There are short-term solutions to making more money, such as getting a second job or selling things you no longer need, but they aren't always sustainable. What if you want to significantly increase your earning power over the long term? There are several ways to approach this.
Assess Your Position
Essentially, the two ways to drive up your income are to get your current job to pay you more money or to find a new job that does. Before you race into your boss's office to demand a raise or hand in your resignation letter, it's important to assess where you are in your career, what your skills are, what skills you might need to advance and whether you are currently working for a company that offers growth opportunities. You may also want to get a sense of typical salaries for your position both locally and elsewhere. When looking at salaries in other places, be sure to take the increase or decrease in cost of living into account.
Going Back to School
It may look costly in the short run, but in the long run, getting more education can significantly boost your earning power. There are a number of fields in which a bachelor's degree, if you don't already have one, or a graduate degree can mean a lot more money and opportunities. You may need more education before pursuing any of the income-building options below. College can be expensive, but there are many ways to afford it. Your company may be willing to pay for some of your classes. Another option is taking out student loans. Be sure to shop around and look for low interest rates and otherwise favorable repayment plans.
Asking for a Raise
Asking for a raise can be scary, and before you do it, you should make sure you understand the culture of your workplace. Some employers, such as state, local and the federal government, have rigid rules around salary increases. Some workplaces may frown on requests for raises. However, if the atmosphere and the time seems right, this could be the right step. If you've just accomplished something important at work, be sure to use that in explaining why you should be paid more. Try to have the meeting in person, and don't threaten to leave unless you really plan to do so.
Seeking a Promotion
If your company promotes from within, this can be a great opportunity to increase your income. Keep in mind that companies look for someone who goes above and beyond. Be sure your supervisors know you are ambitious and looking to move up. Network and seize any leadership opportunities that come your way.
Finding a New Job
No one enjoys job hunting, but you shouldn't let that keep you at a job where you aren't able to reach your full potential. Many of the above strategies work well for job-hunting, including getting more education and networking. Make sure you understand typical industry practices for hiring, and work with a professional to polish up your resume and interviewing skills if necessary.