How to Survive Without a Salary




If you’re not a fan of working the classic 9 to 5 office job, then this article might help you to solve that problem. In this article, we’ll talk about how to survive without a salary. Earning a salary means earning a fixed regular payment. It’s one of the many benefits a full-time job offers. 

But if you’re someone like me who can’t commit to a fixed office job, then let’s see what kind of options we’re facing. In the end, we still need to pay the bills to live. So, how can people like us survive without a full-time job? The short answer to this question—we need to be resourceful. If you want the long, detailed answer, here are six ways to survive: 

#1 Self-assessment

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

First, you need to list out all your strengths and see which ones you can use to earn an income. In this generation, freelancers are growing in number, especially those who prefer to work from home. In fact, this topic generated more than 2.9 million searches worldwide via Google trends. Turns out you’re not the only one who wants to make a big change career-wise. 

However, if you’re currently working full-time and making a plan ahead before turning in your resignation letter, that’s great! Make sure you have enough money in your bank as you figure things out in the first few months. In this new chapter of your career, leaving financial stability is frightening, but if you’re a person who values various work experiences and freedom, then take that leap. Just make sure you have a safety net to land on before doing so. 

#2 Needs vs. Wants

Image from Pexels

Now, having no financial stability means we have to be on a tight budget. As a person who’s making a decent living without a salary, I make sure to always ask myself before a purchase. Of course, impulse buys are always difficult to control, especially when it comes to food. However, make sure to always ask yourself, “do I REALLY need this?” 

So, if you want to avoid the 9 to 5 office jobs, you need to be frugal. In this case, spending less doesn’t mean sacrificing the important things. It simply means cutting back on the fancy latte or daily cafe visits. Instead of buying takeouts from fast foods, try to make easy recipes from simple ingredients. Just think of what really matters. 

It’s important to control your expenses, especially in the first few months where you’re still experimenting. At first, nothing seems to work out, but if you get the hang of it, surviving without a salary can be very satisfying. But if ever comes a time your income doubles, you can raise the bar and spend a percent more than your usual spendings. 

Here’s one rule you have to live by: 

Point-out your fixed expenses, the ones you REALLY need to survive, low. From that, you’ll just have to raise or lower the bar depending on your irregular incomes.  

#3 Casual Income

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

As someone who doesn’t have a salary, it’s best to have many sources of income. This approach will help you survive the days without seeing the “red flags” on your expenses. Nowadays, there’s a lot of ways to earn, especially on the internet. Just make sure that you’re applying on legit websites. 

Here are diverse ways of generating income: 


After assessing yourself on what you can do, one of the ways is to start a small business. It doesn’t need to have big start-up money. Just start with what you’re good at. For example, I have a little talent for graphic design, so I started a small printing business with my friend. With starting what we have, we managed to create a local printing service, where we sell custom stickers and prints. 

So, it’s important to learn your strengths first. Other than that, if you think you can’t do it alone. Pick someone you trust and share the same passions as you. However, if you think business is not the one for you then let’s move on to the next.  

Gigs on Freelance Sites

At the moment, the US has a total of 57 million freelancers. 84% of these freelancers say that this type of work gives them more freedom on the lifestyle that they want. Aside from that, 64% of freelancers saw an improvement in their health as they work for themselves. Here are some of the most popular freelance sites available on the internet: 

  • Upwork
  • Fiverr 
  • Guru
  • 99designs
  • Toptal
  • PeoplePerHour
  • Freelancer
  • Truelancer
  • Outsourcely

Now that we know various online platforms perfect for freelancers here are some that you can do: 

Content Writing

As releasing daily content is becoming a thing with online businesses, there’s a high demand for content writers. In fact, content writing is one of the most popular freelancer options this 2021. 

Turn You Into A Character” Gig

Fiverr User Screenshot- lightyear90

Alright, this title is a bit confusing, however, if you have a talent in digital drawing this is a fun gig on Fiverr. The price range starts at $5 to $280, depending on your offer. If you search “I will turn you into” on Fiverr’s search bar there will be a lot of interesting gigs to choose from. If you want to draw as a side hustle, better research your competition and search for an edge.

Here’s a list of what various digital artists offers: 

  • Simpsons 
  • Disney Style
  • Anime
  • Own design style
  • Caricature  

Sell Old Treasures

Another way to earn an income is to sell your old items. It can be a book or that outfit you’ve only worn once. If you’re not a fan of holding a garage sale, you can post a listing on eBay and start an auction for your item. 

Here are other items you can sell: 

  • VHS
  • CD
  • DVD
  • Old gadgets
  • Books

Aside from those, if you have defective gadgets or appliances, search for scrap buyers online. 

Rent out Rooms in Your House

If you have enough rooms to spare, earn a steady income by renting out your house. List your space online for a wider audience. Of course, don’t forget to put up a sign outside your house for a more traditional approach. 

If you don’t want a monthly rate, it’s best for you to consider putting your space on Airbnb. It’s an excellent source of income given that this platform charges per day. This option depends on your local area’s guidelines and restrictions. Read more about Airbnb’s quarantine and isolation policy here.

#4 Don’t Empty Your Bank

Photo by Gabby K from Pexels

This one might be obvious, but I need to include it in the list. Always have backup money. In my case, I make sure to have different bank accounts: 

  • One for receiving income
  • Bank for Savings
  • Bank for allowances

Of course, I’m not saying that you should open three bank accounts, I’m just using myself as an example. It doesn’t need to have a bank, you can hide it inside a safe in your home or somewhere safe. Aside from that, you need to keep track of your expenses. 

#5 Explore New Sources of Income

The best part of not having a full-time job, you’ll always be the go-to person for gig recommendations. Amongst my group of friends, I’ll occasionally receive a job offer or gig that I can look into. I don’t always accept the offers as I earn enough to live by. 

However, if a certain gig sounds interesting to me, I’ll enter the job despite having a lot on my plate. It’s not that I’m a workaholic, I just love to explore new things. The best part? I get to earn money while I have fun and learn new things.  

#6 Good vs. Bad Debt

Photo by Gabby K from Pexels

When I say “bad debt”, it’s the money you owe that doesn’t improve your financial status. We all know the bad debt is always a material purchase. This can be the latest iPhone or a new gadget that seems fun. In the end, if you want to learn how to survive without a salary. The first thing we need to learn is to survive without materialistic desires. 

On the other hand, “good debt” is what we can consider as investments for our future. Here’s a list of “good debts”: 

  • Loan for a real estate purchase 
  • Borrowing money to afford an education that improves your income.
  • Using your credit card to purchase a gadget to help with your small business. 

The above-mentioned details are only some investments that can be considered as “good debts.” You need to weigh in your mind if you really need this purchase. I admit that throughout my journey for my small business, I made some impulse buys. In my mind, I always reason that I need it to improve my business and offer more variety to consumers. 

However, in the end, “good debts” can turn into bad ones if you keep giving reasons for your purchases. A good way to prevent this, especially if you’re involved with a business, wait before you generate actual gains. In this way, you’ll not be buried with bad investments.  


In the end, there’s a lot of ways on how to survive without a salary. Before anything else, all you need to have is resourcefulness and determination on how to get by. It’s always great to have a plan A, B, C, and the list goes on. Well, you get the point, not having a stable salary means there will be ups and downs in your income. 

Never let yourself go under. Thanks to our generation’s fast-advancing digital age, there are a lot of things you can generate an income from. We just need to know where to find them. For other content about making money, explore Realistic Pay

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