It’s no secret that incomes have not been rising the past few years. While the prices of the goods we buy continue to rise, our paychecks stay the same, resulting in our monthly budget getting tighter and tighter each year. How do you overcome this? You need to earn more money. One way to do this is to ask for a raise.

Unfortunately, most people don’t ask for a raise or they go about asking for a raise in the wrong way. Below, I walk you through some steps to improve your odds of getting a raise when you ask for it.

ask for a raise

(Photo Credit: Becris/

How to Ask for a Raise in 5 Steps

  1. Document Achievements Beyond Responsibilities.
    The first step in asking for a raise doesn’t even involve talking things over with your boss. If you were to have a meeting, chances are it would be a waste of time. This is because many people would just go into the meeting asking for a raise without any data.

    Your first step is to compile this data. Look over your job responsibilities and then look back over your accomplishments throughout the year. Wherever you have exceeded expectations or have gone above and beyond your responsibilities, be sure to write it down.

    You don’t need a set amount of accomplishments for the year. Just be honest and write everything down that shows what you achieved in addition to your stated responsibilities. One final note on this, try really hard to show how these achievements made an impact. In other words, don’t just list what you did, but talk about how the company or your boss or department benefited from these accomplishments.

    For example, don’t just say you “created macros for the TPS spreadsheet”. Instead say, “created macros for the TPS spreadsheet resulting in an increase of productivity by 20%”. You may need to ask around to see how much time or money was saved by implementing a project but having numbers back up your accomplishment will go a long way.

    Once you have your list competed, you can move onto the next step.

  2. Think Outside the Box to Create Goals.
    Now it is time to start thinking. If your list is short, what are some things you can do to increase the number of items on your list? If your list is long, what else can you do? One good place to start is to look at any projects or goals that have been sitting around for a while – things that no one ever has time for. Tackling these might not be the most fun, but they show initiative on your end if you are willing to do them.

    You could also ask around and see what projects other colleagues need help with if you are struggling to come up with ideas. Use these ideas to create goals.

  3. Ask for a Meeting.
    Once you have your list of accomplishments and a list of goals for you to reach, you want to schedule the meeting with your boss. Ideally, this meeting should come well before your annual review so that you have time to get more things done and also so your boss has a greater chance of going to bat for you and getting you a raise.

    Many times, employees ask for a raise at year end after the budget has been approved for the new year. This is a mistake because most managers’ hands are tied. You are better off talking months before your review so that they can better estimate a budget.

    When you do sit down, be honest with your boss. Explain what amount of raise you are looking for and highlight your current accomplishments and what else you plan to do. Then ask for their feedback.

    The goal here is to make sure you are both on the same page. You don’t want to think that your accomplishments are great and your boss sees them as part of your job. Likewise you don’t want to think your new goals are awesome and your boss would rather you spend time on something else.

    Get on the same page with everything and agree to discuss more about the raise at your review. This will help you to avoid surprises and/or disappointments at your annual review. However, they could still happen.

  4. Get to Work.
    This step is an obvious one. You have to back up what you wrote down by achieving some things. Do whatever you need to do in order to get the job done. This includes coming in early and staying late now and then.

    One word of caution, however. Don’t make it a habit of working long nights and weekends. If you put forth the impression that you are willing to do this, going forward your boss might expect this sort of commitment from you. Work hard and smart to get things done, but don’t go overboard and set a new precedent for yourself that you don’t want to keep long term.

  5. Have Your Review.
    When it comes time for your official review, be sure to go in with an updated list of your accomplishments (and don’t forget the numbers!). Also be sure to have an open mind. This is because there is the chance that your boss may still not give you the raise you desire (or in some cases earned).

    If you do get your raise, congratulations! But make sure you keep working hard. Don’t become lazy or let your productivity drop off. If you do, you will have a hard time getting a raise in the future because your boss will know you will only work hard to get the raise and then slack off.

