10 Ways To Find The Money Hiding In Your Paycheck
No matter how tight things are financially for you; no matter how bleak you think that 2005 might be, if you are earning a paycheck then there's extra money hiding in it. You just need to know where to look. Here are 10 ways to bring that money out into the open.
1. Get an instant raise from your boss
Going into work and demanding a raise might not be too smart, but there is a way to get one that will actually show up in your next paycheck. Here's the deal...
Your employer withholds a percentage of your paycheck every week for income taxes. The problem is, most people have too much withheld. And, while that might result in a big refund check at the end of the year, it's really poor financial planning. You are deprived of that extra amount every paycheck and the government doesn't pay you interest for using your money all year.
Here's what you do:
Ask your payroll department for a new W-4 form. That's the form that your employers uses to calculate how much money to take out of your paycheck each week.
Then use the IRS' withholding calculator at http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=96196,00.html.
Follow the simple instructions to arrive at the new amount that should be withheld. Then just complete the new W-4 and hand it back to your employer. Wham! Your instant pay raise will be in your very next paycheck!
2. Pay Yourself First!
OK, you've grown fond of getting that fat refund check every year and now you're afraid that you are going to miss it. No problem! Here's a great way to get that refund and more.
Take the extra money that your changed W-4 is providing you and instead of putting it in your pocket, or paying a bill, pay yourself instead.
Open a savings account. Since they pay the highest interest rate of any online bank, and there are no fees and no minimum balance required to open an account, you can deposit that extra money every week. At the end of the year you'll not only have saved the same or more than your refund check usually is, but you'll have earned interest as well!
3. Chill out
Turn your thermostat down in the winter and wear a sweater instead. For every degree you lower the thermostat you save 3% on your heating bill. The same holds true in the Summer. just raise your air conditioning one degree warmer. Want to save 6% instead? Just make a 2 degree change!
4. Little things add up
Do you really need that $3 latte every day? That's at least $15 a week that's back in your pocket if you drink just one every work day. If you eat lunch out every day and spend even just $5 per meal (which is getting pretty hard to do these days), then bringing your lunch to work twice per week would give you back $10 and bringing it every day would save you $25. How much is that really? $10 per week is $500 per year, assuming you work 50 weeks per year, and $25 per week is $1250.
5. Get 'uncabled'
Are you really getting your money's worth out of that top-tier cable subscription? If you've got more channels than you can possibly watch think about dropping down to basic cable. You could save as much as $30 per month and that's $360.00 per year.
6. Get a receipt for EVERYTHING
Just do it for one month. Any time that you buy anything, get a receipt. Stuff them all in an envelope. Put copies of all your credit card bills, utilities, everything that you spend money on in the envelope. At the end of the month add them all up and look at where the money went. Then start slashing away at the fat until at least 10% of that money is back in your pocket.
7. Stuff It
Every time you come home, empty all of the change from your pockets and purse that you accumulated during the day. Toss it into a big jar. At the end of the month put it into the bank. Even if it's just a dollar's worth a day, that's $365 per year PLUS interest.
8. Clip It
Your Sunday paper, as well as thousands of web sites, are overflowing with grocery coupons. Clip the ones for food that you actually eat and avoid the ones that are for food that you don't. Saving just $10 per week at the grocery store is another $520 a year that comes back to you.
9. Snip It
Get rid of all of your credit cards. They are the number one cause of personal bankruptcy in the U.S. Take a month's worth of credit card bills and add the interest up that you're paying. Then multiple that by 12. You'll be shocked at what you're wasting every year by using your cards instead of cash.
10. Negotiate It
Don't pay face value for anything that you don't have to. You may not get a lower price if you try to negotiate, but you darn sure will never get one if you don't ask. This is especially true when you are dealing with contractors, furniture stores, and carpet stores. Even a mall jewelry store might be willing to negotiate if sales are slow and quotas haven't been met.