It’s an excellent way to make extra money while doing something you love.
To start, you can talk to pet owners in your neighborhood, pass out fliers, post to Craigslist, or advertise on local bulletin boards. You can also use Rover, a platform that connects pet owners with service providers.
Creating a Rover profile is free, and pet owners in your area will be able to find you.
Become a Virtual Assistant
Becoming a virtual assistant can be an excellent way to make money on the side. A virtual assistant (VA) provides administrative and other online support services to clients remotely. It’s possible to work part-time or full-time, so it could be a great way to supplement your income from home.
The tasks you’ll do will depend on your client’s needs but could include data entry, managing social media accounts, making travel arrangements, writing emails or blog posts, or scheduling appointments.
You might work for a single client, or you could have several clients. Many platforms offer virtual assistant jobs, or you can find clients on your own. The independent route will increase your income potential, but building up your business may take a while.
Sign Up Bonuses
If you want to make some extra money, credit card and bank account sign-up bonuses offer easy opportunities. You might be surprised how much you can make with a relatively small effort in these areas.
The amount you can make with credit card sign-up bonuses is somewhat limited because you’ll start getting rejected if you apply for too many cards. But with top bonuses up to $1,000 (or more sometimes), you can get significant rewards even by applying for one new card per year.
Many banks offer bonuses for creating new checking or savings accounts. There are always terms and conditions that must be met, so be sure to read the details.
Some investment platforms also offer bonuses for moving your money to them, opening even more possibilities.
Another option is to sign up for apps that offer sign-up bonuses. These tend to be much smaller, but it’s still easy money. See our list of apps that give you money for signing up.
Start a Trash Cleanup Business
While it may not be the first business opportunity that comes to mind, a litter cleanup service is an excellent option with solid income potential.
Back in the 1980s, Brian Winch started a parking lot cleanup service as a side hustle. Just a few months later, his side hustle income surpassed what he was making from his full-time job. He’s been making a six-figure income for more than 40 years!
Brian teaches his business model in Cleanlots. This manual lays out everything you need to know to run what Brian calls “America’s simplest business.”
Strip malls, retail stores, apartment complexes, and office buildings must regularly have trash or litter cleaned from their parking lots. Brian’s business model involves contacting property managers to offer this trash cleanup service.
It’s easy work (as long as you’re healthy) that requires little more than walking around a parking lot. The required tools are very inexpensive, and startup costs are low.
This business can be run part-time or full-time. You can even hire others to do the work for you. And since the work requires no specific skills, hiring people is relatively inexpensive.
Learn more by visiting Cleanlots.
In Cleanlots, Brian Winch teaches the simple business plan he's used to earn six figures with a trash cleanup business that anyone can start. It's perfect as a side hustle or for scaling up to a full-time business. With extremely low startup costs and excellent income potential, you'll love this opportunity.
Become a Delivery Driver
If you’re looking for a flexible opportunity that allows you to start making money quickly, consider becoming a delivery driver. There are several options available, including DoorDash.
DoorDash is a food delivery service that connects customers with local restaurants. Dashers (DoorDash drivers) make money by delivering meals to customers. The DoorDash app makes it easy for anyone to become a driver, and there’s no delivery experience required.
Drivers choose their hours and can work as much or as little as they want, subject to availability.
I recommend DoorDash because it’s available in over 7,000 towns and cities. Also, they allow you to use any vehicle, so you don’t need a new car.
Get Paid for Online Surveys
Want to make money without leaving the comfort of your home? Online surveys can be a great way to do it. Now, to be completely upfront, you won’t make a ton of money with surveys. But it’s a good option if you’re looking for an easy way to make a few hundred dollars per month.
Swagbucks, Branded Surveys, and InboxDollars are among the leaders, although many other survey sites and apps exist.
Users of Swagbucks can earn points by filling out surveys, watching videos, searching the web, and playing games. Once you’ve accumulated enough points (called Swagbucks), they can be redeemed for gift cards or cash payments via PayPal.
Branded Surveys offers rewards ranging from Amazon gift cards to Visa prepaid cards when you complete surveys about various topics or products.
InboxDollars is similar to Swagbucks. You can earn money or rewards in several ways.
Sign up for a Swagbucks account and make money (and other rewards) with simple tasks like online surveys. Sign up today for a $5 bonus!
- Get paid for taking short surveys
- Earn money by watching videos
- Play games for cash and prizes
- Make money by installing apps
- Get paid in PayPal cash or gift cards
Another easy way to earn extra cash in your spare time is by playing games on your mobile phone. You probably already play games on your phone, so this is an easy way to earn rewards.
