Let's face it, it's expensive out there. The cost of groceries, gas, utilities, rent and so many other things has risen sharply over the past year. And now more than ever before, you may be thinking that it's time for a big raise.
Your company, however, may see things a little differently.
Don't worry, though, because there are some steps you can take to boost your pay on your own. These include:
- Reviewing your pay information. When is the last time you looked at your paystub or pay information? Mistakes can and do happen, so be sure to carefully review your income and deductions to ensure everything is correct. Contact your benefits manager immediately to correct any mistakes.
- Changing your withholdings. When you first started your job, your employer had you fill out a W4 and select the number of exemptions you want to claim, which impacts the amount of tax taken from your pay. For example, if you claimed 0, you have more money taken out of your pay for taxes, but your tax bill at the end of the year is likely to be lower. Increasing your withholdings to a higher number like 1 or 2 would mean you'll pay less in taxes per pay period, giving you more take-home money. Keep in mind, though, increasing your exemptions could lower your tax refund. You could even end up owing money at tax time, so before you make any changes, talk to your tax adviser.
- Changing your benefits selections. Employers offer benefits to help you save money but that doesn't mean you need to take advantage of all of them. For example, do you still need that pet insurance you're paying for? Can you change your health insurance coverage to a single or couple plan versus a family one if your children are working?
- Contributing to your 401(k). If your employer offers a 401(k) match, make sure you take advantage of it. It may not increase the money in your pay, but it will boost your retirement savings and help lower your taxable income. If you are making contributions and find yourself without enough money each pay period, consider lowering the amount you contribute as long as you qualify for the employer match (if they offer one).
- Having money direct deposited to savings. One easy way to get more out of your pay is to save more. Have a portion of your pay direct deposited into a savings account to make saving a habit.
Taking these steps may help you get a little bump in pay and relief now. So, when that pay raise from your employer finally does come, you'll be ahead of the game.