Utilizing what you can

In this post I’m going to go over some options to utilize what you can or have. One example could be your job’s money potential, things to buy, etc.

  • Overtime
  • This one can be used for people who don’t really want a second job but do want extra money coming in to help, keep in mind this can go away especially if you have a job that requires approval for overtime. My workplace for example has offered overtime at premium pay and can do so on holidays as well, which if you do the math is major money coming in. Ultimately, take a look at your workplaces overtime and policies on that and use that extra income to put towards debt.
  • Bonuses
  • This one is easily taken away or not gotten as well but can be very helpful, definitely check out your workplaces bonus structure and use it to your advantage. Mine for example gives a bonus every quarter if the team does great on customer surveys, plus individuals can potentially get an extra $200 if they are the top 10% in the company for that line of business. Thinking about that, I just received my bonus and it helped pay off a credit card, now I can move onto the next one with focus, next bonus will go towards whatever card I’m working on at the time.
  • Shopping
  • This one can be very helpful and will require some research to an extent. You can buy generic or name brand in this case, whichever is the cheaper one. I know that it can be stated to just buy generic, but that is not always cheaper. I shop at Walmart and I look to see what’s the cheapest price for my bi-monthly shopping. Here is an example, the generic brand for hand soap is cheaper than say Dial, but when I look at tortillas, the name brand is cheaper than the generic and I get the same amount of them in a bag. So in light look at prices and quantity of what you’re buying and go with the best cheaper option to help you save. I’ve worked my shopping from $250+ to $200 and going down every time I shop, also be sure to maybe buy ahead, sometimes that can save you as well.
  • Sell Something
  • Sell something you don’t need, that can help bring in a pretty penny as well if done right. Yes, it can be difficult to sell stuff sometimes, but it’s worth it if you can use that towards your debt. Like me, I have a toolbox from working as a lube tech that I don’t need anymore, so I’m selling it and looking for a great price. Now I will say, it can depend on when you sell something that can determine when you’ll get bites. My toolbox will probably best be sold around the start of school for those new mechanics in training. Also note to not stand your ground on the price, have a little wiggle room, but don’t settle either. Back to my box, I’m trying to sell it for about $2500, but I might be willing to go as low as $1500, not less than that though.

So in conclusion, utilizing what you have, like your job’s bonuses and overtime or whatever, selling something ,etc, can bring you some help to paying that debt down and off. Yes it may not be much sometimes, but until that snowball starts rolling on it’s own, it will feel like an uphill battle.

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Slow Passive Income

In this post, I’ll be mentioning some long term passive income ideas that can compound over time if you have the patience. These won’t make you rich right away, but can in the end if you do it right.

  • High Yield Savings
  • This one is for sure one that can help especially with compounding over time. For example, if you find a savings account that has 2.20% interest rate and you keep putting monthly into that, it will grow significantly. I use one of these accounts and have put in $2000 at a 2.20%, at the end of the year I’ll make $44 off of that money, as I put more in it will grow. If I put in another $1000 then I would make $100 at the end of the year, see how easy that can be especially if you won’t retire for a long time.
  • Stocks
  • These are long term and do come with risk, but over time can compound. These usually you do need a lot of money to start but with apps like stash, acorn, robin hood, etc you can start with a small amount and go from there. The stocks if done right can pay dividends which you can re-invest into stocks again. So I have about $400 in stocks right now(I need to be better than that) but I get dividends of about $0.50 or more, which I can in turn put back into some stocks and keep building. This method does require a lot of patience since the market can go up and down.
  • IRA/401K
  • This one for sure takes time and you can go both ways or either way. If you choose the 401k option, check to see if your company matches your percentage. The place I work at matches up to 6% if I put it up to that. I did the math on that, If I put 6% from my paycheck that’s $120 going in from my contribution. When the company matches that, that’s another $120 into the account, which for the month is $240 into the account! Now if maybe your company doesn’t match or you decide to check out an IRa account, make sure it has a way to gain the most out of it and for sure check the tax options on it to so you’re not blindsided later down the road.

These are the three biggest ones that will slowly gain you money, if you start early enough you can have some money when you retire. Yes I know there are other options out there like MLM, dropshipping, etc that can make great money, but those are work related, these four are not really work related so much as long as you have income.

Budgeting Tools

Today’s post is about some tools to help you keep on budget for your journey to financial freedom. These options will give you an edge to make sure you know where your money is going.

