TikToker and steakhouse server Anela Marquez recently broke down how she ended up taking home $2,517 over just five short shifts — despite it being her Beverly Hills restaurant’s “slow time” and “in the middle of a recession.”
The video has now been watched over 722,500 times.
While Marquez is apparently earning an impressive amount, her situation isn’t that common. First off, to work in Beverly Hills you’d need to make enough to live at least nearby. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles currently sits at $2,425, according to Zumper. That’s almost all of the server’s earnings for one week, gone straight to rent. And that’s without factoring in any other costs.
Secondly, don’t forget that the bulk of her earnings came from tips, on average about $400 a shift. But counting primarily on tips for a consistent cash flow can be a risky proposition.
Instead, there are perhaps simpler ways to boost your income; ways that don’t involve changing careers or even asking for a pay rise. Here are a few to consider.
Create actual passive income
This usually means one of two things: investing or renting.
Investing would be identifying strong stocks that provide dividends, which can be used to reinvest back into your shares, creating more savings.
As for the renting option, you don’t need an extra home — or even an extra room — to become some type of landlord. Think creatively — you could rent out parking spaces, your garage, even tools.
And if you want to combine both options, you might consider investing in real estate, either through a real estate investment trust (REIT) or a platform that makes investing in real estate possible for regular retail investors.
Read more: ‘Hold onto your money‘: Jeff Bezos says you might want to rethink buying a ‘new automobile, refrigerator, or whatever’ — here are 3 better recession-proof buys
One of the best ways to boost your income is to simply work more. If you have a passion or skill that others find valuable, you might consider turning it into a profitable side hustle.
Of course, if you’re working a day job, you might not have much left over at the end of the day to devote to starting another part-time project.
If that’s the case, why not start small? Through sites like Upwork or Taskrabbit you can sign up for small gigs or tasks like data entry, transcribing or assembling Ikea furniture (one of the hardest jobs out there). As you take on more tasks, you can slowly start to build a niche for yourself.
You can also try to switch jobs. This may be easier said than done. For some jobs, like a doctor or lawyer, working with a certain organization for over five years can be vital for career growth.
However, you might have more leeway with other fields. A February 2023 study by Zippia revealed that the average salary increased by 14.8% when switching jobs. This is an average across all industries, with “leisure and hospitality” being the only category with negative growth: -1.3%.
Stop giving so much to the government
We’re not encouraging you to stop paying your taxes — that would be illegal. But that fat tax refund you receive each year? That’s extra money you gave the government that’s just making its way back to you.
Wouldn’t it be better to have that money to spend, invest or prevent you from going into debt before April the next year?
The way you can do that is by adjusting your tax withholdings with a new W-4 form. It might take some math to figure out the exact amount your employer should be withholding from each pay, but it also means you’ll stop giving the government what are essentially mini-loans.
Personal finance expert Dave Ramsey’s blog actually ran the numbers: assuming you were working with 2022’s average tax refund of $3,039 (according to IRS data) and a bimonthly pay period, you could’ve brought home an extra $127 per paycheck over the year.
He’s not the only expert to point this out. Suze Orman has called taking a tax refund “one of the biggest mistakes” you can make.
And while you’re digging into your paperwork, you might also look into some ways to lower your tax bill over the year.
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This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.