    If you don’t get the raise, don’t lose hope. Find out why. Maybe it was a bad year and your company cannot afford it. If you find, however, they simply don’t value you, it may be time to look elsewhere for employment. If you go this route, be sure to update your resume with everything you recently accomplished.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, there is a process to ask for a raise. Don’t just assume you will get a raise simply because you show up and are a hard worker. You need to stand out and become invaluable if you want to get a decent sized raise. By following the steps outlined above, you will increase your odds of getting the raise you want, assuming you put forth the effort.

More on Your Income

I am not a fan of clutter. In fact, I have a rule for myself that every time I buy a new shirt or pair of pants, I have to get rid of an old pair. Still, I do find other things lying around the house, unused. For example I had an old home theater system that I no longer was using. The other day I “found” an old digital camera I never use anymore.

This inspired me to do some further cleaning out and de-cluttering around the house. As it stands right now, I have about 20 things I am looking to sell to make money, from books to electronics and everything in between. The ultimate question is: where is the best place to sell this stuff for top dollar? Below are the various places I use to sell my stuff for quick cash.


4 Places to Sell Stuff for Quick Cash

  1. is a company owned by ebay. I use this site for selling my old DVDs and books I no longer use. At first, I was going to use Amazon FBA, but ended up getting burnt because of the low selling price of the DVDs. After paying to ship them in and after Amazon took their cut, I was walking away with a cool $0.18. That was after I raised prices because I was losing $0.15 on the previous sales! Unfortunately still, when I raised prices, my sales basically ended.

    So, I turned to I was pleasantly surprised when I was listing my books that there weren’t any others listed. I wasn’t selling unheard of books either. One was a copy of Freakonomics. While some might see the lack of titles as a sign to run, I saw it as an opportunity – a monopoly. I could charge anything I wanted. I ended up listing the book at $5 and the next day it sold. In fact, I sold 4 books within the first few days. took their fee and reimbursed me for shipping, and I walked away with $4.25. That’s around 15% in fees, which is a lot, but better than what was happening with Amazon.

  2. Craigslist
    For the larger electronic items, I used Craigslist to sell. I could have gone the ebay route, but didn’t want to deal with shipping. The downsides to Craigslist are annoying to say the least:

    • People bailing at the last minute
    • People low-balling you big time
    • People haggling when they do show up
    • People not responding

    These are the main issues I deal with. The low-ball offers don’t bother me and the people who don’t call back are slightly annoying. But the ones that bail at the last minute and those that haggle are the worst. At first I would let the people talk me down, but not anymore. I already price my stuff to sell, so if you want the item, pay full price for it. Most times, if they’ve driven to get the item, they have the cash and won’t drive away without buying – unless the item is in bad condition. For more see 10 Ways to Maximize Craigslist Revenue.

  3. Ebay
    I use ebay for a few things here and there. Usually it is for smaller items that I know I could get more money for if it’s in front of more eyes, but the price is too low to make sense to sell on Amazon. I’ve sold a few things recently and haven’t had any issues. All my items sold and I received an amount of money that I consider reasonable for the item.
  4. Amazon
    I usually only sell new items on Amazon, using their FBA program. I have seen more and more about their trade-in program where you can trade in your unused stuff to Amazon. I have not used it, but heard that people get a decent price for trading in DVDs, books, video games and electronics.

    The way it works is you go to the trade-in store and see if you can trade in your item. If you can, and the price is good, you ship it to Amazon for free (they provide a shipping label), and they inspect the item(s). If everything is good, the money you make will be credited to your Amazon account.

    As a test, I just checked the Freakonomics book on Amazon and I could get $2 trading it in. Not bad, but I’ll take the $4.25 I made. Maybe if future books don’t sell on, I’ll end up sending them in to Amazon.

Which Is The Best?

So which service is the best for making quick cash? It all depends on your circumstances. If you are looking for a super easy way to make some cash, the trade-in program with Amazon seems like the way to go. If you aren’t in a rush, then the other services I listed are a good option.

At the end of the day, you know how much time you want to put into getting rid of your old stuff. That will most likely be the biggest driver of which platform to use.

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