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    My Job Won’t Give Me a Cost of Living Raise — Here’s How I Changed My Budget

    By Ryan Smith,

    15 days ago
    BartekSzewczyk / Getty Images

    It’s no secret that the cost of living is on the rise. Chances are, you’re feeling it. You’re feeling it at the gas pump, at the supermarket and when you look at your bank account at the end of the month after paying your bills. Wouldn’t it be great if your job would increase your salary to align with your higher costs?

    For most people, that isn’t a reality. Instead, making ends meet may require adjusting your budget or taking on extra work on the side — or both.

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    Precious Abacan is a financial analyst who is currently experiencing this. At present, she said, her “paychecks haven’t been sufficient to keep pace with inflation, leading to a year-over-year decrease in [her] purchasing power.”

    However, there are ways you can adjust your budget and spending. “The silver lining here, from my experience, is that I’ve learned to adjust my budget to fit within my means without sacrificing enjoyment of life,” she said.

    Here’s how Abacan has adjusted without a cost of living increase in her salary .

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    Request a Spot Bonus

    Since annual salary increases haven’t materialized, Abacan has started asking for on-the-spot bonuses. Whenever she has provided exemplary work that merits a reward, she asks for a one-time bonus. “I make it a point to present my case to the company in hopes that they might offer some extra, one-time bonus money,” she said. But does this actually work?

    “In my experience, this approach often works because it doesn’t permanently increase my salary, which is something the company is cautious about, but it does reward me for my hard work,” she said. “Typically, I receive a cash bonus or other incentive, which is incredibly helpful for my budget, even if just temporarily.”

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    Do Extra Work on the Side

    While taking on extra work can involve giving up some of your free time, it can also free up some room in your budget. “These activities not only allow me to earn additional income but also provide a level of financial security in the event of job loss,” Abacan said.

    In order to avoid creating problems at her full-time job, she’s made the company aware of her additional work on the side. “I’ve been upfront with my bosses and the board about this, as they are aware that my salary hasn’t sufficed for the lifestyle I believe I deserve,” she said.

    Create a Zero-Sum Budget

    As someone doing freelance work, Abacan has adjusted to variable income. That’s why she uses a zero-sum budget. “I balance my income and expenses so that there’s nothing left at the end of the month,” she said. “I treat my savings goals as mandatory expenses. For instance, my ‘expenses’ might include contributions to an emergency fund, vacation savings or homeownership funds.”

    Based on her example, imagine a month where your total monthly expenses are $4,000. Thus, your goal should be to make at least $4,000 that month. If you earn more, you can save it. “Deposit the excess into a separate savings account. In leaner months when I earn less, I draw from that account to bring my income up to the $4,000 mark,” Abacan said.

    Seen from another angle, Abacan is creating a reserve pool of funds from which she can pay herself the difference if she doesn’t make her target income for the month, helping to create financial reliability.

    This article originally appeared on : My Job Won’t Give Me a Cost of Living Raise — Here’s How I Changed My Budget

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