Think your paycheck should have a few more dollars in it? Then, you might want to ask for a raise. But do your homework first, job experts say.

"Understand where your boss is coming from — what kind of position is she or he in? What are they looking for? Is the company doing well? Is the company not doing well? What is it that they expect of you?" said job consultant Peter Handal (search).

Before approaching the boss, know what you deserve.

"I can guarantee to you — nobody gets paid what we think we're worth," Handal said.

Web sites like Monster.com (search), careerbuilder.com (search) and hotjobs.com (search) offer salary advice and tools to help calculate the average salary range for various positions.

And here's the good news ... annual pay increases are starting to grow again.

"The average raise in 2004 was 3.4 percent. Next year, it's little bit better — maybe about 3.6 percent. But still, that's the fourth year in a row that raises have averaged less than 4 percent," said Money magazine (search) writer Donna Rosato.

It's common sense to avoid asking for more dollars if your company's about to hand out pink slips. But when is the best time to ask for more money?

Experts say know when the annual budget decisions are being made.

"About 60 percent of companies plan their budget in the fall, so time your conversation to ask for a raise about six to eight weeks before that," Rosato said.

And if you miss your window of opportunity, try asking for more after a big accomplishment, when your boss is still thinking happy thoughts about you.

Reporting by FOX News' Melanie Kron and Brenda Buttner.