Personal financial management is a delicate balancing act, accounting for household income and wide-ranging spending obligations. Ideally, the system balances, feeding in enough income to cover the appetites of creditors and others making claim to your financial resources. In practice, however, the supply side doesn’t always keep up with outgoing commitments, leading to cash flow shortages and undue financial pressure.
Fortunately, there are two ways to go about balancing household cash flow. Reducing expenses and economizing at home can help bring personal finances to a state of equilibrium, but even frugal living leaves some budgets under-funded. At times, the best way to reduce financial stress is to approach the problem from the other side of the equation, by boosting personal income.
Adding Income Eases Financial Stress
When financial commitments surpass income levels, families struggle to cover important expenses. Occasional, temporary financial setbacks are to be expected, as pop-up expenses pose challenges and income irregularities arise. But financial difficulties that rear-up month after month must be recognized and remedied. Increasing household income puts-up a sturdy defense against financial distress. Consider these money making moves to fortify your income:
1. Enhance Career Mobility
If your household is like most others, take-home pay represents the lion’s share of your income. Are you taking steps to maximize your earning power? Learning new work skills or pursuing formal education can help expand your upward mobility – bumping your pay at the same time. In some cases, employers will even pick up the tab for work-related education, investing in your capabilities. When in doubt, consult with your supervisor or human resources department for advice finding an upward career path.
2. Change Jobs
Working at the same job for a long time can lead to regular salary increases, but your income may still be limited by a pay ceiling for your particular position. If you’ve moved to the top of your earning potential on the job, it may be time to move into a more lucrative line of work. Career counselors and online resources can help you identify high paying careers in-demand of qualified workers.
3. Take Part-Time Work
When your employment is steady, but falls financially short, a part-time job may be all that’s needed to bridge the affordability gap. Seasonal, temporary work, for example, provides a short-term cash injection, without an unmanageable commitment. Holiday retail work, summer jobs outdoors, and seasonal positions with schools or sports facilities each present possibilities for evening and weekend work, to supplement your primary employment.
4. Negotiate a Raise
Some employers abide by strict employee evaluation schedules, offering salary increases at regular intervals. In other cases, human resources structures are less formal, resulting in fewer opportunities to move-ahead your earnings. If you are due for a raise, but it isn’t forthcoming, take a proactive approach with your supervisor. For the best chance of securing a raise, schedule a meeting and plan your pitch ahead of time.
5. Offer Consulting Services
Depending upon your skill set, you may be able to market your experience, as a consultant. Your current employer must weigh in, to avoid conflict of interest. But if your boss gives the green light, you may be able to make extra money within your own field. Accountants preparing tax returns, auto mechanics taking side jobs, and teachers tutoring students are all examples of professionals branching-out to earn extra money.
6. Sell-Off Unneeded Belongings
Even with the best intentions, possessions pile-up over time, resulting in a cache of unused items. For a fast influx of cash, consider selling items you no longer need. A single yard-sale puts a dent in household overstock, but you may wish to use online venues to sell collectibles and items of narrow interest. If you are successful, the self-inspired sales venture can easily be turned into an ongoing second-hand sales business, providing a consistent source of resale income.
Successful personal finance boils down to balancing incoming resources with outgoing spending obligations. When paring-down costs does not equalize cash flow, it may be time to expand your household income. Think outside the box for financial solutions, leaning on part-time work, consulting fees, resale income, and other creative income sources to balance your budget.