Before the kids go on summer vacation, I am examining 5 tasks that you can complete in 5 minutes each to improve 5 different areas of your finances!
Last week we talked about the importance of INVESTING. Every year you don’t have money in investments is another year you are losing out on the effects of compound interest. YES, I know right now the stock market is going bonkers and we are heading into a recession…. HOWEVER…. smart investing is thinking about the LONG-TERM. If you look at the performance of the stocks you are interested in over the last 5 years rather than just the last year… you’ll probably find that they were up, UP, UPPPP! That’s because when your investment strategy is to put money in while the market is low… and leave it there for the long term (at least 5 years) you are far more likely to see gains.
** (If you’ve never managed your own investments before, I recommend downloading my e-book Simple Talk About Stocks so that you can get started!)
This week we are going to talk about pushing your monthly cashflow further into the green!
How? Decreasing expenses and increasing revenue.
I know first-hand as a crazy busy mama that it is really EASY to start bleeding money. Life gets busy, I start paying for convenience more often, and I lose track of my budget. Add on the sticker shock of inflation and it’s understandable that many of us have been struggling and worried.
For this exercise, I want you to do THREE things:
- Find at least ONE way you can decrease your monthly expenses
- Find at least ONE way you can increase your monthly income
- Come up with a suggestion for decreasing or increasing that is not listed and share it with Make Your Money Pretty – the free facebook group for women to talk about money.
DECREASING MONTHLY EXPENSES
- Nix those subscriptions: How many subscriptions do you have? Can you go without one? Can you call a friend or family member and share the cost of one? Go through your monthly subscriptions and decide.
- Review your cellphone / internet / cable bills. Many of you are paying too much for your cellphones, cable, and/or internet. Do you need that much data? Have you reviewed prices at different companies? Do you NEED cable television, or can you switch to a streaming service? You’d be amazed at how much you can reduce your monthly expenses by simply calling your service provider and telling them you’re thinking of switching. I’m on Vancouver Island and many of my local peeps have switched their internet service over to Lightspeed and their cellphones over to Public Mobile. Drastic changes.
- Plan your grocery budget. I guarantee you’re EATING YOUR MONEY. I do a whole back to school grocery challenge that will slash your food bill an incredible amount… so make sure you follow my social media accounts to get in on the action this September! But if you’re interested in cutting your food bill within this 5 minute challenge, download my free grocery shopping guide and use it to plan your next trip!
- Reduce your energy consumption: Some people swear by flipping the breaker switch on the baseboard heating during the summertime so the kids can’t crank it up when it really doesn’t need to be in use. You could change your lightbulbs over to LED, limit shower time, hang your laundry instead of using the dryer, unplug electronics that you’re not using, and limit the sprinkler use this summer.
- Reduce the interest rate on your credit card: If you are carrying a balance on your credit card, you can talk to your bank about getting a line of credit with a lower interest rate instead. If you are really struggling with debt, talk to a professional. It may be possible to negotiate lower interest rates, or even reduce your debt load.
- Borrow instead of buy: Want to go camping this summer? You probably have a friend that has a few of the things you’ll need. Buy them a case of beer and borrow their stuff instead of buying brand new.
- Think local: Instead of spending the gas money to travel this summer, stay local! Checkout groupon and your local deals. Is there a coupon book for your area? Remember, community centers offer fun stuff for families!
- Don’t drive. Can you reduce the amount you spend on driving, even once per week? Can you take the bus? Can you ride a bike? Can you carpool? Can you share driving the kids to summer camp with another parent?
- Plan your back to school shopping early. You know you’re gonna need school supplies… but you probably don’t need all brand new stuff. I bet you’ve got a ton of pencil crayons and markers in your house that you could collect and re-use! For clothing, check out Facebook Marketplace or your local thrift store instead of buying a brand new wardrobe for the kid that is just gonna tear the knees out on the first day of school.
- BIG CHANGES: You COULD make some major changes to decrease your expenses. Housing costs high?Re-locate or remortgage. High car payment? Sell it and get a cheaper one. OR, switch to an electric vehicle (the up front cost may be more, but you may save a ton on gas and maintenance.)
INCREASING MONTHLY INCOME
- Sell some stuff: Have a garage sale, go through your clothes and sell them in bundles on Facebook Marketplace, find the things lurking in the deep dark cupboards of your kitchen that you haven’t used… like, ever…. (hello Instant-Pot!?)
- Carpool: See if you can make some extra cash by ride-sharing! Maybe you’d help another parent out by offering to drive their kids home from school. Perhaps your co-worker would be stoked to pay half the gas for a ride to work. OR consider ride-sharing so someone can borrow your vehicle!
- Side Hustle: You don’t have to create a whole company to start a side hustle. And you don’t have to commit to a part-time job. But maybe you could offer up 3 hours a month to clean someone’s house? Or detail a car? Or walk a dog? Or babysit? I know several Mama’s who have decided to commit to a biweekly job like this… and they find it’s actually relaxing! They pop in their ear buds and enjoy some kid-free peace and quiet while getting paid to listen to their fav podcast.
- Make money doing things you already do: I’ve got a whooooole article on this, baby.
- Rent your space: Got an extra room? Get a roommate or an international student. Got workshop space? Rent out storage! Got garden space? Offer it up in exchange for some of the veggie yield. Have a camper? Rent it out!
- Ask for a raise, or find a new job: Advocate for yourself! If your boss absolutely cannot afford to give you raise, maybe they can provide you a benefit in another way, such as a monthly grocery gift card (which would be a tax write off for them) or a change to your benefits.
As always, share your questions with Make Your Money Pretty crew, because you can help each other figure out ways to make your dreams attainable!
PSSST: if you don’t have an advisor, we are licensed all across Canada and would be happy to help you! Just e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org