One-third of Americans have seen their household income dwindle since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. That’s according to a new Bankrate survey, which asked 2,653 people about their debt, emergency savings, and income to study the economic effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.
After a few months into lockdown, one in five respondents reported they tapped into some of their emergency savings, while 16 percent of people increased their debt.
As the outbreak puts the pressure on finances across the country, there’s never been a better time to focus on your finances.
While reducing your spending is one concern, another is your income.
Find out how to make more money by scrolling below. Here are some quick and simple ways to find more cash.
#1. Track Your Spending
The first step to boosting your income is to create a budget. This spending plan peels back the layers of your financial issues to reveal what’s really going on.
Taking the time to track your spending will show you what expenses you can reasonably do without. Things like streaming subscriptions, takeout, and other unnecessary discretionary expenses tie up your income. By eliminating them, you’ll be able to stretch your current income further.
A budget will also help you understand what you need to make ends meet. Tracking your essential bills, such as housing, healthcare, groceries, and utilities, establishes the baseline you need to hit.
A quick look at your paycheck will let you know whether you’re close to this benchmark or way off the base.
#2. Research Direct Lenders
A well-balanced budget will have you squirrel away cash in an emergency fund. These savings help you take on expenses that don’t arrive in your budget on a regular schedule like rent or groceries. Things like a slow but persistent roof leak or a blown tire on the car you rely on for work.
If you’ve already drained your emergency savings, compare direct lenders for installment loans. These lenders make it easy to research how installment loans work compared to other emergency loans like payday loans or cash advances.
Installment loans work similarly to payday loans, in that you get money before your next payday if you’re approved. How they differ is their repayment terms.
Rather than paying everything back in one lump sum, you’ll make multiple payments over a series of weeks. This may be more manageable to budget than a single payment.
You may consider using an installment loan when you need to make an unexpected emergency repair right away, and you don’t have the time for other cash-boosting options.
#3. Negotiate for a Raise
While some industries all but shuttered during the pandemic, others flourished. If your employer has weathered this particular storm successfully, ask them for a raise.
You may pivot your hard work throughout the outbreak into a cash bonus, especially if your employer is sympathetic to the pressure the pandemic has placed on your household.
To increase your chances of hearing “yes!”, come to your meeting prepared. Don’t just assume your employer will give you a raise out of the goodness of their heart. Look to these tips to negotiate a better deal — whether that’s a higher rate of pay or a health benefits package.
#4. Learn a New Skill
If the pandemic walloped your industry, your employer may not have the resources to give you a raise. But what about other positions within the company?
Are they hiring?
If these new positions promise a fatter paycheck, it may be worth it to increase your skillset so that you qualify.
What skills would make it possible to rise through the ranks?
Talk to your boss about what you would need before they consider hiring you for a different position. They may even offer career development opportunities that pay for your education, provided you choose a certificate that’s pertinent to your workplace.
Learning a new skill is a great idea, even if there’s no potential for growth in your current workplace. The economy will recover, albeit gradually, and once it does, there will be more jobs available.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, tech jobs and healthcare positions are slated to see the greatest growth in the next ten years.
MOOCs — or Massive Open Online Courses — are an easy and cheap way to upgrade your skills. Websites like Coursera, edX, and Udemy offer a variety of courses over a broad list of industries. Their classes are available at a modest price point, if not available for free.
For a modest investment, you may be able to add useful skills and education to your resume and bag a well-paying, in-demand job.
#5. Freelance or Start a Side Hustle
A whole new career may not be necessary if you can work your way into the gig economy. Taking on freelance jobs may help you fill in the gaps in your budget and boost your income when you need it most.
As of last year, almost half of Americans 35 and under had a side gig.
Do you have a knack for something that you could turn into a job?
It could be something you already do in your current position. Like if you’re an accountant, you might be able to file taxes for people in your off-hours.
Or, you could leverage a hobby like baking into a catering business or sign up as a driver for a rideshare app.
In an emergency, relying on your 9–5 job to pay the bills may not be enough — not when the outbreak ate into your paycheck. If you saw your income reduce during lockdown measures, consider alternative ways to boost your paycheck.
The tips you learned here today may help you recover from the effects of any emergency faster — whether it’s a global pandemic or a personal financial disaster.