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If you missed the first half of this series about maximizing your financial situation, be sure to read Part 1. In these posts, we are taking a deeper look at our financial situations and evaluating some less common ways to decrease expenses and increase income. This post is focusing on the second half of the equation: maximizing our income.
This is such an overlooked aspect of the financial situation because people mistakenly believe this is a fixed amount of money. Yes and no. Obviously, you cannot force your employer to increase your pay, but there are several other ways to boost your income. Ways that don’t include working long weekend hours away from home making minimum wage. Let’s dive in!
Dump your Debt
I suppose this one could have gone into either post because it will both decrease your expenses and free up more of your income. I’m listing this one first and foremost today because you can continue to make more money, but if you have a lot of debt, the money is just falling into a black hole. This needs to be tackled first in order for your income to start working for you instead of disappearing into your accumulating interest. The following ideas for increasing your income should help you attack your debt and get rid of it altogether so that you can move on to building wealth.
Find a Side Job
Nobody wants to leave her 9 to 5 job just to drag her exhausted self to the next workplace, so I’m suggesting a better alternative- work from home. In our age of technology, there are a lot of jobs you can do online from your kitchen table. This is SO much better than having to leave your babies to work extra hours in the evenings and on the weekends. Also, this saves money on childcare which is a huge expense already.
Look for Online Jobs on Craigslist and in the Newspaper
I mentioned my work from home job with an Ebay store in my post about paying off debt and listed a few tips for finding legitimate jobs on Craigslist. They are out there, but you have to be careful. A legitimate employer will likely call rather than email a response to your interest in their post. My employer was the only one who called me instead of sending a vague email with poor grammar like the scammers did. He called, gave me more information about the job, and requested an interview just like you should expect when you express interest in a job opportunity. If you have a weird gut feeling, don’t pursue it any further and keep looking. It’s not worth sacrificing your security.
Offer In-home Childcare
Y’all, if you live near me and you’re considering this, CALL ME! This is a resource that many parents would love to have. You don’t have to keep a ton of kids. Even keeping one or two at $150/week for each child is a major boost in your income. Think about the fact that you could pay for your rent or mortgage with that! Check around with your working friends. If you offer, they may very well take you up on it, especially if you undercut daycare and after school prices. I would love to have my child with a trusted friend. I would have the peace of mind and she would have the extra income- win, win. Dear teachers, parents are desperate for childcare during school breaks and you could make good money providing it. Ask around amongst your working Mommy friends and I’m sure you’ll find a few interested.
Start a Pet Sitting Service
We’re renting so this is not a viable option for us right now, but a fellow blogger wrote a post about her suggestions and experiences with dog sitting. Unfortunately, Tailster is only in the UK, but check out DogVacay or Rover if you’re in the US. In addition to the income, this is a great way to “borrow” a dog and enjoy having a pet temporarily without the long term commitment (or expense) of adding a pet to your family. It’s also a great way to see how your kids will respond to a dog and adapt to the new responsibilities that it brings.
Other Work From Home Side Gigs
Here are some posts from a few bloggers who have done the research to provide you with excellent lists of work from home jobs. These ideas range from Mystery Shopping to working as a Virtual Assistant. Check out the complete lists:
Sell your Unwanted Stuff
Before having a yard sale or taking your stuff to Goodwill, try selling some of the higher quality items online. Aim for things that are worth at least $20 to make it worth your time and energy. I know it can be a pain to take pictures, list the items, ship to the seller or drive to a meeting place, etcetera, but the profit in the end is totally worth it. My husband is a master salesman on Craigslist. He plays electric guitar and has purchased and sold many guitars, pedals, amplifiers, and other expensive items via Craigslist. He always makes a profit. I have noticed that he does a few things every time to win people over when selling:
- Provide a lot of information- His descriptions of the items are very thorough and he provides good pictures. If you have an incomplete description, people will have to contact you to get the rest of the information. Many people are not willing to do that and you may miss potential buyers.
- He’s the friendliest guy ever- Be kind, shake their hands, and ask buyers why they’re interested in what you’re selling. Make conversation and be relatable. People are much more likely to buy something from a nice person. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside when I know I just bought something from someone who is genuinely kind.
- Be honest- He is always up front about any issues with the item, but he takes this a step further to help the item sell. Usually, he has done his homework already and found where they can have the item repaired or purchase a replacement piece and he can give them an approximate cost estimate (if it’s a super inexpensive part or an easy fix, do it yourself before you list the item and it will sell better). This validates him as an honest seller who understands what is wrong with the item and how simple/complex the fix will be. If he has no idea what’s wrong with something, he says that, too.
- Offer to help them load the item- Okay, at barely over five feet tall, I’m somewhat miniature and my lifting skills are limited, but my husband always offers to help load heavy items for a buyer. It’s another kind gesture that may make a repeat customer in the future.
