Passive Income Ideas ala Babci

by Sandy L on March 24, 2011

I was reading a post the other day by Money Crush on Passive Income Ideas and it inspired me to write a little post about Babci’s little side gigs and how it’s helped her with her personal finances over time.   Money Crush’s article focused on the tech savvy readers and no matter how street smart Babci is, I don’t think she’ll be writing an e-book anytime soon.

If I think about most of Babci’s passive income examples, most of them actually fall under the category of “cost avoidance”.  If you’re a purchasing person, you’ll know that this stuff is not really hitting the bottom line, but sure would add up fast if it were added to the budget.

Passive Income – Snow Removal

Perhaps it’s just her utter cute little old ladyness, or the fact that we just lucked out on having great neighbors, but anytime people see Babci out in the yard trying to shovel her own driveway, there are at least 3 different neighbors who come over with their industrial sized snowblowers to do most of the work for her.

Babci is grateful and she pays them back with baked goods, sauerkraut, and veggies from her garden year round.  I think after this horrible winter, my neighbors deserve gift cards and a 12 pack as well.

Babci would never pay for snow removal, she’d risk breaking her hip first (much of why I think my neighbors run over to help).   She saves hundreds every season by not paying for a plow, but that is her way..why pay someone when you can do it yourself?

Passive Income – Gardening

Babci grows enough in her little garden to feed the whole neighborhood, all my friends and herself to boot.  Not only does she grow that much food, but she happily gives it all away to people.   This is usually returned in the form of labor.   Every year, we get a gang of people over in June to pick currants. In 2 hours, my friends pick enough currants to make 40 jars of jelly. It’s tedious and slow and would take one person a week to do it.  In addition to that, we always have helping hands when we need an able bodied person to lug a bathtub or help with a project.

I guess some people would think that it would be more efficient to get a stall at a farmer’s market, but giving things away is a much better way to build a sense of community.  She gives to people and people give back to her.

Passive Income – Foraging + Scratch Cooking

Wild Mushrooms go for about $16/# around here.  For years my mom and uncle went blueberry and mushroom picking annually.  Babci’s robo-knees have retired her from this past time but she is dying to go mushroom picking this year with myself and my children as her designated pickers.   Let’s face it, food is expensive and the less you have to buy, the better off you are.

The other area I think she excels is her scratch cooking. She goes through a ton of flour and eggs and I can’t believe how many things she can make with just a handful of ingredients.

Passive Income – Sewing

Babci made my wedding dress. She also made my prom dress and countless outfits for me growing up. Although I hated her for the bowl haircut and polyester pants that made people mistake me for a boy til age 12, I did start appreciating her sewing skills when I hit high school. I remember the style was a sort of skinny pant and I’d make her take in the ankles until I barely could get my foot through them.  She also sews all her own dresses and pants.   I imagine she’s saved tens of thousands of dollars by not buying clothing every year.

Savings is Cost Avoidance

If I think about all the things that Babci does that makes her completely self sufficient, it’s no wonder she could live comfortably on a minimum wage salary. I always say that if the apocalypse hits, I’d want her to be one of the people on my side. She can grow stuff, sew stuff and find wild food in the woods. Since she grew up with no electricity or running water, I’m sure she knows how to tap a well and start a fire pretty darn well too.

What are your favorite Passive Income or Cost Avoidance practices?

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