  • Spending Tracker Apps
  • I’m lumping these together due to the fact there are quite a lot of them out there. You can find these in the play store, some do different things, I chose the one with the highest rating at the time. The one I selected is named expense tracker. I use it of course like I would a paper ledger, every transaction I make I put it in. My wife uses it as well and it has helped her quite a bit also. I recommend using an app because you do always have your phone on your, so why not?
  • Paper ledger
  • Since I mentioned it in the last dot, I might as well talk about it. These are an extra booklet you carry around, along with a pen or pencil. You can also leave it at home, just be sure to get receipts for your purchases and then write everything down at home, so it can be a pain. If you go this route, most banks now a days will give you one for free.
  • Budget course
  • I mention this because there are a few places that will help you curb your spending and then hold you accountable. For example, I know Wells Fargo has this program where you talk with a rep who goes over your income, spending and all sorts of things, then helps you determine what you might be able to cut out, say like that extra coffee or something. Then after that, they set a time for you to call them, or they can call you after a week and see how you did, holding you accountable. There are lots of other companies so you don’t have to go with them, I just know about their program.
  • Online Banking and Alerts
  • I’m mentioning this one as a double because they go hand in hand. For starters, online banking will help you see what transactions have posted so you can make sure they are all of yours. Online banking also has the ability with most banks to set up text or notifications on your phone for when a transactions goes through, or even if your balance gets below a certain point. Those are the two I have set up for the most part, I set mine balance alert for if it goes below $200.

These four are the main tools in the fight to keep track of your money and spending. Now keep in mind they don’t work if you don’t, if you keep up on it and stay on course you’ll make it to the light at the end of that tunnel.

Side Hustles

The most help you can get once you have made the choice to be financially free is how to do it and what to do. One of the best ways that can help is side hustles, or extra income.

  • Uber/Lyft
  • This one is first because it can be the most helpful and if you use it right or even do it right, most lucrative in your pursuit. Now, this does wear on your vehicle and can be a little troublesome when it comes to riders. You will have to have the confidence to deal with the trouble ones. There is some alternative to the rider side, is UberEats. This one you get an order for food, then deliver it to the customer, no rider. I do that one because I have to, but I have to say it works great.
  • Website Testing
  • Maybe you don’t want to put miles and wear on your vehicle, that’s ok. There are other options, like website testing. Now this one can be decent income if you’re ok with your voice being recorded and you plan on spending some time on it. I say spending some time because you may not test all the websites that come your way. In that case you may have to work with multiple companies to qualify for these tests and then do them to earn some cash.
  • Blogging
  • This one can take some time so if you’re looking for quick income, not the best idea. Also if you choose to blog for some money, be wary of those people that say they can help make you money fast, either they got lucky or they are lying. Furthermore you will have to find a good topic to write about, and it could be anything. Once the ball is rolling you could make quite a lot of money, and if done right you could potentially replace your current job’s salary.
  • Investing
  • This is another slow one but could pay off in the end, invest your money into stocks or real estate. Keep in mind, either of them do come with risk, but could pay dividends that could help out. Warren Buffet made his millions in the stock market, so it can be done. There are plenty of do it yourself investing apps, such as stash, but you could also get professional for a fee.
  • Part Time Job
  • This could help with some quick cash, just get a part time job of some sort. You could be a dog walker if you love dogs, go work in retail or fast food as well. If that’s not your game, look around on places like Indeed or Monster, there are plenty of jobs that will take you as part time. Plus it’s stable so you would know how much you’re getting each paycheck to calculate how much to put towards your debt.

These are just some of the few options you have, there are plenty more out there. Take a look, do some research and then decide what you want and can do to help pay those bills down. A word of advice also, keep and eye out for possible scams as they are out there.

The first steps

This post will go over some steps you will need to start, these are crucial and very important first steps towards your financial health.

  • Decision
  • The first and most important thing you need is the decision to do it, just wishing isn’t what I’m talking about.  If you decide to buckle down, change your ways, and learn anything and everything possible about finances you will succeed.  I had to make this choice as well, and it’s very tough to do this, especially if you’re used to some of the finer things like that coffee everyday from Starbucks or dutch bros or the fast food meal for dinner or lunch.  Whatever your financial demon, the decision you need to make, like I had to, was what do I need to give up for now, to make my future brighter?
  • Knowledge
  • This part is very helpful if you search and use.  The knowledge of how to budget, what needs to be done and potentially how to do it is crucial.  This comes second to the decision since you have to choose to do this first before you can learn and apply the information.  The books in the previous post can help with this part, as well as getting help and information from some banks or financial experts such as Dave Ramsey.  I mentioned Dave Ramsey because he has a course for $100 called Financial Peace University, some banks will help as well, I believe it’s discover, some credit unions offer this help as well, so does Wells Fargo.  The ones that are with the banks and credit unions are usually free and at most require a membership of some sort like an account.
  • Application
  • This is third step and an obvious one you need to make it, applying what you learned and know.  Now keep in mind just because you have learned the steps and what’s needed to be removed or added to help, doesn’t mean squat if you don’t apply it.  I will also tell you that in the application process, there will be failures, it will be tough to do, don’t get discouraged.  The failures help shape the way, and as long as you keep taking those steps you will succeed.  If though you have been doing this part for 50 years, then you really haven’t made the choice, truly made it, and are in the same place you have always been and just wasted time, and possibly money.
  • Discipline
  • This is very important as well as those other three, this goes right along side the application process due to the fact you will be tempted to buy that item, or put it on a credit card because you just have to have it.  Stay strong, try to talk yourself into seeing the bigger picture, like what it’ll be like to not have debt and how much more you could enjoy that item.  Now I’m not saying that it will be easy, even I have fallen a little bit by putting things on my credit cards, even though I didn’t need them, I had to have them, for that satisfaction.  This is the moment another choice is made, do I keep on the same path of a better future or stay fallen and go back to instant satisfaction?  What is your choice when you fall?

