When the start of a new year is approaching, it’s a natural time to reflect on your habits and figure out where you can improve. A new year represents a new beginning and can act as a motivator for “getting your life together.” This is especially common when it comes to money. Many people will set resolutions to save a certain amount of money or earn a certain amount, but it helps to have decided on a method for achieving this. Goals are much more challenging to achieve when you’ve only decided what you want to do, not how you’ll do it.
Since everyone’s financial circumstances vary, below are three ways to get around 5,000 more dollars in your pocket next year. None of these are instant fixes or simple money “hacks” that will provide immediate returns, but each can help you put yourself in a much stronger financial position by the end of the year.
Negotiate your salary.
Asking for a raise may not seem like a new way to get more money, but you’d be surprised at how many people aren’t doing it as well as they should. To avoid leaving money on the table, do your research into the market rate for your position. The average salary of the same position varies widely worldwide, but there is also marked variation even across states and cities. Use information like this, as well as a list of your unique contributions and achievements, to create a presentation that your supervisor can’t turn down. You may end up with a raise of more than $5,000.
Pick a credit card with good benefits.
Gone are the days where people just stick to using debit cards. Today, it’s commonplace for adults to have a credit card, if not a few, that they use regularly. And because there are so many options available to consumers, credit card companies constantly compete with rewards and sign-up bonuses to entice cardholders to select their card. If you’re someone who travels fairly regularly, an airline credit card is a great option. Look out for the one that will give you the most for your money, though. It turns out you’d have to spend around $20,000 more on the Spirit Airlines World Mastercard than the JetBlue True Blue card in order to earn a free flight on each respective airline — that’s plenty more than $5,000. Do the math for yourself on other types of credit cards to see where you can save money by getting the same reward after spending less. If you’re going to spend money anyway, you might as well earn rewards on it.
Have part of your paycheck routed to your saving account.
This is more of a behavioral strategy to save money versus a specific method of bringing in more dollars, but it still warrants being mentioned. A lot of what goes into being financially responsible is your mentality. Some people never carry cash because it’s too easy to spend, while others limit themselves to exactly the cash they have in order to keep themselves on a strict budget. No matter where you fall between those two groups, having part of your salary routed to your savings account is a no brainer. With direct deposit, you can decide how it’s doled out, so rather than having it all put in checking to then be transferred to savings, why not just have a chunk of it go into savings? This removes the step of having to choose to transfer money over, and it makes it a lot easier to consistently save money without unnecessarily spending it.