What are your big plans for this year? Buying a house? Going back to school? Or simply taking that dream vacation? Big purchases require thousands of dollars, but the good news is there are simple steps to ensure you will meet your goal.
First, establish a clear plan and set goals that are attainable. How much money do you need to save, and when do you need it? The formula for saving money is simple enough: earn more, spend less. Here are some ways that you can do both of those things to put several thousand dollars extra into your bank account this year!
Ask for a Raise
If you have a good track record at your job and you’ve never gotten a raise — or it’s been awhile since you did — this could be a good time to set up a meeting with your boss. Normally, employee evaluations are carried out annually, so if you’re coming up on the one-year mark, this is an especially good time to bring up the subject.
People often feel uncomfortable asking for a raise, but it’s a normal and natural conversation to have. However, it’s critical that you come to the table prepared.
When you sit down with your boss, be clear about what you’re asking for and why. Get specific about how much you want to make. The average annual raise in 2017 is expected to be 3.1% according to a WorldatWork Salary Budget Survey. Stellar performers may earn more.
If you think you fall into the latter category, you should have strong evidence of why you deserve an above-average raise. Cite examples of successful projects you’ve managed, or great sales you’ve driven. You may also want to check out the average salary for your position in your industry. If you’re being paid below market rate, add that to your argument.
Of course, once you’ve secured a raise, be sure to save it instead of spending it. Let’s say you’re earning $3,000 a month and you get a raise of 3%. That translates into an extra $90 a month that you can put into your savings account. Make it easy on yourself by setting up a direct deposit of that amount into your savings account. That way, saving becomes automatic. (See also: 8 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Get a Promotion)
Seek Out Non-Traditional Sources of Income
If you’re trying to earn more, it can also be helpful to augment your income beyond what you’re earning every month in salary.
Luckily, with the sharing or “gig” economy, there are many new ways to earn money outside of your 9-to-5. These earnings can add up fast, and often this “work” is very flexible and can fit in easily with your schedule. (See also: 5 Websites That Can Seriously Pad Your Pockets)
Offer a Room on Airbnb
If you have a home or apartment with extra space, consider listing your space on Airbnb or another short-term rental website. Prices vary dramatically depending on where you live and the quality of the space you’re renting. For instance, in Los Angeles prices range from $17 a night for a small, basic room to more than $1,000 a night for use of a whole luxury home. The average price of a private room is $73.