How to Make More Money This Year Without Going Back to School

Something you may commonly search online for answers about is how to make more money

There is no doubt in my mind that most people want to find ways to earn good money, no matter current income levels. 

However, instead of some of the traditional countdown posts with tons of random ideas, I wanted to explore a bit more in-depth into some specific areas. 

Many of these tips I’ve applied in my own life, which has helped me amp up the extra money I make each month. And these tips are all possible without having to go back to school!

Make More Money In Your Current Career

Now, I want to preface this section that these ideas might not apply to every career or full time job

out there. Every job and industry is different and some will require more formal training or schooling to get you to that next salary phase. 

But there are ways to make money and more of it in your current career. 

Ask for a Raise

The first option for you to make more money is to ask for a raise.

While it can be intimidating to confront your manager for money, many times you’d be surprised at the positive response you can get. 

If you come prepared and can show your value, good managers will work with you in bumping up your salary.

But you also have to be in control of the ask, so you can steer the conversation and potentially get a raise you are comfortable with.

I’d recommend diving into our asking for a raise tips in order to set yourself up for success. And if anything, you may get some bonuses throughout the year which can add up.

Get certified

Again, this might not apply to every specific job or career.

However, there might be options for you to get specific certifications that will help elevate how much money you can make.

These certifications can also help you get that raise or negotiate a higher salary for a new job later on. 

Pending what certifications are out there specifically for you, there might be free ones or ones you have to pay to take.

However, certifications that cost money are a fraction of the cost to pay to go back to school and something you can do in your spare time.

For example, I was working towards a career in digital marketing, so I took some free certifications from Google and a marketing software called HubSpot. This helped me land a marketing position with higher pay.

Shadow other people & departments

Sometimes asking for a raise doesn’t work out in your favor immediately. While that can be a bit frustrating, you should work with your manager on a plan to how you can get to that level. 

Many times you may need some more experience or knowledge. 

A great way to learn is to shadow other people and departments to increase your paycheck and money making power.

This is actually a good thing to do ahead of asking for a raise, to showcase even more initiative. But you can start learning how to do more things or see how things operate. 

It can help you transition to a new role within the company that pays more or to help you become more well-rounded if you are looking to level-up your job title. 

Negotiate a higher salary

Sometimes, you can do all the right things to make more money within your company but it still doesn’t work.

Unfortunately, not all managers are great to work with, companies have super strict budgets, or they are not interested in helping you grow. 

If that’s the case, then it might be time to move on. 

During this time is when you want to practice your negotiation skills.

As you apply for new jobs and get offers, the hiring manager will either ask what you are looking for or generally try to give you their lowest option.

But you’ll be prepared!

Look at these sites to understand salary ranges and industry trends:

Now you will have some data and info to back up your experience and ensure you start earning what you are worth. 

And since you are getting a fresh start, it’s time to show them your knowledge and skills.

Besides a resume, bring any major accomplishments to showcase, talk about how you continue to learn and improve, and know when to walk away. 

If you recently got an offer or looking to be prepared ahead, take a deeper dive into our salary negotiation tips.

Earn More Money Freelancing

Working on your career, asking for a raise, or negotiating a new salary are great ways to really ramp up how much income you make this year. 

But sometimes those things can take time and you want to start making extra cash sooner rather than later. I hear you, as I think most of us can relate to that feeling! 

The best way to earn extra money is to start freelancing. It’s a great way to start making money on the side. Or as you may refer to it as “side hustling,” which that term has exploded in popularity.

But freelancing and side hustles are pretty interchangeable in my opinion. 

If you plan on freelancing within the same field as your career, you want to be careful and maybe follow-up with HR.

Some companies do not want you to be in similar industries doing outside work, especially if in your hiring papers you signed a non-compete clause.

If that’s the case, look for non-related gig economy jobs, under the table jobs, other niche areas you can do that can be lucrative. 

For instance — if you are working in accounting, but are also great at writing — then maybe look for freelance writing jobs that are not related to finance or accounting.

The beauty of freelancing is you can do it around your local area or with a solid internet connection, you can work from home. It’s also a great passive income stream as you get more work.

How to find freelance jobs

First, ask yourself some questions that can help guide to some extra work you want to do to make more money: 

  • What are your current skills? What are you knowledgeable in?
  • How many hours will you dedicate outside of your normal work hours?
  • What do others think you are good at or come to you for often?

