Raises may be a rare occasion during these days of employer belt-tightening, and when they do come along they're likely to disappoint. Stagnant paychecks don't have to imply savings-as-usual — there's a tangible way to save money without earning more!
Scott Burns of MSN Money calls it the "Power of Attentive Spending," but I just call it a good idea. When you hold a magnifying glass to your spending there's no doubt you'll discover places where you can find better deals and spend less. Consumer Reports' August issue is confident we can save $500 each month by reviewing these six expenses: car insurance, life insurance, food shopping, phone costs, bank fees, credit card bills.
Even if you can't find $500 within your expenses that can be turned into money saved, a lesser amount would still have a positive impact on your savings. However you manage to cut your bills and save the money instead, Burns suggests you think of the amount you save over one year as after-tax income. So, if your salary is $50,000 and you find $6,000 by using your power of attentive spending, that's a not-too-shabby, after-tax, 12 percent gain.