4 Ways to Increase How Much You Get Paid
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A common problem people experience when trying to get their finances in order is a lack of money.
Okay, you might say, I cut all my expenses and now I’m putting the extra money toward debt or savings. But is that it? What if I need more money for something else?
Or maybe you don’t even have many expenses to cut. If you’re a recent graduate, chances are you’ve kept your living expenses on the lower side, but your income just isn’t enough to get you ahead.
In that case, looking for ways to increase how much money you make is the next stop on your financial journey. I faced this same fork in the road myself a few years ago. I had been frugal with my money, cut my expenses down as much as possible and still wasn’t able to pay as much toward my student loan debt as I wanted.
That’s where freelancing came into the picture. The ability to charge more, set my own rates and “work overtime” helped me earn more than I did at my last job. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways you can increase your income. Here are four suggestions.
1) Adjust Your Tax withholding
This isn’t a super common suggestion, and it might not work for everyone, but when was the last time you checked your tax withholding?
If you received a tax refund from Uncle Sam this year, you might want to think about adjusting your tax withholding (ask HR how to do it) so you don’t get a huge refund. Instead, you’ll receive more money in your paycheck.
Of course, you don’t want to over-do it and end up owing, so consult your tax professional or run your numbers through a calculator to see if this is the right move for you. If it is, you could see a bit of a bump in pay without doing much!
2) Volunteer for Overtime or Extra Shifts
Most of the time, increasing how much you get paid means increasing how many hours you work. However, having the option to work overtime (if you’re hourly) is nice. I held one job where management cut down on overtime severely, which also cut down on my student loan payments. Boo! Take advantage of the flexibility when you can.
Simply make it known to your colleagues and your bosses that you’re looking for extra work opportunities. Volunteer to stay late and get things finished, or ask to be put on additional projects if you can handle the workload. As a bonus, taking this initiative may just qualify you for a raise in the future!
If your work situation is slightly different – maybe you work retail, or don’t work full-time or on a set schedule – then ask to take on extra shifts. I’ve seen plenty of friends take on additional shifts in the name of earning extra money and coming out way ahead because they got to work overtime. Time and a half is nice!
I hate to say it, but if you’re in retail, the food service industry, or even the hospitality industry, chances are someone calling in sick or absent happens regularly. Or maybe a coworker needs to take a day or two off, but the boss needs them on.
Volunteer to cover for them! If you’re working and get news that someone on the shift after you called out, ask if you can replace them by staying longer. Essentially, you want to become a sponge for work hours. By making it known that you’re willing to work more, people may start coming to you to ask if you can cover for them when they need time off.
Lastly, volunteer to work holidays, as that’s when the most cash can be made, or try and find a night shift job that complements your schedule. The differential pay can be nice.
3) ASK FOR A RAISE
Speaking of raises from before, if you’re due for one, now is the time to ask. Yes, it requires a bit of work upfront to make your case, but not asking for a raise is much worse. You’re losing out on potential income growth over your working years if you delay this, and you may feel resentful for not getting paid what you’re worth.
Create a list of accomplishments to show your boss and research salary data to see what the average salary for your position is in the area. Are you getting paid less? Then take that data with you to show during your meeting.
Figure out what your ideal raise looks like (in conjunction with the data you have), and then settle on two other figures: the least amount you’d be happy with, and a higher amount that’s still within the realm of possibility.
You always want to leave yourself room for negotiation, which is the reason for having the higher amount ready to go. Having the lower amount provides you with a “last resort” that you’ll still hopefully be happy with. The worst thing you can do is be unprepared with no dollar figure in mind!
4) Start Side Hustling
One of the best avenues for earning more these days is side hustling. That’s because it’s so flexible! If getting a part-time job isn’t appealing to you (who wants to go to another job right after their first job?), then look into earning money from your skills via freelancing.
Many people in the personal finance community find extra income opportunities from freelance writing, social media management and blog management. The sky is truly the limit. I’ve seen people earn side income from all sorts of endeavors. If there’s a need for it, there’s someone out there who will probably pay for it.
Heck you could even get paid to take surveys in your spare time through sites like Harris Poll, Reward TV, Survery Junkie or PineCone Research. While it might not be much, every little bit gets you that closer to your financial goals. Plus, one of them might just give you an idea you can monetize and transform into a profitable side gig.
Study the market and make sure there’s a demand for your services/skills, just in case, and then figure out what you’re worth. What are the going rates for the types of services you’re offering? How specialized are your skills? What are your financial goals – will this side income be enough for you to make progress?
Always Look for Opportunities
The best way to increase how much you get paid is to simply have it on your mind. If it’s not on your radar, opportunities won’t register with you. Once your focus is on earning more, I can almost guarantee you that you’ll discover more income generating opportunities than before.
Your mind will be primed toward earning, not cutting back, and as a result, you’ll start asking yourself, “How is that a profitable idea? How can I earn more and work less? What skills can I develop to provide more value?”
While I don’t recommend becoming completely obsessed with earning more money (having some free time is nice), having this knowledge will prove valuable for many years to come. Earning more allows you to have more options for your money, and generating additional income streams is never a bad thing.
You’ll accelerate your financial plan by leaps and bounds by focusing on increasing how much you get paid, so why wait? Figure out one action you can take to increase your income, whether that’s something short-term like selling unneeded items, or something more long-term, like starting a side business.
How have you increased how much you get paid? Have you started side hustling? What services or products do you offer? When you were younger, did you pick up extra shifts to earn more?