Shaa's weekly blog: 10 ways to make more money in 2012

Change your job

You may not realise it, but if you've been in the same job for a long time, you could be accepting a lower wage than you deserve.

Make 2012 the year you found out how much you're worth. It might be scary to branch out of a comfort zone but a pleasant surprise could be waiting in your earning potential.

Push for a pay rise

If you aren't going to maximise the money you make with a new employer, ensure your current one is paying you as much as they're willing to.

Expressing an interest in a rise can be awkward but it'll pay off if you sell yourself properly and make your employer know you recognise how much you are worth.

Take on freelance work

Got the time to take on more work in 2012? Then searching online for freelance work is a good way to make money out of your own skills.

Think about where your abilities lie and then check out websites like elance.com to see what's available.

Market research

If committing to becoming a freelancer isn't for you, a less profitable but more flexible option is market research.

From mystery shopping (retaileyes.co.uk) to simply answering questions (valuedopinions.co.uk), market research is a way to make more money that fits into your daily routine and can actually be very interesting.

Use freelancers

Are you currently employing anyone on a full-time contract to do work for you? Do you really need to be? If not, save yourself some money in 2012 and take advantage of the wealth of talent out there for whatever it is you need doing.

From writing to website development and hundreds of other roles, elance.com offers rated and recommended freelancers looking for work.

Renegotiate contracts

When you do need to employ someone in whatever the role may be, make sure you're not overpaying them.

If you want to be making as much money as possible you can't be afraid to search for a new recruit who could be more cost effective.

Check for benefits or grants

There's a plethora of benefits and grants out there. You may not realise you're entitled to them but you could take advantage of small business and regional development grants, family benefits or even funds to do up your house.

You should also take a look at your council tax as many people are currently in the wrong band. It only takes ten minutes to change and can save you £200 a year, as well as back payments.

Pay off loans

If you're living with both savings and debt, you could save yourself hundreds of pounds in 2012 by using one to pay off the other.

With the exception of student loans, it's wise to pay off as much of your debts as possible as loan interest are higher than what you earn on savings.

Shop smartly

Brands are desperate to grab your loyalty and this offers you the chance to make money out of your shopping. Loyalty cards can earn you a surprising amount and taking advantage of the best offers will give the equivalent extra cash of a 25% pay rise.

Also, you can get paid every time you shop online if you go through cash back websites to reach the shop you're looking for.

Savings rate

Finally, make more money in 2012 with something you should always be aware of.

Don't just accept the savings rate you're getting with your bank. Shop around and see what else is available, because a quick search could make you hundreds of pounds over the year.

For more from Shaa, visit her website www.shaa.com and follow her on twitter @shaawasmund

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