As we continue the theme of INTENTIONALITY I thought about how important it is to make more money. Before you begin to think of all the reasons that you can’t handle a 2nd job, think about how to stretch your current income more and give yourself a raise.

Here are 4 things that you can do right now to give yourself a raise:

1) Assess your cell phone bill.
When was the last time that you read your cell phone statement? Not just viewed your account balance, but actually looked at your minutes and data used. I like the convenience of an e-bill but it makes me prone to view just my balance and nothing else. Most people never use the maximum limits of their plan and are giving away money each month because they are not in a plan that accurately reflects their monthy usage.  Call your service provider today and find out your average usage for the past 3 months. If you have not reached your allowable data and minutes for the past 3 months, downgrade to a plan lower and pocket those savings!!

It could mean $25 to $40 more a month back in your pocket.

2)  Meal Planning has to be a way of life.
If you are like me, if I goto the grocery  store without a plan, I am begging for trouble! Most grocery stores are filled with temptation–deliberately–and you have to be on point while navigating the aisles and displays! My typical meal plan is for 6 days, Monday through Saturday.  I try to double at least one meal so that we will eat the same meal twice, ie, leftovers.

Here is a simple formula if you need a starting point.
1) Sunday and Monday – A meat, vegetable and a starch (Double size it!)
2) Tuesday – A hot sandwich and a side
3) Wednsday –  Pasta and a homemade sauce with a vegetable
4) Thursday – A onepot meal or crockpot fave
5) Friday – Leftovers

I GUARANTEE that meal planning will save you money. Expect at least weekly savings of $20 to $50 if you stick to this plan.

3) Work can be expensive! Watch your spending at work.

You know the routine. Coffe to get you started, lunch with the gang, and a midday pick-me-up at 3 o’clock! If we are not careful, these daily habits can result in $15 to $20 a day habits. That is expensive! If you have to cover parking or commuting costs, be sure to include that as well. Give yourself a raise and make your coffee at home, pack lunch the evening before from your meal plan above, and prepare for the snack monster by stashing healthy options at your desk. While at the grocery store, grab extra fruit, trail mix, bite size veggies, etc that you can keep in the office and head to your stash instead of the yogurt stand.

4) Go on a Spending Fast!

Here is the funny thing about a spending fast–if you lost your income, you would not have a choice! Take that same motivation and use it while you still have the income. This is a great way to stockpile money. For now, our fast is January through March. We are not purchasing anything related to clothes, makeup, shoes, and small items that we simply do not need. Now, let me also say that we are allotted “pocket money” each month. Traditionally that is used to cover lunch or breakfast while we are at work. But pocket money is pocket money and you can use it for whatever your heart desires. The caveat is once you hit $0, you’re at the bottom. Use this technique to bring discipline into your spending. That’s a major requirement to win financially–discipline, willing to do what others won’t in order to get what others don’t have.