How To Get A Raise In 15 Minutes

It’s true, we gave ourselves a $400/month raise in 15 minutes.  The easiest and fastest route to a raise is to trim your expenses.  Granted, half of that money was just because we got married.  Go figure.  Somehow, we have to pay LESS taxes now that we’re legally coupled.  We’ll take it.  The other $200/month was by simply trimming unecessary expenses from our bottom line.  I’m willing to bet you could trim a few items from your bottom line, too!

Unnecessities

We started out by delving into our monthly expense spreadsheet looking for inevitable fat to trim.  We already run a fairly airtight ship, but after a few minutes, VOILA, we found some oink oink!  We were able to quickly identify unnecessities from necessities.  Things we sent to the slaughter included:  ABC Mouse, our big mobile data plan, and our monthly Meetup fee.

We debated over giving up ABC Mouse, but, ultimately decided Mini wasn’t using it enough to justify the $8/month fee.  On top of her dwindling usage, she’s also outgrowing the site.  It serves pre-school through 1st grade.  Mini is halfway through first grade.

The mobile phone data plan was reduced by a big chunk.  That was possibly one of the easiest decisions we ever made.  We glanced at our monthly allowance versus our monthly usage.  Decision made.  A smaller data plan will meet all of our world wide needs.

Oh, then there was the monthly cost of running my real estate Meetup group.  As much as I hated putting a halt to this expense, I couldn’t justify it.  Last year I started a local real estate Meetup for women in my area.  I quickly realized that our group was outgrowing coffee shop sessions and we needed a more substantial meeting area.  I tried for months, to no avail, to find a free space to meet.  In the process, I also realized that these groups are mostly for hustlers.  I’m not a real estate hustler.  I’m not flipping houses or buying properties with other people’s money.  I’m a vanilla investor.  I work at my high-paying day job, save money, and use it to buy and hold rentals.  That said, I’m just not a baller.  Decision made.  We nixed the monthly organizer fee for Meetup.com.

crowd goes wild

Yay!

And there you have it.  With a few clever clicks of the mouse (we didn’t need to talk to a single person!) we were able to save our household $400/month ($200 less the marriage).  Still a great accomplishment!

*and the crowd goes wild*

Let Me Explain

I know the above superfluous items seem, well, superfluous.  But, I can tell you that we only engage in spending if we feel it has educational or financial worth.  ABC Mouse was something of educational value that we felt was worth the money, a few years ago.  It was.  A few years ago.  It no longer serves a significant purpose for Mini Monster.  Gone.

The mobile data plan was easy.  We must have used significant data a month or two and were automatically given a larger plan before the end of the cycle to reduce our next bill.  We obviously didn’t address it the following month.  Gone.

Meetup.com was also a fairly quick decision.  I can’t justify a monthly fee that is not significantly increasing my knowledge base or bank account.  Gone.

Simple Math

As I mentioned at the begining of this enthralling post, within the last six months we were able to give ourselves a $400/month raise.

$200/month = Getting married!  We understand not everyone can do this 🙂

$100/month = Cutting Cable

$100/month = Data plan, ABC Mouse, and Meetup.com

How To Give Yourself A Raise

The purpose of this exercise is to periodically re-calibrate the amount of money flying the coop each month.  Often, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to find frugal fails and give yourself a raise.

  1. Look at your monthly expenses.
  2. Ask yourself whether or not each expense is a necessity.
  3. If something is not a necessity, ask yourself if it is worth the expense.  Are you gaining anything from the expense?
  4. If not, stop the bleeding.

IMPORTANT:  After giving yourself a raise, re-direct that found money into debt repayment or investments.  Make extra cash earn its keep! 

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

What can you trim from your monthly expenses to give yourself an instant raise?  What do you plan on doing with the windfall?

Bailey Gato BW

MMC – Minimal Style

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19 comments… add one
  • Piggy Apr 28, 2017, 11:40 am

    This is the motivation I needed! brb calling cable provider and insurance company.

  • Dyana @adebtfreejourney Feb 10, 2017, 10:26 am

    I too gave ABC Mouse the boot recently in order to free up some extra cash. Although I viewed it as an investment in my daughter’s education, I figured there are other options. We now use cards and workbooks which are free of charge.

