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Writing, learn-ing, jewelry, deconstructing t-shirts and reality - it's what I do. I live to be inspired, and to inspire.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Doing More With Less

Things are tight and many of us are learning to do more with less. There are things we all want to do one day. Dreams. Goals. When trying to accomplish something you need to be prepared to do so “in spite of.” The time will never be perfectly right. You will never be perfectly ready. What we often fail to realize is that achieving our goals isn’t a one-off effort: it is the culmination of many, many little efforts over a long time. 
There are always little things we can do every day that lead up to those goals. Some of these practical things can be tangible – like registering a business name or writing a blog post. Others are less tangible like reading a book, working out a timeline or putting aside money each month.

Money is the first thing many people cite as the reason they cannot chase after their dreams or achieve certain goals. Saving and making good decisions about money is important. Too many people have a mindset of getting debt and taking loans. This culture has turned debt and credit into a “good” thing that “responsible” people are expected to have. Horse-shit! I’m not a financial advisor but I am practical about money which is one of the reasons I’ve survived this long. The first and foremost thing I’ve learned is to avoid debt like the plague – save up for what you need or want. Below is some saving advice that can help you accomplish a lot with a little over time. It assumes you have an income – however small, large or indifferent.

·         Before anything else: subtract 10% of your paycheck every month for savings. This first 10% is savings. It may be savings for a specific purpose (like a car etc) or in case of emergency (like unemployment). Do not touch it for any other reason! Put it aside then figure out how to live the rest of the month without it. If you have to eat nothing but rice and beans for a while then so be it.

·         If you can do a second 10% then put that aside as investment/givings. This is multi-purpose and a bit more flexible, but still not for bills and typical life expenses. Put it into your children’s or nieces and nephews mutual fund or college savings; put it aside to invest in your future business plans; or give it to whatever cause or charity you feel like contributing to. Heck! Split it up and do all three of these things if that 10% chunk is big enough. Point is use it to invest for the future, your community, and to make a positive difference.

·         Next: pay your rent and bills. Include in here payment for credit card and loans. Do not pay only the minimum on debt. Pay as much as you can spare to get rid of debt. Debt is a blight you need to get rid of as soon as humanly possible.

·         Buy groceries. If you plan meals, buy groceries and budget for food monthly, you’re less likely to end up eating out (spending extra/wasting money).

·         If there’s any remaining, the rest is your disposable income. Dispose of it as you wish and try to have some fun. Sometimes you won’t have this and your entertainment might have to be staying in and reading a library book. That works too.

I know it doesn’t sound exciting; being smart and cautious never does. But savings and investment are truly important and key in helping you make things happen. You are in control of your money. It isn’t some willful thing that comes and goes into your life like an on-again off-again relationship. It is something you work with logically, not emotionally, and you make it work for you.

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