9 Unconventional Tips For Financial Prosperity [and Mental Sanity] | A “How To” for Survival When Money Is Tight
Money is one of those things that is always heavy on my heart… I know, it seems dramatic, but I can’t be the only one. One thing I have decided in my adult life is that I’m going to refuse to let it stress me out. So instead of going into full panic mode when I’ve spent a little more on life than I had hoped to, I have come up with a plan to get myself back in check. In sharing a few of my tips and tricks with y’all, I hope to help you some way on your road to financial success!
Pay your bills up front
This is the first tip that comes to my mind. Make sure your obligations and priorities are taken care of the day you receive your paycheck! This way, you’ll know what you are working with to make it through (dare I say, thrive?) the rest of the month.
Make a list of the month’s financial priorities
Do you have a lot of atypical expenses lately? For me, it’s the wedding season that’s doing me in… Regardless of what seems to be draining your finances, it’s important to stay organized and have a payment plan. I’m old school and use the sticky note system…meaning I list all of my large expenses on sticky notes, and attach them in my planner to the week that I plan to pay. Therefore, I’ve got a plan, and am spreading out my payments evenly…and not dropping a ton of money at once.
Put 10% of your paycheck away
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again…if you are physically able to put this money away, DO IT. A mentor/financial adviser gave me this advice, and although I can’t always stick to it, I will never forget it.
Remind yourself of your long term goals
I’ll be honest, I don’t like to save money. And being really honest, I LOVE to shop. So sometimes it’s hard for me to say no…whether to the earrings, the coffee, the justified sale purchase, you name it. But what helps me combat this weakness of mine is reminding myself of my goals. Lately it’s been the condo reno, or that trip to Iceland that I want so bad, or even saving for our future wedding (not engaged, just a dreamer ;)). Whatever it is for you, latch onto it…and the process will become SO much easier.
Find things to do that are fun AND free
This really is key. Instead of tripping with your girls to the mall, opt for a low key day at the beach. Been really needing a date with bae? Make sammies at home and find a new picnic spot. Take your dog to the dog park, ride your bike through town, have a Netflix wine/tea night (like, are you even compromising?). There are so many fun things to do that don’t require your wallet!
Turn your attention to something else
For me, lately, it’s been exercise. I have been really working on my health regime. I find that when I am setting fitness goals for myself, my attention goes there instead of on the latest trend. On the same note, I also use Bible study. If I find that I am pulling out that card too much, I turn my focus more towards Jesus, and can always find fulfillment in the Word.
Find an inexpensive way to treat yourself
You work hard. You deserve to be treated. But some months the treatment must be more affordable than others. When I’m cutting back, I still allow myself a few things…like that $55 mani/pedi. Because y’all, we all need to wind down. Just find a way to do it without breaking the bank.
Remember that happiness does not come from your wallet
Just a few Bible verses that keep me grounded:
Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” | Luke 12:15
Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. | 1 Timothy 6:9-10
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. | 1 Timothy 6:17-18
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. | Proverbs 31:30
Know that you are not alone
In our social media heavy world, it is so hard not to compare yourself to others. In the same light, it is SO easy to create a false image of yourself. Remember that most of what you see is the highlight reel, and that everyone has their own struggles. I will never pretend to be rich or perfect…because I am FAR from either. And what you should know is that you are not alone! I am not the only person living paycheck to paycheck…I am not the only person who can’t afford the designer heels…I am not the only person who is still getting their ish together. And y’all, we are ALL OK! And on that note, remember you are in your 20’s…you are YOUNG and not supposed to have it figured out.
How do you stay on track when your expenses are off the charts? I am always looking for new advice.
This post is not sponsored.
People…I’m losing my balance. Right now it’s financially. For someone who’s in a million weddings (which is rough on the wallet) there’s been a little too much “I’ve got to have that” and not enough focus on saving. In creating this blog, I promised I would hold myself accountable to not only see the beauty in everyday life, but to also practice life balance…between work and play, spend and save, eat the ice cream and opt for a salad, etc. Well I’m here to admit I’m falling out of balance.
Now when this happens (yes, it’s happened before…in the wise words of Hannah Montana, nobody’s perfect) I find it is best to make a game plan. Here is the game plan that works for me:
First things first, I prioritize my unnecessary spending.
Everyone has something that they would hate to compromise on… For me, it’s my beauty regime. I’m strangely attached to my hair stylist (also a great friend – shoutout Logan you da bombbb) and REALLY like my monthly mani/pedi. So I prioritize that, and instead cut back elsewhere. That means less eating out when there’s food at the house, less boutique shopping with a closet full of clothes, less going to every country concert my little heart desires…and instead I embrace outfit repeating and free entertainment (at least for a little while).
Let me add that as I logged on to write this, I was feeling sorry for myself; letting the stress get to me and wishing I made just a little more money (let’s be honest, a lot more…I’m only human). But when you look at it this way, you feel a lot better. Because I am so blessed to be able to buy a piece of clothing here or there, to go out to eat almost whenever I want, to attend three country concerts already this summer, to be a part of my best friends’ weddings. So what, I have to cut back and save up for a few months. I’m lucky I live by the beach where a day of fun is free. I’m lucky I have people I love to keep me company and support me when I need it. As my pastor said this Sunday…I’m too blessed to be stressed. Amen to that!
Now, the second part of my plan is to pay off some debt and start saving again! Two goals in one step because you can do them simultaneously! It’s glorious! And here’s how I do it…
When I’m on my “A” game, I’m putting 10% of every paycheck in my savings account. A work connection I trust (who happens to be a Financial Advisor) told me if there is anything I should do in regards to my finances, it’s utilize a 401k, and save 10% of each paycheck. He said no matter how much it sucks, if I can manage it and still pay my bills, just do it. It’s the perfect way to ensure you always have an emergency fund should you need it, and also allows you to save for experiences or future investments.
Now when trying to pay off debt, I create a timeline…something reasonable and achievable; not some crazy impossible goal. If I have $1,000 in debt for example, I might commit to paying off $100/month. Sure, ten months seems like a long time, but it’s progress. Your timeline can vary, the important part is that you have one and you stick to it.
A little bonus tip to help you save…use a goal to motivate you! Alex and I are planning a trip to Scotland and England in the fall of 2017. After calculating the entire trip cost as best as we can, we began to start putting money towards it. I want to do this SO BAD, and I don’t want to worry about money while I’m there! That desire, that GOAL, makes me want to find balance…makes me want to make my finances a priority.
And that’s honestly all it takes for me to get back on track…it’s really just those few simple things. And knowing that eventually I’ll be comfortable enough to splurge here or there again. Because although balance isn’t spending every dime to your name, it’s also not hoarding your money either. That’s why it’s called “balance” – everything in moderation. Or at least that’s what I believe.
This isn’t a fun topic for me, but I believe in being honest…not only with others, but with myself as well. Money has always been one of the number one stress factors in my life. I think because it’s so easy to mess up. But when I’m feeling overwhelmed, out of control, or like the odds are against me, I decide to look at my problems with a grateful heart. It’s amazing how changing your perspective can bring you joy and stir up determination.
What are your tips for staying financially balanced? Your thoughts and advice are always encouraged here!
Sincerely, looking for balance.