Would you say yes to a raise if your boss offered you a raise? Everyone I’ve spoken with throughout my life would say yes if they were asked. Of course there will be some people who will say no but, I have not found them. Why would anyone want a raise? Speaking for myself a raise would give me more choices. Depending on the amount of increased cash flow would determine choices that can be made.
You are the boss of you; so ask yourself “Do you want a raise?” If you can answer yes keep reading. A raise is basically money that you get with little or no lifestyle change. A raise gives you more free cash if you keep your spending the same. A raise is thought of as an increase of income. What if you decrease your spending with no increase of income? This has the same effect with more free cash.
I have heard people say then “I have to live like a monk and cut out all the fun stuff when I cut my spending.” The only question that should be asked then is How do I decrease my spending without changing my lifestyle? If you can answer this question then you can give yourself a raise.
Low Hanging Fruit
Here are the steps to take to hit the stuff that doesn’t cost you anything:
- Call credit card companies and ask for a lower rate or ask them if they have any better deals (keep in mind their better deals may not lower your costs). My Tweek is here.
- Evaluate your auto insurance company. Check around to see if they have the best rates. Consumer reports rates the car insurance companies. Make sure you check the rates of the best ranked ones. They can save you money and provide better service if an issue happens. Look for discounts for bundling with homeowners / renters insurance. Check to see if there are any other discounts available to you like safe driver, low miles to work, etc. Is your car older and do you need full coverage? Cutting coverage to liability can save you money on a car that is high mileage and may not be worth the premium to replace it’s value if lost.
- Evaluate your internet usage. What do you use the internet for? Do you just use it for emails? If this is the case could you reduce the speed / capacity needed for a reduced cost? Someone who has high usage may be able to leverage their internet usage to handle other needs. Could you leverage telephone and video services with your internet?
- Evaluate your video consumption. Do you have the traditional cable TV model? What do you actually watch on TV? Is it just traditional broadcast networks programming? Can you receive this programing elsewhere for cheaper via an antenna or internet service? Do you need cable at all? Can you watch the cable programming you like via an internet service like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Video, etc.
- Check your phone usage. Do you need a house phone? Could you go without the home phone? If you do need a house phone could it be from a internet company like Oomah, Skype, Magic Jack, etc. What about your mobile phone? Can you go to a cheaper provider? Could you use a cell provider that leverages the WiFi available like Republic Wireless or T-mobile passing the savings on to the consumer.
Here are some steps that may cost a little but could save you in the long run.
- Put a programmable Thermostat to control the temperature when you are not at home. The conditioning of the air in your home is one of the most expensive aspects of operating it. Turn the air down/off when you are not there. This can work for renters too! Take it to the next level and get a WiFi Thermostat so you can adjust the air from anywhere there is an internet connection. A programmable thermostat will cost you about $20-$50 dollars while a WiFi will cost between $100-$250.
- Stop air leakages in your house. Stopping air flowing out of your house in the winter or summer helps keep your A/C or Heating from running as much. Foam spray entry points of pipes. Seal leaks behind light sockets and plug jacks. Replace the seals around doors and windows if needed. This will cost you about $10 for a can of foam and $20-30 for seal replacements around doors.
- Put a water heater blanket around your water heater tank. This keeps the heat in the water tank radiating back towards the tank so there is less loss of heat in the water. The wrap will cost between $20-$30.
- Change out all light bulbs to LED bulbs. They last longer than all other bulbs and use less energy than all other bulbs. Use the calculator from LED Benchmark to see the future savings by changing all bulbs for LEDs.
- Dry your clothes on a rack. One of the most expensive way to dry your clothes is a clothes dryer. A rack cost about $20-30 for a cheap one. Your savings will vary based upon how much laundry you do. As an example one of my drying cycles for my dryer uses 5 Kw in a one hour period. My base rate for electricity is $ .081615 per KwH. This is $ .41 per load. If I do 10 loads per week the cost is $4.08 per week or $17.68 per month. The rack would pay for itself in 1-2 months. Then every time you use it it is paid for.
The Bottom Line
The purpose of this post is to get the quick wins and to build momentum in finances. The actual savings may not be as valuable as as the mindset you gain by looking for creative ways to save and give yourself a raise. Of course you deserve the raise, so just do the actions to get your raise.
Here is a quick peak at some of my low hanging fruit: