Changing your economic reality starts with taking action. Making more money can help and there are many ways to do just that:
Ask for a pay rise or extra work
Some people, especially the introverts, get overlooked for promotions and pay rises. Start by trying to find out what your colleagues earn. Are there pay gaps? When it comes to the annual pay round, do your research and argue hard for more money. How has your job expanded in the past year and what have you added to the organisation? If you're female, remember that there is often a big disparity between what men and women doing the same job earn in part thanks to stereotyping and implicit biases. So you may have to work doubly hard at this.
Get a better job
Aim high. I once interviewed a former part-time school cleaner who rose to regional operations manager for OCS. She figured early that the person above her earned more, so always worked out how to step up to her supervisor or boss's role when it became vacant. Moving up to a better job and/or higher income works best if you have a written career plan. This covers where you aim to be, the steps to get there and how you can add the necessary skills.
In other words, get a part-time job. It can be one evening a week and it could be for an employer or through the so-called sharing economy. The money will soon add up providing you don't expand your spending to fit your new income. Avoid being a snob. Once in my 20s I worked in an English pub while building up freelance journalism work after a nine-month OE trip to Africa. A young local lawyer I knew through my reporting came up to the bar and commented: "So this is what it has come to." His attitude and mine couldn't have been more different. I wanted extra cash but he seemed to liken the idea of working in a pub to be only one step up from the workhouse. When the journalism payments lag caught up I had a nice chunk of savings in hand for my next, long, overland trip.
Take one-off jobs
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If you can't commit to regular extra work, then consider one-off jobs. This could be moonlighting doing similar work to your day job, perhaps as a consultant. Events often offer work, although you may have to wait until post-Covid for the market to improve. Around 25,000 Kiwis have just landed one-off jobs as electoral officers for polling day. Every five years there is the Census as well. A friend of mine is a paid reader/writer for exams at one of the private schools in Auckland, despite not being a parent there. Regular one-off jobs will add interest to life as well as bring in money, which directed at paying down debt or adding to savings will soon add up.
Set up a side hustle
A side hustle can be anything from window cleaning to the first step towards your entrepreneurial future. Check out the Facebook group NZ Made Products to see all of the crafts and foods made by creative Kiwis. Beware, however, that there are only so many wax melts, sugar scrubs, home-made face masks and Ashley Bloomfield T-shirts that the market can absorb. Unique products can be successful thanks to first-mover advantage, providing you have the systems in place for marketing and fulfilment. Likewise, if you can predict trends then importing and selling items can pay well. For more ideas, see this article I previously wrote on side hustles.
Finally, trade in reasons why it won't work for a can do attitude and look around you to see how others in your whānau or community make extra money.