If you want to take some stress off of your finances, one of the best things you can do is give yourself a raise.
And I’m not just talking about asking your boss for more money (although that’s always an option).
I’m talking about finding ways to increase the amount of money you save, invest, and have left over at the end of every month.
From squeezing more margin out of the money you already make to finding ways to generate more of those sweet, sweet simoleons, here are some of the best ways to give yourself a raise.
What Does It Mean To Give Yourself A Raise?
Giving yourself a raise simply means finding ways to bring in more money each month or keep more of the money you already make. This could involve making more money at your current job, reducing your monthly expenses, or both.
With that in mind, let’s dive into all the different ways you can effectively ‘give yourself a raise.’
1: Stop Overpaying Your Taxes
Did you know that if you get a tax refund every year, you’re actually costing yourself money?
By overpaying on your taxes, you are basically putting a portion of your hard-earned money into an interest-free savings account for the whole year.
At a minimum, you’re costing yourself some financial margin and putting unnecessary pressure on your financial life.
At maximum, you’re costing yourself thousands of dollars in compound interest you could otherwise be earning if you were to put that money into long-term investments.
So the more significant your tax refund, the more money you lose.
With that in mind, if you’re looking for one of the fastest and easiest ways to give yourself a raise, make sure you aren’t overpaying your taxes.
Also, you should ensure you’re taking advantage of as many deductions as possible.
By taking this two-pronged approach, you can easily squeeze some extra money out of your monthly paycheck.
2: Make A Budget (And Stick To It)
If you don’t know where your money is going, saving any of it is pretty tough.
Beyond that, personal finance can get pretty stressful when you aren’t sure where you stand throughout your pay cycle.
Living on a written budget is the most effective way to get control of your finances and start saving more money.
That said, creating a budget is only the first step.
If you want to give yourself a raise, you have to actually live within your budget. That means saying ‘no’ to all those not-so-budget-friendly spending opportunities you encounter throughout the month.
It also means tracking your spending daily or weekly (at minimum) and living within your pre-determined budgeting categories.
Budgeting may not be the most exciting way to “give yourself a raise,” but it is one of the most efficient and effective.
3: Eliminate Debt
If you’re currently carrying a bunch of debt, from car payments to credit card balances, one of the best ways to give yourself a raise is to pay it off. And the faster you do so, the bigger your raise will be–especially in the case of high-interest debt.
Not only do you have to pay interest on the money you owe, but debt limits your monthly cash flow and puts unnecessary pressure on your finances.
Think of it this way; if you have a 5-year, $25,000 car loan with a 4.5% interest rate, it will cost you $466 per month. So, the moment you pay that off, you essentially give yourself an annual raise of $5,592.
I don’t know about you, but I’ll take a raise like that any day of the week!
4: Meal Plan To Save Money On Food
If you’re like most people, food is one of your most significant monthly expenses.
Whether it’s groceries or restaurants, it’s easy to let your food spending get out of control.
Fortunately, you can save quite a bit of money by planning your meals. And I’m not just talking about planning your dinners.
If you want to squeeze your food budget for everything it’s worth, you should plan out every one of your meals and snacks for the week.
In other words, if you plan on eating it, it should go in your meal plan.
Ninja Meal Planning Tip: If you want to take your meal planning to the next level, we recommend comparing prices at multiple grocery stores to get the best price on every item. This little technique saves my wife and me hundreds of dollars a year.
5: Negotiate a Higher Salary
It might seem a little obvious, but one of the best ways to give yourself a raise is to negotiate a higher salary (or hourly rate) with your current employer.
Even a 5% salary increase can add up over time.
For example, if you make $50,000 a year and get a 5% raise, that’s an extra $2,500 in your pocket each year–or $208 each month before taxes.
Pair a decent salary increase with a few other tips in this post, and you might just find yourself with a nice bump in financial margin.
6: Get A Higher-Paying Job
Finding a new job can be an overwhelming process.
You have to put your resume together, apply to open positions, go through an interview process, accept a job, learn new systems, navigate a new culture, and make new friends.
That said, if your current employer isn’t willing to pay you a decent wage, going through the trouble of finding a new job can result in a big ol’ payday–making it well worth your while!
