One of the best pieces of personal financial advice I ever read was that you should develop different streams of income to supplement your main income source. I wouldn't say I have streams of income - more like trickling tributaries.
My main alternative income stream, not so much now, but in the future, will be my rental condo. Right now the mortgage, association fees, taxes and operating expenses add up to more than the rent I'm collecting. Many years down the road, the balance will tip, and the condo will start bringing in more than it costs me to maintain. At that point, the rental condo will provide a stream of income.
Another tiny trickle comes from my blog ads. It's hardly anything right now, but my blog is fairly new. If I work on providing some great content, my readership should grow, and this will become another stream.
Throughout the year, I work on various craft projects in my spare time. Several times a year, I sell my creations at local craft fairs. This provides another small stream.
My other rivulets of revenue include payments for completing surveys, participating in the Shopper's Hotline (more on this later, I'm still testing this to see if I want to recommend it), selling books and CD's on half.com, mystery shopping, volunteering for focus groups, collecting promotional fees banks offer for opening new accounts, and savings and money market account interest (although it's pretty pathetic this year).
There are many other possible sources of supplementary income. Start a paper route. Purchase and service a vending machine route. Babysit or walk dogs. Collect cans or scrap metal to recycle. Sell some of your produce if you garden, or eggs if you raise chickens. Buy nice clothes or collectibles at yard sales, and resell for a profit on ebay. Sell cosmetics, jewelry, candles, scrapbooking supplies, etc., via home parties. These are just a few ideas.
The more sources of income you have, the more easily you can weather economic downturns such as the one we are experiencing now. What are some of your income streams?