You have the ability to gain wealth through willpower and wisdom, without spending money on education. Don’t misunderstand me – I am a believer in educating yourself through reading, learning from others and taking risks. But you can usually group everything you will learn into two categories – earn more and spend less.
You must make more than you spend – it is as simple as that. This is where I lost my way for a while, using my credit cards to buy things I needed as well as those I simply wanted. I was not taking expensive trips, or going out to eat every night – I am not the type of person to create a picture of status or glitter around me. But I lost track of the ways I was spending; an extra tank of gas, home renovation supplies, gifts for family, or other items. I could have thought through my purchases and my solutions of payment in a better way.
How can you make more?
- Find an extra job or side hustle. Many businesses look for temporary workers during their busiest season. You could hire on to sell Christmas trees, ring bells for charities, work at a farm stand in the summer, or help direct traffic at the fairground during an event. I spent one fall season working at Ben and Jerry’s Scoop Shop. And yes, they do send every employee home every day with three pints of ice cream. What is your favorite flavor?
- Sell something you make. Do you knit or crochet? Sell baby hats or winter scarves on Etsy or Facebook. If you bake delicious breads, send out an email to your friends and family and tell them to pass the word. This woman made barrettes and bows for her daughter and decided to offer them to others. John and Pat Curry opened a coffee shop in Augusta, Georgia after their home-roasted coffee business exploded. One of my sons creates one-of-a-kind rustic jewelry in his spare time.
- Sell something you are not using. Go through the house and find all those unused items you were planning to return to the store. If you don’t have a receipt, take the store credit for later use (and never return used items – it’s just not cool.). Do you have two toasters, two TVs or other duplicate times in your home? Sell one on Craigslist or eBay, or hold a garage sale.
- Take on a job that no one wants to do – and charge for it.In my recent posts I told you about Job #3. Janitorial work is not fun. But if you have a knack for clean, you can hire out to janitorial companies or start a cleaning business of your own. Job #3 has ended, but the entire paycheck from that temporary job went into my Financial Freedom account.
- Change jobs. Are you in a job that maximizes your potential? Have you looked into transferring in-house to a better-paying, better-suited job? Is it time to move on, into a career that will allow you to bring home a bigger paycheck? Only you can answer these questions. But if you are ready to move on, here are some helpful suggestions.
We’re not talking about being miserly. We are talking about frugality, which the ability to practice thrift and economy with food, money or resources. I was raised by Depression-era parents who understood frugality. We had a garden, ate leftovers and turned off lights when we left a room (“The sofa doesn’t need to see,” my father would say).
So how can you spend less?
- Cut the utility bills. It’s been said so many times before – put on a sweater, turn down the thermostat, or use cold water to do the laundry. They are tried and true ways to cut utility bills. Toasters and hair dryers are electricity hogs. A fully charged cell phone, left plugged into the outlet, uses around 60% of the power it uses while charging. And a charged laptop uses 66% of the energy it used while it was actively charging.
- Eat at home. My sweetheart, Bill Spaid, loves to go out for breakfast. But I would prefer to stay at home, because it is less expensive. The average entree in a mid-level restaurant costs between $10 and $20. The Simple Dollar takes a look at the cost of eating out in this great post. You don’t have to become a world-class chef. You can create some great meals at home with an online recipe and a few ingredients. My current monthly food/cleaning budget is $250 – I could easily use up half that budget by going for dinner one night every week.
- Watch for Sales. A word of warning – only use this tip for the items you normally buy. It isn’t thrifty to buy an unneeded item just because it is on sale, but taking advantage of a sale on the tuna you normally buy is a smart decision.
- Walk or seek alternate forms of transportation. You don’t have to sell your car to see a difference. Perhaps you pay $20 per day for parking near your workplace. Parking the car farther away in a no-meter zone and walking or biking the remainder of the way would save you $100 per week. I drive my scooter on nice days and leave the truck parked at home – and get 65 miles on a one-gallon tank of gasoline.
I would love to hear your own methods for spending less and earning more!