The amount of money you earn at your job can dictate how satisfied you are not only with the role, but in life in general. That's why it always pays to negotiate salary with your employer when you're not happy with your earnings level. After all, the worst that can happen is that your employer says no.
But unfortunately, most companies are saying no these days. In a recent Monster.com poll, 67% of respondents weren't able to negotiate salary with their current employer.
Of course, there are different reasons an employer is unwilling to budge on the salary front, and one that's hard to argue with is financial constraints. But that doesn't mean all is lost. If you otherwise like your job, here are a few benefits you can ask for instead that could, in a less obvious way, put more money back in your pocket.
1. More vacation time
Added paid time off might seem like a nice thing to have, but not necessarily something that'll make you wealthier. But actually, added vacation days could translate into extra earnings if you use that time to work a side job.
Imagine you're a graphic designer who works for different clients on evenings and weekends. You can only squeeze in so much freelance work when you're at your main job for 40 hours or more per week. But if you negotiate a few more vacation days and use that time to work for outside clients, you'll boost your earnings despite not having gotten a raise at your main job.
2. A more flexible schedule
Showing up at the office when you want and leaving at a time that's convenient for you won't just make your life easier. Depending on your circumstances, there could be some serious savings involved.
Imagine your employer agrees to let you compress your workweek to four days instead of five. If you have young children who attend day care, having that extra day free could mean not having to pay for an extra day of supervision each week. Furthermore, if you're used to idling in traffic during your rush hour commute, traveling to and from the office at off-peak hours could save you money on fuel costs.
3. The option to work from home
Some jobs are difficult to do remotely, but if yours can be performed easily from home, it pays to negotiate that benefit when a salary bump doesn't come through. Working from home is apt to save you money on commuting expenses, but you might also save on incidentals like store-bought lunches, which you probably won't be nearly as tempted to buy when you have access to your entire kitchen.
Working from home could also save you money on pet care. For example, if you normally pay a dog-walker to come in and walk your pooch once a day, you won't have to bear that expense if you're given the option to do your job from your living room, and take that walk on your break.
It's easy to get discouraged when you're denied a raise, but if that happens to you, don't give up. Instead, fight for other benefits that translate into more money one way or another.