There are always two sides to the equation of your personal finances. I have spent numerous articles discussing the expenses. This time, I would like to take a look at the income side. There are basically four ways to increase your income.
1.) Get an extra job or two. I have found that some people freak out over this suggestion. How can I possibly work more than one full time job? Honestly, it is hard for me to have much sympathy here. I have had at least two jobs, and sometimes three at a time, for at least the last eight years. Some of the “extra” jobs have included freshman high school basketball coach, tearing up and disposing people’s old carpet, moving people’s furniture before and after getting new carpet, and season ticket coordinator for the local community theatre. Most of these I had while working a full time job and starting my financial coaching business. My point is that I don’t have much sympathy for someone who won’t work an extra job (or two). Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. I have a friend I was talking to last week and we figured out he technically has five jobs right now! If you need extra money to buy something big or to get out of debt, then start moonlighting!
2.) Work overtime. If working overtime is an option at your job, then start picking up some extra shifts. I realize that not every job has this option or you may be a salary employee. But, if the opportunity is there, overtime is a great way to put a jolt in your income. Not only do you have the extra hours of pay, the pay is usually at least one and a half times more per hour. The math really works in your favor and you can add hundreds of dollars to your income fast. It also shows the higher-ups that you are willing to work and worth hanging onto.
3.) Ask for a raise. I know this one seems crazy, especially in these economic times. If you are good at what you do, chances are you deserve more money. That is where some true introspection comes into play. You have to ask yourself what value you bring to your company. If you make (or save) your company money (which is the point of any employee), then it is much more expensive for your employer to lose you and have to hire and train someone new. Plus, they have to hope that the new hire is as good as you. If you’re self-employed, then consider raising your rates 5-10%. But, you better deliver value to your customers like no one else can. I know that where I’m from, the contractors that have the best reputations in town are staying plenty busy. It’s not because they charge less than everyone else. Bottom line, be exceptional at what you do and you will be worth more money in the marketplace.
4.) Sell some stuff. This is just a temporary fix, but it can really give your financial plan a boost. Chances are, there is a bunch of stuff around your house that you don’t need. Have a garage sale and make a few hundred bucks. Are your vehicles drowning you? I sometimes meet with clients whose car payments are more than their house payment. That’s just crazy. Sometimes it is necessary to sell your vehicles and get something more reasonable to provide relief in your budget or to help pay something else off. Either way, sell some stuff to give yourself a boost.
Taking care of the income side of the equation is just as important, if not more important, than the expense side. For some reason, we tend to shy away from doing so. Sometimes, it is pure laziness. Other times, it is not knowing where to start. Hopefully, reading this will give you the motivation and the knowledge to get to work!