No matter how much you have, everyone can use a little extra money. And that's truer these days than at any time in recent history. According to the Census Bureau, after inflation, median household income fell 2.3 percent last year and has dropped 7 percent since the turn of the century.
With inflation-adjusted income falling, the average American has two choices: bring in more money, or watch your standard of living erode.
In the video below, Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson has tips to make more money and keep more of what you make. Check it out and then read on for more
Let's recap the suggestions from the video and explore them a littler further.
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1. Get a part-time job
As Stacy said, the holidays are the perfect time to look for a second job, as companies are eager to hire additional employees to cope with the seasonal rush. Toys R Us is looking for 40,000 employees, and as you heard in the video, Target is hiring tens of thousands too. Here's an article from About.com that can hook you up with opportunities at even more employers.
Taking a second job doesn't have to be drudgery. It can actually be fun to get out of the house on a cold, dark winter evening and work with a new team of people in an upbeat environment. When you are looking for ways to set yourself apart from other applicants, check out our recent stories on Jobs for the Holidays - and 7 Tips to Get Hired and Holiday Jobs: 6 Tips to Get and Keep Them.
2. Ask for a raise
The best way to receive an increase in pay is by demonstrating your added value to your boss. According to a recent article at Daily Worth about a graphic designer who successfully received a raise, "Demands on our graphic designer grew substantially this year," says David Matheson, senior VP of a nonprofit. But the employee was so efficient and flexible, the company saved thousands by not having to outsource, and the employee got a raise and a promotion." For more ideas along these lines, check out our post on 3 Steps to Get the Raise You Deserve.
3. Spend less
They say a penny saved is a penny earned, but the money you save is actually worth more since you don't have to pay taxes on it. The first step is to create a budget and start tracking the money you spend. For more information, read our 5 Steps to Building a Budget That Works and consider some of these Free Budgeting Spreadsheets.
4. Bolster your career with additional training and education
Community colleges are thriving as working adults are seeking the skills they need to take their career to the next level. For more information, read our article on The New Face of Community College and 5 Things to Consider Before Applying. In fact, you may not even need to take college classes to get ahead. When I worked in the computer industry, additional technical certifications qualified me for a new job at double my previous salary. While that might be an extreme example, employers in other industries strongly value staff members with certifications that they can boast to their colleagues and clients.
5. Pay down debt
One major expense that gives you nothing in return is interest. Paying less is like giving yourself a raise.
Start by ranking your debts for pay-off and attacking them one at a time. The first debt to destroy is the one with the highest interest rate, especially if it's not tax-deductible, such as a car loan, credit card, or other revolving charge account. For more, check out this article The Best Way to Pay Off Debt.
If you have a home loan and good credit, you can reduce your interest payments by refinancing, since mortgage rates are at an all-time low. Read Ask Stacy: Should I Refinance My Mortgage? and then go to our interest rate search and see if you can find a lower rate. While refinancing takes time and effort, it can return hundreds of dollars in monthly savings.
Want more advice on earning more money and saving what you have? Check out:
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