Today's experiment isn't about consuming; it's about saving. We'll compare two different saving strategies - you'll try each for one to two months - and you can employ the one that works best for you in the end.
It's even more fun to go with a group of people, so we normally pair a trip to the comedy club with hanging out with our friends on the deck at home before and/or after the show.
Stretch your newspaper subscription dollars by finding novel ways to put that paper to work for you.
The extension of this strategy is anytime I get some extra cash from taxes, birthdays, or some other treat, I stash it away in that savings account. Depending on the amount, I might treat myself to something, but the majority needs to go where I can't see it.
When you have all your money in one lump sum it's hard to really remember what you are saving for. Sometimes it even feels like it doesn't matter if you spend a little. It's easy to rationalize that purchase. But when your money is broken up into accounts with names each with a job to do it makes you realize what you are giving up when you make a larger unexpected purchase.
New year, all new clothes, backpack, lunchbox, notebooks, pens, pencils, I felt like the possibilities were endless!
As a charcoal loving, spatula flipping grill lover I enjoy cooking for other people, but sometimes I want to enjoy being with my friends and not have the pressure and responsibility of cooking everyone's main course.
Some people, today, may not even know what a life shattering event it was or how people learned to cope with virtually having nothing to live on. Having to cope with such adversity means you either become a survivor or you just give up all hope.
As you can see, there are so many ways we can be creative about saving money.
Buying something on credit is still buying something!
There was a time, though, that I didn't really think about my priorities and I spent money on things that weren't all that important to me. It took a few years to realize this, but one of the best savings strategies is to prioritize, and then stop spending on things that aren't important.
I have had to leave the accoutrements of home with only a bag in hand a few times; these experiences have been enlightening, and they've a played a significant part in my minimalist - and inexpensive - lifestyle.
We have a creditor that does not participate in debt relief plans and therefore we could not add that account to our plan. We have been pouring all our energy and effort into successfully making our way through our program, so the balance of that account has been falling very slowly.
Now, that I am off that endless merry-go-round of credit card payments that went nowhere, I have been learning to LIVE like a debt free person. OH, I know I've still got many thousands of dollars to repay through my program, but the freedom of that monster is my goal and I'm practicing now for that time of being debt free.
Even when I exclude student loans from my definition of debt (which you pretty much have to at my age to have any chance at finding a debt-free person), it's pretty rare to find someone who has shed themselves of all debt. I've decided it's not entirely impossible for me to get there myself.
You just have to admit your mistakes and be willing to change, stay positive in the face of failure, and be different from everyone else you know. Easy!
I know it was not really a reward for making the hard choice but it felt like it. I know making hard choices will pay off in the long run but the short term rewards are so tempting.
Unfortunately, I got off track during my college years. I applied for and received my first credit card. My credit limit was only $600, but it allowed me to skip having to work for and save up for things that I wanted. I remember my first purchase was a pair of rollerblades. Soon I was using my credit card to buy extra things for my dorm room.
As I quickly ran this thought around for a few minutes, I knew he had come up with a money maker idea and I quickly agreed.
What has helped me stay successful is using the tools I learned when I was in debt.
Whether you made any official New Year's resolutions or you just decided this year was a good time to make some improvements, the first step you have to take is to start creating a mindset that's will allow you to succeed going forward.
While you might pay off your debt initially, you could end up back in debt -- and in even worse shape than before -- if you don't adopt habits of successfully debt free people.
Earlier in this series we discussed how you can hustle extra cash by renting out spare space to travelers on a short-term basis. In a similar vein (but without the same commitment of time and space), you can construct travel itineraries, lead themed tours, and answer questions; and make money while doing it!
The end of the conversation felt just a little awkward, but I figured everybody needs to vent a little every now and then. The thing is, I suddenly seem to find myself having these conversations fairly frequently.
Whatever your reason is for needing extra cash, whether you're a stay at home parent looking to supplement your family's income, looking to pay down debt or establish an emergency fund or saving for a special purchase, there is always a way you can "cash in".