I have been tasked with writing brief financial education articles for my 9-5 job’s monthly newsletter.
Here’s my latest article highlighting some actionable and easy to do tips to get started with your journey towards financial freedom.
What comes to mind when you hear the word “budget”?
If you relate the word “budget” to being broke, cutting back, going without, or not being able to enjoy life, then you are like most Americans. However, this means that you may also be thinking about money entirely incorrectly.
Creating a financial plan, or “budget”, for your money allows you to control what your money does… rather than your money controlling what you do. The secret to getting and staying on track financially is to always maintain perspective. Treat yourself to nice things and great memories, but delay frequent small treats for substantially larger, more worthwhile rewards. In simpler words: Delay pleasure for practicality.
Here’s three tactics to help you change your perspective:
- Value Per Dollar
What sounds better, eating out for dinner two nights each week, or taking a paid-for trip to the beach?
The average cost of a meal for two at a restaurant is $25, before tip. By deciding to forego one dinner out per week, you could save over $500 cash in less than six months! If a trip to the beach in six months without using a credit card is possible, do all those back-and-forth conversations of “what do you want to eat tonight” sound like an easy sacrifice to make?
Whether it’s dining out, shopping, driving an expensive car, or those pesky “ugly” habits we all have; always try to keep perspective on what is a more important use for your money, and adjust accordingly.
- Hour Per Dollar
Ask yourself a question each time you want to make a non-essential purchase: “How long do I have to work to pay for this item?”
Let’s do some math. If your hourly wage is $10 an hour, and you want to buy a $50 item… ask yourself “is this item worth 5 hours of me working?” It’s easy to spend money, but when you relate the cost of the item against your actual earning potential, suddenly that new cellphone loses its priority once we realize how many days it’s going to take to earn enough money to pay for it.
DID YOU KNOW: The most expensive cell phone in the world is the Sirin Solarin Crystal, starting at $14,000?
- Swipe Per Dollar
Another popular tactic is to ditch the debit card and use paper money instead. I have no problem swiping my debit card 10+ times on a Saturday afternoon, but I become incredibly more frugal if I have to reach into my wallet and watch those dollar bills disappear from my possession.
Research shows that we spend more freely and loosely with debit cards because our brains do not associate losing anything to gain something. When you use cash to buy a shirt, you reach into your pocket and give up your cash to receive the shirt. However, when you use your debit card to buy a shirt, you don’t feel any loss with spending money because you get to keep your debit card after you buy the shirt.
- Other than earning more money, what are three changes (small or large) that you could make to help free up cash in your life?