There are generally two ways you can improve your finances: cutting back spending and earning more money.
I wholeheartedly believe in the power of cutting back spending, but I also know from personal experience that there is only so much you can cut back on. I’ve been forced to live on a bare bones budget when dealing with unstable employment situation. Because of that, I tend to spend my time earning more money.
Don’t waste too much of your time spending less, but instead of focus on earning more. Here’s why.
Spending Less vs. Earning More
Earning more can open up so many opportunities for you that would otherwise not be possible: traveling, paying off debt, or maybe even retiring early? I’m a huge proponent of side hustling, however there are ways to earn more in your current job or other jobs you may be pursuing.
In today’s ever-shifting economy, having a variety of skills is not only useful, it’s necessary. To ensure you are not replaced by a robot and suddenly hit with a layoff letter, you need to constantly be learning and trying new skills.
Here are 4 skills you should learn to make more money, with free resources to get started.
A New Language
In today’s globalized economy, learning a new language can help you get a job or negotiate several lucrative pay increases. Before becoming a full-time freelancer, I held jobs at several nonprofits. The one thing that set me apart from most people? I spoke Spanish in addition to English.
I invested time and money studying abroad in Spain and Mexico, and spent several years in high school and college trying to master the language. It was nice for this effort to finally pay off.
Luckily, there are free resources that can help you get started. Use Duolingo.com and then once you are comfortable, find language meetups in your areas using Meetup.com.
Technology is moving at such a rapid pace these days. If you really want to stand out in your workplace or as a job candidate, you should equip yourself with several technological skills.
It’s no longer okay to just know how to use a word processor and email. Employers want people with social media skills, HTML skills, coding skills, and more.
The good news? It’s totally possible to learn these skills without forking over money to a university. You just need a bit of patience and persistence to get you going.
Before I share some of my best resources, I have a confession to make. I used to be completely inept with anything technology related. Even though I’m a Millennial, and my formative years included the internet, I was the girl that didn’t know how to do anything besides use a word processor and email.
I couldn’t navigate my way around Excel, I knew nothing about online mailing lists, or the backend of websites.
It wasn’t until I started my blog and got a job as a communications coordinator that I was forced to learn these skills. I was grateful that my employer hired for culture and not skill and they were patient with my learning process. Not everyone is so lucky.
In a short amount of time, I learned:
- How to use email lists using Mailchimp
- How to update websites using a CMS (content management system)
- How to manage a CRM (customer relationship management system)
- How to use social media effectively
- Basic HTML and website coding
Now, that’s not even scratching the surface of what you could learn, however that was a huge jump from my previous skill level.
How did I learn all of this stuff? I learned everything from:
- Buffer’s blog
- Online tutorials via YouTube or a company’s website
The key is to be willing to learn and put in the time and effort to master it. Having tech skills can open up your job pool and challenge you in new ways.
We live in a visual culture — there is no denying that. Images are powerful. If you really want to stand out and be forever-employable, learn graphic design.
Through graphic design, you can:
- Design flyers
- Create a website theme
- Illustrate a business logo
- Rebrand a company’s business cards
- Start your own design business
- …and more!
There are so many ways graphic design is used these days and yet it’s a skill that many people don’t have. Consider taking classes at your local community college or use online tutorials at Lynda.com or Udemy.com.
The internet can be used for good and not just serve as a distraction. Use it for good and enhance your skills to make yourself indispensable. There’s no better time than now to take the initiative at learn new skills. It can all be at your fingertips for free or at a low price.
This may seem like an obvious point, but learning how to negotiate is essential to earning more. Though it seems obvious, many people don’t ask for more. We fear looking like we are greedy or we fall into instances where we are just “happy to have a job.”
But you could be leaving thousands of dollars on the table by not negotiating your starting salary and subsequent salaries.
Learn how you can negotiate with:
Think about what you can do with all of that extra money, like pay off debt or invest.
In order to stay competitive, it’s key that you don’t rest on your laurels and that you are always challenging yourself to learn more. Doing so could be your key to success and long-term financial sustainability.
What’s another important skill that can help you earn more money? Share your tips!