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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Here’s how to boost your income and find creative ways to make money

When Amanda Nicholls was laid off from her sales job last summer, she had to get creative.

The 34-year-old, who was bringing in about 75% of the family's income, pivoted to selling second-hand goods for local families on Facebook Marketplace and other sites for a commission.

"I turned my basement and garage into a warehouse, basically, and found clients through local moms groups," said Nicholls, who lives with her husband and four children in Olathe, Kansas.

"[I] was already selling stuff for my own family, so I just took it a step further."

There's no doubt many Americans need cash.

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More than half of U.S. adults, 53%, said the $600 stimulus check they'll get for every adult and child in the household won't last them a full month, a recent survey from Bankrate found. President Joe Biden has proposed an additional $1,400, but the plan still has to make it through Congress.

There are jobs out there — 82% of U.S. employers plan to hire this year, according to Monster's Future of Work report.

Yet, while the unemployment rate is recovering, many are still being left behind. For those on the bottom half of the earnings curve (making less than $27,000 a year), employment is still down 25% versus pre-pandemic levels, according to Opportunity Insights.

Here's what you can do to increase your earning potential and find new opportunities to make more money.

Look for 'quick wins'

Selling used items like toys and clothing, and even doing it for others for a cut of the sales, is an example of a "quick win," said Jamila Souffrant, creator of the financial education podcast, Journey To Launch.

Nicholls netted about $7,000 before she returned to full-time work.

To make money fast, think about what interests you and where your skills lie.

Manu Vega | Moment | Getty Images

Do you like animals? Consider dog walking or pet sitting for friends and neighbors. If you are good at math or another subject, you can offer tutoring services, or you can babysit for families struggling with child-care needs.

Your gig can also be expanded into a bigger side hustle by creating a website, social media account or business cards, and offering your services to a larger audience, Souffrant pointed out.

That's how she started her business. Initially a blog about her desire to obtain financial independence and quit her job in commercial real estate, Journey to Launch eventually expanded into a media platform that included the podcast. During that time, Souffrant also obtained her financial education instructor certification and quit her day job.

Increasing your income at work

If you are an hourly worker, check to see if there are any opportunities for additional shifts.

Also consider getting additional educational certifications if your job offers more money for them, Souffrant said. That's what her husband, Woody, did to increase his teacher's salary. He also taught summer school and coached sports to earn more money.

Salaried employees can try to negotiate a raise, but will need to do some work first.

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