    • Mad Money Monster Feb 10, 2017, 11:26 am

      There are so many other options. They really suck you in because you make a financial decision based on emotions! Good job for giving them the boot!

  • tenleygwen Jan 21, 2016, 2:08 pm

    I recently gave myself a $20/month raise, by cutting out my gym membership. Now my bf and I exercise together to youtube workout videos! Quality time AND money savings!

    That said, things are already pretty bare-bones in my household, so I don’t think there’s $200 worth of superfluity in there. Sigh. Still … $20 a month is $240/year …

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 22, 2016, 8:20 am

      Yes! $20 is nothing to sneeze at! You’re right…it’s $240/year! Our “budget” is also bare-bones after the financial check-up so there isn’t much room for big wins anymore. But over time things do tend to creep in, so it’s best to periodically keep an eye on money in and money out. Great job on the 20 spot!

  • Mrs. Paradise Jan 21, 2016, 1:03 pm

    Nice article! I think we can all find a few things that seem like needs but are really just “unnecessities” (that’s a perfect word for it). Not to mention the stuff we grow out of that we don’t need or use anymore. January seems like a good time to do a checkup on that kind of stuff.

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 22, 2016, 8:17 am

      January is definitely a great month to do a little financial check-up! I’m sure if you take a look around you’ll be able to redirect some misguided funds to serve you better 🙂

  • Generation YRA Jan 20, 2016, 9:45 pm

    I love how you reframe cutting expenses as “giving yourself a raise” – that gives it much more edge and the task way less daunting. 🙂 I never realized Meetup.com had a fee! We contemplated using it, but organically started getting involved through free/low cost events (mainly through the city’s Chamber of Commerce). I’m going to start a new job next month that entails a shorter commute, so that’s definitely a monthly expense I can cut down on to give myself a raise. I plan to put that towards our downpayment fund for a future home!

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 21, 2016, 7:49 am

      It’s really easy to get a raise by monitoring unnecessary expenses. Meetup.com only has a fee for organizers; it’s free for members who are attending meetings. But, since I created the group and was organized all of the meetings, my account was being slapped with $15/month. Ugh. I couldn’t justify it. I certainly wasn’t making more than $15 off of the venture. I know some would argue the relationships I was making in real estate might be worth it. But, I’m just not at a heavy investment point yet. I’ll evaluate again in the future.

      Shorter commutes are great! Any spare money you can eek out of your budget needs immediate redirection 🙂 A future house downpayment sounds like a great place for it to go!

  • Claudia @ Two Cup House Jan 20, 2016, 7:41 pm

    Your refreshed design is awesome! And your post had me think about recurring expenses that we could combat. I added some calendar reminders to look into when we anticipate new rates for car insurance in June, Internet service in August and cell phones in September. Thanks! 🙂

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 20, 2016, 8:02 pm

      Thanks! It’s a work in progress. Glad I could get you to think about some of your own recurring expenses. They tend to creep up on you and before you know it, you’ve already paid a twelve month subscription to the jelly-of-the-month club 🙂

  • our next life Jan 20, 2016, 5:33 pm

    Nice work IDing some waste in your budget and cutting it out! We need to go through our charges and do that again — we’ll get things nice and lean, but then slowly new charges creep in. So this is very much a process to repeat periodically! 🙂

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 20, 2016, 8:00 pm

      Thanks! We generally run very lean, but there is always room for improvement. 🙂

  • Mortimer Jan 20, 2016, 2:47 pm

    This is great. It’s all too easy to sign up for services that seem like only a few dollars a month, only to realize by the end of the year you gave away hundreds or thousands of dollars you didn’t need to. Even setting the marriage aside, you saved $2400/year just by cutting expenses. And that’s all after tax, so that’s a real impact on your cash flow. Well done!

  • Matt @ The Resume Gap Jan 20, 2016, 7:24 am

    Those insidious little monthly expenses are killer over time. Cutting a handful of them is huge. I’m almost to the point where I refuse to sign up for any product or service with a recurring charge — but I’m not quite ready to give up internet and phone access, I suppose!

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 20, 2016, 1:00 pm

      I hate monthly charges, especially the ones that are automatically deducted from an account. It’s so easy to just let them roll from month to month. We’ll see how the smaller data plan goes…so far, so good. 🙂

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