Okay, so at this point in the Budget Boot Camp, you should have your budget set up and running. You set your financial goals, you're tracking your spending, and you even know how to avoid scrabbling to pay for big expenses. If not, feel free to rewind and check out our past articles.
Increase Your Income
Are you doing the best you can, but your expenses are still exceeding your income?
-or- You're not hitting all of your savings and/or retirement goals?
You have two options: Increase your income or lower your expenses. This month, we're giving you ideas for increasing your income. These tips are great if you're looking to create a lasting income stream or even if you're just trying to save some extra money for an upcoming purchase. Of course, these ideas are only worth anything if you actually pick one and decide now you're going to make it happen. Feel free to take a minute to work up some resolve and willpower. ***DEEP breath*** Okay, let's do this...
#1 - From a current job: Ask for a raise
If you think this option is as easy as marching into your boss' office and saying, "I need more money!" then you've already lost. The process to get a raise doesn't happen in a day. The whole process takes a few months and begins by asking your boss how you can increase your value to the company (and then later showing him or her how you've created that value). For more information about the whole process (it works!), check out the book I Will Teach You To Be Rich (Lauren previously recommended that book here--I just got around to reading it. It's awesome-sauce).
#2 - Make a new source of income: Get Creative
Asking for a raise is not an option for me. I ask my bosses for a raise all the time. But since they are both under the age of four, their resources are pretty slim and they keep turning me down. So if you're like me, you'll have to explore other options. Luckily, the possibilities are endless.
Now's a great time to turn your hobbies and skills into income. With the internet, the whole world is your market and somewhere out there, lots of people want to pay for your skills. Maybe it's not even a skill yet, just an interest. Start practicing and make it a skill.
Like crafting? Open an Etsy shop or start a blog.
Like kids? Start babysitting (even if you already have kids of your own).
Were you kind of a test-taking nerd in school? People pay big bucks for SAT tutors!
Like taking pictures? Start a photography business.
#3: Need more ideas?
Check out our previous post: 10 Money-Making Jobs for the Stay-At-Home Mom
Don't Let Fear Stop You
Does starting a business make you want to panic? Take a few minutes to write down your top three fears. But don't stop there. Take another minute to address each fear.
These are the fears I had about starting my businesses (and how I addressed them):
- I'm worried my skill isn't professional enough to be worth anything and the market is already overcrowded. (There's only one way to find out--put yourself out there. Note: I was wrong. I just started a photography business last week and already had to turn down a client to avoid double-booking. I felt like a rock star).
- I don't have time. (Your schedule may be super crunched right now. But if you truly need the money, you'll find a way to make it work. Consider doing babysitting swaps with a friend to help with child care. When there's a will, there's a way. The week before I launched my business, I was feeling stretched. I temporarily deactivated my Facebook and Instagram accounts. It's embarrassing how much time magically reappeared in my schedule).
- I'm concerned it will distract from more important things, like relationships with loved ones. (I think this is actually the most valid concern. I resolved to only work while my kids are sleeping. This has worked out great.)
What's your next action?
Don't worry about everything you have to do, just pick what your next step is (make it attainable--something you can get done in 30 minutes or less). For example, don't write "Create a profitable business" on your To Do List. Instead, write down something like, "Spend thirty minutes talking to a friend/spouse about my idea." Once you get that done, pick your next action item. Baby steps. One thing at a time. You can do it.
Have any questions? Need a pep talk? Post your comment over on our blog and we'll get back to you ASAP.