by Molly Jo Realy @RealMojo68
You know, we’re halfway through the year and I still haven’t reached all my goals. That private jet? In someone else’s name. Book deal? Workin’ on it. Owning a writers’ cafe? Yah. That’s on the back burner for a while longer. [See what I did there? Cafe? Burner? Sigh . . . ]
So, I’m sitting here thinking, egads! [True story. I actually said “Egads!” out loud. To no one except the fur family. Some days I’m glad they can’t talk English.] But back to it. I’m sitting here thinking, egads! I’ve been so busy I forgot to write Friday’s blog post.
And then I thought to myself, “Self! It’s a Five Things Friday post. You’d best come up with something good!” And my self answered, “Oh, Girl. Don’t bother us. We’re working on the budget.” Okay, it wasn’t all as Sybil-esque as all that, but, yes. Yes I did have a conversation with myself about the budget and paydays and where to find extra cash.
In fact, as I was writing this month’s budget, a nagging thought distracted me until I wrote it out:
That photo above is just a little snippet of my Happy Planner budget sheets. Y’all know my affinity for Happy Planning, yes? Well, maybe that will be next week’s FTF post. Today, we’re about saving pennies. And more.
But it got me thinking. I know I’m not the only who could use a few extra greenbacks. Or a means to accomplish that which must be, well, accomplished. Am I right? Oh, come on folks, I ain’t making this up!
So, in keeping with my striving for a better credit rating and a little fun money [or just a better bag of cat food now and then], here are five easy changes you can make to help save a little dough.
- The Penny Jar. It sounds old fashioned, and even I was skeptical about its profitability at first. But when I cashed out my pennies at the end of six months, I was pleasantly surprised to find enough for a trip to the grocery store and gas station. Now, I’m not saying I bought enough for the month with a cross-country drive, but it did get me through the week and with a little sumthin-sumthin to enjoy Friday night. Which, coincidentally, is now my new penny jar.
- Talk. Chat. Discuss. However you want to word it, word it. Communicate. Got bills you can’t pay? Let the payee know ahead of time. Most times, companies are willing to work with you if you ask. Now, you can’t be all i-just-bought-a-car-and-quit-my-job-but-i’m-keeping-it on them. I mean, you do have to maintain some responsibility. But take it from me. You know. You’ve read about it here. When you’re in a bind, explain it. Late fees get waived, due dates get pushed. It’s worth a little time to save a little money.
- Sort it all out. Take inventory of what you have, materially, and ask yourself if you really need it. Start small: Take one shelf, one drawer, or one cabinet, and sort it into three piles: Keep. Throw Away. Sell. If it’s in good condition but you don’t need it, consider putting it on LetGo or a local Facebook Yard Sale group. Ebay’s a great source, too. There’s tons of them out there. And if after a decent amount of weeks go by and no one’s bought, donate. Sure, it may not put money in your pocket, but your house will be less cluttered. Clean house, clear mind. Isn’t that a thing?
- Explore your talents. Now, I know you’re good at stuff. And some stuff, you’re really good at. And I know it doesn’t always seem like it, but trust me on this: You have something to offer others. So get creative! Whether it’s a service or goods, take time to develop it. Freelance. It doesn’t take much for word to get out if you’re good at what you do. Babysitting, baking, tree trimming, yard care, dog walking. Are you good as socializing? Love to connect with people? Try something like DoTerra or Jamberry nail wraps. You not only get great discounts for yourself on products you love and use, but if you turn it into a business, you’ll get a nice little income, too!
- Give it up. There are just some things y’all don’t need. When the decision is between milk or bread, it’s time to stop the Netflix. Now, treating yourself is a must, so get that Redbox DVD once in a while. Splurge for that Starbucks every three weeks. But when you start cutting corners and realize how easy it is to roll that savings into paying off another bill and that snowball keeps rolling downhill . . . pretty soon you’re king of your mountain and those are wildflowers springing up to make things beautiful.
BONUS TIP: Pay attention to your spending. Don’t just write it in your checkbook or look at your smart phone now and then. Make a budget journal. Keep your receipts. Figure out where and how things can change. Grab a small drink instead of large, especially when the refills are free.
BONUS BONUS TIP: On the morning of each payday, whatever money you have left in your bank account that’s unallocated, transfer it to your savings or emergency fund.
BONUS BONUS BONUS TIP: Barter. You can’t afford everything you need and want. Neither can everyone else in your world. But you may be able to work out a trade. You can wash a car in exchange for yard cleaning. Tired of your DVDs? Trade them with a friend for some new but free entertainment. Money is a means, not an end. When you remove money from the equation, you may find a different solution.
BONUS BONUS BONUS BONUS TIP: Don’t be afraid to ask when you need help. It’s okay to admit you can’t handle everything on your own all the time. No one can. If we could, we wouldn’t need each other, would be?
BONUS BONUS BONUS BONUS BONUS TIP (So really this should be a Five Things PLUS Five Things Friday): Take it all to the Great Provider. I find that when I earnestly ask God to bless my budget, I’m more aware of my frivolous spending habits, and more attentive to being a good steward of what He has blessed me with.
Remember, the little things really do add up.
With a blingy wallet and a small sweet tea,
And Frankly, My Dear . . . That’s all she wrote!