What if you could give yourself a raise this week?
If you could boost your income overnight, how would you use the money?
For many people, having more money means they can reduce the stress in their lives, start that business they always dreamed of, or help other people and causes they care about.
Fortunately, you don’t need to wait around for your boss to give you a raise to enjoy some extra cash.
Smart money management can often help you discover how to make your money go further so that you have enough to enjoy life now and build wealth for your future.
In this article, we show you four ways to make your money go further so you can start enjoying a better income and improved quality of life right now.
Whether you need extra cash to pay bills, invest in your future, or save for something special, these four steps can help you get there:
- Review Your Spending Habits
- Refine Your Food Budget
- Reduce Your Auto Insurance Rates
- Review Your Banking Expenses
Keep reading to find out how to make immediate changes that can quickly improve your financial situation — without having to wait on your boss to approve a raise!
1. Review Your Spending Habits
One of the quickest ways to “give yourself a raise” is by reclaiming the money you already earn.
Stop paying for things you’re not using!
We all tend to let our spending habits slack when it comes to small expenses, but those under-$10 charges, subscriptions, and purchases really do build up over time.
Stopping your day to investigate tiny, unnecessary expenses may or may not be worth the time it takes to correct them.
However, auditing all of your expenses a few times a year will probably give your wallet a nice fat boost because those “tiny charges” can add up to hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars throughout the year.
By reviewing your bank statements, line-by-line, you’ll probably discover that you’re paying for things you don’t use or appreciate, such as:
- Fitness and exercise subscriptions you don’t use (online and in-person): if you use your fitness services daily, then your subscription is probably well-worth what you pay for it. However, if you’re holding onto it for “someday” or only using it on occasion, consider trying a free fitness app or service instead.
- Streaming services you rarely use: considering cancelling rarely used services (especially in the offseasons). You can subscribe to your lesser-used services a couple times a year and play catch-up, instead of paying for a full year’s worth of service.
- News services you forgot you were paying for: these expenses really add up, since many news services require you to make a phone call to cancel your subscription — and who’s got time for that? Planning to review your expenses a few times a year (or even monthly) is an excellent way to set aside time to get these unused subscriptions cancelled!
- Meal services that you meant to cancel but were instead put on pause: this often results in recurring charges you forgot about and weren’t planning for. You can always resubscribe to meal services (and often with a sweet discount), but putting them on pause sets you up for unexpected and unnecessary expenses.
- Late fees and fines paid to utility services: forgetting your due dates can rack up between $10 – $30 or more each month. These fees can really add up! Consider auto-pay for your standard monthly payments or build a habit of paying all of your bills early to avoid fees.
We often don’t give a second thought to five or ten dollar charges because they don’t seem significant on their own. But when you add up all the unused subscriptions, services, and late fees, they can equal as much (or more) as that raise you’ve been hoping for.
Schedule a personal spending audit with yourself at regular intervals, such as monthly or quarterly, to ensure that the money you earn is well-spent and never wasted on things you’re not using.
2. Refine Your Food Budget
Money is the last thing you want to think about when you’re hungry, which makes it very easy to overspend on food.
You should never short yourself or your family when it comes to well-stocked cupboards and tasty meals.
However, it’s way too easy to overspend on food in ways that don’t enhance your enjoyment or health.
Ordering takeout once a week instead of delivery can easily save you an $50 – $60 per person a month.
For example, If you order a hamburger, fries, and a drink through a delivery service such as Uber Eats, you can end up paying $20 – $30 for one meal by the time you factor in tip, taxes, and fees.
When you order ahead and pick up your food instead of having it delivered, you can often cut the price of your meal by more than half.
Choosing pickup over delivery can turn that $30 UberEats delivery into a $15 meal! If you’re ordering for 2+ people, you’ll save even more.
Make healthier, more tasty meals at home for a fraction of the cost and save $90 – $100 per person monthly.
Making your own burger and fries costs a couple dollars for the meat and bread, and a few cents for the potato. The more people you have in your household, the more you’ll save by cooking at home.
Skip the pre-made meals at the grocery store and cut your total grocery budget by 10 – 40%.
Take a close look at your grocery bills over the past month — are you spending money on pre-made foods that would only cost pennies to make?
For example, hummus costs about $4 for a regular-sized container at most grocery stores, but you can make it from home for only a few cents.
Love the fancy artisan bread at the deli counter? Learn to make your own for less than a dollar, instead of paying $4 for a loaf of bread that’s super-easy to make at home.
