Monday, March 4, 2013

Women's Money Week: Increasing Income

It's Women's Money Week again!

Today's topic is Increasing Income.

Salaries today buy less than they did in the 1970s - one could argue that there are more things to buy, but the truth of the matter is that in constant dollars, our money simply doesn't go as far as it used to in spending power. This is why it's not enough to use coupons or find other ways to be frugal - we have to balance money-saving activities with actively bringing in more income.

This is one of the uncomfortable truths about personal finance. I say uncomfortable because for many women, negotiating a higher salary or asking for a raise are difficult things for us to do. So difficult, in fact, that I've almost always avoided doing either, waiting instead for my employer to reward me. (This has worked out okay for me, as I've gotten a raise at every performance review, but how much more could I have gotten if I asked for a raise? And of course, I've discussed my failure at negotiating salary out of the gate before.)

So, okay. Negotiating for a higher salary and asking for a raise are too uncomfortable. How else can you increase your income?

Get a second job 
A part-time job can really help supplement a lower than ideal salary - Trent shows how even earning $180 per week raises someone up several percentages in the income distribution mountain. It doesn't just have to be delivering pizzas or newspapers, either - there are a lot of part-time jobs available that many of us don't think about. A friend works in the call center/warehouse of a large consumer goods store just a few evenings a week and makes really good money. Plus it's totally active work, different from her sedentary day job.

Similar to a part-time job, freelancing brings in money in hours that might otherwise be spent watching Better Off Ted marathons. If you have a skill that you can leverage for additional cash, why not do it?

Develop a hobby that brings in money
Hobbies can be a big money suck, but sometimes you can turn them into money-making enterprises. Making goods to sell on Etsy, designing websites, or performing (music, dance, improv) - these things might be something that you're already paying to do. Find out if you can get paid to do them!

Check out some of the other great posts about increasing your income from Women's Money Week bloggers. What are some of your favorite ways to increase your income?

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