What resources do you already have?
Many people are already working multiple jobs or have other reasons why it’s hard to make ends meet (let alone save), simply saying “you need to make more or spend less”, doesn’t work.
What resources are at your fingertips that you might not be using? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Credit Card Benefits – credit cards often offer little ways to save you money. Like free travel insurance if you pay with your card, bonus dollars if you spend a certain amount, cash back, warranty extensions/coverage, etc.
- Employee Benefits – Do you understand your plan? These plans can cover an a lot of health expenses and might offer other benefits. Some companies also offer investments opportunities – don’t risk missing out because you didn’t want to ask a silly question. Someone in your office (probably HR) is responsible for this plan and can help you understand it.
- Other Member Benefits – The other week, my phone company paid for me to take a friend to the movies just because I’m their customer. We get discounts at certain stores because of my Partner’s company affiliations. Some of my networking groups give me discounts at stores or free first visits. Look at the groups/organizations/companies that you’re a part of and do a dive into what they offer their members!
What’s the interest rate on your savings account?
If you leave your money in a savings account that promises to grow by 0.5% each year (your interest rate) and you leave it in there for 10 years, you’re losing money – thanks to inflation.
Inflation is 2% on average. So, if you’re savings account is only making 0.5% interest, it’s not keeping up!
You’ll hate this next idea but I’m bringing it up because IT WORKS.
Anytime I’ve been in a tight financial spot, I switch to cash. There’s no more of a determining answer on whether you can get take-out than having $1.00 to use.
I take out cash once a week and make envelopes for each category. I chose to do it every week because it’s easier to not spend money when there’s less at your fingertips.
If you prefer to avoid cash, we suggest replacing the cash system with an app that tracks your purchases and a nightly review.
Have a separate chequing account where you transfer money for your weekly expenses (like taking money out of the bank) into.
There are apps that allow you to manually input your expenses for the day or will connect to your bank account and provide a report. Like virtually checking your envelopes!
Here’s what my envelope system looks like:
Envelope 1: Food $200.00/week
Cat food, cleaning supplies, and other household items are in this budget.
Envelope 2: Entertainment $40.00/week
It’s tempting to leave out when things are really tight, but at some point, you’ll be out for an impromptu coffee or want a 6-pack and you don’t want to be tempted to put it on the credit card!
Envelope 3: Gas $60.00/week
Envelope 4: Clothing and gifts $20.00/week
This one typically sits for a little bit until an expense comes up. It feels really good to be prepared!
Envelope 5: Clothing & Gifts $20.00/week
Then, I make sure there’s enough in the account for auto with-drawls – strata fees, car insurance, etc. – and we strictly live off the cash in these envelopes. Some weeks I’m surprised to find there’s quite a bit of money left over!
Now, I do it even when things aren’t tough because it makes me spend more consciously so I can strive towards the bigger things I want.
Remember, you’re in control of your spending. It takes time and effort to take control of your financial future and say a temporary no to things you really do want. You’ll get from this what you give to it.
Keep your focus in clear sight and I promise, you can start to save money without making a penny more.