How to give yourself a $12,000 raise

 

You are not alone if you haven’t received a pay raise recently or if your cost of living has exceeded your income. So, what if I told you that it’s possible to give yourself a raise?

Shaving $8,000 a year off of your expenses can be the equivalent of giving yourself about a $12,000-a-year raise before taxes. It starts with a review of where our money is going and replacing certain expenses with less expensive alternatives.

There are two types of expenses in your monthly budget: expenses that are set in stone, like your rent or tuition, and then flexible expenses that you have some control over, like groceries or entertainment.

Use some of these strategies or all of them — try them daily or twice a week. The more you follow them, the more you save. So, let’s get started on that raise!

1. Grocery Shopping

A family of four spends as much as $296.30 a week on groceries, according to the May 2016 data from U.S. Department of Agriculture. That is $15,407.60 a year. But, I estimate you can slash your grocery bill by at least 35 percent by doing these four simple things:

–Build your weekly menu around what is one sale at your grocery store. You will find the weekly deals in the paper flyers that come in the mail, or you can look online. Sales usually start on Wednesdays.

–Join the store loyalty program. They are usually always free, and you get these added sales and perks at check-out.

–Find matching coupons to save more. Search Coupons.com to find hundreds of coupons for items on your grocery list. Think everything from cereal to shampoo. And remember, coupons are like free money.

–If a sale item you want is out of stock, ask for a rain check. That means when the item comes back in stock, you will get it at the sale price. I have saved thousands of dollars over the years by doing this.

By making these changes to your grocery shopping routine, you can save about $5,393 annually.

Click ahead to see eight more ways to give yourself a raise.

brown bagging

2. Brown Bagging It

Now that you have the grocery shopping savings strategies in play, you can take things a step further. When I was growing up, we brought a bag lunch every day to school. My dad had his brown bag lunch for work. We even had to bring home our brown bags to reuse them. But it was smart.

By packing your own lunch, you will shave thousands — yes, thousands — of dollars off of your yearly food expenses. And quite honestly, you can make a sandwich just as good as a deli can.

Here’s an example: Let’s say the average deli sandwich with turkey and cheese, a bag of chips, a cookie and iced teas costs you about $11.50 a day. That is close to $3,000 annually just for lunch, and that is per person. I estimate you can create that same lunch at home for about $2.53 a day, or about $660 a year. That is a yearly savings of about $2,340 per person.

Use the same strategies when buying your lunch groceries that you use for grocery shopping. Plan your lunches around what is on sale and use coupons. When you look at the numbers here, this is a smart move for saving.

less designer coffee muffin

3. Do Less of the Designer Coffee and Muffin

The same strategies apply to your morning coffee and breakfast snack. This is where we unconsciously spend.

But the fact of the matter is spending $2.10 on a latte adds up to nearly $550 annually. And, spending $2.45 for a scone or muffin is another $639 annually. By making your own coffee and bringing a snack from home, I estimate you will save about $800 a year.

As you can see, the money we spend on food can make a big difference in our annual budget. It is a matter of taking a few minutes to do some planning and preparing. So, think of it as a time investment. By making these changes with your grocery shopping, brown bagging it for lunch and skipping the coffee shop, you can save about $8,500 — which is like earning $10,000 or more on your pre-tax income, depending on your tax bracket. So, if you think of it in these terms, it’s worth the time it takes to apply these strategies to your life.

Now that we have the grocery items off the checklist, let’s move onto other ways to give yourself that raise.

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