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Are you planning to purchase a new car or home? There are ways you can afford your dream buys that don’t require you to look for the best auto loans or the best home financing. For instance, you could consider asking for a raise at work or investing in a high-yield index fund for a few years. Perhaps you might even try to monetize a hobby or look for a part-time job. 

Regardless of your methodology, it will take time before you see any signs of improvement in your finances. If your goal is to increase your income and set aside more money in the bank, this article is for you.

Here are seven ways to (immediately) boost your income this year:

Ask for a raise

Asking for a raise might seem like a daunting prospect. However, it’s one of the easiest ways you can make more money without branching out into other work. After all, you’re already spending eight to nine hours in the office—there’s no need to extend those office hours elsewhere. 

Experts say employees should ask for a raise at least once a year—depending on the complexity of the work and assignments they handle. If you haven’t asked for a raise this year, this is your sign to finally make a move. 

Instead of waiting for your employers to voluntarily give you the raise, come up with a proposal that highlights the benefits the company may gain by raising your salary. Once you have that down pat, present it to your boss or manager and see where it takes you from there. Chances are you may get your raise—especially if you’ve been working for them for quite some time. 

But if they decide to deny you the raise, you can always try this next suggestion. 

Find a better-paying job

If getting a raise seems impossible in your current employment, it might be time to seek greener pastures elsewhere. Take the experience you’ve gained from all those years of plowing the fields and help another higher-paying company plant new seeds. 

If you don’t think your current experience level can land you a higher-paying job, a quick way to resolve the issue is to take a few college courses to supplement your resume. You might even consider getting a master’s degree to support your college diploma. Your goal should be to improve your current skills, making you a more suitable choice for the job you’re trying to apply for. 

Start an online business

Starting an online business can be an effective way to increase your income and savings. However, the barrier to entry can be a little too much to overcome. Besides looking for a product or service to sell, there are other things that you need to consider, e.g., where to sell, who to sell to, and how to go about marketing your wares. 

While starting your own business can be tough, it’s not entirely impossible. There are hundreds of people making thousands a month simply by selling keychains or other trinkets online. The trick is to find the right market for your products and the rest will take care of itself. 

Having an online business on the side to supplement your monthly expenses can save you from a world of stress and anxiety. You won’t need to rely solely on your monthly salary anymore. Plus, you’ll have extra cash to spend on absolutely anything you want—from vacations to guilty pleasures. 

Have a rummage sale

Rummage sales or yard sales are a great way to make money and simultaneously declutter your home of unnecessary possessions. As humans, we find it unavoidable to feel sentimental and attached to certain items. However, some people overdo it and end up hoarding things in their homes. Before you know it, you have 10 suitcases, 12 frying pans, six spatulas, and an absurd amount of bobby pins. 

You can sell unused or unwanted items and make a little money out of the event. According to the New York Times, people who put on a garage sale can earn between $500 to $1,000 by the end of the event. Of course, this will depend on the items you sell at the event. 

You can turn it into a monthly tradition, letting you earn a little money and keep your home clean at the same time. 

Consider cash-back credit cards

The great thing about cash-back credit cards is that you can get rewards simply from using your credit card to pay for purchases and bills. 

Every time you use your card to buy something, a percentage of that purchase is sent back as a credit on your card. If you plan your purchases right, you could earn hundreds to thousands a year just by putting your everyday spending on your card. 

Avoid spending more than what you can afford. Interest rates can balloon at any moment, which could potentially overshadow the benefits of a cash-back credit card.

Pay off your debts

Without knowing it, expensive debts can be draining your finances. Interest charges can easily eat through what money you’re receiving monthly. To avoid ruining your finances and credit score, paying off your debt as quickly as possible is recommended. 

Start investing 

If you’re prepared to study the fundamentals of investing in stocks, you may make significantly larger returns on your savings than if you kept them in a bank. 

When investing in stocks and shares, there is always an element of risk involved. Even the most experienced investors might lose money.

For this reason, it is sometimes advised to diversify your investments. Don’t keep everything in one fund. 

Final thoughts

Increasing your income is significantly easier to do today than it was a few years back. There are an abundance of opportunities in the market that many people have left untapped. It’s often due to ignorance, but other times, it might also be because of fear. 

Fear can jeopardize your progress and keep you stuck wherever you are right now. If you want to improve your income and savings, be brave and prepare yourself to face overwhelming challenges. Good luck!