In the personal finance world, there really are only two ways to improve your financial position. You can either reduce your expenses, or you can increase your income. A lot of financial bloggers focus on one or the other, and while I try to find a balance between the two, I think on the whole I lean toward reducing your expenses. But I’ll be the first to admit that you can only reduce expenses up to a point. Certain bills are pretty much fixed, and you can’t just go without eating. When you’ve reached this point, you simply have to look at ways to increase your income.
Sell Your Stuff
If you’re anything like most people, your house or apartment is filled with “stuff”. Maybe you have closets full of clothes that don’t fit right or that you simply don’t like anymore. Maybe you had a hobby (fishing, photography, skiing, etc.) and have a lot of equipment, but you simply lost interest in it. I know after our little boy grew from an infant into a toddler, we sold a number of his baby things. We used the proceeds to buy toddler things, but you get the idea. I had an old bike rack for our car that we didn’t need after we purchased our van. It was just taking up space in our garage until I finally listed it on Craigslist and sold it.
The point is that if you take a look through your home, you’ll most likely find things with value that are just sitting there wasting away in a closet or attic. I realize that selling things isn’t a long-term solution to an income problem (after all, you’ll eventually run out of things to sell). But, if you’re just in need of some fairly quick cash, selling your stuff might just do the trick.
Turn a Hobby Into a Side Business
This is one of those things that I always heard about, but always had a hard time figuring out exactly how to do it. I think a lot of this depends on your personality. But there are certainly a lot of people out there that are very successful with taking something they love to do, and figuring out a way to monetize it. I know several photographers that are now semi-professional that started photography as a simple hobby. They practiced and worked hard at figuring out the best techniques, lighting, etc. and turned their hobby into paying gigs. The same can apply to all kinds of hobbies, from woodworking to sewing to baking.
Develop Your Skillset
One of the most promising methods of increasing your income is becoming a more valuable employee. I know this sounds simple, but generally the employees that are the most effective get paid more. You can do this a number of different ways. Depending on the type of career you have (or are interested in), you could go to school and get a degree, you could ask your manager for additional training, or you could look into apprenticeships from City & Guilds. We live in a very knowledge and skills-based workplace, and developing those skills is one of the best ways to boost your income. Just putting in the effort to learn a new skill or to get certified in a skill can make a big impression on a supervisor.