Today, I am continuing the series, Money Problems: 30 Days to Perfect Finances. The series will consist of 30 things you can do in one setting to perfect your finances. It’s not a system to magically make your debt disappear. Instead, it is a path to understanding where you are, where you want to be, and–most importantly–how to bridge the gap.
I’m not running the series in 30 consecutive days. That’s not my schedule. Also, I think that talking about the same thing for 30 days straight will bore both of us. Instead, it will run roughly once a week. To make sure you don’t miss a post, please take a moment to subscribe, either by email or rss.
Today we’re going to look at ways to boost your income.
People spend a lot of time talking about ways to reduce your expenses, but there is a better way to make ends meet. If you make more money, you will—naturally—have more money to work with, which will make it easier to balance your expenses. I’ve found it to be far less painful to make more money than to cut expenses I enjoy.
I can hear what you’re thinking. It’s easy to tell people to make more money, but what about telling them how? Guess what? I’m going to tell you how to make money because I rock.
By far, the simplest way to make more money is to convince whoever is paying you to pay you more for what you are already doing. In other words, get a raise. I know that’s easy to say. Money’s tight for a lot of companies and layoffs are common. None of that matters. Your company knows that hiring someone new will involve a lot of downtime during training. If you’ve been visibly doing your job, and the company isn’t on the brink of failure, it should be possible to get a bit of the budget tossed your way.
- The first thing you need to do is get visible. If you habitually come in 15 minutes late, make it 15 minutes early. If you are working an alternative schedule, consider switching to the standard schedule, so everyone who matters can see you are at work. Start sending status updates to your boss, including copying him on emails to other people you work with, if those emails signify important milestones in a project.
- Next, log your work. Keep track o what you do, what you’ve accomplished, and—most important—how much money you have made or saved for the company.
- Third, do your research. Hit the salary survey sites to find out what other people in your field are making. Don’t worry if you are on the high side. There is always someone making more than you. If you are the exception to that rule, try using a similar variation of your job description and title. What’s the concrete difference between a software engineer I and and a software engineer II? About $15000.
- Finally, schedule a meeting with your boss and ask. Lay out the things you’ve done, the amount you make for the company and what other companies are paying. Chances are, your boss will have a hard time refusing your request.
Another simple idea is to get a second job. Personally, I hate this idea, but it works wonders for some people. Gas stations and pizza stores offer flexible schedules and they are always hiring. If they aren’t willing to work with your schedule, or it doesn’t work out, you can always quit. This isn’t your main income, after all.
My favorite option is to create a new income stream. What can you do?
Take a piece of paper and a close friend and brainstorm how you can make some money. Write down every type of activity you have ever done or ever wanted to do. Then write down everything you can think of that other people who do those activities need or want. Remember, during a brainstorming session, there are no stupid ideas. Take those two lists and see if there is any product or service you can provide.
You can start a blog—although don’t expect to generate much money early—or try writing for some revenue-sharing article web sites, like hubpages or squidoo. Other options include affiliate marketing, garage sale arbitrage(buying “junk” at garage sales, fixing it up and selling it), or even doing yard work for other people.
One interesting business I’ve seen lately is a traveling poop-scooper. These people travel around and scoop poop out of ddog-owners’ yards. Business booms in the spring when the snow melts, but it can be an ongoing income, since dogs don’t stop pooping.
Raising your income can make it easier to pay your bills, pay off your debt, or even taking nice vacations. How have you made some extra cash?