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Do you want to add more income to your monthly budget? Do you want to save more money for vacations? Would you like to payoff debt?
Every time you sit down at the kitchen table to go over your monthly expenses or to forecast your upcoming debt payments, etc, a certain level of stress comes over you that you dread. And everyone says "If only I had more income."
So today, I want to share ways that I have added income in the past or ways I have lowered my monthly expenses so that I can take vacations, save for retirement, and to payoff debt.
Readers may think to themselves, "That's it?" but there is a difference between knowing and doing. Action is everything and this is the fine line that most if not all won't take and that is ACTION!
When budgeting, you have only two sides (a teeter-totter, if you will): Expenses & Income. When Income exceeds Expenses, you have a surplus, excess, moolah, cash, some freedom; however, the opposite is true should expenses exceed income.
In this case you have debt, a shortage, no cash, and may be reaching towards your wallet to pull out your credit card that you had to use the prior month just to make ends meet. You want to get to the point to where should you have to pull out your credit card, you are pulling the card out and then take a deep breath and exhale a strong breeze just to blow off the dust.
Right now, the card has no time for the dust to settle. BUT don't be discouraged. You can do this but it is going to take some hard work and some time. Let's get started.
1. Add Income to your budget through a job. I am not talking about a full-time or even part-time but more or less opportunities to earn extra income.
Fortunately with the advance in technology, it is ever so easy to accomplish this feat. Some options for you that allows you to work at your own pace, schedule, and you determine your hourly wages are a few resources. With TaskRabbit, you can mow lawns, trim hedges, help someone move furniture, wash dishes, and on and on. The list is almost endless and is a great resource.
If you don't like to manual labor or don't want to leave your home or apartment but enjoy driving, then you can set up your own work hour schedule to taxi people around your part of town since you know the best routes and traffic avoidance avenues. Using an app like Lyft gives you this type of flexibility.
2. Cut Expenses. This next one should go without say but I am regularly surprised how many readers still don't grasp this concept. You have to find ways to lower your expenses.
When you are going over your monthly budget, this sheet of paper or template that you are reviewing is not enough. It is imperative to look at your bank and credit card statements to determine where the last month income went.
I conducted this experiment when I first tried this method to see where my money was going every month. I had carefully projected every penny to every expense but when I reviewed my bank statement, I noticed a trend about twice a week of my favorite coffee location deducting $10-$15 to my card because I had auto-reload set up on it.
My budget was $20 but I was spending $45 and this $25 difference could have went towards my Roth IRA.
So check and double check your bank statements. A great resource that I use now to track my expenses and compare my spending to last month's spending is Personal Capital. Its a free resource for their basic package and I highly recommend using it for its easy friendly use and its convenience.
One of the hardest choices for me last year was tossing out my cable. There is a previous blog where I mentioned I only watched 2-3 channels but for whatever reason I liked having the option to watch other channels when I wanted.
When I discovered that DirecTV Now was a fraction of what I was paying to include offered the same channels, it was a win-win for me. Not only did it lower my expenses by $110 month, but I kept my favorite channels too.
When it comes to cutting expenses, you have to keep emotions out of it. One reason I love math (I can hear readers now thinking "Eww!") is that numbers don't lie. Yes, they can be inaccurately plotted, but done correctly, it is a perfect system.
3. Sell Things. Last but not least is going through your attic, your shed, or your garage/storage unit and have a rule in place. If it is not sentimental and you haven't used it in the last 12 months, sell it or get rid of it. But before you toss anything out, companies such as GotJunk will buy your old stuff you don't want.
They take practically anything and it is a nice way to make some money off of your junk. This is a great way to perhaps get caught up on bills or to stash away for a vacation or get away.
When it comes to finding ways to increase your cash surplus to your budget, it is best to think of ways to move the teeter-tooter. Push the seat with the expenses down so the income seat can move up to the air.
The more you practice this monthly, the easier and more practical it becomes and you will quickly notice your path to reaching financial freedom is just on the horizon.