Category: Make More Money

You need more money? Do something about it.

“Johnny, I need more money!”

It’s a daily occurrence for me to either receive an email from a reader, or to hear from a friend or co-worker in real life, about how they don’t make enough money.

Normally, I take these conversations with a grain of salt, because most of the time I know exactly how much money these people make since a majority of these people work for the government (government employees pay charts are available publicly).

To find out exactly why they need more money I need to dig a little bit into their financial houses to determine whether: Yes, they do need more money or more commonly that No, they make plenty, but they could always make more (if they really wanted to).

There are a few questions that need to be answered whenever someone mysteriously “doesn’t make enough money”, because I usually won’t believe anyone that says they don’t make enough.

  • Have you already tried decreasing your expenses? Do you have a $90 iPhone plan or a $19 non-iPhone one? Have you created the most efficient system for your monthly expenses?
  • Are you making sufficient use of your time? Do you live close enough to work?
  • Have you started creating passive income streams? Do you have plans to purchase a rental property to increase your monthly income?
  • What do you do when you get home from work? If you work a 9-5 or 8-4, how do you spend your evenings? The average American family watches 30+ hours of television every week. That equates to more hours than a part time job. Try cancelling cable and stick to watching a couple episodes a week of your favorite shows on Netflix.

Do something about it.

First it’s important to know exactly how much more money is needed per month. Then, create a plan using ONE or ALL of the following suggestions.

— Sell a few things on Craiglist, eBay, or open a seller account on Amazon. Everyone has stuff laying around that they don’t need, so why not turn it into cash and add $100 (or more) to your monthly income?

— Get a second job! If your lazy ass is sitting on the couch every night getting fat and watching football or some crappy rehash of a 1970s detective show you’re wasting precious time that you could be out earning more money. Waiting tables at a restaurant for 5 hours 4 nights a week could net you an extra $300 take home. That’s a little over $1300/month on average.

— Start your own blog. Although it may take a while, all of your hard work could pay off in the end by increasing your income by $500 or more every month. Bloggers work for themselves, and have no employees to pay at the end of the day. Blogging won’t make you rich overnight (or ever), but it can be an enjoyable experience that could prove to be a new stream of revenue.

— Turn a hobby into a cash cow. It doesn’t matter what your hobby is, there’s probably money in it. You like playing video games, board games, or card games? Guess what! Human beings create those things. Design, or conceive the idea for a game and you could pull in some big money. Do you like widdling wood blocks into duck-calling whistles? I’m pretty sure that’s how the dudes from Duck Dynasty earned their claim to fame.

— Refinishing furniture to sell, Creating clothes for kids to wear, even Hairdressing can all be done within the comforts of your own home and help you rake in extra money every month. You can even do this type of stuff while being lazy and watching 30 hours a week of television.

— Babysit. Make yourself more available to family and friends. If you normally stay in on Friday and Saturday nights, you might be a perfect candidate for watching someone else’s children for money (as long as you aren’t a registered sex offender, and if you are please leave my blog!). And guess what dudes, it’s 2013 and we’ve been breaking down gender stereotypes for some time now and you too can be a babysitter. Or a “manny” if you do it professionally.

— Stay at home mom/dad? How about watching a few other children as well? Each child could be worth $500+ every single month. There are some legalities involved with this, but if you’re interested in earning more while staying at home then it’s worth the extra bit of work to get started.

— Become an available freelance writer. There is a huge network of people on the internet looking to create content for other people for cash. I don’t know the exact way into this business, but my good friend Erin from Red Debted is a master freelancer who could answer any questions on the topic. You might start out making $5 per post/article, but the deeper you get into this world the more you could make.

This year-to-date I have personally worked my ass off to increase my income and decrease my family’s monthly obligations. I started this blog, of course. I’ve also bought a less expensive house to live in and successfully rented out our first home for over 10% more than the monthly mortgage payment. I’ve invested money across the spectrum: Peer-to-Peer lending, Betterment, and standard index funds through Vanguard. I’m even thinking about getting a second job after our home renovation is complete.

If you aren’t doing any of these things to increase your income, you can only blame yourself for not making enough money. There is money to be made everywhere you look, all it takes is a little bit of know-how and a little bit of time.

WHEN DO YOU REJECT UNPAID INTERNSHIPS AND STOP WORKING FOR FREE?

A box of Krispy Kreme donuts and a yard sale taught me the basic exchange of money for labor. After conquering our block, my sister and I branched into an under-the-table venture to take care of neighborhood pets during the summer. We netted around $400 apiece, which to an 11-year-old and an 8-year-old translated to innumerable ice creams at Family Mart. Almost a decade later, I discovered I’d have to pay money to acquire work experience through unpaid internships in order to graduate college. Something about the work-equals-money system suddenly seemed broken.

Early on in my college career I did a few short unpaid internships. During these internships I could live at home or with relatives in order to negate living costs. The summer before my senior year I received the opportunity to intern for one of the biggest names in news. In order to accept the position I would have to find housing in Atlanta, pay for gas, groceries and other living expenses and forgo seeing a single penny go back into my back account.

I didn’t even hesitate and immediately accepted. I figured the money I put in newsweek-internships-01would yield a high ROI from networking opportunities and having a “brand name” media outlet on my resume. Fortunately for me a New York Times article in April of 2010 scared a few employers into paying interns. I ended up getting paid minimum wage while working 40 hour weeks. Many of my peers weren’t so lucky, even after college.