Believe it or not, you can make a lot of money on Craigslist by buying items elsewhere and reselling them at a higher price. This is a business and requires skillful hunting for deals, but it can be quite profitable. Choose items that you know a lot about so that you can easily recognize a great deal when you see one. For my husband, this is music equipment. He knows exactly what that stuff is worth and how much he can get upon resell. My Dad’s hobby is fly fishing. Years ago, he bought several high-quality reels from a store at a going-out-of-business sale and resold them for profit on Ebay. Also choose your selling avenue carefully. You have a greater reach on websites like Ebay, but my husband doesn’t even bother with those sites for music equipment. He’ll lose all his profit in shipping costs. Fly reels, on the other hand, are small and lightweight and are great products for Ebay. Here’s all the information you could need for Making More Money on Craigslist by one of my favorite bloggers. She details all the lessons she learned from her years of reselling on Craigslist.
Take Advantage of Cash Back Sites
I’ve said it before (many times) and I’ll say it again: if you’re not using these cash back sites, you are leaving unclaimed money on the table. Claim that cash! I really don’t understand why people aren’t using these resources. I wish I had known about them sooner. If you’ve never heard of them before, here’s the information to get started. If you feel like you don’t have time for them, I promise they take only a few minutes. Give them a try. Here are my favorite cash back sites and apps:
- Ebates*- This website is so great! You simply go through the Ebates website to get to almost any store’s website and you will get a certain percentage cash back on your purchases. Sign up here and use the email address that you use at checkout when you purchase items online. From now on, open up Ebates and go through their website to get to your shopping location and then shop as usual. That’s all. To make your life even easier, they now have a browser extension that will automatically be applied at checkout if your store is one listed on Ebates. Important note: make sure that the email address in Ebates matches the email address at checkout or you will not get credit. My husband and I each have an Ebates account with our email address. Most of your purchases through Ebates will only pay out a couple bucks (those still add up so don’t let that discourage you! Would you leave $2 in the parking lot if you found it?), but if your store is being featured as a double cash back website at the time or if you’re making big purchases, you can really rack up some cash. ALWAYS go through this site for big purchases like hotel bookings, airline tickets, and car rentals. That’s where you’ll really see some money. To read all about how to use Ebates with picture guides and everything, click here. When you sign up with my link, you’ll get $10 after you make your first purchase over $25. Refer your friends and family members and get even more money. #winning.
- Ibotta and Checkout 51*- These apps offer cash back on grocery and household purchases. Many times, these are things you were going to buy anyway. I regularly get cash back on bananas, apples, milk, and eggs from Ibotta and those are items we buy every week. You can read my detailed post about grocery rebate apps for more information, but basically, you shop, upload your receipt, and get cash back added to your account. You can cash it out when you get $20. Easy peasy. Sign up for Ibotta. Sign up for Checkout 51.
- Honey*- This browser extension is the best thing since sliced bread. Sign up here and download the extension. From now on, when you get to an online checkout, Honey will automatically search the world wide web for promotional codes that can be added to your order. My friend texted me last week and told me Honey saved her $90 on a Christmas present! Refer your friends and get Amazon gift cards.
Monetize your Hobby
Many of us have hobbies that we haven’t yet figured out how to make into a career. Now’s the time to start exploring ways to use these interests as a side income. Think about freelance writing, selling photography, or offering guided fishing tours. Offer decorating services, catering services, or organizing services to your friends, family, and coworkers. If you make crafts, look into selling them at the Farmer’s Market, local boutiques and stores, or online through Ebay or Etsy. You might enjoy doing some landscaping on the side. I wouldn’t, but you might. Whatever it is that you like to do, brainstorm a way to monetize it and try it out for a while. Keep your investments to a minimum until you see how this goes. Investing in yourself is a good thing, but try borrowing a lawnmower to trim a few yards before you spend a wad of cash on a new one and find out that this wasn’t a good side job for you.
Consider Asking for a Raise
Have you been at your company for a few years without a raise? Are you good at your job and knowledgeable about your business? Research incomes for your profession in similar geographic areas and make sure you’re being compensated fairly. Use some wisdom here. Obviously, you should not request a raise if you don’t deserve it, but if you think you have earned it sometimes all you have to do is ask. Prepare appropriately, approach the topic professionally, and enter your meeting with facts to back your claims. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Think Long and Hard about a Career Change
Don’t do anything drastic or uncalculated, but consider your long term goals. Can you get there with your current career? As you think about it, ask yourself the following questions: Is there any opportunity for advancement? Do I like what I do? Is this a good fit for me? When was the last time I looked for a better opportunity? How hard would it be to switch to something I enjoy more? What steps can I take now to start working toward a better career?
Think about it, do your research, pray about it, and talk it over with your spouse. It’s probably time to stop wasting your life at a dead-end job and start looking for something better. It may just be possible to start moving in the direction of your dream job.
There really are so many ways to increase your income. I never want you to feel like you’re stuck with only the income provided by your 9 to 5 job. That’s a self-inflicted constraint! With a little research and some good networking, you can find some great side job options to increase your income without taking away from your family. What ways have you found to increase your income? Don’t forget to read Part 1 of Maximizing your Financial Situation!
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