The rising price of everything – from gas to apartment rents to food – may leave you feeling your paycheck doesn’t stretch as far as it did before. At a certain point, cutting back on your spending can only help so much. So here are five ways to grow your income to help cover higher costs.
As for a Promotion or Raise at Work
Perhaps the easiest way to boost your income is to receive a raise from your current job. But before you ask for a raise, you need to be prepared. Do some online research – including looking at job listings for similar roles – to see the going “market rate” for your work. If you’ve been at your job for several years and receiving small cost-of-living raises, you may be surprised to see your pay lags behind the industry. If you can prove that you are underpaid and you’ve been a strong performer in your role, you can make a solid case for a raise.
What if you are already being paid the market rate or recently received a raise? Then you may want to consider working toward a promotion at your current company. Investigate what skills and training you’ll need to be considered worthy of moving up. That might include taking the time to study part-time for an extra degree, certification or training. Many firms offer tuition reimbursement, which can help you improve your skills on your company’s dime.
Consider Switching Jobs for a Higher Salary
Unfortunately, your employer may deny your request your request for a raise. Similarly, if you work at a company where people tend to stay for many years, it may be challenging to move up to a higher-paying role through a promotion. However, the good news is that the market is robust for job seekers, and you may be able to find a similar job at another company that pays you a lot more.
Remember before you move that potential salary isn’t the only factor you should consider when job searching. Examine the healthcare and other benefits and perks, such as remote work and flexible hours, to ensure you don’t move into a role that pays more but falls short in other vital areas.
Look at Your Company Benefits for Tax Breaks
Did you receive a sizeable tax refund last year? If you did, that may mean you overpaid your taxes throughout the year. The good news is you can reduce how much tax the IRS withholds from your paycheck. That can mean more cash in your bank account every payday.
Similarly, your company may offer a way to buy parking or transit passes with before-tax income or pay for health care expenses with a flexible spending account. Your company benefits are probably online and accessible to you through portal, or you may need to speak to Human Resources. Taking advantage of company benefits takes a little research, and you’ll need to set up automatic deductions, but it pays off.
Take on a Side Hustle for Extra Cash
If you like your current role or have free time outside of work you want to use more productively, consider earning money through a side hustle. Working a part-time position can give you extra income on your terms and maybe something you already enjoy doing as a hobby.
Marketing skills include photography, writing, making crafts, be handy with tasks and even driving your car. These are all things people may pay you to do for them. Other options include taking online surveys as a consumer or in areas you know about, such as your current industry.
Before you get started, be aware many scams are masquerading as part-time job opportunities. Don’t agree to any work that requires you to pay an employer money or purchase products up-front. Also, be aware that your primary employer may restrict what types of roles you can hold outside of work or may ban second jobs altogether. You don’t want a side hustle to result in losing your primary source of income.
Another caution before launching a side hustle is to consider whether you may better spend your time advancing your career. Getting more schooling or training may not earn you money immediately but can lead to a more lucrative salary for decades to come.
Sell Unwanted Items
Whether because of expense or concerns around sustainability, more people are willing to consider buying pre-owned things. To tap into that demand, look around your house for things you no longer wear or use and are in good enough shape to sell to someone else.
There are several online outlets for selling goods, including social media sites. If you have many unrelated items you could unload, consider holding a garage sale with some friends as a way to clear things out for cash in just one day.
The Bottom Line
Keeping your income and your expenses titled so that you bring in more than you spend requires a good budget – and expanding your money supply. There are a lot of options to get more flowing in the door, and some of them are creative and satisfying. But don’t neglect the budget aspect, and always think through the trade-offs before you get started.