For the average American worker, pay raises are nearly impossible due to the current economic conditions. The overflow of available workers makes employees more dispensable than any other time of my working life, and requesting or demanding a raise could potentially poison a good working relationship and shorten one’s tenure.
So what are we supposed to do, especially when we believe we are worth more or deserve more for the work we do? Are we stuck?
Absolutely not! There are two options available, and both are great options. However, one of these options is more difficult and time consuming, and one is significantly easier, although most people won’t do it. I’m pretty sure I know which one most people would probably prefer, but for the sake of being thorough, I’ll share both.
1. Start your own business
“Do what?”, you might ask. “Start my own business?”, you might be thinking. Yes, start your own business. Find something you are passionate about and better at it than most people you know, and start offering it to people in the market place.
If you love taking pictures, for example, and you have a nice camera, start shooting engagements, weddings, high school seniors, or take scenic photos and sell them at your local farmer’s market. Entrepreneurs are always paid what they are worth in the market place, and if you have a good product and if you are good at selling your product, you will make more money.
My wife and I discovered an amazing health program a year ago that helped us lose a total of 70 pounds in a little under three months, and a year later we are in the best shape of our lives doing things we never could do even as a collegiate basketball player (me) and a collegiate cheerleader (her) in great shape back in our early 20s. We are working each day to create optimal health in every area of our lives, and it is an amazing feeling.
We now coach others through the same program, offering people hope and the opportunity to take charge of their lives, and this has not only given us a platform to help others, but also to generate a little extra income. (To find out more about what we do, click here.)
2. Create a zero-based budget and stick to it
Just like the fact that most Americans don’t know how many calories they consume in a day, most Americans have no idea how much money they spend in a day or a month, or where they spent it. If you don’t tell your money where to go, it will run away! A budget is simply telling your money what to do instead of the other way around.
Interestingly enough, when people create a zero-based budget (meaning every dollar earned is accounted for and assigned each month) and commit to sticking to it, they find A LOT of extra money they didn’t realize they had. It is essentially an instant pay raise.
With a budget you and your spouse agree upon and stick with, it accelerates getting out of debt, increases the amount of money you can save for emergencies, retirement and college, and it allows you to pay off your home faster. It also removes the guilt associated with spending money on the things you want and the tension it can cause in relationships because together you have already agreed on where that money will be spent.
And yes, this is the easiest way to get a raise today, because you can do this after dinner tonight. For resources to help you get started, visit Dave Ramsey.com, or check out Willow Creek’s resources on budgeting.
For those of you really focused on getting a raise, commit to both options for one year and see what happens. I have a feeling you’ll be glad you did.