You have heard it before—make a budget, review the budget, cut expenses, squeeze and squeeze, but honestly, there is only so much of this that one can do. Unless you are a big spender, you probably have already trimmed the excesses and are living a financially modest life. Drowning in debt can make you depressed, but so can forcing yourself to live on pennies.
The expenses of daily living can be overwhelming, especially in today’s economic climate. But even if you have a handle on this, there are the “surprises” that suddenly force you to spend money you had not budgeted, nor saved, or to take out another loan, assuming you qualify. Your balance sheet begins to look worse than the federal government, which itself seems to be teetering on the verge of bankruptcy. Wouldn’t it be great to have money left over to pay off those credit card bills and other consumer loans? To be able to put money away for retirement? To have a savings account to cover those “surprise” expenses? Maybe even invest? Travel? Have some fun?
Here are ten easy tips to help you get started on your journey of making more money. Remember, this is a general list of ideas. You have to do a self-assessment and decide which ones are practical for you.
- Demand a raise. How long have you been with the company? Have your salary increases been appropriate to your responsibilities and qualifications? Are they on par with your colleagues? Many employees are afraid to actively pursue a salary increase, preferring instead the more passive approach of just waiting for it to show up in the pay stub. If you need to improve your income, and you like your current job, the first step is to get more money going into your paycheck. Prepare yourself with a full accounting of your accomplishments and why you should be awarded a raise. Be assertive and persistent. It pays off.
- Look for a new job. If you fail to secure the pay raise, and your salary is not adequate to do all the things we discussed above, then the next step is to look for a new job. It may be a tight job market, but polish off your resume, employ a head-hunter, and explore your horizons. You may be surprised to find that you land a job with a competitor company at a much better salary. Be sure to keep your current job, though, until you land something new. Sometimes, when you resign your position to take that new job, your employer will offer to match the salary in order to keep a seasoned and valuable employee.
Let’s say though that you like your current job, and you do not get the raise in salary that you need, then what? Take on a second, part-time job. Here are some examples:
- Do you have a special skill? Become a coach or mentor in your field to help others achieve success.
- Like art? Take your art hobby to the next level and professionalize: sell your art on the internet or at weekend art shows and fairs.
- If you already have a car and like to drive, become a part-time driver. You can narrow the service down, say, to airport runs. You might have a very lucrative side-business this way. Put yourself on Uber and Lyft.
- Try waitressing or bartending. Bartenders, especially, can earn a very good salary.
- Clean homes or offices. Private cleaning companies can be quite successful. You can start out doing the work yourself, and once you have established sufficient clientele, hire staff. It could be that you have so much success with this, that you quit your regular job.
- Comfortable with blogs or websites? Set up a website or start blogging, and take advantage of passive income from ads and affiliate links. Check out GoogleAdSense or Clicksor.
- If you are a good photographer or musician, hire yourself out for weddings or other special occasions.
- Start a B&B. Have a nice house with an extra room? Not using that guest suite down in the basement any longer? Repair, paint, add nice luxurious furnishings and bed linens, make sure it has its own bathroom and advertise on sites such as Homeaway, Airbnb or VRBO.
Once you succeed in increasing your income, don’t forget to put the extra money toward improving your financial standing—reducing debt, paying off credit card bills and consumer loans, even the mortgage. Do everything you can to improve your credit rating. The best is to be debt-free so you can also be worry-free.