Money probably won't hunt you down -- you have to find it.
Budget advice may sometimes seem like it's made for someone else. For example, one common axiom is to set aside 10% or more of your income to start building emergency funds. But how can you save 10% if you need 100% (or more) to meet your responsibilities?
The best budget plan might not be enough if your earnings can't support your responsibilities and goals. But the good news is that in most cases, you can earn more. It won't happen without effort, but anything worth having is worth working for.
Don't be Shy, Ask for a Raise
There's nothing quite like the bundle of nerves in the stomach when walking into your boss's office to ask for more than you've got. There's the fear of being turned down, of course, but with unemployment rates still high, there's also the fear of being fired.
There is a right way and a wrong way to ask for a raise, and you should do some homework before you take that walk down the hall. Larry Schwimmer for the Huffington Post suggests doing a bit of research to learn how salaries for your position compare across the country and in your area. Also understand that many companies have a salary range for each position, so there is usually some room to negotiate, even if it's not advertised.
Assert yourself, both with job performance and when asking for a raise. In your daily duties, be the one who goes above and beyond. And although it might go against your grain, Schwimmer suggests tooting your own horn, at least a bit, when your achievements at work are noteworthy. Once you're ready to ask for a raise, don't be shy. Explain why you believe you deserve it, be prepared to back up your opinions with facts, and of course always be respectful. But remember, respect yourself as much as you show respect to your boss.
Requesting a raise can be terrifying, but you won't get what you never ask for.
Find, or Create, Part-Time Work
Part-time work can beef up your monthly income considerably, but not any part-time job will do. For example, if your usual job is a 9-5, a part-time job with a rotating schedule might not fit unless it offers flexible hours.
Some part-time jobs can offer exceptional pay, but expect to get some training if you want a job that pays better than minimum wage. Chron.com reports that certified public accountants earn as much as $40 per hour. If you work for yourself, you can set your own hours. Massage therapy can also pay as much as $50 an hour, which is a lot higher than you'd earn delivering pizzas, and you'd set your own appointments. Almost any expertise you've got can lend itself to consulting. Know how to decorate a room with style? Offer your services as an interior decor consultant. Is your lawn and garden better than everyone else's on the block? There may be plenty of opportunity for landscaping and garden consulting.
If your budget is simply too thin to think about long- or short-term savings goals, it's up to you to do something about it. A new job with higher pay probably won't fall into your lap.
Use your nerves of steel and ask for a raise, and your drive home might be on cloud 9. Branch out and create, or search and find, a part-time job that pays more than minimum wage, and you're really taking control of your future.
However you go about it, there is usually the potential for earning more money if you know how to ask and where to look.
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