July 19, 2013
Cash crunch: How to get more dough into your life
Maybe you haven’t gotten a pay raise since 2009.
Maybe you’re cobbling together a living working two part-time jobs you feel lucky to have. Or maybe you’re not sure why the checking account is empty month after month.
The bottom line is: Your bottom line is dragging. You need more money. So how can you get it?
Ask for a raise
If you know you’re a valuable asset to your company, you can certainly make a case to your boss about a bump in pay. But first, do your homework.
“There is no exact price tag on any profession,” says Bellevue-based career coach Matt Youngquist, but you can get a rough range by checking out salary websites or the Salary Wizard tool at NWjobs.com. Other good resources: recruiters and industry peers, and professional groups, which often conduct annual salary surveys.
Still, even if you deserve a raise, you may not get one, says Youngquist. “Many companies are unwilling or unable to provide raises due to the economy, so people should consider the possibility of going elsewhere for more money.”
Get a better-paying job
Jumping ship every six months isn’t a good idea, but changing jobs to make more money is fair game, says Youngquist.
“Companies will often pay someone more coming in from the outside. That’s a consequence of this market.”
Looking for work is, in itself, lots of work, and job hunting in the new economy takes new skills. Job seekers should look to recruiters, staffing agencies and websites such as NWjobs.com for job postings.
It’s also important to learn how to build a network offline and use social media such as LinkedIn.
“There’s so much more to [job hunting] these days than going to Monster.com and talking to a few friends,” says Youngquist.
In 2009, Anne Hurley was working a not-so-ideal job with a 70-mile round-trip commute. The money wasn’t great, and her savings were dwindling. But she had (and still has) a beautiful West Seattle home, with a killer view.
She listed her downstairs space on Airbnb, a website that connects property owners with travelers for short-term rentals. For $89 a night, guests can rent out the space, a separate apartment with its own entrance.
Granted, renting out part of your home is not for everyone, although Hurley says she has “only two crazy stories and over a hundred good ones.”
She blogs about other “passive income” ideas, such as pet sitting and peer-to-peer car rental, at zombienomics.net -- and a book proposal is in the works.
Seattle resident Rachel Towne was going to beauty school full time and working as a barista when she noticed several people wearing feather earrings. “I thought, ‘I could make those and sell them.’ ” One day, she went to school with some earrings she’d made, and came home with $200.
Towne quickly tired of feathers and progressed to metal and stone. Word of mouth brought her more business, and she now sells her wares at the salon where she apprentices. “There were times where I thought, ‘Thank God I make jewelry,’ because it really helped financially,” Towne says.
Do you dabble in the arts? Are you handy with a glue gun? Musically inclined? Creatively crafty? Consider ways that you could turn your hobbies (and skills) into cash.
Do you know where your money is going?
“Usually, when someone looks at how they spend money, they’re almost always surprised by how much money they spend,” says Stacy Ployhar, principal of Seattle-based 2020 Financial Planning.
Debt consolidation can be tempting, especially if you’re behind on payments. But proceed carefully: “Do your homework on the company that’s providing it so you clearly understand what the terms are, and what the real cost is to you,” advises Ployhar.
“And then, you have to be really honest: Are you just going to turn around and rack up debt again?”
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