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Financial Tip of the Day:
Ideas for Increasing Income

Founded in 1951, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling is the largest serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. Find various topics in this blog, including personal finance, credit counseling, housing, budgeting and student loan help. Click here to speak with an NFCC-certified Consumer Credit Counselor.

By Drew Kessler 

If you’re looking to increase your current income consider some of the following ideas. Use it to help you to think of ways that will help you the most, but remember that some of the things you think will help increase your income might have an additional cost attached to them.  For example, if you choose to take a second job, will you also face higher child care costs?  It’s best to examine choices from all angles to be sure they will work for you. 

      ˆ  Get a second job in the evenings or on weekends

      ˆ  Look for a better-paying job

      ˆ  Market any skills you have as a consultant, or give lessons in an area you know (in addition to your full-time job)

      ˆ  See if another family member can get a part-time job

      ˆ  For a short time, contribute less to your 401(k) or other retirement plan

      ˆ  Get a roommate if you have extra space

      ˆ  Rent out a room

      ˆ  Sell an asset

      ˆ  Sell an unneeded vehicle, collectable, or some other possession

      ˆ  Obtain entitlements for which you are qualified (Medicaid, SSI, WIC, utility assistance, etc.)

      ˆ  Use assistance for medical bills (apply at hospitals and offices for assistance)

      ˆ  Seek legal ways to obtain court-ordered child support

      ˆ  Change your withholding allowance*

*Here are some ideas about changing the amount of taxes being withheld from your pay to “increase” your income.  First, reducing your withholding amount (by increasing your exemptions on your W-4 form) does not increase your income; it reduces the amount of taxes you pay each month.  This has the effect of increasing your monthly take-home amount.  If you reduce your withholding too much—that is, have too few taxes taken out each month—you may be faced with a major tax bill next April. On the other hand, many people use their withholding amount as forced savings and have more taxes withheld than is necessary.  We all like to receive a nice, big refund check inApril.  However, you should understand that your refund check is essentially an interest-free loan you are making to the government.  Rather than loan money unnecessarily to the government, why not adjust your withholding amount so that you receive a modest refund—say a few hundred dollars—and use the extra monthly take-home amount created by the lower tax withholdings to increase the monthly amount you are saving or investing.  You should meet with a financial advisor or tax specialist to determine the proper amount of taxes to withhold based on your situation.

Drew Kessler is Vice President of Marketing & Communications with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.

Views expressed are the personal views of the author, and do not represent the views of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, its employees, its members, or its clients.