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Day 4 how to boost your income

Day 4: What counts as income and how can you increase it?

Day 3 highlighted ways in which you could budget to reduce your outgoings. Today, we’re going to have a look at what counts as income and the different ways you may be able to increase it.

When working out your income, it’s important to understand the different things that count towards it. For example you might think your income is just what you earn from a job when actually you should also include any benefits you receive.

What should I include as my income?

When listing your income, it’s important to be honest with yourself. This will help you to get a more accurate view of your overall financial situation as well as helping to set up a suitable budget to work from.

Use our free income planner to help you get a better idea about all of the money you have coming in each week or month.

Download income planner (pdf)

What counts as income?

These four areas will usually make up most of your income:

  • Employment or self-employmentIncluding regular pay and any benefits such as sick pay
  • BenefitsIncluding any benefits like Job Seekers Allowance or Child Tax Credits
  • Additional incomeIncluding pension payments and contributions you receive from family members or a lodger for rent etc.
  • Lump sumsIncluding insurance or compensation claims

Ten ways to boost your income

Getting a second job will boost your income, however we know that it's not always as easy as that. Other commitments can often get in the way. There are lots of other ideas you could try that are less time-consuming and more flexible. Here are just a few of them.

Visit the MoneyAware blog for more money maximising tips, expert debt advice and practical money-saving ideas.

Or to receive the latest debt news, budgeting tips and blog articles straight to your inbox each month sign up to our newsletter.

Are you missing out on unclaimed benefits?

Every year billions of pounds worth of benefits goes unclaimed in the UK so it’s worth seeing if there’s anything you’re entitled to.

graphic £12 billion unclaimed benefits in uk

(Sourced from Department for Work and Pensions statistics 2012)

Benefits are usually available to people who:

  • Are out of work
  • Have children
  • Are earning a low income
  • Have a disability

Try our online benefits calculator to find out if you’re entitled to any extra benefits. On average people who use it find they’re entitled to £203.10 extra a week (source: April 2015 benefit uplift).

Online benefits check

Coming up tomorrow

If you’ve followed the previous steps of the programme you should have a better understanding of your financial situation. Having a clear idea of your full income, budget and debts will give you a better idea of the bigger picture. You can finally 'see the wood from the money trees’.

Day 5 will take you through the options you have when it comes to dealing with your debt and the different ways you can get help.

If you can't wait to get tomorrow's email then you can skip ahead to Day 5 now.

If you do one thing today...

Using our sheet list all of your income, including any benefits you might receive, to get a clear idea of exactly what you have coming in.

Yesterday: Know your outgoings

Today: Work out your income

Tomorrow: Skip ahead to tomorrow

Need help now?

If you need debt help now then go straight to our Debt Remedy tool for debt advice in 20 minutes.

Get debt help now

Read more

Take one mindful minute...


As part of your 7 Days, 7 Ways journey, you can also learn more about mindfulness and the benefits it may have in your daily life. Visit Mental Health Foundation’s bemindful.co.uk for more information.

Day 4: Track your practice; observe the trends in your thinking.

Yesterday we talked about making sure you find some spare time alone to become more aware of your thinking. Did you observe the kind of thoughts that come into your mind during your breathing exercises? Are there any negative thoughts that are particularly persistent?

Keep note of any recurring thoughts that would normally cause a negative reaction from you. Observe the thought, and then practice bringing yourself back to the present. Remember that thoughts are not facts!

It’s easy to lose track of the positive things we achieve every day. Keep a diary of these ‘daily victories’ as they unfold, no matter how small you may perceive them to be. Seeing facts in black and white can help you keep a sense of how things really are.

Helping you become debt free...

“I wish to thank your staff for all the great help they gave me when I was in so much debt.
They were a pillar of support to me.” (Leslie, Essex)

Foundation for Credit Counselling Wade House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8NG trading as StepChange Debt Charity and StepChange Debt Charity Scotland. A registered charity no.1016630 and SC046263. It is a limited company registered in England and Wales (company no:2757055). Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

*This is the average rating of our service based on the StepChange reviews on Feefo by DMP and DRO clients three months into their solution.

© StepChange Debt Charity 2018