Four ways to beat the cost-of-living squeeze

There’s no avoiding it. Between rampaging electricity prices, record pump prices for petrol, higher interest rates upping mortgage costs and unwelcome tax rises, plenty of people seem to want to take more out of your pocket this year than last. Economists predict the average household faces additional bills of £2,922 this year from this cost combination.

Unfortunately, with the economy only now recovering from the pandemic, it’s unlikely your current employer is going to be forthcoming with a suitably generous pay rise unless you work in a shortage occupation like truck driving. Recent pay settlements average 2.9% so are running well behind inflation before the big power bill hike and tax rises kick in from April.

While it’s undoubtedly possible for most of us to make a few savings on our regular spending, tightening your belt isn’t much fun, so earning more is the best way to protect your lifestyle and build for the future.

Fortunately, there are several ways for each of us to increase our earning potential, here we explore four ways to make this happen. 

1.       Grow your job  

Identifying opportunities to take on additional responsibilities or contribute to improved performance will make it easier for your current employer to pay you more. 

Taking full advantage of company incentives such as referral programmes for new customers or colleagues, can also be an effective way to increase your pay packet without having to move jobs. 

2.       Switch jobs

Exploring opportunities for promotion within your current organisation or switching to a better-paying role in another company, is a proven route to higher earnings.

The UK labour market currently has a record number of job openings making it possible for well prepared and skilled candidates to quickly identify alternative employment options.

Recruiters at Melius report employers having to move quickly to secure the best talent, as well as competitive pressure for hiring organisations to provide enhanced packages to secure their preferred candidates.

3.       Create a side hustle

More people than ever are taking the initiative and creating an entrepreneurial side-line to boost their earnings.

Carving a niche that plays to your skills and interests can be an excellent way to boost your earnings, and potentially open an alternative to your main career.

There’s a time and cost consideration to whatever activity you add to your portfolio, and you’ll need to engage with potential customers, but a side hustle can be a hugely rewarding way to up your income each month.

As an open-ended option, this route gives you control over the amount of time and energy you devote and therefore the earnings uplift that’s possible.

If you're considering a wholesale career change, this route can sometimes offer a way to test your ideas before having to sacrifice your current salary.

4.       Study for a more rewarding career path

For a more comprehensive change to your earnings situation, studying to qualify for a more rewarding career can quickly open the doors to higher earnings.

Whether it’s adding specialisation to your existing skill set, such as generalist office staff studying to become Legal or Medical Secretaries;

Gaining a recognised qualification that validates your existing skills to make you more attractive to potential employers;

Or switching into a high-demand career path such as Software Development, Web Design or Digital Marketing.

Adding new skills to your repertoire can have a transformative impact on your career.

Educational investments typically aim to deliver a 10x return on investment for students over a three-year period from being able to transition into a higher-paying job role on graduation, to justify the tuition fees investment that students make in their future.

Many providers can also offer instalment plan arrangements to support students with budgeting, align their investment with progress towards their new career and ultimately have your new job contribute to the cost of getting there.

Back yourself

Each of these options will require a time and financial commitment but each offers a strong connection between effort and reward for those prepared to back themselves to achieve more.