Alright everyone, if you've been keeping up with my posts, we are now off to the races! Our first step to freedom is securing our emergency fund. Have you started to close in on your $1000 mile marker? I sure hope so! Now, since we're in a bit of a time crunch (4 weeks is our goal), we need to start shaving off some of our "extra" expenses. I hope that you've been working on your budget, using mint.com, or some other money tool to help you track your day-to-day purchases easily. Those are all really great starting points. If not, here are some ways that you might be able to make some nicks in your spending and boost your savings. We'll call it your freedom list!
- Cut back on dining out: This includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Starbucks, fast food, Friday's, whatever it is that is holding you back from your freedom. I know, I know, it's convenient, but convenience is keeping you in financial slavery. Start with a weekly goal. Only eat out for lunch or dinner once a week. Put whatever you would usually spend into a jar or transfer it to a savings account if you can. You need to see yourself directing your money. If you don't move it, you'll probably end up spending it on something else.
- Shop with a grocery list and stick to it: That means taking inventory before you leave home, and come home with everything on your list and nothing more. If you have kids, have them help you write the list before you leave. If they try to add to the list, tell them nope, this is how rich people shop. Train them now!
- Use coupons: I swear coupons have become the best thing since sliced bread. People actually get TV time because they're so good at shopping with coupons. Consider yourself really cool even if you're only half as good as the extreme coupon people. Hey, it's free money, why waste it? What's more embarrassing, being in debt or being a smart shopper?
- Give up the lottery: Trust me, you'll get better results saving your ticket money than you will gambling it away. That $5 or $10 will look better in your bank account collecting interest and paying off debts. Quite frankly, gambling is a luxury that you can't afford right now.
- Hold off on your spring wardrobe: It's warming up outside, and you just have to get new sandals, skirts, etc. right? Unless you can't fit the ones you have or they have visible damage, then no. I'm sure if you asked any prisoner if they could choose bail money or a new outfit, they would opt for freedom, and I hope you do too.
- Schedule your errands based on proximity: Gas isn't cheap, so find ways to burn less of it if you can. Try to get your shopping done in areas that are close to home or work, directions that you would be going anyway.
- Keep your receipts: And I mean every last one of them. Total them up at the end of each week so you can see where your money is going. You'd be surprised at how fast $7-$10 a day on unplanned expenses, habits, cravings, etc. add up. Multiply that number over a period of 4 weeks and you'll have saved between $200-$300 (20%-30%) towards your $1000 goal!
This list could go on and on, but instead of listing them here, I'll give you a few other sources to visit in order to help you:
I'm not saying that you have to do everything, but do something. Pick 3-5 of them if you can. Make your freedom list, pull out your money razor, and start shaving away! Your freedom is counting on you!
Change requires action!