Premade foods from the grocery store are often marked up by more than one hundred percent, yet they are often less tasty than what you can produce in your own kitchen.
Meal kits that you purchase through services or at the grocery store lure people in with the promise of “quick healthy meals,” but the only thing most of them do is charge you twice the price for simply pre-cutting vegetables and measuring seasonings for you.
Reconsider your organic foods consumption.
The additional expense of organic produce and meats is overwhelming for nearly anyone’s budget.
You don’t have to ditch your organic foods altogether, but you might consider cutting the expense by purchasing only select items from the organic aisle.
If you can’t part with your organic products, consider offsetting the cost by switching to a whole foods diet and cooking everything from scratch. Or, take some nutrition courses to help you understand what organic foods have a true positive impact on your health and which ones are simply hype.
No matter what your approach to food, chances are you can find ways to balance the costs so that you can enjoy the meals you love without spending more than what you need to eat healthy and enjoyable foods.
Drink water instead of soda!
Replacing your soda habit with water will save you quite a bit of money. Plus, water makes you feel good and helps you avoid many long-term (and pricey) health problems.
Stop buying bottled water.
Bottled water is unnecessarily expensive because you’re paying for a new container every time you reach for a drink. Plus, storing and disposing of the bottles takes a lot of real estate and time, not to mention the effects on the environment.
Instead, try a tap or pitcher filtration system such as Brita or Pur, which can dramatically cut the costs of your beverages and (bonus) reduce your use of plastics at the same time.
Cut back on your alcohol intake.
Regular drinking is an expensive habit, and you’ll need more than a raise to keep up with it. Consider replacing your favorite wine, beer, or mixed drink with a less expensive alternative such as water, tea, or coffee.
If your recycle bins have been filled to the top with beer and wine bottles since the pandemic began in 2020, you’re definitely burning through cash that could be better-spent.
If you drink alcohol frequently, look for ways to replace expensive alcoholic drinks with other beverages to dramatically cut your expenses.
3. Reduce Your Auto Insurance Rates
If you own a car, auto insurance is a must-have expense, but that doesn’t mean you need to overpay.
You can often reduce your car insurance costs overnight by taking a little time to review your current policy.
Here are three simple steps you can take to find out if you’re overspending on car insurance:
- Review your coverage types to ensure you’re not paying for insurance you don’t need.
- Make sure to claim all the discounts available to you.
- Compare rates and negotiate with insurance agents.
Auto insurance is a competitive industry, so if you’re not comparing rates at least once or twice a year, you’re probably overpaying. Additionally, understanding the different types of auto insurance and asking about discounts can slash your costs.
Review your auto insurance policy to find out if you can lower your rates and put your hard-earned money back into your wallet.
4. Review Your Banking Expenses
Is your savings account costing you money?
We all need to set aside six months of living expenses in case of emergency, and Minority Mindset recommends saving your emergency fund cash in a bank.
However, most people open their savings accounts at brick-and-mortar banks that charge unnecessary monthly fees.
Check your bank statements to see how much you’re getting charged for monthly fees (the price often goes up without you realizing it).
You may find that you’re paying ten or fifteen dollars a month or more to store your money in a bank that profits off these types of fees, which is unnecessary.
Small fees add up. Ten dollars a month adds up to $120 per year that’s not serving you in any way. This is money that could be invested, saved or spent in more productive ways.
If you’re paying monthly bank fees for your savings account, consider opening an online account with a bank that charges zero fees, such as CIT Bank.
Improve Your Quality Of Life With Conscious Spending
Understanding how finances work and taking the time to manage your money carefully can often put more money in your pocket than that raise you’ve been hoping for.
Begin mastering your money management skills by reviewing your spending to uncover places where you’re spending on things that don’t enhance your lifestyle.
Absent-minded spending habits can lead to unnecessary fees for products or services you don’t use. To give yourself an instant “raise,” start by reviewing your bank account for services and subscriptions you forgot you had or rarely use.
Revamping your eating habits is another quick and simple way to put more money in your pocket. You can lighten your expenses quickly (and east tastier, healthier food) by avoiding food deliveries, meal kits, prepared foods, bottled water, and alcohol. The alternatives are much less expensive, and usually healthier, too.
Finally, you might be surprised how much money you can save by reviewing your auto insurance and banking fees to lower the prices you pay for these services.
Spending money more consciously is like giving yourself a raise without having to work harder. It can help reduce stress, improve your quality of life, and allow you to invest your money in things that return a passive income, such as stock market investing and real estate.