After graduation, countless millennials take unpaid internships in the vain hopes of finding a “real job,” but 3 months, 6 months, a year later they still pay to work for someone else. We do it for the almighty networking opportunities. Networking isn’t to be undervalued, all of my paying jobs have been a direct result of networking. But even with networking advantages, at what point do we stop working for free?

If anyone truly knows, I’d love to hear the answer. Until someone comes up with a definitive conclusion about when to stop working for free, try answering these questions:

  1. Are you still learning and being challenged?
  2. Is this situation financially viable or are you just incurring debt?
  3. Is there real potential to move up in the organization or begin getting paid for your work?
  4. Who is your competition and how many spots may open?
  5. Do you want to be here in 5, 10 or 15 years?
  6. If you owned this company would you be paying someone to do your work?
  7. Are you consistently doing your best work?
  8. Have you “asked for the order”?

My mother always used to tell me to “ask for the order” if I complained about an injustice in my life. You’d be surprised how far you can get if you directly ask for the promotion you’ve earned or to be fairly compensated for your work. Of course you should do this tactfully and only if your performance truly merits a promotion or raise.

It isn’t just internships that require free labor. The creative community depends on the kindness of strangers. Blog posts wouldn’t be written, web serieswouldn’t be created, plays wouldn’t be staged if it weren’t for people willing to put in unpaid hours. But even when it’s your friends, co-workers or heavy-hitters in your industry asking for your time, consider how long you are willing to work for free.

Some of the best professional advice I’ve ever received went something like this: “When you graduate take a job, any job, but know exactly how long you are going to stay there.” Even if you’re happy with your job, always be planning your next move and figuring out how to get there.

Increase your income instead of waiting for a pay raise

If I asked if you were doing everything you could to generate income, what would you say? A lot of people think that pay raises are the only way to earn more money. That’s true, right?? Well let’s see…

First, we need to address the debt situation. Owing money (for any reason) will eat up your monthly paycheck. Next time you think to yourself “I could handle $25 a month for this new TV” the first thing you should do is punch yourself in the face and realize that it’s going to reduce all further paychecks until the thing is paid off (which will probably take a while). The second thing you should do is walk out of the store proudly sans TV and fire off an email to Johnny Moneyseed with the title “You’d be so proud of me”.

If you make $1000 a month and your monthly bills include $500 worth of loan repayments, you are only netting $500 a month, since the other $500 does not belong to you. Eliminating debt, in this situation, would allow you to buy a $500 TV every single month. And without owing anybody anything.

We started our road to recovery with $60,000 worth of debt. After finding the snowball/avalanche method of debt repayment we paid off our debts about 5 years earlier than we would have by using traditional methods. This isn’t the only method, but it’s the one we used, therefore, it is the best.

The hardest thing you could do to make more money is to give in and get a second job. Depending on your situation it may or may not be a necessity. I would say that if it’s even an option for you to have dual-employment to just do it. If you have kids or your full-time job is 1000 hours a week then this option may not be available to you.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a cashier, a nurse, or a construction worker, the fact is that you need more money, and complaining about it just doesn’t seem to be working in your bank account’s favor. Find something you actually like to do so you don’t add more stress into your life. Like kids? Babysit. Like driving? Deliver pizza. Mow lawns. Walk dogs. House sit. Your options for part-time employment are pretty limitless.

The easiest thing you could do to make more money is to reduce the waste in your life. Having a smartphone is a luxury. Having cable TV is a luxury. Eating out at restaurants is a luxury. Luxuries are non-essentials that weigh down on your paycheck. Not everyone is going to be willing to give everything up, and I completely understand that, but if you are serious about paying off debts or increasing your income, these are the areas under your control.

The most enjoyable way to increase your income is to utilize your talents and resources. I, for example, write these lovely posts for you on the website that I own and in return, when you click on advertisements, I receive a small compensation. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying I’m talented or that the extra income would make anyone jealous. What I’m really saying is that I love to write, and I love personal finance, which is why my side-hustle involves both of those things.

Figure out what you love to do if you don’t already know. Offer whatever it is as a service on Craiglist. Start your own blog. Teach lessons. Anything that can make you even a few extra bucks from time to time.

All of these things will land you more money. They’ll also probably eat up a good portion of your time. It’s important to realize that more money shouldn’t equal more stress. The whole reason we’re trying to make more money is to reduce stress.

Money isn’t the key to happiness in life, but it does help. Once you get to the point when you don’t owe anyone anything, you can breathe a breath of fresh air. You can go for a hike in the woods, or have a backyard picnic, or whatever you do for fun without feeling the weight of stress on your shoulders. It’s crazy to think that not even five years ago, I used to have to borrow money from my parents whenever I couldn’t pay my bills, and now I write about how to save/make more money.

We’ve done everything from selling stuff to make money,  to significantly reducing the cost of our lifestyle, to paying off all of our debts, to starting this site. I figured that it was time to pass on some of the things I’ve learned over the years, but only the stuff we’ve actually done, or things that have worked. I’m a strong advocate for following my own advice, so anything you see throughout my posts are things we have done, or actively do to further save money.

If you catch yourself talking about “how broke you are” or “how in debt you are”, stop and think to yourself have I done everything I can to make extra money? I know I couldn’t stroll into my boss’s office and say, “Look dude, I need a raise”, and you probably couldn’t either. Let’s stop basing our futures off non-existent pay raises and turn to areas of opportunity that really do exist.

*Johnny Moneyseed does not advocate doing anything illegal to make money. Seriously, don’t do anything illegal to make money. I mean it!