In conclusion, these four are the biggest to the first steps towards your better future.  Following these throughout your life will make it better, yes it will seem like there is no light, or way out of that hole, but you have to keep going if you want to enjoy life.  I have the same struggle, the great thing about this is, if I win the lottery (fingers crossed), or I create a great stream of income, I’ll be better off for it and can handle that new level of financial success, and so will you.

Great Books to Read

I want to start this blog off with some great books to read that can and if followed will help you in the long run.  These books can be listened to or ordered via hard copy, I have listened to these books and they have helped me understand the ins and outs of helping my financial future.  I have taken the first steps and even though I might be still young in this as far as my path, I have done quite a bit of research on this subject.

  • Rich Dad Poor Dad
  • Yes, the book everyone talks about, but there is a reason for that.  This book has given information on business and how money works, how the rich mindset is compared to the poor mindset.  I realized that failing is a part of life and needs to be done in order to learn, there is one sentence in this book I really find so appealing to me, I quote  “In school we learn that mistakes are bad, and we are punished for making them. Yet, if you look at the way humans are designed to learn, we learn by making mistakes. We learn to walk by falling down. If we never fell down, we would never walk.” -Robert T. Kiyosaki.  
  • Total Money Makeover
  • This book is heard a lot also and helps with budgeting and how to manage money and pay off debt.  One example is the debt snowball, the saying is basically if you roll a snowball down a hill, it gets bigger and bigger, same thing with paying off debt.  If you pay off one debt and your minimum payment was say $30, and your next payment on your next debt is say $100, now you pay $130 towards your next debt and so forth.  This book explains how to do that well, and also gives the mindset of how to do it even when it seems impossible or too difficult.  I liked this sentence in the book, because it kind if hit me since in order to fix my situation, I need to change, not a big fan of change either.  “Change is painful. Few people have the courage to seek out change. Most people won’t change until the pain of where they are exceeds the pain of change.” -Dave Ramsey
  • Think and Grow Rich
  • This book is awesome in the sense that it can help identify what makes a winner, in this case winning with your finances.  Now this book does talk about business tycoons such as Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford and so forth, but it shows that they wanted more so they did something about it.  I read this book and have since looked for ways to make more income to better secure my future and income.  I like how this book hits on the fact that you need desire and hunger for the better, this quote hit me and made me change my way of thinking.  “The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat.” – Napoleon Hill
  • The One Thing
  • This book is very helpful in so many ways.  I read this book because it helps to get you to focus on one thing at a time, if you try to take on too many things you ultimately fail.  Focus on one thing and then move onto the next and so forth, now that’s not saying don’t do other stuff.  For example, if you’re trying to pay down debt, focus on that in two ways.  First figure out what debt you pay more to, and also, how to maybe get more income to help with that.  I really liked this quote from the book, since it is true in so many ways,  “You need to be doing fewer things for more effect instead of doing more things with side effects.” -Gary Keller
  • You Can if You Think You Can
  • This book is so helpful in setting your mind up for success or realizing it’s set up for failure.  If you sit there and think you can’t do something or you can, you’re right.  Take a look at people who make time to go to sports games, or go out partying on the weekends, or even trips to just get away.  Do you really think they said, I can’t do that?  No they said they could and they found a way, same thing with your future.  I actually said this a little earlier, but it is the biggest truth you can find,  “Whether you think you can, or you can’t, either way you’re right” -Henry Ford.

These books can help you set up for the future, and can make it a bright one and maybe even happier one as well.  I do recommend these books at least, and if you want to continue your success and want more knowledge, there are plenty of books out there to read on this subject.  I remember a saying, “The successful invest in themselves, reading is how they do it.”