When you’re looking to improve your salary, look at all of your options before making a decision.
These are some tips on how to maximize your earnings without sacrificing your lifestyle.
Sort through your options
Before you have any luck boosting your salary — or just, hey, let me try again — it’s important to really consider all of your options. Of course you have to prioritize which would give you the biggest financial gain.
However, taking into account whether you can afford additional debt, how new expenses would affect your retirement plans, or how certain expenses would affect your income can help narrow down your potential salary boost.
Use your free time more wisely
If you find yourself earning a bit more, let’s say around $50,000 annually, it’s important to explore different options for your job that could allow you to catch up on a few months of child care costs, send your kid to private school for the year, or even put some vacation time on the horizon. If your company offers a health insurance program, you can use your extra cash to buy more months than you need to cover this cost.
People who live paycheck to paycheck in their 20s and 30s may pay a large price for not planning ahead — so take advantage of every opportunity you get to make your money go farther.
Learn about cash-based compensation
There are several potential perks to cash-based compensation: It might be worth dropping your car payment in order to save a year’s worth of car payments on your mortgage, for example. Or you might even be able to get a tuition discount.
The only catches are that the costs of these alternative strategies might be high or less than you expected, depending on the extent to which you desire extra income, and these perks can also mean that more work and effort is needed to access the rewards. You should also be careful not to abuse the same perks or become something of a VIP.
Understand the four C’s
Just as in your financial life, the four C’s could make your salary gains even more powerful: Canteen, bureaucracy, government and bureaucrats.
The more obscure but still important factors to be aware of include travel expenses and taxes.
Take time to get a handle on all the reasons why you haven’t gotten a raise in the past — whether it’s because of those pesky red tape considerations, whether you didn’t file your taxes in time, why you can’t seem to get a grant because there’s a typo.
Remember these factors when you are evaluating possible salary boosts. Use these things as counterarguments to explain your value, too.
Many companies can get you extra money if you score high enough in performance reviews. Many government benefits are dependable so long as you are eligible for them.
Above all, keep your eye on the main goal — getting more money.
Amy Beth Bennett / Graphics Editor for The Washington Post
This article was written by Kerri Shannon, a reporter for The Washington Post.