Before you can start hunting for extra money, you need to get real about your debt and answer this question: How much debt do you really have? Many people don't know—and even if they do know, often times their spouses don't. So if you haven't done Step 1 of Oprah's Debt Diet, go there now!

Okay, so let's say you're on the program, you've cut out the fast food and lattes, you have a monthly spending plan, and you're looking to save even more. Here's one great way: Every time a little extra money comes your way, earmark all or at least part of it for savings. This is one of the best ways you can give yourself a financial boost. Where is this extra money going to come from?   

Here are a few ideas:

Your next raise. You've already been living on the money you're making now. Pretend you didn't even get a raise, and automatically bank the difference in your savings account. 

If you haven't received a raise and feel you deserve one, it may be time to negotiate. Improving your earning power-increasing the size of your paycheck-involves fine-tuning skills that have less to do with math (or money) and more to do with negotiating (for money). If you're like many women, one of the things you "hate" most about money is asking for it. That has to change.

If you do not negotiate-if you do not ask for what you want-then the answer will always be no.

The first step is to gather information. When you are negotiating for anything, you have to think of yourself as a lawyer. You're Angie Harmon from Law & Order. You're Kinsey Millhone from Sue Grafton's novels. And that means before you say word one, before you form your hypothesis or make your case, you get the goods. If it's a salary you're negotiating for, then you've been online to see what similar jobs are offering, you're talking to headhunters to see what sort of offer you might expect, and you know how that compensation is structured in terms of wages, commissions, and bonuses if it isn't paid as straight salary. 

Get all 7 of Jean's tips for negotiating a raise  
Reprinted from Make Money, Not Excuses by Jean Chatzky with permission from Crown Business, a division of Random House, Inc. Copyright © 2006 by Jean Chatzky.
Please note: This is general information and is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult with your own financial advisor before making any major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio, and a qualified legal professional before executing any legal documents or taking any legal action. Harpo Productions, Inc., OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Communications LLC and their affiliated companies and entities are not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your financial or legal decisions.


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