Make More OR Spend Less
1. Make more
- Hustle: We often do reverse budgeting. When we want to spend extra money, like when we went to Europe, we decided how much we wanted to spend and then figured out how much extra we had to work to make that money. For the months before (and after) the trip we busted it, working all hours to finish projects. This is my husband's favorite approach to "budgeting" - just work more! I have convinced him that we need some time to enjoy life so we've developed more strategies (thank goodness).
- Use rewards programs: Who says you can't get something for nothing? I love Swagbucks, it's a program that gives me gift cards for things I do all the time anyway, like search the internet, play games or shop on line. Some people spend extra time on it, doing surveys, etc., but I don't feel like that's worth my time. You can check it out here. This is a referral link, I can earn a percentage if you sign up using it (you can refer friends and earn more too!) I usually earn $5 or $10 a month in Amazon gift card that let me buy a few extras worry free, just doing what I normally do.
- Turn a hobby into an extra source of cash: I'm not talking about turning a hobby into a business, you can do that too if you want to, but if you already have a main business it's still possible to bring in a little extra cash and keep your hobbies a source of relaxation. I have practiced yoga since I was 15. I love it! Becoming an instructor was a no-brainer for me. It means that no matter how busy I get I still make time to practice yoga and I'm not paying for classes. I was recently introduced to Jamberry nail wraps. I really like the wraps and when I did the math on how much I wanted to spend on them, being a consultant was a great choice for me. I get my own wraps at a discount and make a little money sharing them with friends. Like I said, I'm not currently interested in making either of these pursuits my main source of income, so it's important for me to keep the right frame of mind. I have fun and money is a bonus! Whatever your hobby is you could probably find a market to take a class or buy a little product. Just make sure you only spend the amount of time and effort that is worth it for you.
- Cut "luxury" reoccurring expenses: You've heard this one before, but it's particularly important when you don't have a steady monthly income. Check in regularly on the bills you have to keep to see if you can lower them. For example, we need smart phones with unlimited talk, text and data for work, but I've lowered our bill just by checking up on new plans and calling a few times a year to make sure we're getting the best deal. Same goes for internet and cable.
- Use coupons: I love SavingStar - it loads coupons straight onto my store's reward card, saving me time and money. An extra perk is that my husband refuses to use coupons but he will enter our phone number or slide a rewards card, so this way we save even when he shops! SavingStar has some cash back offers too, so redeeming coupons can be double rewarding.
- Buy Less: Duh right? Just because something is cheap or a "good deal" doesn't mean you need it. My husband used to buy new clothes every week. Every week! If you've got a shop-a-holic it doesn't matter how cheap it is you'll still spend money you don't have to. Hubby is learning to buy less often (for himself and Chiquita too).