money on the table

15 Ways You’re Leaving Money On the Table (and How to Stop)

Did you know that you could be leaving money on the table and not even realize it? Without even knowing it, you could be missing out on opportunities to earn more money in your daily transactions.

It literally pays to be aware of situations where you’re not optimizing your earnings. This could add up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars over time! 

So if you’re ready to stop missing out on thousands and put more money in the bank, keep reading.

What does it mean to leave money on the table?

Leaving money on the table is a phrase that implies that you aren’t receiving all the money that you can from a deal, negotiation, sale, and the like. It simply means that you’re not getting as much money as you could.

Women, especially, should be more aware of when we aren’t receiving our just due. We are far more likely to be underpaid and compensated in the workplace and often taken advantage of in business.

There are several ways that you may be leaving money on the table that you’re not aware of.

Here are 15 things that you can do to stop missing out on cash.

15 Ways to Stop Leaving Money on the Table 

1. Negotiate your salary

Imagine interviewing for your dream job and getting that call that they’d love to hire you. Only to receive an offer letter with a salary that’s way less than you envisioned.

Do you take the job as is or will you negotiate the salary?

Well, according to one survey, 61% of people wouldn’t negotiate the salary. Not even for a penny more. This is where you’re leaving money on the table.

Failure to negotiate your salary has long-term effects that extend beyond your current role. Keep in mind that the salary that you accept is the baseline that’ll be used in future salary increases.

Additionally, companies often have room to pay more than they’re offering. It’s to their advantage for you not to ask for more, even if they can afford it. So ask for every penny that you’re worth and more.

Need help with negotiating? Check out this article for some negotiation tips.

2. Ask for a raise

Negotiating your salary once you receive a job offer is just one step in getting properly compensated. However, once you’re employed and have been working for a while you also need to ask for a pay raise.

A recent study done by Payscale found that only 37% of people ask for a raise from their current employer. Another study found that 72% of women would rather change jobs to get a pay increase over asking for a raise. 

Though there are many factors that influence whether or not you’ll receive a raise, the fact is if you don’t ask you won’t receive.

3. Charge more for your services

The workplace isn’t the only place where you can leave money on the table. If you’re a woman entrepreneur, you may be selling yourself short as well.

One-fifth of respondents to a survey done by Inc. admitted to charging less than their male counterparts in the same industry. There are many reasons that contribute to this wage gap, even in entrepreneurship. 

Some of this stems from imposter syndrome—common among high achievers. 

Nonetheless, if you want to earn more as a woman in business, you have to charge more. Anything else is leaving money on the table.

4. Take Your 401k Match

If you’re not taking advantage of your employer’s 401k match, you are definitely leaving money on the table. This is free money to put toward your retirement savings. Over time, this money will exponentially increase and work for you!

I’m most cases, you’ll need to contribute a certain percentage of your own income to get the max match. If you’re already contributing to your retirement (which you should be), put in enough to take advantage of the match.

Your future self will thank you for not leaving this free money behind.

5. Negotiate your bills 

Are you paying too much for your bills? You could be and not know it. Or there just could be an opportunity to save some money by just negotiating your bills to get a lower rate.

This is especially helpful when it comes to paying off debt. Sometimes a phone call to your lender and some savvy negotiating skills can lower your interest rate or monthly payment—putting some cash back in your pocket.

Paying more than you have to is leaving money on the table. 

Truebill saves you money on expenses by negotiating your bills. They work to lower your bill by either negotiating a better rate or by getting 1-time credits applied to your account.

6. Cancel subscriptions you don’t use

If you have unused subscriptions that you’re paying for, you are also leaving money on the table. I’m this case, you’re spending more money than you have to.

Simply canceling unused subscriptions and memberships can also put money back in your pocketbook. 

There are apps that can even cancel those subscriptions for you. Trim is basically a virtual personal assistant that works to save you money automatically. The app cancels old subscriptions, gives spending alerts, and automatically fights fees.

