Whether you want to splurge at that new Tapas bar that just opened down the street or simply invest an extra $100 this week, it is always nice to earn a little extra income without working harder. There is a bunch of tricks to earn a little more without necessarily clocking in more hours at work or grinding away at a side hustle.
Let Uncle Sam pay you
For any dollar you earn, Uncle Sam (or Johnny Canuck up here in Canada) will take his share. For us, our marginal tax rate is 41.12% so any dollars we can stash away from the tax man represents huge savings. Using tax-advantageous accounts such a RRSP (401K) or TFSA (Roth IRA) will drastically increase your net earnings at the end of the year. The best thing about it is that you don’t even need to put in more hours at work!
You can check your own tax rate using this tool for Canadians or this one for Americans. You can also find out your contribution limits with the CRA website in Canada or the IRS in the United States. If you do not already have a registered account, open one today with TradeKing and get up to $1,000 in free trades.
Get rewarded for every dollar you spend
For the dollars you do spend, you can earn thousands of dollars back with rewards credit cards such as American Express. This year alone, we booked trips to San Francisco, flew across Canada, booked luxury hotels, and are still left with a small fortune in accumulated points. Point rewards are a tax-free, legitimate way to travel for free or at a very reduced cost. You can earn almost $1,200 in rewards just by signing up with American Express.
Get the benefits you are entitled to
Spend the time to call up your human resources department and chat about all the options offered to you. You might be surprised to discover benefits you never know were offered to you. Whether it’s an employee share purchase plan with a match or a health spending allowance you were never aware of, we can all benefit from free stuff.
You can also check you federal benefits using the Benefits Finder tool from the CRA in Canada or from the Benefits.gov tool in the United States. You might discover some tax credit you didn’t even know existed.
Be a minimalist
Letting go can be very liberating. Go through your house and find things you did not use once this month. Once you have a good pile of unused stuff, take crisp pictures of each item and try to make a few dollars online.
Local Facebook groups are great to sell to your neighbors and help people in need around you. Unlike eBay, there are no fees so you keep all of your profits and there is no shipping. You can do the same using Craigslist or Kijiji and try to sell as much of your stuff for better use.
For clothing, you can bring shopping bags full of clothes to your nearest H&M to get a shopping voucher up to $50. No matter what brand and what condition it is, you can drop off your used clothing for recycling. H&M recycle your clothes initiative was started in 2013 to encourage sustainable garments.
They either send apparel to be worn again as second hand clothes, reuse old clothes as other products like cleaning cloths, or recycle your donation into textile fibers.
Another great option is to donate to your local charity. Even in highly developed countries, there is always someone in need around us that would give a second life to your stuff.
About 6 months ago, we started renting out our spare room on Airbnb. We are able to stay constantly booked and make a few extra hundreds of dollars per month. Having a guest does not require much work, is quite easy to manage and does not intrude on our privacy too much.
We equip our room with a few extras and make sure our house is clean and welcoming. We provide soap, shampoo, a clean bed and access to our kitchen.
Using the Airbnb platform is super easy and convenient. If you want to list your place, either to share or as a whole house rental when you are away, take a few sharp pictures and you should receive inquiries in no time.
Ask for a raise
This might sound silly but why not simply ask? Meet with your manager, prepare your points, and be ready to sell yourself. You might be surprised. It is as hard for your boss to say no when you ask as it is for you to ask.
The first step is to search and compare salaries on Glassdoor and Payscale in your industry. Once you know what others pay, you can then add any extra value you bring to the table such as special projects you worked on or a deadline you beat. You can also see if your salary has followed inflation (2% or 3% per year) since you started there and add that to your arguments.
Following those few steps, you can greatly increase your total income without working any more hours. The best thing about these is that they can be recurring savings. If you get into the habit of investing in tax-sheltered accounts or get a raise, it will also benefit you for the years to come. Share with us in the comment section if you have any other tips and we wish you great wealth.
Mr. and Mrs. Xyz.