In the March quarter of 2022, Australian base wages went up on average by 0.7%. Over the past year, wage growth has been up 2.4%.
However, that’s not as great a cause for celebration as it might seem. In the same period, the cost of living has jumped by 5.1% - meaning that in real terms, we all might need to watch how we spend a little closer.
The causes of the mismatch may be out of your hands, but there are still steps you can take to ease the pressure. If budget cuts aren’t to your taste, consider the other side of the ledger. By increasing your income, you can ease the strain on your budget and create a fast track to savings.
Here are four ways you could increase your income.
Aren't sure how to increase your income? Here are four ways you can increase your income and boost your finances.
1. Ask for a pay rise
Sound simple? Asking for a pay rise can be nerve-wracking at the best of times. Approach it by building a case for why you’re worth more. Your boss is unlikely to be swayed by cost of living arguments but may be willing to go to bat for you if you can show that you’re underpaid by market standards.
Take market salary information to your boss as well as evidence that you've taken on extra work, up-skilled or otherwise increased your value to the company. If you can show metrics (such as the dollars of a big deal you brought in, or how you increased team productivity by a certain percentage) so much the better. The more quantifiable your argument, the stronger.
You may want to take this opportunity to sharpen your skills, too. Ask your employer if they’d be willing to send you on a training course or let you shadow a senior staff member. Many companies are happy to fund training even if they aren’t willing to pay you more. You can then turn those extra skills into bargaining chips.
2. Change jobs
If the above approach doesn’t work, it might be time to look around. A recent Australian Financial Review article shows what most of us already suspected: the best way to get a pay rise is to change jobs. Single-touch payroll data showed that workers who moved jobs in 2021 average pay rises of between 8 and 10%; far higher than those on offer for existing employees.
The labour market is currently strongly in favour of employees, with both skilled and unskilled jobs reporting a labour shortage. If you’ve been thinking of a change for a while, now’s the perfect time to brush up the resume and let your networks know you’re open for business.
Need a side hustle idea? Learning to harness another talent, such as tutoring, can give you the freedom to earn some extra money to support your family and lifestyle.
3. Develop a side hustle
Got a hobby you’re good at? Or a spare room that’s going unused? With the rise of the gig economy, it’s never been easier to turn those talents and assets into extra cash.
Listing your old, unwanted items is a quick way to earn some extra money, which you can then put towards your dream home!
4. Sell unwanted stuff
Not everyone is in a position to take on extra work, or in jobs that offer pay rises. However, the vast majority of us own more possessions than we really need. Selling off the unwanted portion might just be the thing to tide you over a bad patch or boost your savings balance.
How you approach this will depend on what you have to sell. The advent of Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree and other local seller sites mean there are a lot of options. Vintage or quality secondhand clothes can be sold to a consignment shop, but a dedicated online site will attract a wider range of buyers and often save you the need to pay commission.
Furniture, memorabilia, even old toys or books can find a home with someone. As a bonus, you’ll have less junk to pack when it comes time to move into that brand new house!
Of course, the best approach is to rebalance both sides of the ledger. Cut down on unnecessary spending and increase your income at the same time, and you’ll be able to turbo charge your budget. Every little bit gets you one step closer to buying that dream home.