If you have gotten this far, it’s actually pretty exciting. Only three steps down and you should have a clear understanding of how much you are worth, how much income you are generating and how much money you are spending. This is where it gets fun and agonizing at the same time.
THE AGONIZING PART
I have to start with the agonizing part first because it requires you to start cutting things. It is easier to stop spending on things than it is to immediately make more money. After the completion of Step Three, you should have an in depth, monthly chart showing exactly what you are spending each month. I am pretty sure that you have found some things in your chart that are completely surprising. What? We spend $1,200 per month eating out? We spend $1,000 on clothing and shopping? We spend $400/month on subscription services? Sometimes, you just have no idea what you are spending until you see it in writing.
So, let the cutting begin. The first step here is understand how much money you have to work with. If your income is $7,000 per month and your expenses are $6700 per month, it probably means you’re living paycheck to paycheck. It also means you have $300 per month to play with.
GET RID OF SUBSCRIPTIONS OR LOWER THEM
The next step is looking at the easy things you can cut. This would be SUBSCRIPTIONS! Over time (and especially if you have kids), I guarantee you are spending money every month on subscriptions you don’t need. Here are some example ways to lower your monthly subscriptions.
- Check your Apple Pay account. Millions of people have an Apple account and many people are probably paying for subscriptions they don’t even know about. The following is a link to view and cancel subscriptions – https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202039
- Cut the Cable. According to a recent report, U.S. Cable & Internet Market Size and Household Spending Report for 2021, The report found that the 82% of U.S. households with a Cable & Internet bill spend $116 per month, or $1,392 per year. The average cost for broadband internet alone is $57/month. If you add in Netflix ($13/month for standard package) and one other channel at $6/month (like Disney+), the total cost would be $76/month saving you $40/month.
- Check your credit card for other monthly services and see if there are competitors offering lower rates
- Check your mobile phone bill and call your service provider. Cell phone companies are constantly changing plans and pricing. You might be able to save $20-$40/month on your cell phone bill by combining family members or cancelling services you don’t need. Personally, I think the insurance plans are a waste of money. You can pay the $11/month in insurance or buy a 3rd party insurance plan. You can pay $69 for two years through companies like Upsie (click here). AT $11/month through an insurance carrier, you can save $195 over two years.
- Check your car insurance rates. There are many companies that will compare car insurance rates (like this one: https://compare-auto-insurance-quotes.com/) and you might be able to save money on insurance. The big saver here has to do with the coverage. Check your coverage because you can lower your coverage a bit and get much lower rates.
After this exercise, I have to believe you can find $100-$200/month in expenses at least that you didn’t need or didn’t even know you had. Ok, now please bear with me. THIS IS NOT NEW FOUND MONEY YOU CAN JUST SPEND FREELY. This is money we need for the next phase of the journey.
GET RID OF YOUR HIGHEST DEBT
The average credit card debt of U.S. families is $6,270, according to the most recent data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances. I am fairly confident if you are reading this article, that you have at least one credit card and that card has at least some balance on it. Some of you might have a lot of debt on their cards. The average credit card interest rate is about 17% APR. Paying the minimum payments off a large balance will take years.
If you have $12,000 in debt at an average of 17% APR and you were making payments of $200/month, it would take 11 years and 2 months to pay off that debt. The worst part?? At the rate above, you would have to spend $27,000 in all to pay off your $12,000 debt.
I have discussed a very important concept in these blogs and it’s CHOICE. You have VERY HARD CHOICES to make here. You already know what your bills are, what you spend and what you make. After the first exercise above, you should have some additional money to pay off those credit cards. However, if you choose to spend that extra “new found” money and not focus on paying off your worst debt cards or other debt or start saving, you can probably pack up your things right now.
WHERE YOU CAN GAIN
I have already mentioned this before, but as you analyze your expenses, this is the time where you can look at your income. Many people fear change and they are complacent about moving jobs. However, unless you have some sort of ownership in the company, you have no loyalty to them and they have no loyalty to you. So, there is one thing I have always said to my wife, “If you are good at what you do, they are lucky to have you and you are not lucky to have that job.” You are on a mission now. You can’t waste your time in a job with a company that doesn’t value you and your contributions. So, the easiest way to increase the money side of your cashflow sheet is to:
- Compare your salary. Go online and find your position and zip code and determine if you are getting paid a fair rate for your job title. If not, go to your boss with some supporting materials and other job postings where companies are paying a higher salary for your same position. Ask for more money! The worst he can say is no.
- Ask for a promotion. I tell my wife that if the company promotes you with a better job title but not a huge raise, it’s fine. That job title is most likely worth more at another company and after a couple of months, you can go back to your boss and follow the instructions above.
- Go to another company. I know change is hard and going to a new place with new people can be challenging, but you are here which means you are ready to get out of your comfort zone. There are millions of jobs available right now and employers are paying more money. Easily increase your income by finding a new job where they will pay more for your time.
If you are maxed out on your salary and you love where you work, the next area you will want to look at is making extra money doing side gigs (more on that later). The items listed above are the most immediate way to impact your current income.
HAVE A COMPANY?
I have owned my own web design company for about 25 years. I am not a self-proclaimed “hustler” where I get in front of hundreds of people to pitch my company for services. The fact is, I am really good at what I do and I have generated most of my money through referrals and I spend money on Google Adwords to generate traffic and leads.
While I was at a self help seminar one weekend, I sat back and listened to the guy talk about most of the things I have mentioned here in these blogs. “Get out of your comfort zone. Think about it and it will come. Starting a business or investment is the fastest way to wealth.” The guy asked if anyone had their own business and I stood up. He asked me “What would be the one thing you want from your business that you are not getting now?” I replied “Well, it would be great if I could make more money with my business.” And he replied back “Are you good at what you do?” “Of course” I said. His reply was great, “Well, the easiest way to make more money if you are truly good at what you do is just charge more money.” I just stood there deep in thought. Uhhh. Duhhh. So I went back to my office and start raising my design fees and my hosting fees and, lo and behold, my revenues went up by 20%.
If you own a company and you are good at what you do, the easiest way to make more money is to charge more for what you do.