Alfreton Town manager Nicky Law fears retaining their Blue Square Bet Premier status will be even tougher next term.
The Reds avoided relegation last season thanks to a superb run of six wins from seven games during March and April.
But Law said: "The game has got bigger. There are lots of clubs chucking money at players. Some wages are staggering.
"I am hearing of players picking up huge signing-on fees as well as appearance money and other add-ons, but that is an avenue we can't go down."
Law's side were threatened with relegation during their first season in the top tier of non-league football until the closing stages of the season.
He added: "It is definitely going to be harder to survive this season, but I am sure we will be ready to go once the season comes around."