How To Increase Your Income (15 Creative Ways)

Updated March 29, 2023

A hand catches tumbling dollars and coins.

Pay is an important factor for many job seekers, and there are many ways to grow your income to help meet your needs. Many people want to increase their income for a variety of reasons, including paying back debt, saving for the future, financing emergency needs and living more comfortably. While a variety of factors can affect your salary, understanding some of the strategies you could employ to help you increase your earning potential might help you reach your goals.

In this article, we discuss the benefits you can gain from more income and explain 15 techniques you can follow to increase your income.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute financial advice. Consult with a licensed financial professional for any issues you may be experiencing.

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Benefits of increasing your income

Increasing your income can offer several benefits, including:

  • Reducing stress: Increasing your income could reduce any pressure you may feel regarding your ability to manage your money.

  • Stabilizing your income: Some peoples' paychecks vary depending on their hours and sales, so increasing your income could stabilize your earnings.

  • Helping you meet goals: A higher income may make it easier to pay off debt, save money for future purchases or establish a retirement account.

When making a plan to earn more income, reflect on if you want to boost your pay short-term or long-term. This may help you pick an appropriate tactic to reach your goal. For example, if you want to earn extra money to pay for an upcoming trip, you might implement a short-term solution. If you want to increase your take-home pay permanently, a long-term solution like a raise might be more effective. It's also important to account for any tax requirements that come as a result of additional income.

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How to increase your income in 15 ways

There are a variety of strategies you could employ to improve your pay. Remember that your salary may depend on your employer, location and experience, so some methods may be more successful than others. Try to establish realistic expectations when pursuing more income. Below are 15 methods you might pursue to increase your chances of a higher income:

1. Go back to school

If you're interested in pursuing a more prestigious title and a higher salary, earning an advanced degree could qualify you for new career opportunities. Research advancement opportunities in your field to learn if a degree is mandatory to reach your goals. Master's or doctorate degrees can deepen your understanding of your industry and grow your network, which may equip you for more responsibility at work. You may also prepare to change careers if you hope to leverage your experience to enter a different field.

Some employers encourage employees to seek higher education in their field to improve their productivity and capabilities in the workplace. Many companies even offer partial or full tuition reimbursement for employees seeking an advanced degree. Consider speaking with a human resources (HR) representative at your workplace to learn if there are opportunities for tuition reimbursement to help you fund your education.

Related: 12 Jobs That May Pay for Your Master's Degree

2. Create a passive income source

Passive income can increase your earnings without having to go through training or pursue higher education. Passive income is any source of payment that requires minimal or no active work to earn. You can earn passive income by making investments, such as in rental properties, selling downloadable assets online or offering ads on social media. While these endeavors can require time and effort at the beginning, they can supplement the salary you earn at work without requiring you to take time away from your career.

Read more: All You Need To Know About Passive Income and How To Build It

3. Look into your current employee benefits.

Many companies offer employee benefits that enable employees to save money. Examples of these benefits include a flexible spending account (FSA), 401(k) options and travel stipends for parking, gas or public transportation. Some employers also offer tuition reimbursement and child care assistance programs. These benefits can help you fund health care costs, save money for retirement and lower the cost of living. It may be beneficial to schedule a meeting with an HR representative to learn more about the benefits available to you.

4. Modify your tax withholdings

If you want to increase your take-home pay fast, you can adjust the tax withheld from your paycheck. This provides you with a bigger paycheck as soon as the next pay period. Keep in mind that you're still accountable for paying taxes on your income at the end of the year. Speak with a financial expert or an HR representative at your workplace to understand your options and make the best selection for your budget.

Related: How To Fill Out an IRS W-4 Tax Form in 2023

5. Start a side business

Another effective way to bring in extra income is to start a side business. There are various ways to go about this, and many of them only require a small investment of time and money. If you have hobbies that may provide value to the public, you could perform them for others for payment. For example, you could provide freelance writing services on the weekends or use a high-quality camera you own to take professional portraits for people. Additionally, you may consider generating income by pet sitting or babysitting.

