Do you have an amazing adventure you’re working to save for? Or do you want to annihilate any debt you have hanging over you?
To make progress on your goals, it’s better to focus on earning more rather than cutting back. Earning more money gives you more choices and more freedom.
I learned this the “hard way” after graduating from college. All entry-level administrative jobs were around $12/hr where I lived. That sounded better than making nothing, so I applied for and secured one of those jobs.
Unfortunately, I got stuck in the “cut back on everything!” mentality because I figured my earnings were limited. That’s not true – it wasn’t for me, and it doesn’t have to be for you, either.
I switched to being self-employed a year ago, and I’ve since doubled my income. There are tons of opportunities out there to earn more so you can work toward your financial goals quicker.
If you need some ideas, check out this list of ways to earn more money to save or pay off debt fast. At least, faster than you would if you kept your earnings the same over the next year.
Gigs for Goals
Amazingly funny and talented financial blogger J. Money coined “gigs for goals” a few years ago, but that doesn’t make it any less relevant of an idea. In fact, it’s pretty ingenious because it’s so basic, you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of it.
All of us have goals we’re working toward, right? Do those goals get a little overwhelming sometimes? Do you tend to lose motivation for them quickly?
First, figure out why you want to achieve a certain goal. Then, figure out a way to earn money to achieve it.
J. Money lists a few great examples in his post – paying rent can come from your regular income, and saving for a vacation can come from walking your neighbor’s dog. Take a goal, and simply figure out what you can do to earn money for it.
This divvies things up a bit, and makes your gigs more worthwhile and exciting. When you’re out walking the dog, you can think about how nice it will be to take your dream vacation. You’ll come to associate the gig with what you’re working toward. This also means you’re less likely to lose motivation.
Get a Seasonal Job
You might groan at the idea of taking a second job, but if you’re not interested in trying to offer services to people, getting a seasonal job (especially with the holidays around the corner) can really help your progress.
Think about it. Say you work at a department store for 20 hours a week (8 hours on Saturday and Sunday, and then 4 hours one day during the week). If you can earn $9/hr, that’s roughly $600 extra per month (after taxes) you can sock away toward your goals.
If side hustling isn’t your thing, it’s your next best bet to earning more.
Start Side Hustling
Of course, we have to mention side hustling, because this is one of the most flexible ways you can earn extra money. If you need to ramp up your earnings, or scale back, you can – it’s all up to you!
We have a list of 12 crazy side hustles people have actually done to earn more money, but you can vary this up.
First, you can choose to be a freelancer, pitching your services to clients who might need them. Popular freelancing gigs include writing, photography, graphic design, and social media management.
Second, if you’re an expert in your industry or a niche, you can pitch yourself as a consultant. You’ll want to check to make sure you can do this alongside your day job (you don’t want to anger your bosses, after all!), but it can be lucrative and less hectic if you choose to only work on one or two projects at a time.
Third, you can be a jack of all trades, offering to do anything and everything for family, friends, and neighbors. (This works well when paired with the gigs for goals mindset.)
Tech savvy? Offer to fix computers. Live near an elderly community? Offer to help with landscaping, shopping, or general house maintenance. Love pets or babies? Offer to babysit. Focus on short-term stints you can easily stop once you’ve met your goals if you don’t want to make a true side hustle out of it.
Work Overtime at Your Job
When I still worked a regular day job, I clocked as much overtime as I possibly could. Coming in 15 minutes early and staying 15 minutes later doesn’t sound like a huge sacrifice, right? But it adds 30 minutes per day, or 2.5 hours, onto your workweek. It was a nice little bump in pay and I didn’t have to do much.
A little tip – if you’re looking for steady “extra” pay for more than a year, try looking for jobs that require you to work over 40 hours per week. My fiance has to work 48 hours a week, and gets paid time and a half for every hour over 40 he works. He can work up to 52 hours. It’s nice to have a little bit of control when it comes to how much you earn.
This may not be an option for you if you’re salaried, but make it known to your coworkers that you’re looking for extra work opportunities. You never know what might pop up, and it shows initiative, which could be what you need to secure a raise! (By the way, if you’re due for a raise, by all means ask for one. It’s another easy way to earn more.)
Be Willing to Think Outside the Box
Truthfully, the best way to earn more is to simply shift your focus and your mindset to knowing it’s possible. Don’t make the same mistake I did and think you’re sentenced to a life full of boring, low-paid work. People are getting paid for the most ridiculous things these days. Just put yourself out there and be open to different opportunities!
What’s the best way to earn more money so you can make progress on your financial goals quicker? Do you prefer side hustling, getting a regular second job, working overtime, or focusing on gigs for each of your goals?