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How to Save More Money After a Raise

Savings can be a lifesaver, but a 2017 GOBankingRates survey found that 57% of Americans have less than $1,000 stashed away for emergencies. That could lead to a debt disaster if you have to turn to credit cards or loans to pay for an unexpected expense.

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Wondering how to save more money? A bigger paycheck after a raise can certainly help. The challenge is making sure that the extra money gets funneled into your savings account instead of getting eaten up by lifestyle inflation.

If a salary bump is in your future or you’ve recently gotten one, these tips can help you bank more of your raise.

Calculate what your raise is really worth.

Getting a 2 or 3% pay increase sounds positive, but you need to know how much extra money that translates into on payday. Running the numbers through a pay raise calculator is an easy way to do the math.

For example, say you gross $5,000 a month and you get a 3% raise. That would add $150 to your salary each month, or an extra $1,800 annually. That’s before any taxes are taken out of course, but it still gives you an idea of how much more you may be taking home.

Take a second look at your budget.

Once you have a sense of what a raise is going to add to your income, it’s time to look at your budget. One of the easiest traps to fall into after getting a raise is increasing your spending but, if you want to know how to save more money, you have to be able to resist that temptation.

Go through your expenses line by line. Look for things that you may be able to pare down or get rid of completely. Then, take what you’re able to reduce your spending by and add that to your raise to get the total amount you can reasonably save each month.

Decide where to put your savings.

You may have more than one savings goal you’re working toward and figuring out how to prioritize them can be challenging when you get a raise. Taking a look at your broader financial picture can help you decide how to divvy up those dollars and cents.

Start with your emergency fund. If you’re one of the majority of Americans who don’t have an emergency fund, you may want to use your savings from a raise to get one started. It’s a good idea to have at least $1,000 in savings to handle minor emergencies, like an unplanned trip to the doctor or a small car repair. From there, you can work on saving a larger cushion. A high yield savings account may be a good choice if you want to earn higher rates on your savings with minimal fees.

Review your retirement savings. How to save more money for retirement is an important question, especially if you feel like you’re not on track with your goals or you haven’t even started yet. If you have a 401(k) through your employer, one of the easiest ways to make the most of a raise is to increase your contributions by the same amount. That way, you’re not missing the extra money because it’s being taken out and saved for retirement before you even see your paycheck.

If you don’t have a 401(k), you can still add to your retirement with an individual retirement account. Both traditional and Roth IRAs offer tax advantages and you can contribute a little to one of these accounts every pay period. The money you save in an IRA can be invested for your future in stocks, mutual funds or other investments, including IRA CDs or certificates of deposit.

Make your new savings plan automatic.

If you’ve figured out what your raise is worth, calculated how much extra cash you can carve out of your budget and decided where to put your savings, the hard part is over. Now you just have to ensure that the money gets where it needs to go. Automating your savings is an easy way to make that happen and it can keep you from spending any extra funds from a raise. Just remember to review your automatic contributions each time you get an increase in pay to see if you can take your savings rate up another notch.

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Legal Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional advice. The material on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and does not indicate the availability of any Discover product or service. It does not guarantee that Discover offers or endorses a product or service. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.

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