Read more: 21 Tips for Starting a Successful Business

6. Earn a certification

Professional certifications could help you grow your skills, qualify for new positions and prove your value to your employer. You can use several resources to take a program and achieve certification, and many of these programs can be completed online in your spare time. Research the certifications available in your career and consider getting one to grow your career. Remember that earning a certification could strengthen your resume and connect you to new opportunities, but only some employers may offer higher pay for certified specialists.

7. Ask for a raise or promotion

Asking for a raise or promotion is another way to potentially increase your current income. If you've been in your position for more than a year and are effective at your job tasks, it might be appropriate to ask your current employer for a raise. Additionally, if your company has an open position that would be a promotion for you, consider applying for it. Showing interest in advancing in the company may show your employer your commitment, which could help you qualify for more responsibility.

Read more: How To Negotiate a Raise: 7 Steps To Help You Succeed

8. Open an online store

There are many online tools that allow you to open your own online shop and sell products. If you're a graphic designer, you could create art that people can purchase digitally, or you could sell art that you print and ship to buyers. 

If you'd rather partner with an inexpensive supplier, you could drop ship your goods. This means you send your orders to a partner to fulfill them for you for a portion of your revenue. Drop shipping is a business model where you sell products online without holding any inventory. Instead, you purchase products from a supplier who ships them directly to your customers.  Drop shipping can be a great way to make additional income or increase your main income, as it often requires very little upfront investment and can be done from anywhere with an internet connection. 

Related: Benefits of Drop Shipping

9. Drive for a rideshare or delivery company

If you have a reliable vehicle and a good driving record, you could apply to d drive for a ride-sharing or delivery company that offers users the opportunity to make money with their vehicle. Ride-sharing and delivery companies typically allow you to set your own schedule and use your own vehicle, so it's a flexible side job. Remember that there are overhead costs associated with driving professionally like car insurance and gas.

10. Sell your gently used items

Another way to bring in extra money is to go through your belongings and sell the things you no longer use. You could sell in person by visiting a consignment store, hosting a sale or offering your item to friends and family. Alternatively, there are many apps and websites you could use to list your gently used items. If you sell online, include descriptive information and high-quality photos for each listing. You can also go to thrift stores in your spare time to find gently used designer items and list these as well to make a profit.

Related: What Is Consignment? (With Definition and Example)

11. Teach a course

If you have niche expertise in a field, consider teaching a class, workshop or online course to beginners. You might film a series of video lectures and make them available for purchase online. You could also offer to teach a skill to individuals through one-on-one lessons. This may be especially valuable if you have experience or credentials in your field, as these may boost your credibility with potential students.

12. Advertise on social media

If you have a large following on a social media account, you may be able to partner with businesses to share paid posts. If you're passionate about a specific topic like fashion, video games or sports, consider creating a page dedicated to that interest. Share high-quality photos and videos related to the topic and try to grow the account. Once you have a substantial following, contact brands that may benefit from a partnership and offer to make sponsored content for them.

Read more: How To Become a Micro-Influencer (Plus Salary and Duties)

13. Rent out your property

If you travel frequently, have a guest house or vacation home or have an extra vehicle, you could rent your home or car out by the day to earn additional income. There are a number of third-party companies you can work with to list your property, and renters can book it and pay you through these companies. Aim to keep your home or car clean and well-decorated to attract renters.

Related: What Is the Sharing Economy?

14. Volunteer for extra shifts

Some workplaces may allow you to volunteer to cover additional shifts outside your regular work hours. If you work a job that has a flexible schedule, consider volunteering to cover your teammates' shifts when they have a conflict. You could also speak with your employer about opportunities to work overtime. Overtime pay can vary depending on your location and employer, but it's typically a higher rate than your usual pay, so it can be lucrative.

Related: What Is Overtime Pay and How Does It Work? (Plus Types)

15. Claim business expenses on your taxes

If you're self-employed or manage your own side company, you may be able to increase your take-home pay by maximizing your tax write-offs. When preparing your taxes, it's important to report any business-related expenses like equipment, internet, marketing and travel. Some expenses may be tax-deductible, so claiming all legitimate business expenses accurately may help you increase your income.

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