Second she realized that those "How to get money for vacation" articles weren't going to work for her. She considered the risk and the reward and it didn't add up. One suggestion was to rent a room in your home. Hum? A single women, a dude you found on Craig's list looking for a room. Really? I mean this can go bad fast. Spending everyday looking at some guy in his tighty whities eating your food. Maybe not? Look if you're going to sacrifice your personal space do it for something significant not a 7 day vacation. I'm not against renting space in your home, if you need to, but make it beneficial and safe for you as well as the other person.

After a little bit more discussion I was able to give her a workable plan. But it really got me to thinking where should you start when trying to save money? If I had to list steps the first one would be Stop Wasting Money. Because I understand that money is active and it moves, the first thing I'd ask myself is "what the heck did I do with the money I received"? See 90% of the time it's not a problem of getting more money, it's a problem of making the money you get work for you. If you put all your money in a bag with holes it doesn't matter how much money you get you'll always be short. So step 1 to saving more money is finding the holes in your finances.

You have to take a look at your finances and see where you just gave money away. Without even looking at my bank statement I can calculate $115.00 I just threw away through procrastination, laziness and avoidance. Can't get to Vegas on that money, but I could have bought a great dinner with it. Being aware of money waste may keep you from doing it in the future. Here are a few areas you may wish to take a look at.

  • Paying for something you're not using – I paid $50.00 for a quarterly parking pass then decided I would walk to the train. What's your waste? Do you have a gym membership that you haven't used in 6 months? In most cases you could cancel and renew next year when you have more time and save money. Are you paying for 80 cable channels and watching 4? There are services now where you can purchase the channels you watch and cut the bill. If you're like me and watch 90% network TV switch to an antenna and purchase the 10% from Apple, Amazon, Fandangle or any streaming service. 
  • Overdraft fees – Most people incur overdraft fees because of timing, not because they wrote a bad check. So set up low balance alerts. At $25 or $35 a crack it's worth the effort.
  • Late fees – The beauty of bill payment is you can schedule your payments. If the funds aren't there you can cancel the payment. If the payment due dates comes at a bad time call the company and negotiate a better date. There's no reason to give away money for late fees. 
  • Food waste – The American Chemistry Council, reported that the average household throws out $640 of food each year. For most people that's 16% of the food you buy. Get serious about your eating habits. People often buy healthy foods because they feel they should but they never eat the food. Organic isn't cheap. So take an inventory of your fridge and panty so you know what to buy. Stop buying stuff just because it's on sale. 8 bottles of barbeque sauce, really people. 
  • Take a clothing inventory – This use to be for the ladies, but lately I'm seeing guys buying more and more clothing. Take inventory. Rule #1 if you haven't worn it in 2 years sell it, donate it or give it away. If after inventory you find you still need something new use Rule #2 buy consciously. So for every new item you purchase remove 2 items. Donate them, sell them or give them away. It's about quality not quantity. Rule #3 only buy what looks fabulous on you. Most of us have a closet full of "it's okay" stuff. If what you\'re buying is just okay don't buy it and wear the shirt sitting the treadmill you're not using. 
  • Look for discounts on what you use – For items you use often and for every contract you need to renew see if you can get a discount or get it cheaper. Think about things such as your phone service (mobile and home) as well as the physical phone itself. Consider cable, and gym membership, nail and hair appointments, car insurance as well as home, health and dental care to name a few. Do you even know how much data you're using on your phone? Yet you pay for unlimited, when you may not have to. If the only thing you use at the gym is the treadmill, can you find a cheaper local gym, use the school track or is it cheaper to buy a treadmill when it goes on sale? 
  • Binge buying – You may have times when your spending is out of control. You need to understand what's triggering this. This could be debt fatigue. This can happen when you\'ve been on a tight budget too long. Remember debt repayment needs to be done in 2 – 3 years. Binge buying is like binge eating. You've been doing great on your diet, you've loss some pounds then one day you eat a large pizza all by yourself. Something is triggering this you need to ask yourself what and deal with it. If it's debt fatigue I suggest you take a short break, no longer than 3 months. Continue to pay the minimum on your bills, but take the extra and relearn how to spend responsibly without guilt. 

Before you start tightening the budget try plugging up the financial holes you have.

Be blessed in all you do.

Got a financial question?  Would like one-on-one consultation?  Contact me