11 Simple Ways to Boost Your Monthly Income, No Matter Your Age
Most of us want to make more money, right? We all envision what we could do with a little extra cash, whether it’s a one-time windfall or a boost to our monthly paychecks.
While a recent study conducted by the Federal Reserve showed men were less likely to earn big raises after age 45 -- “If You Aren’t Rich by 45, Give Up” is how Slate titled their coverage -- you don’t have to be under 40 to start increasing your income.
Take your financial future into your own hands, hustle like your hair’s on fire and start increasing your monthly income a little bit at a time. Whether you’re 16 or 60, here’s how to start putting away a little more money each month.
1. Negotiate Your Salary
Perhaps one of the quickest ways to increase your income is to ask for a raise -- today! Whether you work part time or full time, in an office or a retail store or anywhere else, you can try to negotiate your wages.
Before you ask for more money, make a plan. It’s important that you have a valid reason for a raise, like you recently completed a major project that made your company a lot of money, you’ve been putting in a lot of extra hours, or you’ve been receiving rave reviews from customers. It’s also ideal if it’s been a while since your last raise; you don’t want to be asking every other month.
Show the value you provide to the company, like how many sales you bring in or feedback from customers you’ve helped. Present your case in a compelling way.
If your boss says no, remember to be professional, thank her for her time, and ask how you might be able to secure a raise in the future. You never know -- maybe she’ll recommend asking again after tax time or in the next quarter.
2. Pick Up a Side Gig
A side gig can be any sort of small business you do alongside your regular work or school, whether it’s a recurring role with a client or one-off projects with multiple customers. From picking up a newspaper route or mowing lawns to tutoring students on the weekend, side gigs are a great way to make a little bit of extra cash.
Even though it might feel less official than your full-time job, be professional. Treat it like a real job -- because it is one.
Make business cards and even a website to add to your credibility. Follow up with clients and demonstrate great customer service, and this could be a money-making venture for you for quite a long time.
3. Flip Furniture
Before I had kids, I made a habit out of picking up old, used furniture at garage sales and at Goodwill. Sometimes I’d find amazing deals, like solid wood desks for $20. I’d spend a few hours refinishing and painting them and then resell them for a nice profit.
People love custom furniture, and they’d rather not spend the time to refinish it themselves. This is a great way to make some extra money, and it’s fun to hunt down deals. In addition to garage sales and thrift stores, make sure to check your back alley and Craiglist’s free section for more potential projects.
4. Buy a Popular Blog
Starting a blog and building its following to become popular is no easy feat. In fact, it can take months or even years to make money as a blogger!
One way you can make money faster is by buying a site that’s up for sale on a site like Flippa. Although purchasing a blog can cost a few thousand dollars upfront, if you buy a quality site, you can earn back your investment quickly. On one of the already-established websites I bought, I earned back my investment in three months. On the other, I am about $300 away from making back my investment.
If you’re ready to go bigger, you could learn from Chris Guthrie, who earns a six-figure income buying blogs with established audiences. He bought a crafting website for $4,000 (a reasonably low amount in website sales) but he was able to make his investment back in seven months. Now, with minimal overhead and time, he earns around $670 a month in pure profit.
If you have the experience and you know what you’re doing or are willing to learn, buying websites could be a great investment opportunity. If you’re not experienced, it’s important to get a trusted source to walk you through the process and a blog manager to help teach you the ropes.
5. Start a Freelance Business
If you have a skill like writing, graphic design, computer programming or personal training, you’ve got a great opportunity to start freelancing for clients. (If you have a full-time job in a similar area to your new freelance business, check your contract to make sure you’re not violating any non-compete agreements or any other rules.)
You’ll need a website that showcases your work, a professional pitch letter that you will edit depending on the job, and a lot of professionalism and motivation to keep going when business fluctuates. Here’s more information on starting a freelance business.
6. Become a Business Coach
If you’ve been in a particular field for a few years, you could provide valuable insight and guidance to less experienced people or those who wants to break into your field.
For example, entrepreneur Carrie Smith offers coaching services to help people make the shift from employee to freelancer, and I offer a more niche coaching service where I help new bloggers learn how to get paid as a staff writer. When offering this type of coaching service, you can either charge an hourly rate to meet with someone over coffee or online, or charge a monthly retainer to be available to answer questions at any time.
7. Walk People’s Dogs
With young twins in the house and tons of snow outside, it can be hard to get motivated to take my dog on the nice, long walk that she absolutely needs -- so I pay a dog walker to take her out every week.
If you love dogs, becoming a dog walker is a great way to make extra cash. This is an especially great option if you have a flexible work schedule and can take dogs out during the 9-5 workday.
8. Become a Night Nanny
Love babies? If you have experience caring for and feeding newborns, you could make a lot of money helping sleep-deprived parents as a night nanny -- sometimes as much as $100 to $200 a night.
This type of support is especially helpful to parents of multiples, so start by contacting a local multiples group in your area and advertising your services at its meeting or in its newsletter. Once you’ve helped a family or two, ask if they know anyone else who could use your help.
9. Drive for Uber or Lyft
OK, so this one does depend on your age; you will need to have a driver’s license to make money driving passengers through Uber and Lyft.
Both companies use a very detailed application process, so your car has to be a certain age and your licence has to be up to date. If you qualify, you could fit shifts around other commitments and make excellent money, especially on busy weekend nights. One Uber driver turns his car into a salesroom for his jewelry business and makes $250,000 a year!
10. Sell Home-Cooked Meals and Treats
If you’re a college student or live near a college campus, you could make great money selling home-cooked meals and baked goods to college students, who might enjoy a piping-hot plate of lasagna or a freshly made cupcake.
Not convinced? University of Chicago student Aneesa Sonawalla makes gourmet cupcakes in her dorm room and delivers them to fellow students for $20 per dozen. Students can order their treats through her blog and view examples of some of the “stress baking” options.
If you want to follow Sonawalla’s lead, just be sure to check with college officials to get permission to advertise and sell your goods.
11. Become a Minimalist
Between email ads, billboards, TV shows, and general office chatter, our world is filled with triggers to buy, buy, and buy some more. It can be hard to be the type of person who doesn’t keep up with the Joneses, but becoming a minimalist helps you enjoy extra money money in two ways.
First, once you identify the unnecessary items in your home, you can sell them. Whether you post them in a Facebook garage sale group or simply list them on Craigslist, you’ll earn a little extra money from something you don’t need anymore. If you don’t want to sell it, you can always donate it to a local charity or thrift store for a tax receipt.
Second, when you stop spending your money on meaningless items, you’ll experience an automatic income increase. Think of all the money you would have spent on a new jacket or another shiny kitchen gadget, and then think of what else you could do with it.
How Will You Make More Money?
The evidence is pretty clear: You definitely aren’t limited by age or experience when it comes to boosting your monthly income. You just have to have a sense of entrepreneurship, a great work ethic and a strong will to make it happen.
Your Turn: How do you plan to boost your monthly income?
Catherine Alford is an award winning personal finance writer and full time blogger. She writes about how to balance life and a budget all across the web including her own site, Budget Blonde.