There is really only two ways to have more money available to you:
- Increase your income (get a raise, get promoted, get a part time job)
- Reduce wasteful spending
This time around, I want to look at the second option: reduce wasteful spending.
I bet your feeling motivated already! Yeah, I know – spending less money is not that exciting of an idea. In fact, if you are in business, you know that you cannot achieve greatness by simply cutting costs.
The truth is, in my own personal life, I was actually spending a fair amount of money on pointless (stupid) things. I have Dave Ramsey and the Financial Peace University to thank for my newfound passion about all things finance.
While a few of these ideas may sounds basic, simple, or like common sense, I am listing there here for one main reason: they WORK. They have for me, and the thousands of other people who do them too.
So, here are a few ways that we were able to start keeping more of our cash immediately.
1. Plan a monthly budget, and stick to it
Imagine if you were running a budget at work – what would happen if you never bothered to write down where your money was going? You would not keep that job very long! A budget lets you tell your money where you want it to go, instead of reaching the end of your money and wondering “where did it all go?” A great example of this was my monthly budget for grocery shopping. Before the budget was set up, we spent anywhere from $600 to $700 a month on food. Ouch. A strategic budget placed us at a more comfortable $500 a month, and by sticking to it, we found an extra $100-$200 every month (and still eat darn well)!
2. Stop eating out
This one is a killer. We reduced this to twice a month or so and managed to find another $200-$300 every month. Don’t even get me started on how much healthier this is for us. Besides, cooking can be great fun (and guys, listen up: serious brownie points can be earned here – just don’t burn the food or leave a huge mess in the kitchen, and you’ll be golden!)
3. Examine your spending habits
$4 coffee. $2 Soda. $7 Chicken Sandwich & Fries at work. $60 on a new video game. This can add up real fast. That cup of coffee, just two times a week as a little treat was costing me almost $400 a year. That’s a nice little car payment right there. Coffee hipsters can cringe, but instant coffee, like Nescafe, is about $4 a month, 1 to 2 cups a day.
4. Negotiate everything
Everything. I’ll cover this in more detail in an upcoming post, but you can get big discounts almost anywhere. Toy Retailers, Mall Anchor Department stores, and brand name furniture showrooms are all examples of places we have made some killer deals, mostly by simply asking. Start by saying: “Can you do any better?” or asking: “How can I buy that for less?”
Call up every utility or monthly service provider you pay, and ask for a discount or promotion. I have saved hundreds of dollars a year by simply asking. Not yelling, threatening to leave, or demanding to talk to a manager. Just asking: “Hey my bill seems kind of high, are you running any promotions, or do you have a better rate available?” I just saved close to $700 a year by cross shopping our car insurance. Try this with you phone bill, internet provider, cell phone service, cable bills, or almost any other service you pay for. You’ll be surprised who will say yes. And then you will kick yourself in the butt for not asking sooner. And then your butt will hurt.
6. Check between the couch cushions
And behind the furniture, between the car seats, under the refrigerator, inside pockets of your jackets and pants, and all sorts of other places where our loose change can be stashed. Then put all of it in one place, and take it to the bank – not one of those change machine that charge a commission (remember, we’re trying to SAVE money here, not give it away). Or you could always start paying for everything with all those pennies. Just don’t be this guy and buy a new truck with all your pennies. Because that’s a bit lame. And the car dealership will hate you.
So there you have it, 6 ways that you can find more money in your wallet/purse/bank account, starting today!