That's the dilemma that faced Vance Crow of Articulate Ventures early in his career, when he approached his boss at a public radio station to ask for a pay bump, only to be told that the company could afford to give him about $40 more per week.
"Crestfallen, I felt like I was in a bad situation -- I could either accept the raise that I thought was too low, or I could quit. But [my boss], in her brilliance, had another option," Crow writes. "She started telling me about how she couldn't pay me like a big organization, but as a tiny organization, she could be significantly more flexible about my work arrangement. She offered flex time -- suggesting that I take 3-day weekends as long as I got my work done. She gave me better office equipment; I was the first one to get a new computer when they started replacing equipment."
Crow's experience shows us that even when there's no more room in the budget for raises, we can still better our situations with some savvy negotiating, saving money and improving the quality of our lives while holding onto jobs that we otherwise love.
We asked PayScale users to give us some ideas about benefits they'd want to see, if more money wasn't an option. Here are a few of our favorites:
1. More vacation time.
2. Casual dress/atmosphere.
3. Paid cell phone.
4. Education assistance or tuition reimbursement.
5. Flex time.
6. Free soda/juice/water.
7. Gym membership.
8. Pets at work.
9. Meals at work.
10. Paid internet access at home.
Those are just jumping off points. If you and your boss agree that you deserve more, don't let a lack of imagination limit your options. Think about what would make your life better, both at home and at work, and then see if you can make it happen.
Tell Us What You Think
Have you ever negotiated for benefits instead of more money? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.
More from PayScale
3 Ways to Negotiate Special Benefits
5 Step Salary Negotiation Guide
5 Negotiation Tips We Can Learn From One Old Steve Jobs Email
(Photo Credit: Moyan Brenn/Flickr)