Micawber famously said, “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen, nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds nought and six, result misery.”
And that character, created by Charles Dickens, was right. If you’re spending more than you’re earning, it’s not going to end well.
There are two ways to address this. One is to spend less, but that’s not always so easy to do. The other is to increase your income. Again, that’s not always easy to do, but there are some options available to you:
- get a pay raise
- do more hours in your current job
- change jobs
- get a second (or third) job
- generate some income from one of your hobbies
Getting a Pay Raise
Most people will assume that this isn’t possible and it’s almost certain that your employer isn’t desperate to increase your hourly rate, particularly as the economy still hasn’t recovered fully from the financial crash.
But you have nothing to lose by asking to see whether there might be a bit of money in the staffing budget to help you out, particularly if you’ve been with your employer for a while and you are performing well in your job.
If you’re going to do this, don’t make it a demand, though. If you tell your employer that if he doesn’t give you a pay raise you’re leaving, he might end up calling your bluff. Simply explain that you’re struggling to make ends meet and you’re wondering whether it’d be possible to increase your hourly rate slightly.
Doing More Hours in Your Current Job
If a pay rise isn’t possible, perhaps there’s some overtime that you could do, either as a one-off to help with a specific piece of work that needs to be done to hit a deadline, or on an ongoing basis? You might need to be a bit flexible because although there may not be any additional hours at your current location, there may be work that needs to be done at one of your employer’s other locations.
Even if there isn’t any overtime available at the moment, showing that you’re keen to help could earn you some brownie points with your employer so when overtime does become available, you’ll be the first person that they think of.
If you can’t get an increase in your hourly rate and your employer can’t offer you any overtime, it might be time to think about changing jobs. That doesn’t necessarily mean leaving your current employer. It may be that there’s promotion available from your existing employer.
If there aren’t any opportunities to get a better job with your existing employer, the time may have come for you to start to think about changing employer. Bear in mind that there’s nothing to stop you keeping your eyes open in case there are better earning opportunities elsewhere. You don’t actually have to resign before you start applying for alternative jobs.
But also bear in mind that sometimes, “better the devil you know” applies. Although you might be able to get a higher hourly rate elsewhere, the overall remuneration package might not be as good. Even if it is, it might not be a nice place to work.
Getting a Second (or Third) Job
If there aren’t any opportunities to increase your earnings via your current employer and moving to a different employer isn’t an option, you might have to consider taking a second job on a part-time basis to top up your income. Many people do bar work on a few evenings a week, for instance. Others do takeaway deliveries.
One advantage of doing a second job on the evenings and weekends is that while you’re doing that job, you’re not just earning extra money. You’re also spending less money because you have fewer spare hours.
However, it is important to check with your main employer to make sure that your employment contract doesn’t prohibit you from working for other employers.
Generating Income From Your Hobbies
Most people have a hobby but their hobbies are something that costs them money rather than something that earns them money. That doesn’t have to be the case.
If you’re into arts and crafts then websites such as Etsy enable you to sell the things that you make. If you’re a keen amateur photographer there are websites where you can showcase and hopefully sell some of your photos. Like gardening? Offer to help people maintain their gardens for a fee. Enjoy fixing cars or bicycles? Either buy then cheap, fix them and sell them at a profit or charge people who want you to do repairs for them. Give people guitar lessons if you can play the guitar..
Whatever your hobby, it’s quite possible that you’ll be able to make some money from it somehow. You’re unlikely to get rich by going down this route, but it can mean that your hobby pays for itself and possibly even makes you a small profit.
Bear in mind that if you are earning money from your hobby, that extra income should be declared to HMRC and you may need to pay income tax on any earnings. However, you would be able to offset any money that you’d had to spent so don’t forget to keep any receipts if you’ve had to buy tools or materials.
Are You Entitled to Benefits?
Many people don’t realise that they’re entitled to benefits so they don’t claim them and struggle financially as a result. A lot of those people don’t realise that you can still claim benefits even if you’re at work.
If you’re on a low income it may be possible that you are entitled to Tax Credits, for instance. You may also be able to claim Universal Credit to help you with your rent and Council Tax payments.
You can find out whether you are entitled to Tax Credits, find out how much you may be able to claim and find out how to apply for Tax Credits at:
You can find out whether you are entitled to Universal Credit, find out how much you many be able to claim and find out how to apply for Universal Credit at: