FREE EBook- 101 Ways to Overcome Procrastination
Before we get started, can I ask you to take a deep breath please?
Exhale even slower
Alright! Thank you so much! You see, when you take a deep breath, it’s like your whole body takes a breath. Mind, body, and spirit. You have the ability to change the way you feel at the drop of a dime. That’s why deep breathing is important to me. It’s a reminder of how in control I really am.
That being said, don’t let taking control of your life seem intimidating or like a mountain to climb. Take a deep breath, and remember your life belongs to you and you alone. Not your boss, not your family. Just you. Crazy as it seems. If you really wanted to work out, you would be breaking sweat right now instead of reading. If you really wanted to eat a peach then you would give yourself any excuse to go to the market. Read this carefully. Twice even.
Our circumstances do not decide anything in our lives. It only alters HOW we get where we want to go. Humankind has somehow always figured out how to make their desires come true.
I don’t believe in fate. Fate would assume our entire story is written already. If that were the case, why aren’t we bored to death knowing exactly what’s ahead step by step for the next 70 years? That’s because our “fate” is always in our own hands. I believe in cause and effect. Meaning every action has a reaction. Simple. Whatever result you desire you must take the necessary actions to make it so, am I right?
WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH SAVING MONEY?
Money is one of the main things that seems to control most of our lives. Do you ever stress about your bills? Are you living paycheck to paycheck without any room for error? Do you feel like you can’t afford the things you really want? Do financial circumstances make you feel like you’re not in much control or you’re at mercy in your life?
THAT’S what saving money and taking control of your life have in common. The Wealth Garden is made for the purpose of giving people their lives back. Life isn’t perfect, but it doesn’t have to be as hard as it is most of the time. Stress can be draining and downright exhausting. Money is a common candidate.
I guarantee that saving money will bring you peace of mind and the ability to manage your finances more efficiently.
When a financial emergency arises, you don’t have to borrow the funds to cover the crisis and then have to pay back money you didn’t have in the first place.
If your living check to check, saving money is important because you get to take your life back from the workforce. You can instead take a well-deserved vacation, arrange a down payment on your dream home, even buy a new car.
If this sounds far-fetched or like some fairytale, then that shows you the problem. That’s because all of these things are attainable and possible and something has trained your mind to believe it’s impossible. Simply adjusting the way you handle your finances can reward you with the things you desire monetarily.
The rule of thumb is “pay yourself first”.
You might think saving money is all about making sacrifices. The truth is….
That’s far from the truth.
Saving money doesn’t have to be hard. Though if you’re to make ANY difference in your life at all you MUST change your mindset. This is the only way you can find the motivation and discipline to acquire your desires. You can still have an enjoyable lifestyle while putting money away.
Here I made a list of small insignificant changes that come together to put thousands of dollars back into your pocket. Now speaking for myself, a few thousand dollars doesn’t sound too bad. Especially when it was mine to start with.
Not only will you be making and saving money, but the whole time you’ll be gaining and improving your own financial abilities!
As much as I wish I could wave a wand and fix people’s lives, I have to settle for believing in you and providing all the tools I can to help you do it yourself.
That being said, you just have to find a system that works for you, and these tools will make managing your finances much easier.
Check Your Habits
When I say check your habits, I don’t mean just tracking them, I mean get your habits in check.
I can take time because you’ll be watching yourself and your expenses for about a month, the usual billing cycle. The idea is to identify the recurring expenses and habits that take away from you that you could otherwise easily avoid. No nonsense, I’m talking about from $3 to $20 a DAY.
I’m not a rocket scientist, but $10 a day for 30 days (10 x 30) is $300 a month! That’s $3600 a year. The best part is we’re just getting started. I’m enjoying myself.
My personality disclaimer is that you don’t have to drop everything and sacrifice all your habits. This is about finding and eliminating the waste or excess. Cutting off your Netflix bill won’t make you rich, but it can very well help.
1. Do you buy fast food every day for lunch or to feed your family?
McDonalds so far is king of the cheap fast food game. Yet feeding a family of four can cost you $15 if you choose the most affordable menu items. Some individual meals in most fast food chains are $10 anyway. Factor in the health dangers of fast food and rather than saying two birds one stone, two stones hit one bird.
You’re buying convenience, and paying with your life. Hardly a fair trade when you can buy groceries or make meals that go much farther by the dollar.
2. Do you pick up a cup of coffee most days?
Now hear me out coffee drinkers(me included).
A good ol’ cup of Joe can be as much as $8 nowadays. That’s more than an entire tub of coffee grinds and probably the fixings as well. Saving $8 a day can help a lot even $4 a day is $1,460 a year. If you absolutely need it, you can learn all the coffeehouse recipes online free and even make your own.
3. Are you fully utilizing your subscriptions?
Do you have a lot of data on your phone plan but only use half of it or less? Get a cheaper, more efficient phone bill so you’re not spending an extra $30-$50 on what you’re not using.
Do you have a subscription like Hulu or a magazine/newspaper? There are free alternatives for all of these things with the same regulations as these paid services.
Another $4-$5 dollars a day.
Here’s a few tools that will help you out a long way in saving your money and even take away a lot of the mental work.
BudgetSimple is a free tool that tracks your expenses and automatically generates suggestions on how you can cut down on your spending.
This is a free app that tracks both what you make and what you spend. It goes as far as organizing your expenses into categories so you know exactly how much your spending on things including but not limited to groceries, entertainment, and clothing.
Establish a Budget
Once you have some understanding of where your money is going, you can create your own budget. A highly underestimated technique.
As I mentioned before, they key is to find what works best for you.
Here’s some tools to help you out with that. I’d like to mention that while there are paid services, I’m refraining from mentioning spending money, because the point is saving money. These services are free and are popular in their own right.
My favorite in this category, the only tool I’ve found that covers everything. I am absolutely not exaggerating. This app tracks money in, money out, budget, advise on your stock portfolio if you’ve added one. This a financial powerhouse for anybody as it’s totally free. I could write a few paragraph about this one, but this isn’t an ad. Most other apps just do what part of this app does.
BudgetSimple, Pocket Expense, and YNAB(You Need A Budget) are all perfect alternatives with the same main features. YNAB is a great app that was once free, but at the time of writing its $80/year. You might find the interfaces of these tools are more convenient.
I believe budgeting is more than worth it. No worries though, because these tools make budgeting easier than it’s ever been. What’s just as important is following your budget.
Stick To Your Budget
Making a budget is the easy part.
Sticking to said budget is the hard part.
Consistency has both made and ruined many. So here’s three rules that can help you master the art of commitment.
1. Pay Yourself First
Assess how much you need to cover your cost of living.
Assess how much you need to cover your recurring expenses.
Put money aside as soon as you make your paycheck.
2. Maintain your Wealth Gap
This is the space between your cost of living and how much you make. In other words it’s how much money you have after your cost of living.
The money you have left over after your expenses are covered is not for spending.
DO take care of yourself. Do what you love because you deserve it, but saving money should be priority. Pay yourself first doesn’t mean pay the mall clerk.
3. Use a tool or method to keep spending under control.
Apps like Level Money can track what you’re allowed to spend over the month, week, or day.
Make a habit of regularly checking your budget trackers. Especially whenever you feel like buying something you don’t really need or determine whether or not you can splurge.
Budgeting takes discipline, but you don’t have to sacrifice all the joy in your life. You can still live comfortably.
These rules will help you pay important bills and avoid spending too much on impulse purchases.
Saving $200 a month is $2,400 a year, by the way.
Avoid Fees, Don’t Let Institutions Get Away With Charging You.
Avoid Bank Fees
Everything adds up over time, so anything that comes out of your account needs to be looked into. Why pay fees when there are free options available?
If your bank charges monthly fees, find out why. Some banks charge you just for owning the account. Depending on the account type this can be unnecessary.
Most of the time banks charge you based on your account balance being below a certain point and/or not receiving enough deposits.
The average price is around $8 a month or $96 a year.
Not only are their free options, but some banks offer sign up bonuses! The only thing you should pay for if it isn’t free is overdraft protection. The average American spends $225 a year in overdraft fees.
Money that can be saved by taking just a few minutes to sign up.
Avoid Payment Processing Fees
Do you know you’re probably paying a fee when you make purchases? This is a charge on top of the money you’re already spending. This includes your utility bills and bank cards. In my experience, phone companies are good at taxing.
Even if the fee is $2 to $3, multiply that by the amount of these transactions you’re making.
On the low end you could be saving another $100 a year avoiding these fees. Here’s a few tips to avoid said fees.
1. Use online banking and automated payments directly from your bank account.
Automated payments are a good way to avoid late fees and some companies offer discounts for those enrolled.
This also helps you avoid bank card fees and fees from the insurance or utility company.
2. Stay Curious
Always compare prices and payment options and ask questions about fees.
Automated payments may not actually be the best option for some of your bills
Avoid Interest and Late Fees
Consider paying in lump sums or on a yearly basis.
Look over your account to get an idea on how much you’re spending on interest and late fees. If you don’t like what you see, ask the company for better options or find a new service.
It’s important to understand how interest is calculated if you use credit cards. Sometimes the higher your balance can mean higher interest. Not all companies use the same balance either, as some can go off of an average daily balance.
These strategies can help you reduce the amount of money you spend on late fees and credit card fees:
1. Always pay more than the minimum monthly payment
Common advice is to pay the minimum on your credit card balance so that your credit doesn’t take a hit. This is true, but here’s where it can hurt you:
Each payment goes towards the interest first, and then towards the balance on the account.
If you only make the minimum payment, your payment will cover the interest, but will not lower your balance.
Making larger payments, even just a little bit, will help you pay off your balance more quickly and eliminate having to pay as much interest.
Obviously it’s best to pay off your balance and interest in full every month, but the more you can pay at a time the better.
2. Automated payments can help you avoid late fees.
You could save roughly $350 a year by avoiding banking fees, overdraft fees, and payment processing fees .
Become a Smart Shopper
The best approach to smart shopping is going to depend on how you and your family live. Also how much time you have to spend on cooking and shopping, and the things you enjoy.
How you save is up to you, so try different strategies to determine what works best for you and your family.
Here are some simple habits to adopt that will help you save on groceries and other household expenses:
1. Use coupons and discounts to save on items you normally buy.
You’ve probably seen websites or TV shows where people are saving hundreds each week by what’s called “extreme couponing”.
Honestly, that’s incredibly tedious and time-consuming, but with these tips you can save money and coupon without any hard work:
The first thing I’ll say is this: The golden rule is to never buy something just because you have a coupon. Rather than saving a few dollars or cents, you’re spending to buy an item you otherwise would not have purchased.
Subscribe to the newsletter, mailing list, or install the app of the stores where you normally shop.
Check these resources regularly to look for items on sale and clip coupons for items you would usually buy. Avoid spending hours looking for online coupons or digging through hundreds of paper ads.
Download apps that automatically look for coupons. This will save you all those hours of searching yourself.
Grocery IQ is an excellent resource if you normally use a grocery list as this app will automatically look for coupons for the items on your list.
The Coupons App is a handy resource that lets you scan barcodes on products and look for coupons or find all the deals offered at any nearby stores.
2. Make grocery lists and plan your meals.
This will help you stick to your budget whenever you shop for groceries and will help you adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Supercook.com is where you can find simple recipes based on items you already have at home.
There are apps like Ziplist, Pepperplate, or Plan to Eat that help you find new recipes, save the ones you like, plan your meals for the entire week, and make your grocery lists for you!
These are go-to solutions for when you’re low on groceries and you’re ready to take your family to a fast food restaurant.
If you’re short on time during the week, set aside some time during the weekends to make large quantities of your families favorite foods and freeze meal-size portions. This works great for casserole, chili, and other quantity dishes.
You’ll have tasty lunches and supper throughout the week that you can just heat and eat.
Going out to eat is fun! You don’t have to completely eliminate this expense. Just determine a reasonable budget for taking your family to your favorite restaurant once a week maybe.
3. Shop at several locations
Don’t be afraid to try different grocery stores. This way you can determine which one has the best prices and selections for you. Find alternatives for your regular household items.
Go to the grocery store once a week or every two weeks to buy items such as fresh produce and dairy products as they have a shorter shelf life. Be sure to stock up on non-perishables as they come in extremely handy. They’ll be there for you whenever you need them from the day you buy them onward. Very valuable.
Per-unit price can be your best friend. Check the per-unit price or check the quantities or weight to determine products are the best values.
Only stock up on discounted items if you will use them in your meal plans.
Visit the local dollar store once a month.
Shop wholesale and warehouse stores like Sam’s Club as you get more bang for your buck by buying the items you normally do in bulk. The price per unit is cheaper at wholesale stores so while you are buying in bulk, you spend less than you would buying the same items individually at a retail store.
Stock up on soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, cleaning products, dish soap, toothpaste, school supplies, and wrapping paper.
Shop online for household items and non-perishable items.
This will give you access to a wider selection and the option of buying large quantities at discounted prices.
Consider getting an Amazon Prime membership to get free shipping and lower prices on some household items.
Buy used items from online consignment stores, thrift shops, or online auctions. This is a great way to save on clothes, décor items, toys, and electronics. You can even use Craigslist to find used furniture that’s still in good shape.
Shopping at Goodwill, on