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Easiest Way to Increase Income

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Money isn’t everything. Not by any means. Yet, it does determine many factors in our life: what we do in our spare time, how early we can retire, how much we can give to good causes, how we celebrate special events, what types of cars we drive, etc. Whether we want to admit it or not, our lives are intimately linked to our salaries. Our lives are not completely determined by our salaries as we can cut cost in order to throw money towards things that are most important, but there is a correlation.

About a year ago, I realized that my wife and I were barely making ends meet. She was working at a low-paying job in order to get the necessary experience and I was working while going to graduate school. We were doing much better than many of my graduate school peers, but we weren’t putting anything towards retirement and barely able to cover the random expenses that came up. I realized that in order to have a little more financial stability, our household income needed to increase. I understood (and still do today) that there is more to life than money, but a little cushion would provide a necessary relief. So, I did what any motivated person would do – I started working to improve our situation.

How We Doubled Our Income in One Year

While we weren’t as strategic about our effort to increase our household income as I would be now, in the past year to year and a half, we have been able to double our salary. Again, as a disclaimer, it is much easier for young professionals to significantly increase your salary than someone that has been in their career for many years. With that said, I still consider the progress that we made to be quite remarkable and I want to share how we did it.

Wife’s Promotion

As I mentioned, my wife was currently working a low-paying job. To be clearer, she was working as an Americorps Vista for a non-profit. This means that most of her below-minimum-wage salary was subsidized by the government. While one of the lowest-paying jobs, it was providing her valuable experience in a growing non-profit organization. As it turns out, it not only provided her valuable experience, but also entry into a manager position after her initial Americorps year commitment. She excelled in her job and all of her supervisors loved her. Within two years time, she had two more job offers, allowing her to advance further up the “ladder.” While she was not obsessed with advancing, it came naturally with working hard and implementing successful initiatives. In a year’s time, she practically quadrupled her income alone.

Side Business

Another thing that changed was my side business. After starting blogging in order to write about a passion, I soon found a way to make money from my hobby. Things changed rapidly and before I knew it, I was starting several other projects in order to generate revenue. While income has tapered off a little, it’s nice to get a few hundred extra dollars from something that you enjoy doing. More importantly, it’s a few hundred more than many of my peers make sitting around doing nothing but watch TV. I’m now reinvesting the income from my side business in order to earn more money from dividends.

Easiest Way to Increase Income

Through the course of the year, I have learned that there are many ways that families can increase their income. The possibilities are endless, but not all are created equal. I committed a lot of time and effort to grow a side business, but I’m not sure it was the easiest way to make more money. In the past couple months, I have started applying for different jobs that would be something I am more interested in going forward. While not the primary focus, the positions that I have been interviewing for are significantly more money than I am currently making. In fact, I am expecting a job offer in the days to come (fingers crossed).

When I stop to think about how much my wife has advanced in her career as well as the potential for me in this job, I can say without a doubt that the easiest way to increase your household income is to get a promotion. It may never be as simple as just working hard or diligently, but it is possible, regardless of where you are. “Getting a promotion” may also mean that you are switching companies, as would be my situation if this job works out. It may mean that you have to learn a few new skills, but it is much easier to do that and be eligible for a $10,000 raise than to build a side business that has a net profit of $10k.

What do you think is the easiest way to increase your household income?

This post was written by Corey, a staff writer from 20’s Finances.

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AUTHOR Derek

My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.

19 Comments

  1. I have to agree with you. While there are many different ways to increase your income, a promotion or a raise is likely the quickest and often the easiest!

    • Thanks SFH. I can’t believe how long it took me to realize this. 🙂

  2. As a person somewhat older than you (on the other side of 50), reducing debt is my primary means of increasing what’s in my pocket. I too have a business on the side, and its currently paying for itself – its not necessarily making much money, but I’m ok with that at this point, I don’t need the added income from a tax perspective, but its something I’m working on for my own retirement in the future. Going debt free is my first goal, then retirement from my primary job, then letting my passion for my business take over.

    • That sounds like a great plan, Nancy. Yes, I agree. Getting out of debt is a great way to increase your cash flow.

  3. I think that a raise at work is the quickest and possibly easiest way. I also think that starting a side business can be quite lucrative. There are all sorts of things that you can do to increase your income. I started blogging with a goal of a few extra hundred dollars a month and it’s been so nice having this extra income. It varies each month and I’m working on making it grow, but I’m like you in re-investing the money. I don’t budget my side income, I either save it or use it for business expenses.

    • Sounds good Jon. It’s nice to have a little cushion that you can do whatever you like with.

  4. My husband got a promotion before his first year was over and then a raise a few months later when he finished the year and got mechanical engineer TWO added to his title. In dietetics it’s not that easy to get a promotion. The health department has it’s grade levels that you move up in through time but there’s no voluntary raises. Picking up extra shifts at the hospital has brought in an extra $1k/month though, so that’s helpful!

  5. If you can’t get a promotion, you may need to search for a new job. Or you can negotiate a higher salary. If declined, you can ask for a review in 6 months.

  6. I’ve found that the older you get the harder it becomes. I’m nearing 50 so I’m less employable to be able to change jobs, I don’t have the same drive to work my online business the way I did years ago. But at least I can control my business much more than I control my job (at least somewhat, thanks Google). My wife and I both work in education so big raises, big promotions, and big bonuses – well, let’s just say they don’t come along that often!

  7. I think the easiest way in the long run is start a business. Business owners have much more room for growth than most employees ever will. Definitely not easier over the short run though.

    • That’s a great way to look at it Lance. Long term is a different story altogether.

  8. Do well in your job, and build your professional reputation. People know who the talented folks are, it’s no secret. If you can parlay this into a promotional opportunity either at your current work or elsewhere, that’s a nice way to build up income. Another great way is a double move – get the promotion, then soon after leverage that to get an even higher position with another company.

  9. Back in the day (when I was not retired), I gave myself promotions every 3 – 5 years by job hopping to one at a higher salary.

    You have to have skills in an ‘in demand’ area to do so, and you have to be willing to start over with a new employer, which is not always easy.

    • I agree Marie – starting over is a challenge. It’s not something I want to keep doing every couple of years.

  10. Promotions are great if you’re in the right business, company or even department, but a promotion can be dangled for years if your boss isn’t the best about promoting from within. In my experience, searching for a job outside of my department was more lucrative than waiting out a boss who hired from outside the company.


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