Squeezing Extra Money out of your Paycheck

Have you ever thought how great it would be if you could make your money go a just little further? Well, it's not out of the realm of possibility. While you can't always control what you make and when you'll get a pay increase, you can control – to a large degree – your money's destination. The problem is that many of us have a lot of money going out every month that we don't necessarily have to spend – and we don't even think about it. So, let's take a few moments to do an assessment of where your money is actually going.

Cell phone plans

Everyone has one, but when was the last time you really looked at the details of your phone plan? Are you using all your allotted minutes, or do you have so many rollover minutes that you couldn't use them all if you were on the phone continuously for several weeks? If you're in this latter category, perhaps you should consider downsizing your plan.

It's not just the minutes that add up, but also any text message subscriptions, ring tone- or game subscriptions and other features included with your phone that you no longer use. Doing away with these non-necessities could add up to a savings of $30 or more each month, which can be equated to $.75 an hour more in your paycheck (assuming a 40-hour work week).

Other subscriptions

Do you have a DVD or video game subscription service? Many of these plans offer to send you two or three DVDs or games at once so that you'll always have them around to watch or play. They're great services for those who love movies and games, but do you really need the subscription plan you have? People often start big, signing on with the highest plan. But over time you may not watch DVDs or play games at the frequency you used to be. Reducing or eliminating the service could save you $20 or more every month. That's another $.50 per hour 'raise.'

Further, do you subscribe to any magazines that you no longer read? Most of these subscriptions run from $20 to $50 a year. Conservatively, that's another $.50 an hour you're getting.

Credit cards

Find your credit card statements for the past year. Look carefully through the billings to see if there are any annual fees that you're being charged. Many 'Rewards' cards that offer cash back or free airline miles carry fees of up to $100. If you aren't getting enough back in rewards from a particular card, it may be time to cancel it and save yourself more money. And while those statements are in front of you, check for any other annual or monthly fees that are being charged. You may have forgotten that you signed up for a program or service months ago, but you're still paying for it.

Just by taking note of where your money is going and whether it should really be going there, you can effectively give yourself a good 'pay raise' amounting to up to $100 or more in your pocket each and every month.

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