Just like surveys, you won’t make a lot of money playing games. But you can do it while watching TV or whenever you have some spare time.
It’s not the highest-paying side hustle, but it might be the most fun. Some of the leading options include:
- Mistplay (Android only)
- Bubble Cash iOS and Samsung
- PCH+for Android and iOS
You can read our article on games that pay real money to find more possibilities.
Living on a Budget
So far, we’ve looked at ways to make money without a job. Now, it’s time to move on and talk about the importance of living within your means. If you want to live without a job, you’ll need solid control over your money and where it goes.
The best way to do this is to create and stick to a budget. Ensure you account for all your expenses, including rent, food, utilities, transportation, and discretionary spending. This will help you stay on track and not overspend.
Without a budget, it can be easy to overspend, get into debt, or even find yourself in a situation where you can’t pay your bills.
If your budget doesn’t allow you to cover all your necessary living expenses, you’ll need to generate more income or cut back even more.
Reducing expenses is essential if you want to live without a job. Look at your budget and see where you spend the most monthly. These are usually the budget categories you’ll want to focus on because they can impact your overall spending the most.
Save on Housing Costs
Housing is usually the biggest expense for most people. Finding ways to save on rent or mortgage payments can significantly impact the bottom line. There are several ways to reduce the amount you spend on housing:
- Refinance your mortgage. If current interest rates are lower than your rate, you may want to consider refinancing.
- Move to a lower cost of living area. If you have the flexibility to move, this is one of the best ways to reduce housing costs.
- Downsize. If you can’t move out of the area, you might be able to save by moving to a smaller house or apartment.
- House hack. This is a great option if you don’t mind having roommates. It involves buying a larger house or apartment, living in one unit, and renting out the other units to cover your mortgage payments.
Save on Transportation Costs
Transportation is another significant expense for many people. Here are some ways to save:
- Get a cheaper car. The easiest way to spend less on transportation is to get a more affordable vehicle.
- Go from two cars to one. If you’re a multi-car family, see if you can eliminate one of the cars.
- Take public transportation. Public transit is usually cheaper than driving your car and might even be faster, depending on your location.
- Walk or bike if possible. This will help you get exercise while saving money on gas and car maintenance.
Save on Food Costs
Food is another area where it’s easy to overspend. Here are some tips to reduce this area of your budget:
- Meal plan. Meal planning will help you save money because it makes it easier to stick to your budget and avoid buying things you don’t need.
- Shop around. Compare prices at different stores to get the best deal on your needed items.
- Buy in bulk when possible. Bulk items are usually cheaper than smaller packages. Look for sales and stock up on pantry essentials when they’re on sale.
- Shop at discount grocery stores. Aldi, Lidl, and other discount stores often have significantly lower prices.
- Limit meals at restaurants. One dinner at a restaurant can easily cost more than you would spend on food for an entire day if you ate at home.
- Grow your own food. If you have a garden or access to a community garden, growing your food can be a great way to save money on groceries.
Save on Entertainment
Entertainment is often a bigger expense than we realize. To save money, try to find free or low-cost entertainment options. Possibilities include:
- Visiting parks and libraries
- Attending free concerts and events
- Watching movies at home instead of in theaters
- Using low-cost cable alternatives or free TV apps
- Playing board games with friends
- Find cheap hobbies
Save on Insurance
Insurance is an essential part of our financial lives, but you may be able to save money with a few simple strategies:
- Shop around for the best rates
- Increase your deductibles
- Check your policies to make sure you’re not over-insured
- Ask about discounts for bundling policies
Take Advantage of Cash Back
Taking advantage of cash back offers is an easy way to save money. Cash back credit cards allow you to save on everything you buy (just be sure you pay the bill in full each month to avoid interest).
You can also use several excellent cashback apps to save even more. With the right approach, you can stack rewards a few levels deep. Here are some of the best cash back apps:
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, it is possible to live without a job. People can make money from side hustles, investments, rental properties, and other income-generating assets. You’ll need to exercise discipline with your money and minimize expenses, but living without a job is possible.
The amount of money you need to live without a job depends on your lifestyle and expenses. The area where you live will also have a big impact on the amount of money you need.
This is a personal decision that’s up to you. However, if you don’t have a job lined up, you should at least have a plan for how you will make money after quitting your job. There are several options, like freelancing, offering a service in your local area, and working in the gig economy.
Final Thoughts on How to Live Without a Job
Living without a job can be challenging, but it is possible. You can make it work by setting up a budget, minimizing expenses, and finding creative ways to generate income. Being intentional about your spending will help ensure you can live comfortably without relying on traditional employment.
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