7. Invest your money

Not investing your money? Well, you’re leaving thousands of dollars on the table. 

Investing is the foremost way to make your money work for you and build wealth. It not only grows your money, but it outpaces the effects of inflation—which lowers the value of money over time.

In a nutshell, you need to invest.

I get that investing can be scary, but there are so many resources to help you get started. Here are a few that I recommend:

8. Use a high yield savings account 

The next best thing to investing your money is leveraging high yield savings accounts. If you’re going to have large sums of money sitting in the bank, it might as well be earning you income.

When you use a traditional savings account, you’ll only earn a fraction of a percentage of the money back. On the other hand, high yield savings accounts offer a much better return.

9. Adjust your tax withholding

Another way you may be leaving money on the table is by paying too much in taxes!

Here’s a quick way to know if you’re paying too much in taxes: If you get a tax refund each year, you are paying too much in taxes throughout the year.

Now although you get this income back, you could be using it throughout the year. This is money that can be invested, put toward debt, or used for monthly expenses.

Review your tax holdings to make sure you’re not paying too much in taxes and leaving money on the table.

10. Use tax advantage accounts & incentives 

Speaking of taxes, there are other ways that you can avoid paying too much. Did you know that there are tax incentives that you could be taking advantage of?

Here are a few:

  • Charitable donations – this can lower your taxable income and the amount of taxes you’re obligated to pay.
  • Roth IRA accounts – by paying taxes on your income before putting it into a retirement account, you can avoid paying higher taxes when you withdraw it later on.
  • Health Savings Account (HSA) – putting funds in a health savings account is another tax advantage. You can invest this money while reducing your taxable income.

For more ways to reduce your taxes, you can read the book Lower Your Taxes.

11. Redeem product rebates

Have you ever purchased an item that offered mail-in rebate? Did you actually mail in the required items for a rebate?

If you answered no to the second question, you’re leaving money on the table once again. This is a simple way to collect some cashback for some of your purchases, especially on large items.

The next time you make a purchase, ask if there is a rebate available. I take advantage of this when purchasing contact lenses or tech items. 

12. Use Cashback apps

Another simple way to get cash back on purchases is by using rebate apps for everyday purchases.

Apps like Rakuten, Ibotta, and Fetch Rewards allow you to earn cash or gift cards for each purchase you make or redeem through the app. So why not get some extra cash for free on items you’d be buying anyway?

I’ve earned over $700 from Rakuten alone! You can learn more about these money-making apps in this article.

13. Take advantage of employee perks

Your employer may have some cash incentives that you aren’t aware of. Things like a discount at certain stores or local service providers aren’t uncommon employee perks. 

This means that you could be saving money on expenses that you weren’t aware of.

Check with your Human Resources department to find out if you’re able to take advantage of discounts at your local gym, cell phone service provider, and more! 

Remember that spending more money than you have to is also leaving money on the table.

14. Use coupons

Though couponing may seem like a lost art from the days of daily newspapers, it is still very much alive. Although, today you can find them online or within the rebate apps that I previously mentioned.

Before your next shopping trip, be sure to find available coupons to apply toward your purchase. 

15. Take paid feedback surveys

One last way that you may be leaving money on the table is by not taking advantage of incentives and cashback opportunities from feedback surveys. 

For example, some health insurance plans offer cash for taking health assessments and getting annual exams. It’s a quick and easy way to make some extra cash by giving feedback and doing something that you’ve already planned to do.

You can also find these paid incentives at the bottom of some of your receipts. In return, you may receive a discount or something free on your next visit. If it’s worth it, spend a few minutes to grab some extra cash!

Are you leaving money on the table?

Hopefully, you’ve identified some ways that you have been leaving money on the table. Now that you know how you’re either losing money or missing out on cash, you can leverage these 15 ways to recover it. 

Need more tips for making the most out of your money? Check out this article on ways to make your money work for you.

Fo Alexander

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