• Laurie Blake

How do I Increase my Income? Save on taxes & Start my Best Side Hustle

Updated: Jun 22, 2020

How do I Increase my Income?

There are two big questions when it comes to improving our financial situation as it relates to making more money.

  1. How can I increase my income without doing any more work?

  2. How can I increase my income with a side hustle?

How can I increase my income without doing any more work?

Let's start coming up with some money-making ideas that you can further explore to increase your income. The specific answers will depend on the local rules and regulations within your Country.

In Canada, all the information for taxes, registered investments, and pensions are found on the Canada Revenue Agency site, after you read this blog start there.

You may also want to set up a meeting with a financial planner to discuss some of the ideas you come up with to increase your income. Professional financial planners have an in-depth knowledge of investment and tax strategies. I'm going to give you some ideas based on what we did, or are currently doing for:

  1. Income,

  2. Investments,

  3. Pensions, and

  4. Tax Refunds,

How can I increase my income with a side hustle?

Is there one that will work for me? What is my best side hustle?

Anyone who knows me personally knows that my side hustle is repairing woven furniture. The critical part of my side hustle to this post is that weaving furniture is a skill I have that earns me some extra money, beyond my primary income. If you want to find out more about my hobby business visit

My new side hustle is starting a blog, this is the blog, as I'm sure you've already guessed. I just cancelled the landline for the furniture weaving business to save $101 a month. This $101 a month is the budget I'm allowing myself to start the "Living it Blakey Style" blog.

The reason I started this blog now instead of in July is so I can help people better balance their budgets and learn some skills to save money. We wanted to start a blog just before we hit the road so we could share our journey with others and have a record for ourselves.

My newest new side hustle is going to be selling my extra potting plants. David and I have just decided to expand our garden this year to save more money. I've already bought the seed packs, so all I'll need is some garden soil and plastic beer cups for my side hustle. My goal is to sell enough potting plants to pay for my vegetable garden. I'm going to have fun, and it isn't any more work for me.

There are opportunities everywhere, and we just need to have the mindset to see and take advantage of them.

Something I want is for everyone to discover a hobby, interest, or passion that gets them excited

I want folks to get to a place in their lives financially where they can spend time pursuing whatever gets them excited.

I want people to "Live it to love it."

Enough rambling. Let's get started with:

How do I Increase my Income?

From a debt reduction perspective, if you get a raise, a bonus, a large commission, or any kind of overtime pay, use it to pay down the debt of the item carrying the highest interest rate. You're already used to living on your regular income. Remember, we tend to spend whatever we bring in and more. You'll get the bonus of saving on debt interest. You just gave yourself a raise twice.


I like to think of budgeting and saving money as a game. It makes it more fun and keeps things interesting. Making it a game also helps with the mindset. Digging deeper into the point that we tend to spend whatever we earn and more, and the fact that we get used to whatever that amount is. Directly contribute from your paycheck to any share purchase program, RRSP match program, or pension payment reduction your employer offers.

  1. Anything your employer contributes as a matching incentive is the same as giving yourself a raise, in my books.

  2. You're paying yourself first. You're investing money that never hit your bank account. You will get used to the income reduction. If you're strapped, you can always withdraw these investments in the future, as an income.

  3. Contribute the maximum you can to an RRSP to reduce your taxes. The lowest tax rate any of us pay in Canada is 10%, and the rate can go over 30%. You can get a line of credit for a rate less than your tax rate. Max out your RRSP contribution, and use your tax return to pay down the debt. You just gave yourself another raise.

  4. If you do get laid off and receive a severance package, did you know that you can have your employer send your severance directly to wherever you contribute to an RRSP, and not pay any withholding tax at that time? If you need any of the money from the severance, simply withdraw it from your RRSP and pay the withholding tax at a lower rate. The current rate of withholding tax is 10% for withdrawals up to $5,000, 20% for withdrawals over $5,000 up to $15,000, and 30% for withdrawals over $15,000. If you make your withdrawals of $5,000 on different occasions, you should still only be paying the 10% withholding tax at the time of the withdrawal. If you need the money, consider paying less tax now and paying any additional taxes owing when you submit your tax return at the end of the year.

When David and I went hard into the debt reduction and investment induction, we did all of the above. Also, we were already used to living on one income when I was laid off, so we used our second income when I found a job to pay down our debt.


If you have an Alberta Pension, you can unlock the funds for five reasons.

  1. Low income,

  2. Foreclosure,

  3. Eviction for rent arrears,

  4. First months rent and security deposit, or

  5. Medical cost

You can also unlock small amounts. In 2020, that amount is $11,740 if you are under 65, and $23,480 if you are over 65.

