The way to improve your financial status is either to increase your income or decrease your outgo. The ideal way would be to both increase your income and decrease your outgo.

How to accomplish either, or both, of these objectives should be given considerable thought, especially the increase of your income as this is usually the most difficult.

Your family situation may control your ability to consider a second job. If you are young, single with no dependents, and are healthy, this may be the answer for you.

Even if you are young and healthy, consider what an extra job might do to your health. Would you still get enough sleep and not become overly tired?

If you have dependents or other obligations, taking on an extra job may be more complicated. The needs of these dependents must be taken into account.

Any physical limitations may determine if you are indeed healthy enough to take on more employment.

Part-time work may be available in your field for which you may be qualified. Many employers today hire part-time workers because they lack the confidence in the economy to hire full-time workers who often have benefits that the employer must provide.

There are jobs that can be done at home, but extra caution should be exercised before allowing yourself to get involved in “home work” as a number of the advertisements for such jobs have proven to be a scam. Investigate.

Do you have a hobby that could be turned into a money-making venture? What can you do that other people will pay for? Baby sitting, tutoring, walking the dog, making cakes or pies come to mind but the list is unlimited.

Remember that many of these chores that you may perform for money require that you be licensed. Be very sure that you know and abide by the law. Also, check into your insurance to be sure that you are covered.

A rewarding way to increase your income is to have a small vegetable garden. A small plot in your back yard should be sufficient; you really don’t need a ten acre field.

You may be surprised at the crop you can get from only a couple of tomato plants, two yellow squash plants and some peppers and onions. Add whatever you like and enjoy the bounty. These plants take very little space and can even be grown in containers or planted among your flowers.

Plant only the vegetables that you like and that require little maintenance. Not only will this garden be economically feasible but you will have the satisfaction of knowing exactly how your produce is being grown.

Inflation is not a big concern today with an increase of some two percent expected in 2013, but with budgets already stretched, two percent can be considerable and must be accounted for. Every time there is an increase in inflation, somehow the budget must be adjusted. Few budgets have “contingencies” allowances but it is something that practical people must consider.

If the family unit is facing financial difficulty, it is a disservice to all members of the unit if they are not informed of what the situation is and of how they can help.

Children should be involved in financial discussions, but the age of the children would determine to what degree they should be informed. Do not frighten them (and don’t allow yourself to become frightened) but be honest.

Explain why you can’t afford some expensive item and why you should live within your budget. It can be a good example for you to set for the children.

Use simple examples to teach. If the child is old enough to have a cell phone, the child is old enough not to leave the charger plugged into the electrical outlet, thereby wasting energy.

Bita Bullet is the pen name of a local anonymous writer who can be reached at