In today’s contributed post, we explore the interesting balance between “money drains” and the things that can give you “money gains”.
We all have stresses on our money, and what you care about more *should be* where you direct most of it.
Sadly, too many of us don’t do this, and we spend money we don’t have, on people or things we don’t really care about due to a sense of guilt or obligation.
I’ve just finished reading an amusing book called “The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F***” by Sarah Knight. This book epitomises what this article today is all about. I highly recommend you read and/or listen to it on audible. If you don’t mind the continuous use of the f-word, then its a highly entertaining piece of work.
You either have more money than you know what to do with, or you have no money and no idea how to change this (for some people it eventually becomes both).
Or, you might be somewhere in between where you fluctuate between living a champagne lifestyle one month and living off beans and toast every day the other.
Regardless of where you stand, you can always be better with your cash, and there are many, many different ways in which you can do this.
Here are some common things that cause a drain or a gain on your finances. Once you’re aware of what might be sucking the life out of your bank balance, you can do things to redress the balance in your favour.
Debt is something that permeates everybody’s lives, and if you aren’t able to keep on top of it, then it can cause you to tumble down the financial ladder and get yourself stuck.
You can discuss payments with your bank to see what can be arranged if you are struggling at any time, and typically, they will be more than happy to help.
Bills are a necessary evil, and so paying these bills of frequently and on time will ease your money troubles. However, it could be that you are paying far too much for utilities that are harming your finances.
Selecting what sort of plan you need can save you money you didn’t even realise. Furthermore, if you are unsure, consider speaking to companies to compare electricity prices to find the right plan for you and improve your monthly outgoings.
One of the biggest money drains is what you spend on luxuries. This can be things such as eating out or grabbing chain-coffee shop items on a regular basis. Looking into food deals and preparing lunches at the beginning of the week will help you save and motivate you to eat at home when it seems much easier to eat out.
Cutting down on luxuries all across the home might seem a challenge, but it will be worth it. Once this is done, you will never look back and cherish your morning, homemade coffee, just as much as you did your Starbucks Triple Cinnamon Latte.
Having home insurance is essential for when things go awry. However, too many people go for the first deal that they find and don’t consider that they could have found something more beneficial had they just shopped around.
Additionally, you also need to consider what in your house you need insured. Full cover sounds like the best way to go, but if you don’t use half of the stuff you have insured most of the year and hardly travel, then it seems to be a waste of money. As always, focussing on the costly essentials is the best place to start, and then evaluate from there.
Taking steps to update your home and drag it kicking and screaming into the 21st Century can turn out to be more beneficial than you might have expected. With further emphasis on renewable energy and sustainability in recent years, the ability to make this a reality has never been easier.
It could be that you merely need to redo the insulation or replace the curtains for better heat retention during those colder months to reduce your heating bills. However, it could also be that you need to upgrade your systems to be more energy efficient. In some cases, this will add value to your home, provided you manage to update as often as necessary when looking to move home.
If you rent, consider asking your landlord what provisions they would be prepared to put in place. If they won’t, vote with your feet and move elsewhere (unless they’re paying the heating bill of course).
There are a lot of things around your home that you might feel you no longer have any use for. However, being smart and creative about what you might find in and around the house can pay massive dividends in the long run.
Finding old clothes that might not fit, or an old sofa or bed tucked away in the garage might make you feel that there is no choice but to throw it out. However, looking into upcycle options can turn the old into the new, and add save you from needing to buy new clothes or accessories every time something seems too worn out to show off.
When things break down and fail in your home, it can be easy to just throw it out and never think of it again, and then buy a new appliance. This may be necessary sometimes, but often you can use this broken utility, such as a freezer, to make some cash.
There are companies all over that will take your old or inoperative electronics and pay you cash for bringing them in. The amount you receive will depend on age and usefulness, but any extra money in your pocket is nothing to be overlooked, and you can use it to put away for savings to treat you and your family to a trip farther down the line.
Clutter is the bane of many existences. Most people will likely have a loft or cupboard or even a spare room full of items that could potentially belong in a museum of forgotten purchases. This kind of clutter can wreak havoc on your sanity, always worrying about where something else will fit and playing real-life Tetris when adding more to the ever-bulging pile.
But looking through the maze of relics, as long as it might take, could help you find something that will bring in some extra cash on the side. