Ways to Increase Your Income

Would you like to have a little extra money to pay off a bill, build up your savings, or pay an upcoming expense? These ideas may help you find a way to bring in extra money.

Do you have CDs, tapes, furniture, or books other items that you don't need? Turn them into cash! A resale shop might sell them for you. You could have a yard sale, or sell them at a swap meet or flea market. You could even sell them on the Internet on one of the auction sites.

You might be able to provide a service that other people would pay for. Some common jobs are to babysit, shovel snow, and run errands. Do you have special skills? You could get paid to translate, be a tutor, braid hair, type, paint, or repair items. Even if you have a full-time job, you might be able to do enough of these things to make some extra money each week.

Look for a part time job. You could deliver papers, deliver phone books, or work in a store. Or, you could be a salesperson for one of the companies that sells things through home parties, like candles and plastic products.

You might get paid for taking part in a research study at a hospital or a college. Some marketing companies pay people to share their thoughts about a certain product or service as part of a focus group.

You might get money from public aid or charities. Getting food from a food pantry will leave you more money for other needs. Other programs may help you pay your electric or gas bills, or your phone bill.

You may be able to "find" some money if you return un-used items to the store for a refund, use gift certificates and get change back, cancel magazines to get a refund for the unused part, or even return a gift for a refund from the store.

If you work, check your last three years' income taxes to make sure you took all the deductions available to you. File an amended return if you find more deductions. Claim the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Credit, and Child Care Credit if you are eligible.

Collect money that other people owe you, including child support. At your job, you can volunteer to work overtime, work toward a promotion, or ask for a raise. Use your job benefits. Examples of this are: turn in job expenses to get reimbursed, contribute to your 401(k) retirement plan to get your money matched by your employer, or put money for child care or medical expenses into an account that is not taxed as part of your income.

There are many ways to make extra money. But be careful about jobs that sound too good to be true. Don't believe ads you hear that promise to pay you high wages for simple work, like stuffing envelopes. Most of those ads are scams. If you have to pay a fee or buy lots of materials before you can get the job, it may be a rip-off.

Prepared by Karen M. Chan, Extension Educator, Consumer and Family Economics, University of Illinois Extension, Chicago Extension Center.

Edited by: Katherine Reuter, Extension Educator, Consumer and Family Economics, University of Illinois Extension, Countryside Extension Center.

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