Five tips for making money from home during the pandemic

Even in the midst of a pandemic and near-shutdown of the economy, there are ways to improve your financial standing.

Financial coach David Lester appeared on CTV's Your Morning Thursday, to offer five suggestions of ways anyone can make money right now, even from home.

SELL YOUR SKILLS

The COVID-19 pandemic has left a lot of people in a position where they're spending a lot more time at home.

That may mean more time for pursuing passions and exploring pastimes – something Lester said a savvy hobbyist can try to monetize.

"If there are any skills that you have – if you're an amazing chef, if you're great at decorating, whatever you can do from home – you can sell Zoom lessons," he said.

START A NEW BUSINESS

It may sound counter-intuitive, but Lester sees now as a good time to start a new business.

The key, he said, is that coronavirus-induced changes to society will require new products and services. This creates opportunities for anyone who can see a niche need coming, whether it be in online education, delivery or another sector of the economy.

Additionally, he said, many companies and Canadians are now looking to support businesses that are local to them.

TRY ASSET SHOPPING

Housing prices are down, creating a relatively good environment for Canadians to invest in real estate.

But that isn't the only place where investors might be able to find a bargain during an economic downturn, Lester said, noting that the shutdowns may leave many Canadians spending less than they were before the pandemic.

"If you're lucky enough to be still employed, and you're banking cash … then this could be an opportunity to go and buy some cheap assets," he said.

"In 2009, anyone who was actually buying stocks or homes, any kind of asset way back then, they did really well. The same kind of philosophy applies here."

USE YOUR LOYALTY POINTS

Canadians collectively own billions of unused loyalty points, Lester said, and there's an obvious reason why airline rewards points might not be top-of-mind at the moment.

"No one's really going to be … flying around anywhere too soon," he said.

However, there are options other than holding onto those points or using them to book flights. Lester suggests considering redeeming them to purchase new appliances, handy electronics, or even Christmas gifts.

WAIVE DEBT PAYMENTS

Many banks and utility companies are offering their customers a bit of relief during the pandemic.

In most cases, this means not charging interest or penalties on bills that are not paid by their due dates. Flexible payment plans and other options may also be on the table – but you'll have to put in some legwork.

"The banks and utility companies aren't going to call you and say 'Hey, do you want a break?' – but you really can go and call them," Lester said.

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