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Pump Up Your Paydays

Credit Wise (featured column)
by Jennifer Wallis

For all of us there may be times in our life when we find ourselves strapped for cash. Even though I have worked at least a full-time job since college, there have been times that I have found myself with a need for extra cash. I’ve had extra part time jobs ranging from garden center stocker to mortgage appraiser assistant to gourmet cookware salesperson.

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Of course, I’d rather spend my extra time relaxing but I can tell you that if I don’t have to worry so much about how to pay the bills, that’s worth giving up a day at the pool anytime.

Here are some tips to help you increase your income and cut expenses:

Take an additional job 

Although you may not immediately like the idea of working two jobs, examine all the possibilities. Could you work a part-time seasonal job to cover periodic expenses such as Christmas presents? If you are a stay-at-home parent, could you work from home? Could your older children work to cover some of their own expenses? What about just working a couple of days per week? Even a minimum wage job at 10 hours per week could earn over $250.00 per month. That may be enough to cover some groceries, a utility bill, etc.

Examine your payroll deductions

If you get a large tax refund, you may consider reducing the amount that is withheld from your check. Do not cut too much since you won’t want to owe at the end of the tax season. If you have a while before retirement, temporarily reducing voluntary investment contributions may help you free up enough cash to get yourself out of a tight spot.

Sell your stuff 

If you find yourself strapped for cash, garage sales can be a great way to make money. You can ask neighbors to collaborate with you to have a multi-family sale to attract more customers. If you have more specialized items to offer, consider selling them at an on-line auction. They can be huge moneymakers. Reputable consignment shops can be a great place to sell clothes, furniture, and other items.

Get creative

Are you crafty? Can you cook or draw? Craft shows can be great places to earn money. Do you have a special skill, like painting, decorating, sewing, lawn care, or pet care? People will pay you to do things they are unable or unwilling to do themselves.

Take it back

After buying things, do you later regret buying and having never used or worn what you bought? If so, take the items back. Even if you have to get store credit, you can use it for something you really need.

Cancel costly services

It’s a lot less expensive to walk around the block than to continue paying for a gym membership. Do you really have to have all those minutes on your cell phone or all of the features on your home phone? Can you scale back or cancel it altogether?

Examine your insurance

Does your insurance have cash value against which you could borrow? Have you shopped around for rates to make sure you are getting the best deal? Could you increase your deductible to reduce your payment?

Eat in

Although eating out can be very convenient, it can be incredibly expensive. If you’re always on the go, could you take your lunch in one of those mini coolers? If you must eat out, look for coupons or special offers.

During tough times, with a little ingenuity, you can find income from unexpected places. I once had a client who told me that she and her husband bought puppies from small towns, brought them into the city and sold them for a profit. Even if puppy pedaling isn’t for you, brainstorm with your friends and family to come up with creative ways to pump up your paydays. Any extra income can make a world of difference during hard times.

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Related Article: 15 Ways to Create More Cash

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Copyright © 2004 by Jennifer Wallis. All rights reserved.

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