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Today’s Work It Daily Challenge is to track your spending habits. Feel like you never have any extra cash? Not sure where your money goes each month? Most of us wish we could have a little more money in the bank. And for many, the secret to achieving this is quite simple: keep a closer eye on your spending. You might not realize it, but your extra money could be getting sucked into a deep, dark pit of mindless spending. Today, take a look at your accounts and track your spending habits. What are you spending your money on each month? You’ll be surprised at how much little things, like your morning coffee run, add up. You can track your spending habits using an app on your phone, or you can create a spreadsheet on your computer. Or, you can simply print out your account statements to see where you're spending your money. Highlight things like coffee, going out to eat, and other unnecessary expenses in the same color, then add it all up. You might be shocked at the number. Here's an example. If you spend $2 per day on coffee for a whole month, it's costing you $60 per month for your daily caffeine fix - or, $720 per year! Instead, cut down on your coffee treats to once a week, or make your coffee at home (which is significantly cheaper). As you can see, those little things add up. Once you're aware of where you're spending your money, you can adjust your habits and start saving more money. How do you track your spending habits each month? What's secretly sucking the life out of your bank account? Let us know!

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Okay, I survived Day 1 of the challenge. The biggest thing I noticed was how much more I was thinking about money. Your thoughts get easily consumed with weighing the pro’s and con’s of even the smallest of purchases. That’s why I had to go into research mode… Related: Zebit Challenge Day 1: My Financial Stress Reality Check

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Handling salary negotiations can be tricky. Would you laugh if someone told you to put down how much you’ve earned under each job listed on your resume? Obviously, yes. Why on earth would you do that? But what if an employer directly asks you to tell them how much money you made in your previous positions? Um... excuse me? Chances are you’ve had this happen before. This request is an all-too-often ploy used by many employers to try to force job seekers’ hands into showing their salary "cards" and effectively sweeping any negotiation power out of the candidate’s hand. Many unemployed people are afraid if they don’t "play nice" in the employer’s cat and mouse game of salary negotiation, they'll lost the job offer. Have you experienced this at some point in your career? Then you know the drill. You are in the hot seat for an interview. Things are getting towards a definite "close" and it is clear a deal is now in the works. Then the employer drops their bomb in an interview by casually asking, “So, what are your salary needs,” or “What are you earning currently,” . Maybe in the application process, they require you to state your salary history or requirements in your cover letter. So, it all comes down to this moment. Time to deal the cards and start playing strategically…what you do now completely impacts your financial earnings over the course of your entire career. So what is a job applicant to do? What are your options? Here are five approaches you can take when it comes down to handling the thorny issue of salary negotiation. There isn’t any "perfect" way to negotiate because each situation is subjective to the company culture and the person interviewing you/making the hiring decision. But being educated about your options and also having a good "read" on the internal company environment can help provide you with the necessary business intelligence on the best way to approach this discussion.

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