How To Stretch Your Salary When You’re Stuck

Sometimes your salary isn’t paying quite enough to cover all you wish it could. Maybe you got promoted to an exempt position that looks good on your resume, but now that lucrative overtime bonus is gone. You could have been offered benefits that you truly need (medical insurance, for instance), and on paper it all looks good, but in your wallet there’s not enough cash.

This is where that “B” word – Budget – comes in to help.

All the experts start with an honest assessment of where your money is currently going. If you don’t know where your money is currently going, how can you control its flow? Write down all the ugly reality on paper so you can look it in the face and deal with it.

The problem isn’t automatically solved by a higher salary; it is solved by controlling the way you spend what you earn.

You can see this in the sad tale of many lottery winners whose huge chunks of money are gone in a few years or the way even high earners go bankrupt. This means that you have hope because you can control your cash flow by choosing to work with the real numbers instead of the dream numbers.

Look at the real numbers and come up with a real plan and follow it:

  • Do some research on money management. There is so much wisdom and free advice or seminars out there that your head will spin, but the reality is you have to make it work for your situation.
  • What are you willing to sacrifice to keep that steady salary or those benefits?
  • When you make the choice NOT to spend, remind yourself that you are saying “no” to this thing and “yes” to controlling your cash flow. You are the boss of your spending.
  • Pay the minimum on your bills if you have to, but add a little when you can. Somehow, that extra gives you a sense of power.
  • Allow yourself some “mad money” that you can spend on whatever you like, but when it’s gone, it’s gone until you get paid again.
  • Somehow, keep saving for emergencies. Even a little bit adds up!
  • Sell some stuff and put the money on the biggest bills.
  • Come up with ways to reward yourself that don’t cost money.

Keep a reminder of your plan, and your goals, in view. You aren’t “stuck” with that salary, you have chosen to stay in the position for a reason. Is your reason still valid? Can you ask for a review and a raise? Are you utilizing all the benefits you have? You may need to sit down and crunch numbers with others who are involved with your money decisions, but it will be worth the time and effort that takes to get everyone on the same team in this!