Salary increases nationwide are slightly higher than they were last year, according to the 2011-2012 salary survey from WorldatWork, a nonprofit organization focused on global human resources issues. If you receive a raise, it may be tempting to simply absorb that extra money into your budget rather than using it strategically. "More often than not, the year goes by and the money gets lost with variable expenses," says McGraime.
Some advisers recommend upping your retirement savings so you won't notice the difference in your paycheck. If that seems tough to swallow, then consider Sethi's suggestion. "When I get unexpected money, I spend some of it right away to encourage me to continue growing my business," he says. "The rest of the money is automatically filtered to the places I've set up." Such places could include savings accounts with subaccounts for specific savings goals, a "guilt-free" spending account and retirement funds.