No one likes asking for a raise. It’s awkward, it can create bad blood, and it doesn’t always work. Unfortunately, asking for a raise is the “easiest” way to improve your cash flow and move toward paying down your debts.
If you’re not comfortable with the idea of walking into your boss’s office and demanding a 10% salary hike, try these tips for “finding” more money, paying down your debt, and saving more.
Increase Your Mortgage Payment
When in doubt, increase your mortgage payment.
Sure, it might hurt in the short term, but this one simple trick can have an outsize impact over time. According to Bankrate, paying $100 extra per month toward a $100,000 mortgage principal can save you more than $26,000 over the life of the loan and reduce your time to maturity by 8.5 years. On a larger mortgage, the savings multiply.
Fair warning: Remember to pay the extra amount toward your principal, not escrow. It’s nice to have enough funds in your escrow account to avoid late fees, but topped-up escrow won’t reduce your interest charges or the lifetime cost of your mortgage.
Evaluate Balance Transfer Offers
Taking on more debt to pay down existing debt? That doesn’t sound like a good idea.
It isn’t. But there’s a catch: interest-free balance transfer offers.
Interest-free balance transfer offers aren’t appropriate for everyone. If you’re not sure whether you’re a good candidate, use CreditCards.com’s handy balance transfer calculator to see how much you could save. It’s important to have a plan for paying down your balances, too—the last thing you want is for the introductory rate to expire before you’ve paid off your debts.
Pursue a Growth-Oriented Investment Strategy
In Ken Fisher’s book, “The Little Book of Market Myths,” the investing guru argues against the “myth” that capital preservation and growth are natural bedfellows. That’s a “have your cake and eat it too” strategy, says Fisher—simply too good to be true.
Do you have to choose growth over capital preservation? Not necessarily. However, over long periods, the market tends to reward investors who pursue growth-oriented strategies. Time smooths out volatility and generally correlates with positive returns, so long-term investors seeking to maximize their savings must (somewhat counterintuitively) prioritize growth over capital preservation. The trick is to stick with this strategy through the ups and downs of the market—undue panic during downturns is counterproductive.
Hold a Yard Sale
You don’t have to ask for a raise to increase your earning power. Instead, hold a yard sale—or a virtual sale on Craigslist, eBay, Amazon or any other reputable e-commerce site. As long as you don’t expect your junky old furniture to bring in millions, you’ll likely exceed your earning expectations. Use your receipts to pay down your debts or pad your savings account.
Leverage the Sharing Economy for Extra Income
The sharing economy offers more earning opportunities than you can dream of. According to Side Hustle Nation, there are more than 200 legitimate ways to make money by sharing your time, skills and spare assets with those around you. (And those are just the options Side Hustle Nation bothered to count!) Whether you have some spare time and a car, an empty downstairs apartment, or a shed full of tools you never use, you can surely find a way to squeeze some income—and savings—out of your friends and neighbors.
What are you doing to pay down your debt faster without asking for a raise?