You can give yourself a raise with a simple focus on things you can start today. These methods are what I call easy money. Easy money is essentially money that you have and that you can keep which raises your spending power. Less money out of your pocket means that you save more to put towards your wealth goals.
These tips are things that I am doing, so I know that they work………
1. Always Negotiate
This is such a simple thing that most people don’t even think of doing. A lot of countries are built around negotiating price on items that you purchase. In more developed countries, we don’t even think to negotiate as that is not our culture. However, many things are negotiable especially large ticket items. Negotiating is not always about getting a percent off of the list price. By pursuing bundled options or asking for add on items you can get “free” stuff. Negotiating is perceived as hard or unpleasant, I say have fun with it. A simple rule of thumb is “always ask”. By using phrases like; “can you do any better?”, “do you offer a discount?” or “can you throw in…?” you can get discounts or free items. If you use this approach, I think you will be surprised how often you can get easy money.
I recently put in an in-ground pool and when I purchased the pool, I was trying to negotiate off of the price of the pool. I soon realized that the company was not going to give me a discount. I switched tactics and asked for freebies and add-on items instead of a straight discount. The company was much more willing to negotiate on these things. Keep in mind that it is only easy money if you were planning on purchasing the things regardless of any discounts.
- Free Opening and Closing: $300/year
- Free Light Upgrade: $350
- Upgraded Stairs: $400
2. Shop Online
Use the power of the internet to your advantage. When you are thinking of purchasing something especially large ticket items use the internet to compare prices to find your best deal. I prefer to use Google Product Search to compare prices. The search will let you put in the exact product that you want to purchase and will show you where to get it at various prices. You can also compare free shipping and sales tax with the Google tool. By buying on-line you can save time and gas money!
Last year, I was going to purchase a zero turn lawn mower. I check on the prices at our local big box DIY stores and thinking I could do better if I used the Google Product Search tool. I typed in the exact name and model of my mower and compared results. I ended up buying on-line from a dealer that sells exclusively through the internet with a 8 year track record and great reviews. I saved money and time.
- Lower Price Than The DIY Store: $200
- Free Shipping: $79
- Free Mulcher Kit: $89
3. Prescription Drugs
Health care costs in the United States keep rising and everyone needs to start managing this as a major expense. Like most of you, my prescription costs keep going up. My copays are rising at an alarming rate. In fact, my top tier prescription drugs now have a copay of $75 and I take 2 of these. These costs are $2,300/year alone and this doesn’t include other occasional prescriptions. Through some research I found a few strategies to lower my prescription costs.
I spoke with my insurance company to go over a strategy to lower my costs. First, I signed up to purchase my meds through an online retailer that my insurance company will allow me to fill for 90 days and pay just two copays instead of three. Which will save me four copays per year each and gas money. Second, I was able to switch to a generic on one of my top tier drugs with a copay of $20 instead of $75. Finally, I identified generic drugs for my children which they take as antibiotics when the are sick. I usually can get these at a big box retailer for under $10 which is lower than the $20 copay.
- Buying Online and Switching to One Generic: $1,710
- Generic Antibiotics (3 per child): $90
4. Coupon and Discounts
Another way to give yourself a raise is to find online coupons or discounts. Almost any product you buy or service that you want to buy has some discount or coupon available over time. You can negotiate like I pointed out in this blog, you can find coupons on line or through your paper. I do both of these and obtain small savings all the time. The other thing I do is to search for discounts through the internet. These searches are quick, but you will not save tons of money on any one thing, but by making this part of your routine you could potentially save thousands per year.
I could write a novel on this alone because most of the savings are small but let me give you a few examples. I go for a haircut once a month and take two of my children with me. Before we go I search online for a coupon for one of three places that we frequent. I also have all three of us signed up for their frequent cutter clubs. By using this technique we can usually save the cost of one haircut per month. At $12 a haircut it usually adds up and for 2 minutes of my time it is worth it. Another example are oil changes, which based on the amount we drive equals about 5 per year per vehicle. I use the same technique as the haircuts to find discounts and specials. I usually can save about $10 per oil change.
- Haircut Savings: $144/year
- Oil Changes: $100/year
5. Travel Sites and Clubs
My family and I travel more than many people do. If you travel there are many ways to save money. I have a whole routine that I go through when planning a vacation. I look for discounts for hotels and travel sites like Orbitz or Cheap Tickets. Sites like these will let you compare prices and find deals right off of the top. Also, you will not be paying a travel agent which will save you money. The other thing that I do, is to look to going direct to a resort or hotel to find any deals. If you are traveling quite a bit it may make sense to get a card that give you rewards for using it or to sign up at AAA to give you discounts at hotels and restaurants and other member benefits.
My family and I were planning to take a vacation to Caribbean so I took to my plan of action. First, I narrowed our search down to two all inclusive resorts that we like. The second thing that I did was to check with a travel agent for the resorts and flights. The total came out to about $8,800 for a week stay, with food and flights. I contacted the resorts directly and told them that we have narrowed our search down and asked for any special offers. I found that one of the sites just renovated and would be willing to offer us a 60% discount because they were trying to get their clientele back up. So there it was a 60% discount on a newly renovated resort with little to no crowds.
- Resort and Flight Savings: $3,300
Total Savings: $6,762
When was the last time that you received a $6,700 raise? I do this type of stuff all the time and usually average $15,000 to $20,000 per year that other people would spend. By increasing my spending power, I am in a much better position to gain wealth. Follow this tips and you can do the same!