The days of having one job for 20 or 30 years, retiring and then receiving a pension are long gone. For many years, our parents or grandparents, devoted their lives to one company and were rewarded for their work at a regular retirement age. Unfortunately, that type of devotion no longer pays off. Instead, it’s important to consider you and your family your own personal “company” and to make sure you are being compensated adequately. This might mean taking on extra work, moonlighting or finding other ways to add to your income.
Creating multiple income streams is essential and can be a real boon during a hard time, particularly if you lose your job or have an unexpected expense.
1. Bank your raise
Do you get a raise each year? If you do, and you are currently able to meet your expenses on what you earn, put the extra away in an emergency fund or savings plan. You’ll be amazed at how much you can save by ignoring the extra.
2. Match your 401k
Most employers offer some sort of match for your 401k plan. If you are not fully vested in your company’s 401k, you should be. Most companies will match your contribution up to a certain percentage or amount. Find out just how much your company is willing to contribute. This is about as close to “free” money as you are ever likely to get and even though it can be difficult, if you need to access that money or borrow from it at some point, you usually can without suffering too much of a penalty.
3. Credit card points
A lot of credit cards will give you cash back for purchases or points for purchases in various departments — like gas or travel. Find out what your credit card offers. If you have a credit card that offers a good percentage, points or other bonuses, then use your card to pay for all of your purchases in a month and then pay off the balance at the end of the month with your paycheck. This will keep you from incurring interest and still get the benefits of the card.
Are you an expert in a certain field? No matter what it is from writing to social media to restaurant management, you might be surprised at how much extra money you can make by offering your expertise. Make a list of your skills — things that you do on a regular basis either on your own or in your job. Are you the queen of organization? Do you create social media campaigns that get a lot of followers? Promote those skills and offer them to small businesses, large businesses and individuals. If you’re really good at what you do, start a blog, write a book and create even more income streams from this one area of your life.
5. Sell it
Whether you have a garage filled with antiques or have a flair for turning someone else’s trash into a treasure, you can make a lot of money by selling things and it doesn’t take a lot of extra time or money to do so. Go through your household items and the stuff in your garage. You might be surprised by how many old toys, small appliances, tools and other items you have and don’t use anymore. Take a little time to take some pics of the stuff and place it for sale. Make sure you post good pictures and are accurate in your description. People are usually fine with something being used, dented or whatever as long as you’re honest about it and you give them a good deal.
6. Fitness benefit reimbursement
Have you recently lost weight or started a fitness program? Your health insurance company might give you some money back for taking care of yourself. Harvard Pilgrim Health, for example, gives up to $150 per family member for belonging to a qualified health and fitness club.
7. Explore a hobby
Do you love dogs? Do you like to knit? Are you a great baker? Explore these hobbies and see if there are ways you can generate income from them. Even a few hundred dollars a month can contribute a lot to the household. Maybe you could teach knitting at the local fabric store and sell some of your creations at the local farmers market. Or maybe a roadside stand with your vegetables and baked goods could generate some extra income. Whatever your hobby, there is a likely a way to bring home at least enough extra cash to support the habit!