Quote from MN-Nurse
I could hire a lot of nurses in 96 hours.
Everyone has something to offer, and if you can't think of viable reasons why you should be payed more than the offered rate--then maybe the rate offered is adequate. It is my opinion, based on personal experience, that cost of living references to justify pay increases don't usually hold water in a job offer dollar negotiation; these kinds of supporting claims belong more to union/group worker disputes than they do in personal justifications in value. Negotiating is also better when you have an honest feeling that the employer (based on interview experience and other peripheral factors) has a great desire to hire Eric Cartman RN, rather than just an RN. For example, I was hired for a spanish speaking-*only* clinic that delt with migrant agriculture field workers in an remote area. Not only did I sense, during the interviewing process, that they desperately needed someone to fill the position, but they were also highly impressed with my Latino immigrant volunteer experience and my personal knowledge on that population (I am first generation born Mexican-American) with my mother and aunts/uncles coming to this country by way of agriculture work/citizenship contracts.
Even though I was a new grad in an applicant pool of experienced RNs i knew I had the upper hand. I was able to squeeze out 4 more dollars on top of the dollar offer because of this. In sum: try and gauge the employer's desire for you, if they truly want Eric Cartman, they will pay for Eric Cartman.
Lastly, if you feel like you're just "reaching," and can't solidly and professionally justify a pay increase aside from the bummed part of tough cost of living and not being able to buy that new 2013 Chevy Camaro ZL1 right out of the gate, you should probably just take what is offered.
Good Luck Bro!