I’ve seen people double their salary by opening themselves to new job opportunities. So, while it might seem daunting, if your goal is to give yourself a raise, a new job may be the best way to make it happen.
7: Invest In Money-Producing Assets
Another great way to give yourself a raise is to invest in assets that produce monthly cash flow.
This could be anything from dividend stocks to small, relatively-passive businesses.
For instance, my wife and I recently tossed around the idea of starting a vending machine business. Not only is it relatively cheap to enter, but if you’re careful about it, you can make some nice coin on the side.
And the best part is that it doesn’t require a whole ton of time.
Sure, we would have to maintain/clean the machines, fill them with snacks/drinks, and manage the company finances. But if we made sure to look for locations relatively close to home, it wouldn’t require more than a part-time effort.
And that’s just one example. If you get creative, there are all sorts of assets you could invest in that could provide you with some extra cash flow each month.
8: Get Rid Of Recurring Monthly Expenses
Beyond debt payments, cutting recurring monthly expenses from your budget is one of the fastest ways to give yourself a raise.
For example, if your monthly gym membership costs $40, getting rid of it would be like giving yourself a $480 annual raise.
If you spend $100 a month on streaming services, you could cut them from your budget and save an additional $1,200 per year.
You get the idea.
The point is if you’re looking for a great way to boost your financial margin, take those recurring monthly expenses and drop ’em like they’re hot.
9: Start A Niche-Focused Blog
If you’ve ever looked for a way to make some extra monthly income, you’ve probably considered the idea of starting a blog.
Who hasn’t, right?
Despite the weird stigma that many people associate with this idea, blogging is a great way to make extra money each month. I know because I do it.
The fact that you are reading this blog post is proof of that!
And here’s the best part, you can start a blog about nearly anything you want.
Are you passionate about tennis? Start a tennis blog.
Do you love camping with your kids? Start a blog about it.
Is home organization your thing? Sit down in your perfectly organized home office and start writing!
You don’t have to be an expert on a subject to start blogging about it. It’s better if you aren’t. As long as you’re willing to do some research, curate tips, review products, and provide valuable answers to specific questions, you can be a successful blogger.
Of all the business ideas out there, freelancing has to be one of the quickest in terms of actually earning a profit.
Assuming you have all the equipment you need, and depending on the freelance service you offer, you could start making money in as little as a single day.
I’m not saying you’ll get rich overnight as a freelancer. But if your goal is to give yourself a raise, it’s a great option because it gives you complete control over how much money you make.
To make more money, simply take on more clients or offer premium, higher-priced services.
The world of freelancing can be pretty competitive, but if you can differentiate yourself, there is a lot of money to be made.
I have personally worked with freelancers making thousands of dollars per month on the side. Some of them do it full-time now!
As long as you stick with it, improve your skills, deliver high-quality work, and take good care of your customers, freelancing can be pretty lucrative.
11: Sell An E-Course
If you are passionate about a particular subject and you’re willing to teach others about it, then creating and selling an online course might be one of the best ways to give yourself a raise.
I think this might be one of the most profitable ideas on this whole list.
Because selling an online course is so freaking scaleable!
For one, you can utilize a platform like Teachable or Udemy to host and sell your course.
That means you don’t have to worry about setting up, managing, or hosting your course on your own website. You just create your course, publish an enticing sales page, and post it for sale!
From there, all you have to do is generate interest in your course, and you could start making some serious money in a very short period.
Seriously, I know people that make over 6-figures per month selling an online course!
If you’re going to go this route, I highly recommend creating an evergreen course; in other words, a course that will remain relevant for years to come.
By creating an evergreen course, you can reduce the number of course updates you have to make in the future. That way, you can focus on driving traffic and improving your conversion rate.
Bonus Tip: If you decide to sell an online course, we highly recommend starting a niche-focused blog to drive traffic to it. This is a great way to build an audience of potential customers and steadily increase your sales over time.
There you have it! Eleven of the best ways to give yourself a raise and take some pressure off of your monthly finances.
Which of these ideas did you like the best?
Are there any other strategies you recommend?
Be sure to drop your comments and ideas down below!