Give Yourself a Raise (When the Boss Won’t)
Sometimes, no matter how stellar your performance or how persuasively you negotiate, getting a raise just isn’t in the cards. If you find yourself in that situation, there are still ways you can increase your income. And the best part is, they are all things you can do yourself. Here’s how to give yourself a raise, when the boss won’t:
Review Your Withholding — If you’re someone who loves getting a big tax refund every year, reconsider that strategy. Remember, the government is not giving you free money. They’re simply giving back what they’ve borrowed from you all year. Wouldn’t you rather have those funds to use throughout the year instead? Take a look at how much you’re having taken out of every paycheck, and if it’s more than it should be, reduce the amount. You will see an instant increase in your take-home pay on your next paycheck.
Maximize Your Benefits — Are you taking advantage of everything your benefits package offers? Beyond health care coverage, be sure you are maxing out your 401(k) contributions, as well as utilizing other benefits such as health screenings, on-site gym or child care, and free or low-cost meals and snacks. Remember, anything you don’t have to pay for yourself allows you to keep more money in your pocket.
Propose an Alternative Schedule — If a salary increase isn’t feasible right now, see if a modified work schedule is. Propose the idea of working from home one (or more) days a week. You’ll save by cutting back on the days you have to commute. Plus, you’ll actually be gaining back time in your week; and sometimes that’s even more valuable than money.
Rework Your Budget — Many people feel like they’re living paycheck-to-paycheck, but it’s only because they’re living a lifestyle that eats up every penny of discretionary income. Take a hard look at how you’re spending your money by tracking every expense (even the small ones) for thirty days. It won’t take long to see where the patterns of overspending are. Often it’s simple things like buying coffee shop coffee every day or going out to lunch too often. Once you cut back on those, you’ll find more money staying in your pocket. If, after tracking your spending, you find you’re still cutting it close every month, free Credit Counseling can help you take a deeper dive into discovering where your money is going. If credit card debt turns out to be the problem, a debt management plan lowers interest rates and combines monthly payments into a single, often lower, payment.
Sell Your Skills — If you’re working a standard 40-hour week, that leaves you plenty of time to make a little extra money doing something you actually enjoy. If you’re a skilled musician, offer your services to give music lessons. Love teaching others? Try tutoring in a subject you know well. Enjoy crafting or building things? Set up an Etsy shop to sell your wares. Whatever you’re passionate about, start looking at it as a potential way to make some extra cash. You never know — it could one day end up being your full-time career!