Ways to Increase your Income

Tina Haapala |

By Gary Silverman, CFP®

Last time I wrote about how your savings are really just the mathematical result of your income less your expenses. The idea I proposed was that in order to save more, you need to concentrate on expenses. This week I’d like to take a brief look into the income side of things.

While raising your savings rate by cutting expenses is as easy as going out to dinner one less day a month, it would seem that raising income isn’t quite that easy. “Hey boss, I need to raise my savings rate, so could you give me a $50 raise?” That might not go over very well. So, how do you get more money coming in?

Let’s examine this. First, have you actually asked for a raise lately? Admittedly in some jobs pay scales are locked tight and neither you nor your boss has any negotiating room. But in a lot of jobs not asking for a raise will result in you not getting a raise. Sometimes the boss just needs a little reminder. It helps, of course, if you are the kind of employee that they want to encourage to hang around. And with a good economy and low unemployment more overtime opportunities are opening up again.

Then there is the age-old favorite: The garage sale. Okay, I hate doing them and am not all that interested in going to yours, but if you have some unwanted items laying around then you can open your garage a couple of times a year and sell them.

Those entrepreneurs out there can start their own businesses. It might be seasonal, such as a lawn mowing service. Year-round opportunities might include fixing small appliances, painting, doing alterations, or any number of jobs. The key here is something where you can control the amount of work you take on that requires no or limited investment. Make sure you know about any codes you have to meet, licenses you have to get, records you need to keep, etc.

Many people need a second job in order to make ends meet. But even those who can cover their expenses with their normal salaries can benefit from some additional income. For example, one of my friends had a problem. He had a good job with good benefits. He also had a goodly number of children he wanted to help with college. Good wasn’t good enough. When I met him, he was working nights part-time in order to funnel those earnings toward the college fund.

Bringing in extra income isn’t particularly easy, nor is it guaranteed. For some, it may not even be possible. However, if it is possible for you and you want to find ways to increase your savings, you may want to give these income-producing options some thought. 

Gary Silverman, CFP® is the founder of Personal Money Planning, LLC, a Wichita Falls retirement planning and investment management firm and author of Real World Investing.