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Getting extra money is always fun. That’s why we always love those yearly check-ins with our leaders at work. There’s a happy feeling that comes with getting a little bump in the paycheck and knowing all your hard work is paying off.
Well, we can’t increase your salary, but we do know a thing or two about squeezing extra cash out of what you’re already earning. Follow these five tips, and you just might feel like you’re getting a raise—and you can get that happy feeling more than just once a year.
1. Actually do a budget.
Like Chris says on Chris Brown’s True Stewardship, when you budget, you feel like you’re giving yourself a raise. You’ve just got to remember that "on paper, on purpose" isn’t just a cute saying. It’s got to be a way of life. So do a budget with your spouse or accountability partner every month—and stick to it!
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2. Use the envelope system.
Chris talks about this budgeting principle as well, but that’s because it works. A lot of budget crashes can be traced to a lack of discipline, and the envelope system gives you built-in discipline! If you commit to spending only what’s in your envelopes each month, your money will go a lot further.
3. Work your debt snowball.
The borrower is slave to the lender, but it doesn’t have stay that way. It takes a little time and patience, but the quick wins you earn by knocking out those smaller debts free up more money for the bigger debts. Stick with it long enough, and that extra money will start going to your savings account instead of your creditors.
4. Identify the budget busters.
What are budget busters? They’re those budget categories that you just can’t seem to tame. They’re consistently off the mark and knocking your cash flow plan out of the water. Typically, stuff like eating out, kids’ activities, entertainment, personal money and even housing can get out of control pretty quickly. Tell your money where to go in these areas, and you might just find some extra cash on hand.
5. Look for additional places to trim.
You might have to get creative, but you can probably find areas where you could shave a few more dollars. For example, even if you hate clipping coupons, the cash you save at the register might be worth the time. You also could shop around for a cheaper phone plan or a better insurance policy. Using automatic withdrawal to pay some of your monthly bills might help. Just be on the lookout for places where you can still spend less than you’re spending right now.
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Money doesn’t grow on trees, but sometimes it does hide in the corners of a monthly budget. Make sure you search all the nooks and crannies where your money might hang out, and give yourself a raise by putting it to work.
The best way to give yourself a raise is to take control of your money. Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University offers you the chance to learn how to make a plan for your money with fun, practical steps that will set you up to succeed.