Increase your income: add a part-time job, more hours or change jobs

Put to use what may be your greatest investment too: your ability to earn income.

When making a spending plan, people with money problems often discover that they do not make enough money. If you have taken the time to make a spending plan and trim unnecessary expenses, and you still are short on money, you need to take steps to make more money. Sometimes people seek to make more money through investing. But what if you do not have any money to invest? To bring your plan into balance or to save for a specific expense, you may want to put to use what may be your greatest investment tool: your ability to earn income.

If you could find a part-time job paying $9 per hour and you could work at least10 hours a week, you would make $90 per week. If your employer took 10% out of each paycheck for taxes and you were paid bi-weekly, your net paycheck every two weeks would be $162. The total net earnings for the year would be $4,212, or an extra $351 per month to help build an emergency fund or pay down debt. All this for just an extra two hours of work, five days a week.

Maybe you do not have to get a second job in order to add 10 hours of extra pay per week; maybe you can take on an extra task or job from your current employer. As unemployment rates continue to decline, many employers will find it difficult filling all of their available positions. You may be able to create your own raise by suggesting extra tasks that you would be able to handle in exchange for increased wages. You will save gas and time by not having to go to a second job site. Working longer hours may add to your stress, so it would be wise to set smart goals. An extra job or extra hours do not have to be permanent. If you calculate how long it will take to build your savings or pay off your debt, you can determine how long you need to make the extra income. There is no need to become stressed out at work.

However, if you are already stressed out in your job, now may be a good time to dust off your résumé and apply for a position that interests you and pays more than your current position. Certainly many people can increase income by changing jobs, and as the available labor force continues to shrink, your possibilities increase. The bottom line is that your biggest return on investment may be your ability to earn money. If the money you take in is less than the money you pay out, something has to be done to bring it into balance. You can send less out or you can take more in. Make a plan to solve the problem and do it in the new year.

 Michigan State University Extension offers a variety of money management programs throughout the state of Michigan. For more information, check out MIMoneyHealth.org.

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