While I continue to work on Part 2 of the Financial Fast, I thought I add a little side note and some additional tidbits of information. There is so much pertinent information out there that I want you guys to be as equipped as possible not only for a “financial fast,” but for the unexpectedness of life that can burden you financially. I am here to provide you with the tools, it is up to you to use those tools to be successful. So before I give you Part 2, let’s detour just a minute. There is going to be a lot of redundancy throughout this series because you’ve got to get it, you’ve got to get it, you’ve got to get it! You have to know what is out there to make your fast successful. Information is key in all that you do, Winston Churchill once said, “Information rules the world.” As I said before, what you do with the information is up to you. If you’re like me, you investigate, you do your homework, you learn; even if it means teaching yourself. For instance, I watch the markets. I am not a big investor and most of what I know I learned on my own or from my father in law – who could probably teach a stock market class. He is not a big talker, but you want him to get down in a conversation; talk about racing, football, and the stock market. Most adults and even any teenager that has taken an Economics class knows that the market fluctuates daily and those fluctuations affect our economy. Too big of a dive for too long can lead to recession. We currently have Economists warning of an impending recession. Why should you worry about that you may ask? Well a recession is a period when there is a temporary economic decline during which trade and industrial activity is reduced. That means we are not building and shipping from our country and goods and services are reduced from other countries we normally do business with. If it goes on for too long, we see loss of jobs, increases in the prices of goods and services domestically and globally which is passed to consumers; US! That is why it is important to be prepared financially for anything – even economic instability. Why is saving so important? The risk of a recession is just one of the reasons. However, before you can achieve any of your financial goals you must learn to save effectively. What is effective saving? It means learning to differentiate your needs from your wants and putting what is important first. How you spend your money and what you spend your money on matters. Budgeting your finances now become an important factor in your effective saving process. We are budgeting now and it has opened our eyes and made us realize that there are things we spend money on that are unnecessary. We went through several apps before we found the one that has worked the best for our needs. I am not pushing this particular app, but “EveryDollar” has helped us best budget and monitor our spending. We input our total monthly income and account for every dollar that goes out, from bills, groceries and even and quick trip to the corner store. It is a simple app to use because there are general categories and you can add categories to it that may not be on there. I can add to it as well as my husband and it syncs so that we both can see any changes made.
I would also encourage you to find way to save money throughout the month to be able to add additional cash to your savings and emergency funds. Here are some of the things to consider and measures we’ve taken to help save a little money here and there.
1. Cancel subscriptions and memberships.
Get rid of any thing you do not use on a regular basis and go for the less expensive or free option! For example, we hardly watch our satellite tv which equates to $126/month and $1512/year. It’s time to let go because that money can go to our savings or emergency fund. If you maintain a gym membership and only go once a month…give it up. There are free options for working out that can help you achieve the same goals, some without even leaving home. YouTube has workout videos and some of the streaming services have free workout videos that include cardio, weights, yoga, Pilates and host of other training options.
2. Set your bank account to send money to your savings.
You may want to start with 5% of your direct deposit and work your way up to 10%. Growing your savings is a goal, so seriously think about this. If 5% is too much to start, begin at 3%.
3. If you are lucky enough to receive a tax refund, I would suggest you take that money and save it or spend it wisely. People have asked us over the years why do you send your child to private school? We believe she has received a better education. How can you afford it, especially now being a one income household? We have never been the type of couple to just “blow money” and we always take our refund, place it in a special account and it goes for tuition. Not that it is anyone’s business, but that has been our sacrifice. We take that money every year and use it wisely. Some of you may also get a bonus check or an incentive check from your job quarterly or yearly depending on where you work. Consider skipping that extra vacation and saving that money or making a sound investment; something that will appreciate. There is always your savings account and emergency funds.
4. Bring your lunch to work and skip eating out.
If you’ve already read Part 1 of Financial Fast, I broke down the average cost of eating out on 5-6 day work week for the entire month. Bringing your lunch is not only a cheaper option, it can also be a healthier option as well.
5. Grocery shop alone!
Make a list and stick to that list! If your family is like mine, they like to throw things in the basket when my back is turned on when I send them to go and get an item. My kids are notorious for this. My husband has a tendency to do so as well, so when they are with me I’m constantly on guard. As I said, just go by yourself.
Saving, budgeting and following a few tips for saving money can add some coins to your account; maybe even a significant amount. Evaluate where your money is going and see if you are wasting money, if there are areas of saving and if you are willing to try some of the tips I gave you. I really hope you do because we all deserve financial freedom and to not have to worry about finances. Parts 2 & 3 coming soon and the financial fast officially begins September 1 – will you be joining?