Here's the one we did. Once you are 50 years or older, on one occasion, you can unlock 50% of the locked-in money and convert the remainder into a LIF. We put half our pensions into an RRSP, so we wouldn't need to pay any taxes upfront, and so we could access the income as required through RRSP withdrawals. The remainder was deposited into a LIF as required.

I'm not a professional financial type of person. If this is something you want to look at, I would suggest doing your research and talking to a professional.

Tax Refund

I consider the taxes I pay to be a loan to the government. I believe that it is my job to figure out how to get as much of that loan back as possible so that I can apply the refund to my debt.

Side Hustle

Before we get into the side hustle lets, take a quick look at some ideas if you need some cash, right now.

Do you have anything laying around collecting dust that you no longer have a use for that someone else may? Start by just taking a general look around and dig deeper and deeper into every room because if you need some money right now, there is plenty collecting dust in your own house in the form of things you have that you have no use for. I pull something out David is sure nobody will ever buy and before he knows it I've sold them.

Start by listing the items in Facebook Marketplace, and local buy sells like Kijiji. You'll get a better price for them there. Gather up the stuff and put them in some area in your home with price stickers on them as prep for a garage sale. If they don't sell online, put them all in a garage sale when the weather gets better.

We have been digging deeper and deeper into our possessions for three years now, as everything we owned won't fit in our RV. The longer you have to sell items, the easier it is to hold firm on the price you want.

Do you have old Smartphones lying around? If you do search Goggle for "sell smartphone" plus "your area", and get some cash for them right now.

Now let's get into the side hustle.

No one call tell you what your side hustle is going to be. You need to figure this out for yourself. First things first, make a list of the things you enjoy and the skills you have.

Next, decide if you have any money to put towards this side hustle, or does it need to generate cash first? If you have another job, make sure your side hustle isn't a conflict of interest. Now decide how much time you have for your side hustle.

Here are some ideas to start you off.

  1. Get a part-time job. - Job search websites have listings right now for work at home full-time and part-time positions.

  2. Do you have a skill, trade, or passion? - Create an online course, create an E-book or tutor in house or online, create YouTube "how-to" videos, do side jobs at home or after hours.

  3. Do you like animals? - Can you walk dogs, offer a mobile or home grooming service or pet sit.

  4. Have a vehicle? - Drive for Uber, Lyft or deliver for Amazon

  5. Know anything about marketing or social media platforms? - Manage marketing for a small business. Believe me, as I'm starting this blog, I wish I hadn't stopped drinking LOL. Every time I start something, I end up ten other places. Holy smokes, you guys are talented.

  6. Personal trainer

  7. Ironing, laundry service or house cleaning

  8. Child or elder care

  9. Bookkeeping or tax preparation

  10. Music or language lessons

  11. Do you like to cook or bake? - Do baking, make lunch, or dinner for co-workers or folks that live near you for a fee.

  12. Are you a gardener? - When my big garden went in, my neighbours were always asking if I would sell them some of the extras. When I started my plants inside, I did plenty of extra to give away to the kids in the neighbourhood. I also sold the extras in the little plastic beer cups. Folks loved them so much they would message me to set some aside for them before I even started them indoors the following year.

One year we gave 160 organic tomato starters to a local community. We didn't make any money, and that's okay. This was our lovely thank you note.

I always strive to show my family how important it is to make a positive difference in a stranger's life ❤️. The organically grown plants that your family has given to a low-income community will give so much more than just-food. The difference that will be made in the community is shared among strangers, soon to be friends, old as well as new neighbours. You truly have no idea the impact you've made on so many people's lives. My dream for the Pembrook Neighbour's Day Celebrations was to be able to give every family some sort of food security and with your amazing gift, I will be able to do this. Each and everyone will be able to enjoy fresh grown organic food thanks to your wonderful heart. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this amazing opportunity. Everyone meets for a reason and I truly believe that I was meant to meet your wonderful family because the universe knows the difference our two families will make ❤️❤️. Thank you again

In the next blog post, we'll work through the food section of the budget worksheet.


Eatable Garden

Food Preservation


Pet food

I'm just going to cover this at a higher level, so we can get through the budget spreadsheet and then dig deeper into food preparations as it relates to saving money, eatable gardens, companion planting, and then food preservation. These topics are so much fun and deserve our full attention. Did I mention I love food and gardening?

Subscribe to our blog, and I will email the Budget Spreadsheet with the welcome email and send you a note when I publish the follow-up posts.

Until next time take care and live well.

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