Once you know your skills and what you are interested in doing, start finding freelance opportunities. There are a few ways you can do this.

  • Craigslist in their “Gig” section
  • Places like UpWork and Fiverr
  • Sign-up for FlexJobs to get the top gigs
  • Reach out directly to businesses
  • Go to networking events and chat with people

What I like about freelancing to make extra money is you can do the work on your own schedule. Now, if you are working directly for a business there might be some set hours you need to do or deadlines to hit. 

But, you have a bit more control in when and where you work, plus you can generally set you own prices for the work and start earning money. 

What’s really cool is your freelancing opportunities can quickly grow into your own full-time income. And vice versa, if your life gets busy or your career takes up more time, you can scale back as well. 

While overall pay and what you can make freelancing will vary by skills, the hourly earning potential is pretty solid.

A study by Payoneer found that the average freelancer in the U.S. earns $31 an hour compared to $26.30 an hour for all American employees in 2017.

Plus, the more experience, knowledgeable, and amount of work you do — the more you can potentially charge and make. And, you can even turn this into your own full-time business and begin work for yourself if you want to. 

Extra Income Right Under Your Nose

Okay, so now you have some insights into making more money in your career and freelancing. Pretty good options to consider that do not require going back to school. 

Yet, there is another simple way you can make extra money each month by the art of lower expenses.

“But, this article is about making money, why is lowering my expenses important?!” Now hear me out before you roll your eyes.

This goes a bit further than lowering expenses, it’s about eliminating and negotiating on monthly items to save you potentially hundreds each month.

Personally, it’s a no brainer that a higher salary or finding ways to make money trumps cutting expenses.

The reason being, there is only so much you can cut back with expenses. But there is no ceiling to how much money you can earn (although it can get more challenging as you move up the money ladder). 

With that said, a few hundred bucks goes a long way towards your personal finances.

Imagine you are able to cut down your total bill costs down $200 each month. That’s $2,400 per year, which is not bad chunk of change that you can save in a high interest savings like CIT Bank or invest it. 

Where can I save money on bills?

Some of the best places you can start lowering your costs is with common bills you probably will have like:

  • Car insurance
  • Cell phone plan
  • Credit cards
  • Internet provider

There may be plenty more you can think of, but you get the picture.

So what can you do? Well, call them up and start a conversation about how you can lower the bills. Here’s how you can do this:

  • Be prepared. Know how long you’ve been a customer, that you’ve been in good standing with them, never missed payments, looking to save some money, etc.
  • Always be polite. Getting anger, snarky, or too aggressive can backfire. You can be assertive, but you can still be polite and courteous to the person. The conversation and chances they’ll help you out will be much stronger.
  • Discuss other competitor options to use to your advantage. You can talk about how you are happy with the service, but are finding some better rates and are considering switching. 
  • Begging and pleading is not a good look. Don’t bring up your money problems if you have any up. Ask the company what they can do for you based on your time with the company and that others have better rates or perks. 

More often than not, these companies will work with you on some deals in order to retain your business.

Sometimes, it takes a bit more negotiation or asking to talk to a higher-up to make it happen, but it’s a fairly simple way to make some extra money back each month. 

If you don’t want to deal with negotiating yourself, you have two options.

There are two services that help negotiate bills and bank fees, cancel subscriptions, and other expenses for you. The two you can choose from are Trim and Billshark

Going Back To School to Make More Money

Another note I wanted to include in this article is about going back to school to make more money. As you noticed in this post, these were ways you can increase your income without having to take classes again. 

Mostly because not everyone can afford to, has time to go back, or quite frankly even wants to go back to school to rack up some more debt. 

However, there may still be some scenarios where it does make sense. 

For example, if your company offers to pay you to go back to school and it will elevate your career and pay, definitely take them up on that. 

Not every company will offer this perk, but I’d recommend taking advantage of that if they do. If you are not sure, ask your manager or reach out to HR to check. They may even offer a reimbursement program for you as well. 

Another example is if you are sick of your current job and looking to completely overhaul your career.

If you do the research and see how great the pay and industry is for your particular career choice, then going back to school might be a good choice. 

And there are a lot of options and programs that don’t require you to go back to school for four years or you can do it at your own pace. And more affordable options than the traditional four year programs.