When negotiating salary, it’s so easy to fixate on the actual salary number. That can be a dangerous precedent, though. In some cases, the benefits that come with your job are just as valuable as your salary. As you negotiate your compensation package, look at it from the standpoint of theĀ completeĀ picture. You want to consider other benefits as well.

Health Care

This is a big one. If you can get a good health plan with your job, having a slightly higher salary might not matter so much. Pay attention to how much of the premium your employer is paying, as well as the type of health care coverage you get. This is a huge deal. A good health care plan that includes reasonable costs for a variety of services that you will need (vision and dental, anyone?) can go a long way toward creating a more tenable employment situation.

Vacation Days

Your compensation package also includes vacation days. And it’s not just about the paid vacation and sick leave, even though that’s a big part of it. More and more companies offer flexible unpaid leave on top of paid vacation days. For many, that flexibility is more important than a slightly higher paycheck. If you are having trouble negotiating a salary package, consider asking for more vacation (paid or unpaid) in lieu of a higher dollar amount. You might be surprised at how that can help your quality of life, as well as provide your employer with a solution that works.

Other Benefits and Perks

Pay attention to other benefits and perks as well. Ask if you can work from home a couple days a week. Other benefits might include discount child care, or gym memberships. Some companies still offer company cars and company smart phones. These are perks that might be well worth it to you, and that can be more valuable than a little more money. Consider whether or not you can ask for more perks, and determine what benefits fome with the job before you finalize negotiations. When you really get down deep, you might be able to see how various benefits and perks can really benefit you in your job. Sometimes, just enjoying the benefits can make a job worth it — even if you accept a little bit less.

Consider Your Quality of Life

What it comes down to is often quality of life. Are you seeing an improved quality of life because of your job? Does your job allow you to live the lifestyle you want? Good health insurance, flexible working conditions, and an easy vacation policy can allow you to improve your quality of life. It might be nice to make a lot more money, but will you have to work 60 hours a week to keep it up? What happens to your quality of life then?

Carefully consider your situation, and think about what you want your work life to look like, as well as what you want your home life to look like. In many cases, the benefits you receive as part of your job have as much to do with that as your actual salary.

Tom Drake

Tom Drake

Tom Drake writes for Financial Highway and MapleMoney. Whenever he’s not working on his online endeavors, he’s either doing his “real job” as a financial analyst or spending time with his two boys.