Making money seems to be one of the driving factors that keep people going. Whether or not you morally agree with how our society is formed around these ideals, it is impossible to ignore how important money is in our world.
No, money does not buy happiness, but money is a tool that can provide the fundamental values that can lead to happiness.
Things like experiences, fun products, and freedom are what people should mean when they talk about money, meaning happiness, but the problem is that you may not be making as much as you think you do.
What happens is that people believe they are making a lot more money with their job than they actually are, and similarly, if they are making little, it might be even worse than the job description.
The big numbers on the job contract might look nice at first, but people forget how much of their income is lost at the end of the day due to taxes.
Getting all the money you deserve and finding ways to come home with more money is the end goal for many, so you need to find ways to accomplish this. Here are some ways to put more dollars in that bank account.
Calculate Your Income
The first thing you should do is figure out just how much you make. This changes from country to country, state to state, etc., so the tax rules are different wherever you are.
Using the resources at taxfyle, you can figure out how much of your income is actually staying in your pocket and how much is being lost to taxes.
When you see $70 000 on your total income, it looks great, but you forget that a significant portion of that may be lost because you are being taxed at a higher rate.
This affects people who take higher-paying jobs, so the $100 000 job only ends up netting you slightly over what you thought you because you are now in a much higher tax bracket. This all goes to show you need to do the math and see how much you actually make.
Start Saving and Budgeting More
Another uncomfortable reality of money for most people is that they are terrible with their spending and saving habits. You might not want to hear it, but you are probably bad with your money, but this is better than going through life ignorant towards that fact.
When you understand that you are not looking for deals or savings, you are not stashing away a percentage of your paycheck. You are spending money frivolously. You can start to see how your paycheck is quickly vaporizing into thin air.
Create a budget that accounts for the necessities, bills, gas, groceries, and then consider how much you spend on non-necessities like alcohol, dining out, and other splurging, and you will see what is eating at your money.
Pick Up a Side Gig
In the modern economy, the need for a second job has never been more apparent. It might seem like it is sucking away your personal freedom, but it actually can help liberate you from financial chains more than you would like to think.
A side gig is not like a full-time job either; you can work as little as a few hours a week on this for extra spending money that can cover things like phone bills. When you pick up a smaller side job, you are helping leverage your money a little better.
Your main thing income should be used for important things anyway. Mortgage payments, rent, savings, and investments, so the side gig can really help.
A part-time job at a local store or restaurant on weekend shifts, a driving gig, or helping with odd jobs can help put extra money in your pocket to help at the end of the day.
Saving money is important but investing in the area where you can have your money make money for you. The first thing you need for smarter investing is a high-interest savings account.
These accounts have a much higher interest rate for each dollar deposited, so the more you accumulate in the account, the higher the returns. Compounding interest is another factor as it keeps stacking that interest percentage for each additional dollar.
You want to set a schedule, and these accounts almost always have an automatic deposit, so you can set it and forget it.
They are useful for creating retirement savings, or it could be a place to store your money to avoid high taxes, which is why people use certain IRA accounts.
The only way to store money properly is by using the right accounts, and these accounts will help you make money on top of what you have already earned.
It is not enough to just do it consistently in safe investment options like a 401(k) (always use the max amount if your employer matches contributions) or a high-interest savings account, you need to diversify your portfolio and find more ways to get your money to work for you.
Stocks scare people, they can be volatile, and you can certainly lose money on poor picks, but they also have allowed people to become financially independent as well.
Buying safe stocks that track and index markets like the S&P500 or NASDAQ 100 can give you tremendous long term returns at rates above 7% annually. Higher risk can often provide a higher reward, but talk to your financial advisor or do your research before you play individual stocks.
However, mutual funds and ETFs are safer bets with a high chance of success as long-term investments.
Start a Business
For those that have the drive, the initiative, and the hard work ethic, starting a business could be your path to financial freedom. Your typical 9-5 could pay a decent salary, but you are always capped at it until you get a promotion, so there is only so much you can earn with the job.
When you start a business, that potential income is unlimited. Not only can you be your own boss, but the more work you put in, the more you can potentially earn.
Starting your own business does not need to be a huge investment of time or money either. A few hours a day, creating an online site or an e-commerce shop for drop shipping could potentially end up making you a lot of money.
There are plenty of ways to create a business from nothing, and you can too; it just takes some time to find a niche to fulfill and commit time to bring it to life.
Live Below Your Means
This one could fall under budgeting, but it is important to differentiate it as an important factor in itself. Living below your means is the practice of adopting a more minimalistic lifestyle in regards to spending. When you go out to buy groceries, stick to just the groceries.
Even if that “oh, it’s just $5” impulse buy does not sound like a lot now, imagine spending $5 every day for a full year. That would come out to be $1825 for the year, which would be more than enough to pay for your car insurance.
Think about how crazy that sounds, but people ignore this. Impulse buying is the worst enemy for living below your means. Instead of impressing the neighbors with your new car, try to find an older model for cheaper.
Similarly, but used products like clothing too because buying brand new things is only buying into the depreciative assets cycle.
Get Better Qualifications
That job or promotion you might want to improve your income bracket could be a few qualifications away. You do not need to fully commit to going back to school to receive a new degree, higher degree status, or any of that (although it can help in many cases).
But, taking some courses online through an accredited academic institution can help bolster your strengths and look good for your employer. There are plenty of certifications you can get online from legitimate services that will improve your level of skills.
Online certifications can put you in a better position at your workplace to get a promotion or move you p to a better job. Qualifications in management skills, organizational aptitude, and other useful skills can improve your resume greatly.
This is also important for resume building if you are going to seek out jobs elsewhere.
The key to making money isn’t always hard work. It is such an oversimplification of the entire process to focus on making money as the sole way to earn wealth.
Your hard work does lay the groundwork, but if you want to improve how much you earn truly, then it goes well beyond that.
Knowing your true take-home pay, finding ways to build passive income with investments, and being a more conscientious budgeter will allow you to have a quicker financial freedom path.