Tuesday, June 3, 2008

10 Ways to Increase Your Income

Much like there are only two ways to loose weight (eat less and exercise more), there are basically only two ways to get out of debt…increase your income and decrease your spending. Yesterday we looked at decreasing your spending and today we will look at ten simple ways to increase your income so you will be able to use the extra money to pay down your debts or get a jump start on your savings.

  1. Ask for a raise. A friend of mine knew she was underpaid in her position so she did a salary survey, presented it to her Board of Directors and promptly got the raise she was after. Since I am self-employed, I raised my rates across the board, something I hadn’t done in three years. For another friend who works in a casino, the bulk of his income comes from tips, something his employer had no control over. His solution? To put extra effort into his job skills and customer service skills…his tips reflected his extra efforts.
  2. Have a garage sale. Almost all of us have a garage, storage unit or spare room chock full of stuff we don’t need. With just a few days of hard work and extra effort put into advertising, signage, organizing, pricing and presentation, a simple garage sale could quite possibly pay a whole month of bills or pay off a credit card for you.
  3. Ebay the rest of your unneeded stuff. Go to http://www.ebay.com/ and see what your friends and neighbors are selling. You’ll be surprised to see that there is almost no limit to what you can sell on EBay (people have sold everything from high tech electronics and million dollar paintings to pine needles and their children’s drawings)…all of these items bringing much needed income to homes across the country and around world.
  4. Look for more work. Can you work overtime at your job? Do you like children and have friends or relatives willing to pay you for your childcare services? Can you take a seasonal job at the mall or summer job in a local orchard? There’s lots of work available, much of it temporary, part-time or seasonal, that you can do to temporarily boost your income.
  5. Start a small business. There are hundreds of ways to make a little extra income in addition to your regular job. One neighbor is known for being the lawn guy. He is an engineer by trade but on Saturdays, he has people lining up to have him mow their lawns. While the extra income is a bonus, he is just happy to be out in the fresh air, mowing lawns which he enjoys doing anyway, and getting some exercise to boot. Other low-overhead, income producing tasks include dog walking, car washing, errands, child care, being a movie extra, breeding animals, the list is endless.
  6. Put together a one-time project to generate a chunk of income. If Spring Break is coming up, consider holding a week-long Spring Break camp for all of the children in your area. Write a grant and make a deal to get a percentage of it if you are successful. One year we had a family of Orca whales unexpectedly show up in the bay near our town. A young entrepreneur noticed that people were coming from all around to see these animals so he promptly had three hundred t shirts commemorating the event silk screened and sold them as he wandered around the viewing areas.
  7. Take a chance on the improbable. While I am not suggesting you should hit the casino or order a dozen magazines you don’t need just to enter a sweepstakes, there are people who have more or less hit the jackpot by entering a singing contest (everything from the local karaoke bar singing contest where you win $50 for first place to becoming the next American Idol), entering a writing contest, receiving a brand new house from Extreme Home Makeover (don’t laugh, this has happened to a family in our area!), or winning a jingle contest.
  8. Seek out all of the money you are entitled to. Do you have any waiting deposits (phone, utilities, apartment, etc) that you can now claim? Do you have rebates waiting to be sent in? Have you taken all of the credits and deductions you are entitled to on your taxes? Have you checked out www.missingmoney.com and www.unclaimed.org to see if you have money waiting for you? Have you collected on any loans you made to friends and relatives?
  9. Help someone out and earn money at the same time. Take in a boarder; rent a spare room in your home and earn extra cash. Caring for foster children will earn you a monthly stipend; however a genuine love for children and strong parenting skills is a must. Have a ‘bed and breakfast’ and share your home with interesting people from all over the world. Sell your blood at a local blood bank.
  10. Let your hobbies earn you some extra cash. Do you head to Asia each year? Spend the first couple of weeks of your vacation guiding a group of novice tourists around with you and earn a tidy some for your efforts. Do you know all of the best fishing spots in your area? Bring along some paying customers next time you head out to the river.
Above all, use your creativity, think like an entrepreneur, and don’t be afraid to ask for what you are worth. With a little extra effort, your hard work will let you quickly earn your way out of debt.

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