How Your Side Hustle Could Be Costing You $

by | Jan 29, 2019

Having a side hustle can be a great way to pay off debt and have more cash to do what you love. But beware: many side hustles have costs — some obvious, some hidden– that will eat at your profits.

Every penny you spend on expenses is one less you can put toward your best life. Let’s look at some of the most popular options so you can be an informed side hustler.


Rideshare Driving (Uber/Lyft)

If you drive regularly, you can make a decent chunk of change with this hustle. However, you need to be sure that you’re making enough to cover the extra gas, insurance, and maintenance your car will need. Uber and Lyft also take a portion of your earnings as a “Service Fee” for the privilege of using their platform.


Babysitting and pet sitting can be a great way to make some extra dough. However, platforms like or Rover will charge you a membership fee or take a portion of your earnings for using the site.

Freelancing and Blogging

You can make some serious money on the side if you’ve got in-demand skills. Copywriting, social media management, graphic design, photography — pretty much anything related to creating online content — are super hot right now. However, if you work through a platform like Fiverr or Upwork, you will have a percentage of your earnings shaved right off the top due to their service fees.

And if want to be your own boss with content creation, you can start a blog for free through platforms like Blogger. But free blogs are generally harder to make money with — and that’s kind of the point, right? If you do go with a paid blog, it’s easy to bust your budget with domain registration, website hosting, graphic design, blogging training, etc. Also, blogging is not going to result in immediate cash. Since it can take a while to build up traffic to monetize your blog via ads or other methods, you will lose money at first.

Related: Want to see how much you can expect to make per month side hustlin’?  Click here.

Selling Your Stuff

Trading your stuff for cash is a great way to pad your bank account and declutter at the same time. But, it’s important to realize that sites like Poshmark will take a fee or a percentage of the sale in exchange for letting you post items there. For example, you’ll make $64 on an $80 handbag since Poshmark takes a 20% commission.

And, even if you decide to go low-tech and sell your stuff in person, a table at a flea market will likely leave you starting off a few dollars in the hole.

Note: If you click the company links above, we’ve included publicly available information about their fees.

No Cost Side Hustles

If the idea of spending money to make money doesn’t make sense for you right now, here are a couple options that won’t cost you more than your time:


If you enjoy teaching others, you can make bank doing it. Parents and students alike are willing to pay big bucks for your expertise –particularly in STEM topics. If you don’t have private clients waiting for you, you can sign up for VIPKID and teach English to Chinese students from home using your computer. This is one platform that doesn’t charge a fee or take a portion of your earnings.

Part-Time Job

You can work retail, restaurant or other industry jobs a few hours per week to improve your bottom line. Many of these jobs require evening and weekend hours so they can fit in nicely with a traditional 9-5 schedule.

Related: Need some more side hustle ideas? Click here and here.

Final Thoughts

Before committing to a side hustle, do the math to see how much money you’d actually be making. While going through online platforms can help in terms of finding and managing work, offering a good or service directly to a buyer is going to net you higher profits since you’re not sharing your earnings or paying a fee.

Charlie can help! He can track your spending on things like gas so you can see what your side hustle is costing you.  He can also track savings goals if you’re side hustling to fund a specific purpose.

Tell Charlie: What is the most expensive side hustle that you’ve tried? The least?

Please note: We don’t have an affiliation with or personally endorse any of the services linked to in this post. We’re just trying to give you some ideas.

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