It is easy to feel like life can become a grind. You do the same things day in and day out, with little reward or hope for change. You may work at a job you don’t love and wonder what you need to do to change that, or if it is even possible.

One thing that can make life more enjoyable is creating a little breathing room in your budget. Having a little extra money, whether you want to direct it toward a fun vacation, self-care, or a car you know is impractical, can make the day to day grind much easier to tolerate.

Track Your Spending

You may question how tracking your spending can make you happier, but you may be surprised at what you find. When we are unhappy with things in life, we often compensate by treating ourselves to unnecessary expenses. These are often totally frivolous, and nothing we need, or even remember. To feel like you are living a luxurious life, spend money on things you crave, not things you don’t care about.

Refinance Your Loans

How much of your monthly income is directed at interest? How much interest are you paying on loans over their entire lifespan? These can be tough questions that you don’t want to calculate an answer for, but you may be surprised at how much money you can free up in your budget by refinancing your mortgage if you have one, and your student loans. Use a student loan payment calculator to make quick work of the math. Once you see the amount you can save, it decides to refinance much clearer. Likewise, a mortgage calculator can let you know how much you will save by refinancing your mortgage. Some online calculators allow you to compare the costs of renting versus buying a home. Running these numbers allows you to make smart choices.

Increase Your Income

Of course, the best way to increase your disposable income is to increase your overall income. There are a variety of ways to do this. You may ask for a raise in your existing job or you may start to look at moving to a new company with higher compensation. Regardless of the path you choose, getting comfortable negotiating will be the key to higher compensation. It is easy to quickly accept the first offer that is put on the table. While some people are innately good at negotiating, it is a skill everyone can learn. Things to keep in mind when negotiating include the value that you bring to your position, how your strengths and successes are an asset to the company, and the soft skills you have that are difficult to replicate.It can be difficult to negotiate because you are asserting yourself in a way that is uncomfortable and unfamiliar. Keep in mind that negotiating, like any other skill, gets easier the more you practice it. Accepting the first offer, whether through an in-house promotion or at a new company, locks in your future compensation. It never hurts to counter offer, it is the rare company that is offended by this, and it is extremely unlikely that the job offer will be rescinded. The worst that can happen is that you are told no.