We rented for years and things were great...until things with our landlord went south. We stopped hearing back when issues came up, rent was rising, and DIY updates were left unfinished for months. Most of all though, we desperately want to own a home.
I remember obsessively opening my ReMax app everywhere we went - literally EVERYWHERE. I would fantasize about living in the home I was looking at online. How nice that kitchen would be. How I'd arrange the furniture. But I constantly found myself falling from cloud 9 back to the reality of rent payments eating away at my savings potential.
Yes, renting can have some benefits, and owning isn't right for everyone, but the monthly payment can hinder your ability to save for owning your own home, buying a new car, and any other goal you may have.
There are simple tools and methods available to get you to your goal sooner, and many require almost no effort. Seriously. What are you waiting for?
Here are a few great tips to start maximizing your cash flow and bring in extra income in no time!
Create a spending plan
You work your tail off! For what? To be controlled by your money? NO! If you do not budget, start. A budget is simply you telling your money what to do rather than your money telling you what to do. It’s easy to find an extra $50/month by budgeting, you’ll be able to save $600/per year. If you need help sticking to your plan, weigh the option of hiring a financial coach. Yes, it's an investment, but you'd be shocked to learn that financial coaches typically pay for themselves.
Stash your tax refund
The average tax return is nearly $2,800. By stashing your refund in a high-interest savings account (see tip #4), you'll see this money continue to grow while you sleep! Seriously, would you turn down $5, $10, or even $20 if someone was handing you cash? I didn't think so.
Save your raise
If you have managed to live on your current salary, keep it that way and automate your savings to put away the difference when you receive a raise. On average, this will result in an extra $1,500/year in your savings account. Again, have that feed into tip #4 and you're golden.
Save in a high-interest savings account
There are many savings accounts out there and you want your money easily accessible in case of an emergency, but if it’s just sitting there, make it grow! Online banks like Ally have no maintenance fee and PAY YOU 1.85% interest compounded daily, which means you will earn money without doing anything. Oh and don't forget - you earn interest on the interest they've already paid you! Seriously. If you're not using an account like this, you're behind the times.
Get a roommate
Do you have an extra bedroom or don’t care about losing living room space? Find yourself a reliable roommate! This can easily save you half of your rent expense. If you planned on paying the full amount solo anyway, save the difference to increase your savings fund by up to $8,500 in one year alone!
Reduce discretionary purchases and expenses
Cable: Consider cutting cable to save at least $100/month. Instead, subscribe to Netflix or buy your favorite show on Amazon after it airs. Good news – whether you watch it the night it airs or a couple months later, the end is always the same ;)
Cell Phones: Most people are overpaying for their monthly cell phone bill. Review your average usage and change your plan to something that aligns with it in order to save even more. Consider switching carriers, if needed. Most carriers have introductory specials to sweeten the deal. Best of all, you can keep your current phone number.
Restaurants: Dining out can easily cost $20 per person. Save your money (and waistline) by limiting restaurant meals to once per week.
Gym: Are you really using that gym membership? If you are, can you convert to free workouts such as running/walking outside or working out in your home? By cutting your gym membership, you can add nearly $600/year to your savings.
Clothing: I know, your favorite store is having the “biggest sale of the year” and you really need that new outfit. Evaluate your current wardrobe and sell items you no longer wear online to save for new clothing purchased rather than dipping into your monthly income. Trust me, that one-time-only sale WILL happen again.
Brand Names: People are drawn to brand names because the companies spend tons of money on marketing. Did you know that generics are often made by the same brand name companies? These companies make an extremely minor tweak to the recipe and relabel the product as a generic. You can save as much as 50% by shopping generic brands. Also...helllllloooooo Aldi!
Negotiate your rent
Coming up on the end of your lease but want to re-sign? With costs rising every year, landlords can easily increase rent by $100 or more upon contract renewal. You can negotiate that! If it’s a place you enjoy and have some time to spare for renting, ask your landlord to consider a $25 increase in exchange for a 2-year lease. This will save you $1,800 in 2 years and save them the hassle of finding a new tenant while risking losing a month (or more) of income from the property.
Start a side hustle
The easiest and most obvious way to save money is by making more money…so get yourself a side hustle. Think about earning income in ways you have not before. Walking dogs, driving for Uber or Lyft on the weekends, working with an MLM company, tutoring, babysitting, or cleaning houses are just a few ideas to get you started. Have a special skill set? Post it on sites like Fiverr or Upwork to make extra income. You could bring home an extra $500 per month!
Remember that some of the easiest ways to earn money are right in front of you. You don't need to go back to school and pay tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars just to earn more money. If you do nothing else, I hope you'll consider using a high-yield interest savings account for any savings that you do have.
Post a comment below and let me know if these tips are useful or if you have any others that have worked well for you!