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Sometimes, we spend money in a way we think will inherently improve our lives — but often, spending on things that seem aspirational can leave us feeling empty. This is just one woman's experience in a sorority. For more money "real talk," click here:

Through weekly video essays, "Making It Work" showcases how *real* people have upgraded their personal or financial lives in some meaningful way. Making your life work for you doesn't mean getting rich just for the sake of it. It means making the most of what you have to build a life you love, both in your present and in your future. And while managing money is a crucial life skill for everyone, there's no one "right way" to go about it — you have to figure out what works best for *you,* full stop.

Video by Grace Lee

Video narration by Elsa Levytsky

Based on an essay by Rachel C.

The Financial Diet site:

Lately it seems like every financial blogger is side hustling, and it's not necessarily just because they don't like their day job or their salary.

Oftentimes, the advice is more geared towards expanding streams of income, carving out more money to invest, or justifying discretionary spending. I work full-time in finance, and I'm satisfied with my income.

Though, is anyone ever really, and still heed their advice? It's important to note I do love to shop for better, or for worse. When I first graduated in the spring of 2018, I had not even lined up my full-time job before I started looking for a side hustle.

While I was a full-time student, I was consistently making an income for discretionary expenses-- like drinking out with friends or new clothes-- by waitressing or working in retail. I was used to having fun money, and wanted to keep it that way. So I trained to become an indoor cycling instructor the summer after I graduated.

And in the fall I began teaching one to five classes a week before and after work. It paid $25 a class, and they allowed me free unlimited spin when I wasn't teaching. Who doesn't want to be paid to work out?

But what I soon realized was that I was being grossly underpaid for my efforts. Including planning and travel, it came down to less than $10 an hour. And it was too much work for the little bit of money I made.

I was also on a 1099 contract, and responsible for paying taxes on that income. After about nine months I quit that job and focused exclusively on my day job. As I was missing the extra income, I started selling the hordes of old gently used clothes I no longer wore.

This mostly passive income was exactly what I needed. The slight bonus on top of my income, with a lot less work involved. That was when I discovered Instagram closets.

Instagram closets are a network of accounts meant to be used clothes marketplaces. People will start accounts and sell their own gently used clothes, and eventually, some clothes for others, while taking a slight commission off of the top of the outside sales. They act as an econ liaison, posting products, charging customers, and paying wholesalers.

I both purchase and sell through them. This month alone I've made $200, and the month prior I made $175. I also purchased a pair of NWTs-- New With Tags-- in eShopper lingo.

Designer earrings that retail for $124.50 for 50% off. From my experience, here are the benefits of both buying and selling in this manner. Obviously, extra easy income.

I qualify this income as mostly passive. Since I do not run an account, I just partake, I really don't do much besides send pictures and pack up the item. The Marie Kondo effect.

The items I've sold were only taking up space. Now you can move them out of your closet and get extra cash. A win-win in my book.

Great deals. A lot of these items may be a few seasons old, a.k.a. completely out of production. You could be getting something unique at a large discount.

Rare items. Oftentimes people are selling things from a few seasons back. This means they've been out of production for a while.

I just sold a really rare bathing suit in less than an hour because people missed the print and wanted it back. Sustainability. Buying and selling used is the new black.

It is more sustainable to purchase someone else's trash as your own treasure because it means one less garment was brought into this world. Networking. I've actually become internet friends with a few of the girls I sell through.

They've even bought some of my stuff personally, as opposed to posting it on their accounts. I follow their personal Instagram and refer all of my friends to their accounts. Of course, there are risks and annoyances involved as well.

Here are a few possibilities, some of which I've come across, and some I have not. They generally take a commission. The account I sell through takes 20%, which I am willing to pay in exchange for the ease of selling.

She has almost 7,000 followers who are looking to buy high end pieces, so she is marketing my product to a large but niche audience. If there is any sort of dispute on condition or shipment issues, I'm not sure what would happen. I haven't run into this yet, but it's certainly a risk.

There are also often no returns. The Instagram account may never pay you. Again, I've never had any issues with this.

They usually pay you when you send them a picture of the tracking information. I had one account where they paid half when you sent it and half when the buyer received it. It is a risk you run however.

Generally, these accounts exclusively use Venmo. If you don't use it, you may not be able to work with them. You pack and sell your own stuff, as opposed to dropping it off at a thrift shop.

Your stuff may never sell. I myself have sold all my products. Once a pair of sunglasses didn't move, so I discounted them and they sold quickly.

If you've been trying to find a way to make some extra cash online and you have extra clothes lying around, I recommend trying this out. After doing your own thorough research, of course.