After you develop a budget that will help you get back on track financially, you realize that you not only need to cut back and downsize, that you really need to boost your income. Increasing your income not only helps pay outstanding debt quicker but it will also allow you more flexibility with your enjoyment of life and boost your outlook on the future.
Here are some ways to boost your monthly income for a more flexible budget:
1. Get a 2nd job – either permanent or temporary.
This could be as simple as joining a construction/warehouse company that offers (usually at minimum wage to start) drop-in day labour positions with no or little experience, such as Labor Ready (pre-requisites are only steel-toed boots and a reflector vest), background work on film sets (joining a background agency is free or has a nominal fee), or if you own a vehicle you could joining a crowd-sourced services company such as Daily Delivery in Vancouver.
There are many temporary work agencies across the country that specialize in short term to long term placements in every field imaginable. Many of these short term placements will result in offers of permanent placement so you may be able to upgrade to a better job by working at a part-time evening or weekend position.
2. Sell Assets.
The key point to remember when selling assets is that everything can be repurchased in the future if your situation changes. Large items that we own can be sold quickly either to neighbours or online. Sell your second car, seasonal vehicles (such as motorcycles, bicycles, boat and trailer), digital and electronics (computers, game consoles, cell phones), etc.
3. Share Accommodations.
If you are single, consider sharing space by renting a room in a house or apartment suite close to where you work. Not only will you create cash by holding a moving sale, but it will be easier to sell your vehicle and either walk or use transit to get to work.
If you are a young couple, consider a move in with friends or family that have a basement (that can be converted into living quarters) that can be rented affordability or be bartered in exchange for household chores and yardwork.
If you are a homeowner or renting a larger property, consider renting your ‘space’ as parking for a monthly fee or a larger property space to those with seasonal vehicles such as snowmobiles, motorhomes, and boats.
Spare rooms are perfect for visiting budget-conscious students and empty basement space can be converted to a bedroom (or two), and someone who works out of the city and needs a place to sleep a week or two out of a month. Garages can be rented out for budding musician band practice, small business storage or vehicle parking.
4. Use Short Term Rental Services.
Live in a location that is desirable by tourists or business visitors to the city? I personally know of a single person small business in Vancouver that raised their start-up capital by first renting an associate’s unused dining room to live in, while using AirBnB and VBRO to rent their apartment to create an extra $300/day income while working full-time and using free library space in the evenings to work on their new company. A great booster to add to your budget.
5. Participate in Paid Focus Groups and Paid Studies.
Craigslist is a haven for businesses and post-secondary institutions looking for consumers to partake in ‘focus groups’ or the longer time commitment of the ‘paid study’ research.
Market research is typically 2-3 hours, with beverages and sandwiches, and at the end, you will receive an envelope with cash for your time and feedback on products – ranging from the design of a new wine label campaign to whether a new logo for a familiar company is enticing to the consumer. Typical pay is $50 to $100.
Paid studies are usually longer in time commitment and have a wide range of payments including cash, gift cards and sometimes meals and vitamin supplies. Vancouver’s UBC has a dedicated page that keeps a current list of studies available to students or the general public ranging from 30 minutes to multiple visits. The list is added to every semester depending on student study. Your local university may have a similar page but a majority use Craiglist to find participants in the Etc. or Part-time section. Use the terms ‘focus group’ and ‘paid study’ to quick search.
Online resources and networking are invaluable for finding short-term work to assist in raising your income. Keep your ears open for friends and associates who talk of wishing they could ‘find the time to…’ and jump in. Cleaning and organizing a garage, weeding a garden at $10-20/hour could prove to be quite lucrative.
Helen Siwak is Editor-in-Chief of BLUSHVancouver & EcoLuvLux Lifestyle Blog | Lifestyle contributor to Daily Hive (VancityBuzz) | West Coast contributor to Retail-Insider | contributing writer for Marble Financial.