Let’s face it – we all dream of sitting on somebody’s island drinking somebody’s margarita…. lol But then, reality hits– credit card bills! It’s time to flip the script. It’s possible to be cash-savvy and turn those financial frowns upside down. How, you ask? Keep reading, I will break it down for you.
1. Your Money, Your Story
First things first: Do know where your money goes? If you’re shrugging right now, you’re not alone. Stop thinking that you are on an island and no one else has the same struggles.
Figure out what money is coming in and what is going out. I know that sounds simple but trust me on this one. Count EVERYTHING. This gives you a big picture of your starting point.
The next step is to track your spending for a month. Yes, even that coffee, quick pit stop, or that pack of gum… ALL OF IT. Now, don’t worry; this is not about to go where you think it is. I’m not going to say cut it all out… Keep reading.
Now, you’ll soon spot the thorns in your journey to financial stability.
Are your Amazon cart purchases the issue? Or maybe it’s those ‘treat yourself,’ and I deserve it moments? Do you only say you deserve it when it relates to spending money?
Take time to identify the patterns and you will be surprised by what you find out about yourself.
2. Ms. Debtie Downer
When you think of debt think of it like the person you invited to the party that’s always the last one to leave and not taking the hint that it’s time to go. You are slowly contemplating in your head how exactly you will kick them out. Thinking about the moment you can reunite with your blissful bed. That’s where I come in.
We have to eliminate the guest that overstayed their welcome: debt. Can you identify what type of debt repayment method works for you?
It might be a good idea to figure out all the different types of debt you have also. IJS
I personally like to start with debt that charges the most interest. This chosen debt gets all the special attention in the form of all extra funds attacking the principal balance while maintaining all the minimum payments on all other debts.
No amount is too small. I once made a $5 principal payment. I didn’t concern myself with the $5. I considered the $5 + all the interest I just saved myself for the life of the loan. Let’s turn that debt frown upside down!
PRO TIP: You might have to call the company and find out the process to make extra principal payments.
3. Budget Like A Boss
Budgeting doesn’t have to be boring or restrictive, budgeting is all-inclusive. Your budget gets jealous when you keep things from it.
Think of it as your financial GPS – guiding your money to your goals. There are tons of apps out there to help – Prism, YNAB, you name it. Set realistic goals. Maybe allocate a ‘fun fund’ – yes, you can still have fun! The key? Spend with intention, not impulsively.
Don’t make the mistake of not having any personal spending in your budget. Studies show that depriving yourself is less likely to be long-lasting.
PRO TIP: Even if you didn’t make a budget for this paycheck. Could you make a quick list the night before you get paid off all the bills that need to be paid at this time of the month and subtract them from the amount of your paycheck?
4. Savvy Saver, Set a Pace
Saving for your dream house or vacay doesn’t mean you have to live like a hermit. Kick the thought out of your head that minding your money is synonymous with broke or less than.
Start small – automating your savings can be a game-changer. Set up a separate travel fund. Watch it grow? I promise that’s more satisfying than hitting the ‘add to cart’ button.
Unpopular opinion: You don’t need a new one-time wardrobe for every trip. Learn to mix, match, and rotate. Savings are your seed money to wealth and will give you the money needed to help your money create more money.
The key is consistency, which means more often than not. Work to put money away for your goals before paying all of the bills.
5. The Side Hustle Shuffle
First things first. I don’t recommend jumping into the side hustle game until you have a plan for the side hustle money. Secondly, you need to know what’s happening with your funds. If you are prone to overspending and have problems keeping up with your coins. Take a moment to work on that before adding more money to the mix.
Don’t bring more fire to the flame. Work to improve current money habits and get a handle on your current spending or your side-hustle money will just turn into more reasons that you are not reaching your goals. When overspending is the norm for you, you look at the money for the side hustle as a part of your budget and more money to spend on things you want.
Use funds from the side hustle to invest and create more money, personal development to increase your salary, pay off debt, or other financial goals. The goal of the side hustle is to help improve your situation, not dig a deeper hole.
7. Smart Travel Hacks
Travel dreams don’t have to break the bank. Off-season travel can save you a bundle. One of the first steps is identifying what type of traveler you are. Are you a traveler who likes to be in nice, fancy hotels and areas, or are you okay with thugging it? Once you determine this, it will create the threshold for how much your average trip will cost. Now some tips and tricks.
Being flexible with your dates is also a game changer. Search flight calendars to see how the prices change each day. Use this calendar to select your dates for travel based on their price. Don’t be afraid of one way either; just make sure you compare the price to the RT. Don’t be shy about asking for that upgrade or discount.
Traveling based on the best prices as opposed to definitive dates or locations is one of the best ways to reduce the costs of your trip. Other costs are associated such as transportation, lodging, food, and excursions. So it’s best to get the best flight for the best price to kick-start your savings.
Lastly, remember budget travel is not all about saving money. It makes no sense to get cheap lodging if I have to take a 40-minute Uber to everything. This will drive my costs back up.