A Financially Fit Life Offers Real Abundance
Desmond Henry, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™
Happy New Year - I’m so excited to be among The Topeka Newsletter All-Star team! My goal is simple…to help you get financially fit. Think of me as a personal trainer for your finances. If a money goal is one of your New Year’s resolutions; becoming financially educated is the first step towards achieving financial success. Managing your money is about progress, not perfection. Cheers to a prosperous 2017!
1. Reduce the Amount of Drinks You Buy Out
The markup on beverages is astronomical. If you’re currently buying five cups of coffee a week, cut yourself down to once a week as a treat. The average cost for a single trip to one of the three nationally recognized coffee houses (Dunkin Donuts, Caribou Coffee & Starbucks) is $3.25. Now multiply that by 5 if you go every day of the work week: that’s $16.25. If you continue this habit throughout the year, that’s $780.
This advice just doesn’t stop at the coffee shop. If hitting up the bars is your thing, consider a two-drink maximum whenever you go out. If you love to dine out, skip the overpriced soda & order water. Setting a simple goal of “cutting back” will not only save you money but also help you live a healthier lifestyle.
2. Eliminate Bottled Water from Your Budget
Buying bottled water, even if it’s only a couple times a week before you go to the gym is NO-NO. Bottled water is 300 times the cost of a gallon of tap water. To help put that in perspective, if all of the water you used around the house were bottled water, your monthly water bill would cost around $9,000. The world drinks over $100 billion worth of bottled water each year- that’s roughly 50 billion bottles. Just think what we could do with all that money savings…yet alone, the environment. If you’re not a fan of tap water…I still don’t have any sympathy for you. Buy a water filter on Amazon.
There’s nothing worse than spending the first 10 minutes of your day unclogging your inbox every morning from those unwanted retailer e-mails trying to entice you with some awesome ‘Limited Time Offer. Unsubscribe from all that junk mail so you won’t be vulnerable to feelings of ‘missing out’ and tempted to blow your budget.
I’ll be the first to admit that Perkins Wednesday BOGO deal e-mails are my weak point because their pancakes are one of my guilty pleasures. And if Bath & Body Works would lose my wife’s e-mail address, that’d be great too!
On a side note & shameless plug, one e-mail list that you SHOULD subscribe to is ours at Afflora Financial Life Planning. We send periodic e-mails with valuable personal finance tips (like these) & invites to special events such as our personal finance classes straight to your inbox.
4. Drop The Subscriptions
Take an inventory of all the subscriptions and monthly services you are subscribed to that may be eating up your budget. From magazine subscriptions to video game services, you are probably spending much more than you ever use without even realizing it. Clean up your subscription list and make sure that you're aware of any automatic renewals on your account.
5. Call Up Your Cable Company
Most likely, you’re paying way too much for cable. With a relatively quick call to the cable company, your cable bill can be easily bargained down. Read more here for 5 quick tips on how to ask for a cable discount. Maybe you should consider cutting the cable cord entirely. This is easy to do with alternatives such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, & Hulu for a fraction of the cost.
6. Cancel The Home Phone
I can’t believe I’m actually still writing about this tip…even though, people have been dumping their landlines for years now, there’s a few out there that are still hanging on. Get rid of this thing. I’m not saying you need to go out and buy an expensive iPhone 7- a ‘dumb phone’ will do. Landlines are expensive and conduits for scams. What if my security system is connected to a landline? Sounds like it might be time to upgrade your security system as well. There’s lots of security systems that work with cellular systems such as SimpliSafe which I've used for years at my personal residence and business office.
7. Schedule "No-Spend Weekends."
All too often, we spend the weekends…well, SPENDING. Just think about how much extra you spend on food, entertainment, etc. on the weekends? Consider scheduling a couple of “No-Spend Weekends” throughout the year, so that you are consciously putting the brakes on spending for 48 hours. Look for free events and outings in the neighborhood on sites like Everything Topeka. Or double up on the virtue by making your “No-Spend Weekends” also "To-Do List Weekends," when you cross off all those chores you've been putting off.