Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and contains affiliate links. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
First things first, I do not like being on a budget… but I love the effects of budgeting. Having money saved and getting out of unnecessary debt are just a few. However, the process not so much. Discussing finances is probably in my top three least favorite topics. My husband on the other hand can talk about money, strategize, and all things budget any time of the day. So, while I would rather be binge watching a show or washing the dog, I have learned the value of understanding our finances over the years. Going from terrible credit scores (low 600-500’s), constantly over drafting, and in debt to owning our second home and reaching new financial goals has taken serious work. Financial freedom is accessible and so is a reliable monthly budget.
So, let’s get real for a moment. Learning how to handle money and the responsibilities that come with it are not commonly taught or even shared. Sure, you can read books, join a masterclass, or even google it – but the truth is in the planning. Having an actual plan or even an end goal for your finances is key. Often times we make decent money but have no idea where it’s supposed to go, or we’ve mentally spent it before it is earned. Or we are living outside of our actual income bracket and constantly playing a game of “catch up” or paycheck to paycheck. If any of this sounds familiar I hope you’ll keep reading. Financial freedom is possible, I’m speaking from experience.
Assess where you are currently
An honest assessment of where your finances are is absolutely key. A monthly budget can be a great tool if used consistently. I cannot encourage this enough. Print out your bank statements and go through them, I mean really go through them. If you’re a visual person – color code different areas of spending (i.e. food, entertainment, bills, etc) and then see where you are spending most of that money. This is an opportunity to recognize what’s necessary and what may be unnecessary and/or excessive. From there you can look at realistic numbers for your current expenses. How much is gas for two weeks? Groceries? Self care?
Cut it OUT and gain back income!
Adopting the mindset that it is better to sacrifice and live budget conscious early on so you can enjoy life the way you desire later has been extremely helpful… dare I say a game changer. So let’s look at a few things that can be cut out to help with your financial freedom journey:
Cut out Subscriptions – Most people do not have cable that I know, however, they have a ton of subscriptions. Netflix, Hulu, HBO, you get the point. Even if it’s not in that area, it may be elsewhere that seems small, but is actually draining your income. Just think paying a monthly subscription of $8 for an app ends up costing you close to $100 for the year. That $100 could be saved or address a debt.
Sell Old Jewelry – Downsizing items that you no longer use is a great way to help acquire additional income. Places such as Chapes-JPL are a great reputable option. They have been established in 1980 as an alternative to banks and traditional pawnbrokers. Chapes-JPL provides low interest loans on gold, diamonds, jewelry, watches and other valuable assets. You can even sell gold in Stone Mountain. Our office in Atlanta, Georgia services over 18,000 customers nationwide.
Prioritize Your Debt – Once you’ve looked at all of your expenses it can feel daunting to see your debt. Especially if you have school loans, you might just not even care to try. BUT prioritizing and starting off with paying smaller debts can make all of the difference. Small wins lead to bigger wins, and that even applies here. Take your smallest balance and pay it off in a realistic timeline. Then head to the next debt and add the extra money from those subscriptions you stopped paying… see where we’re headed.
Meal Plan – To all of my #foodies I see you, and so does all the extra money that could be in your account. From one food lover to another, the easiest way to overspend is on food. As much as I hate to say it, IT IS CHEAPER to cook at home. Though it may be convenient to eat out, having a meal plan will allow you to control when and how you splurge.
Create a timeline and write it down
Put a timeline to your goals, because they will end up as hopes and dreams. Financial freedom is accessible, but it takes commitment and honest conversations at how you’re spending money. Be encouraged as small steps turn into even bigger leaps that will close the gap in debt and keep you on a reliable budget.