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.

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