Ways to Increase Income

    2 minutes
    Tips on ways to increase income and build financial slack.
    Living in the 21st century has given us new and interesting ways to make money. Whether you want to pay off debts or erase a temporary shortfall, the road to building financial slack can be long and winding for all of us. Here we’ll share some tips and resources to increase income.

    While the Internet may offer many income producing options, there are also many offline jobs which can be profitable, such as dog walking or house cleaning. The key will be finding a balance that works for you between earning more income and doing something you enjoy.

    Getting started
    Consider a multi-layered approach to increasing your income stream.  Some ways of generating income are pretty simple to get started, while others may take a while to build up.

    When considering ways you would like to increase income, it can be helpful to evaluate your timeframe and ask yourself this question: is it urgent?

    If you have a short-term need— here are some ways to increase your income:
    • Rent your car: 
      Just as you can rent out a spare room on Airbnb, you can rent out your car in a similar fashion.  Apps like Turo can help you navigate the marketplace where drivers can pay to use your car for a day.  Insurance is an important concern and apps like Turo require you to submit a copy of your driver’s license and auto insurance (like other rental companies) and may also offer additional insurance coverage which you can accept or decline.
    • Become a dog walker or animal sitter:
      Love animals? Make money by becoming a dog walker. Post flyers or research online methods or apps like Wag! which help you pick up walks when your schedule allows. If you have space maybe you could offer overnight dog boarding. Always read the fine print.

    • Garage/yard sale: 
      Keep it simple and consider putting on a garage or yard sale and turn clutter into additional income.
    • Sell stuff online:
      Have a vintage board game, old phone or iPad lying around? Selling your games, electronics, books, clothes, shoes or items which may have value to someone else can be a great way to increase income.
    • Babysitter gig:
      Everyone from college age students to recent retirees can increase their income by watching other people’s children. Word-of-mouth referrals from friends and family are always a great way to get started.
    • Drive for Uber or Lyft: 
      Enjoy driving your car and want to increase income at the same time? Try your hand at taxiing passengers.
    • Make deliveries for Doordash, Amazon, Uber or Instacart: 
      Delivery is turning into big business in the US. Try your hand at delivering food, packages and other merchandise.
    • Complete surveys online: 
      No matter the site, taking online surveys probably won’t make you rich. However, answering questions is easy work and just about anyone is able to do it. If you decide to try surveys be wary. Consider looking for a site with a higher success rate and hourly pay.
    • Buy and resell products: 
      Buying low and selling high — it’s a tried-and-true way to turn a profit. When you’re dealing with merchandise you care about you’ll have fun along the way

    If you have a long-term need—you might consider some of the strategies below:
    • Rent out your spare bedroom:
      Renting out a spare bedroom is another way to increase income. This can be done by flyers, newspaper ads or websites like Airbnb. Be prepared to spend some money to clean and keep up the property, replace goods and pay toward service fees. Consider a tenant screening service like RentSpree or Transunion SmartMove with fees ranging from $25 to $40 per applicant. Be careful to do your research and scrutinize your rental agreement before you get started.
    • Adjust tax withholding status:
      Consider adjusting your W-4 tax withholding so you get more in your pocket each month instead of a large refund check. With the average tax refund around $3,000, this works out to about $250 per month over the course of a year. You could give yourself a raise by adjusting your tax withholding and designating that $250 a month to eliminating debt, saving for your emergency fund or letting it build interest in a savings account.
    • Investments:
      Consider adding another dimension to your financial life—investing so your money can earn money. It’s never too late, or too early, to start.
    • Negotiate for a higher salary:
      This could be the simplest solution. Can you build a winning argument for more pay at work? When you believe you’re worth the extra money you won’t feel weird asking.
    • Become a tutor:
      Whether by contract or on a case-by-case basis, the need for teachers is endless. Leverage your science, foreign-language or test-prep expertise into a side gig by becoming a private tutor. You can tutor people at local schools and community centers or online with sites like Tutor.com or Craigslist.

    Watch out for scams
    There are lots of opportunities out there to increase income, but some are questionable, if not outright scams. Be wary of any “opportunity” that asks for an upfront fee, requires you to pay for certification or requests your Social Security number or any financial information, such as your credit card number. Consider community reviews, online forums and complaints with sites like the Better Business Bureau. The BBB assigns ratings based on reported complaints, business transparency and other factors.

    If you have additional questions, or would like to review your options, reach out to the Financial Health Center nearest you. We have seasoned Specialists available to help provide personalized support in achieving your financial goals.

    Other resources
    • Interested in learning more about how you adjust your take home-pay? Take a look at our article about W-4 paycheck withholding amounts.
    • Use our Spending Plan Worksheet to identify extra money when you plan for your everyday expenses.