You're doing everything right — saving and skimping — but somehow that's not enough. If you're not making enough to put aside a good chunk of savings for your retirement account and to pay off your debt, bills, and day-to-day expenses, you probably need to make more income. Here are a couple of ideas to raise your cash flow:
- Ask for a raise: If you don't ask, you don't get, so resolve to ask for the pay that you deserve this year. First of all, you need proof of why you deserve the raise, so start keeping track of all your accomplishments in a document. Or you can even email them to yourself and automatically store away these accomplishment emails in an inbox folder. Make sure you can clearly show how you helped the company's bottom line and cite numbers and use examples. Do some market research on sites like Glassdoor.com and Salary.com so you can bring this data to the negotiating table. Start working on other efforts such as being more visible in your company and spearheading events. Also, ask for a raise at the right time — try to time it when it's review season or when operating budgets are being created and approved.
- Get a new job: The job market seems to be picking up, so you might actually find better opportunities. Start by freshening up your LinkedIn and looking up companies you'd like to work for. Once you have a few in mind, reach out to people in your network to see if they know anyone who can pass your résumé to the right people. Remember to negotiate the salary for your new job since it's the starting point for future raises.
- Start selling stuff: Make money by selling things you already have. It can be clothes you never use to books you're not going to read again. Getting rid of the unnecessary also declutters your house — a win-win situation! Here's a good guide to selling everything.
- Turn your hobby into a moneymaker: Is there something you enjoy doing and that you're particularly good at? Perhaps you can start profiting off your favorite hobby. If you're the artsy sort, you can sell your wares on Etsy, or if you love to write, you can start writing guides for About.com. Check out these websites that will help turn your hobby into a profitable venture.
- Find side gigs: Taking on a second job might be too taxing, so make sure you'll be able to handle this. Try looking for freelance work in your field or even gigs like walking dogs, babysitting, tutoring, and renting out your place.