11 Simple Ways to Boost Your Monthly Income, No Matter Your Age
Most of us want to figure out how 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 the monthly paycheck.
While a study conducted by the Federal Reserve in 2015 showed men were less likely to earn big raises after age 45 — “If You Aren’t Rich by 45, Give Up” is how Slate put it — we think you can work to increase your income at any age.
Take your financial future into your own hands, hustle like your hair’s on fire and start making extra money a little bit at a time.
Whether you’re 16 or 60, here’s how you can make 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 in retail, you can try to negotiate your wages.
Before you ask for more money, make a plan.
You should have a valid reason for a raise — e.g. 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 them for their time, and ask how you might be able to secure a raise in the future. You never know — maybe they’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 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.
You could make business cards and even a website to add to your credibility. Follow up with clients and demonstrate great customer service, and your side gig could be a money-making venture for you for quite a long time.
3. Flip Furniture
Before I had kids, I made a habit of picking up old, used furniture at garage sales and thrift stores. Sometimes I’d find amazing deals, like solid wood desks for $20.
I’d spend a few hours refinishing and painting them and 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 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 for hidden treasures neighbors put out to the curb and the Craiglist’s free section for more potential projects.
4. Buy a Popular Blog
Starting a blog and building a following to become popular is no easy feat. In fact, it can take months or even years to start making money as a blogger!
One way to make money faster is by buying a site that’s up for sale — you can find them through Flippa.
Purchasing an online business can cost a few thousand dollars upfront, but if you buy a quality site, you can earn your investment back quickly. On one of the already-established websites I bought, I earned my money back in three months.
If you’re ready to go bigger, you could learn from Chris Guthrie, who earns a six-figure income buying blogs with established audiences.
Guthrie bought a crafting website for $4,000 (a relatively low amount in website sales) and was able to earn his money back in seven months. He went on to earn around $670 a month in profit with minimal overhead and time.
If you have the experience or are willing to learn, buying websites could be a great investment opportunity. If you’re not experienced, I recommend finding 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 an in-demand skill like writing, graphic design, computer programming or personal training, you’ve got a great opportunity to start a freelance business.
If you have a full-time job in the same field as your new freelance business, check your contract to make sure you’re not violating any non-compete agreements or any other rules.
You’ll probably want a website that showcases your work, a professional pitch letter you’ll edit depending on the job, and a lot of professionalism and motivation to keep going when business fluctuates.
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 want 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 to help freelancers and companies make more money through blogging.
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 for questions any time.
7. Walk People’s Dogs
With young twins in the house and tons of snow outside, I have a hard time finding motivation to take my dog on the nice, long walk 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-to-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 for a reference to anyone else they know who could use your help.
9. Drive With Uber or Lyft
OK, so this one does depend on your age, technically. You’ll need to have a driver’s license and be at least 21 years old to drive with Lyft or Uber.
Both companies use a very detailed application process, so your car has to be a certain age and your license 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 partner even turned his car into a salesroom for his jewelry business and earned $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 money selling home-cooked meals and baked goods to college students who might enjoy a piping-hot plate of lasagna or a freshly baked cupcake.
Not convinced? In 2013 University of Chicago student Aneesa Sonawalla started making gourmet cupcakes in her dorm room and delivering them to fellow students for $20 per dozen.
Students could order their treats through her blog and view examples of some of her “stress baking” options.
If you want to follow Sonawalla’s lead, 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 not to keep up with the Joneses, but becoming a minimalist helps you enjoy extra money money in two ways:
- Once you identify the unnecessary items in your home, you can sell them. Whether you post them in a Facebook garage sale group or list them on Craigslist, you can earn 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 for a tax deduction.
- When you stop spending money on meaningless items, you’ll experience an automatic boost to your bottom line. Consider all the money you would have spent on a new jacket or another unnecessary kitchen gadget, and 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 ways to make more money.
You just have to have a sense of entrepreneurship, a great work ethic and a strong will to make it happen.
Catherine Alford is an award-winning personal finance writer and fully self-employed work-at-home mom. She writes about how to balance life and a budget all across the web including her own site, catherinealford.com.