Give Yourself an Instant Raise

This month, what can you do to make life feel a little richer?


It’s truly amazing how much more you get out of life when you decide where to spend your dollars before you let ‘em loose. It’s the difference between, say, eating a whole lot of takeout or paying off all of your debt in two years flat (including all of your credit cards, student loans and two car loans!).

Yes, the perks of budgeting should not be underestimated. But there are other ways to increase your satisfaction in life. For example, and unsurprisingly, getting a raise. Studies show that—if you make less than $105,000 per year—a bump in pay can make you happier. Studies also show that being generous can make you happier (even if you’re just a little generous).

So, if A equals B, and B equals C, it only goes to show that being generous is equivalent to getting a raise. It’s the transitive property at work. And, people, you really can’t argue with math.

Would you care to help us prove the theory? We’d love it if you considered joining us this month for …

The November Challenge: Be a Do-Gooder

All jokes aside, when you give of yourself, you actually do wind up feeling more grateful for your own life. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by a mountain of bills or feel sick and tired of cutting corners. And, especially when you’re recalibrating your spending habits, it can feel like you’ll never have enough …

But, if you stop to appreciate what you’ve already got (even if it’s just a modest, little bit) and empower yourself to act in the spirit of generosity, you’ll be surprised at how very rich life can feel.

Now, I just told you that being generous is a boon to your happiness, but don’t let that kill the altruistic vibe in the room. Sure, yes, you got me. You will likely feel better if you participate (like you got a raise, because math!). But so will the recipients of your do-gooding.

Everybody wins!

… and don’t worry. You don’t need money to be generous. Kindness counts, and there are unlimited ways to brighten someone’s day. Here are a few ideas, most of which are completely free:

  • Pet-sit for a traveling neighbor (Thanks, Joleen!).
  • Donate your unwanted clothing to someone who’d love it
  • Wish a stranger a good day by picking up the drive-thru tab (you might start a 167-car chain reaction!).
  • Simply, wish a stranger a good day. Smiles can last for miles!
  • Volunteer your professional skills and services (If you’re a writer, write someone’s flier. If you’re a bike-fixer, fix a bike. And if you’re a plumber, unclog a drain!)
  • Bake, fry, stew or saute something nice to share with people around you.
  • Make time to call your old, dear friend who lives on the other side of the planet. Or in New York. Wish her good health and share a laugh. Your schedule isn’t that crazy.
  • Volunteer with local charities—find out what your community needs, and fill the gap.
  • [Insert YOUR idea, here!]

And, of course, you can always budget a few dollars to give to a cause that moves you, if you’re able. You could even set a goal in YNAB, if you’re inspired to give an annual or monthly donation.

Small things add up! Let’s do this.

Join the Challenge!

So, YNABer, will you join us in performing one act of kindness each week this November? Let’s turn up the heat this month with warm gestures! We’ll be watching out for you on social media, under the hashtag #nicenovember. Or, post about your generosity in the YNAB forum. We want to see what you’re up to!