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How can I increase my income? 10 ways to boost your earnings

In these increasingly difficult times managing our money is becoming harder and harder. With rising costs and inflation, it can feel as though . If you find yourself struggling to make ends meet, then it might be worth considering ways in which you can generate extra income.

Here’s eight options to consider to help increase your earnings:

1. Ask for a pay rise

Sometimes it’s worth asking if you can have a pay rise – surprising as it sounds! Your employer doesn’t always have your salary at the top of their agenda and may be quite happy to carry on paying you the rate you were on when you joined the company several years ago.

This can be an awkward conversation for some people, but if you don’t ask, you don’t get! If you do ask for a raise, then it might mean that there will be some negotiation with regards to additional duties and responsibilities.

2. Consider opportunities for promotion

Have a look to see if there are any opportunities for promotion in your organisation. It can be a real effort not to disregard this as a viable option. We know our employer could be feeling the squeeze and there may be no new positions coming up that you know of, but sit with the idea and think about whether it could be for you. 

Listing your achievements and ways you have developed within your role can be satisfying and boost your confidence. You can also reflect on any gaps or productivity problems in the workplace and have a conversation with your employer, showing how you could help to support them and solve these problems.

Even if it is not possible, thinking of ways to build your skills in preparation for promotion shows you are serious about investing in the organisation.

A promotion will usually come with extra responsibilities, so carefully consider whether this is the best move for you on a personal level.

3. Look for a better paid job

Have you looked at the job market recently? It’s always worth a look as you might find similar roles with higher salaries in other businesses or organisations. Research has shown that people who change jobs frequently have the potential for greater earnings! You can look at websites such as Glassdoor to compare job roles, salaries and company benefits in your local area.

Remember though, finding new work comes with risk. For example, if your new company goes through redundancies will it be ‘last in, first out?’ Is your current contract more secure? The most obvious solution might not always be the right one for you. Speak to family and friends and make a list of pros and cons to help you think this through and calm those worries that come with making big decisions.

Also, speak to hiring managers. This can be a win/win. You can get a better sense of the organisation and they can se your pro-active decision making processes at work!

4. Work overtime

A common way for those in employment to boost their income is to work overtime (extra hours). Not all workplaces offer this option, but if it is available, then it is worth considering.

5. Gain a certificate or experience

If moving jobs isn’t possible, look into what training, apprenticeships and projects you could potentially commit to within your workplace that will give you the right skills to make a career move. Your employer could be offered grants or might be part of a training scheme. There are also free training courses to improve maths, English and other technical skills such as business, ICT and health. Alison has a range of free online courses.

Try creating a timeline to map out your journey and when you can expect your income to change. This can be motivating and reassuring. Gaining a certificate, new experiences or training in an area that will increase career opportunities can give us more control. Having a clear direction can help boost our confidence.

6. Sell annual leave

Some employers allow you to ‘trade in’ some of your annual leave for extra pay. There are clear limits to this that relate to the Working Time Regulations legislation, so you’d need to make sure this was within the rules and allowed by your employer.

Taking regular breaks from work is really important for your wellbeing and to avoid burnout, so make sure this will fit in well with your lifestyle and leave you enough free time to rest and recharge.

7. Look for a second job

A common way to boost income is to take on a second job. You could work freelance or evenings and weekends which will bring in extra cash.

A second job doesn’t need to be long term or career focused, but it could be a good way to increase your income in the short term. It’s also an opportunity to meet new people and network.

Make sure you check your current employment contract to see if your organisation has any rules on conflict of interest. Your tax and national insurance may also be affected, depending on the income of both your jobs. Find out if it could affect you and see if you’ll be better off with this calculator.

Once again, make sure you consider carefully what hours you can manage without feeling tired or burned out. Check out our article on looking for part time work.

8. Find a side hustle

Do you have a hobby or talent that could make you money on the side in addition to your regular income? A popular option for many people during the pandemic which has continued to make headway as a real moneymaker! It is inspiring to hear how entrepreneurial people are but again, it’s not everyone.

The ways to develop income from additional work is vast: from teaching, writing, offering tech support, ironing and creating unique food parcels.

It can take hard work, planning and time – not to mention dedication. Depending on your idea you might need a business plan at it might cost you money before you make money.

9. Cut spending where you can

It might not always be possible, but if you can take a detailed look at your finances you might find there’s leeway for savings to be made. You might find that you’re still spending on old subscriptions you no longer need – it could be a magazine that you could manage without, a pay to view TV channel that you don’t have the free time to make use of, or the gym membership that you intended to make use of for your New Year’s resolution but now it’s July and you’ve only been five times!

All these little outgoings can add up to a substantial amount.

10. Check to see if you’re eligible for employment support from Work Well

You might be able to get free support from one of our expert employment specialists. Click here to find out.

You can find more ways to boost your income on MoneySavingExpert – run by trusted expert Martin Lewis.

Chris Finch - Vocational Specialist

Picture of Chris

My name is Chris and I have been involved with the Work Well network since the start of 2007. I currently work for the CORE team in Croydon as a Vocational Specialist. I have worked before in Southwark and Croydon in both community mental health teams and with IAPT services. Before this I enjoyed a long work history in mental health support, having started in 1988 in a hospital setting in South West London. In my career I have worked for the NHS, Local Authority Adult Social Care and Mental Health Charities which has given me a lot of insights and experience. I have been employed in other jobs including retail, labouring, motorcycle courier and working as a refuse collector. I have also volunteered in my spare time using my many other skills, most recently with a local environmental charity. I enjoy bicycles and repair them for neighbours, people my local community and as a volunteer. I have two old classic motorcycles which I maintain and take for a spin whenever the weather is decent. I also enjoy growing healthy food on my lovely allotment.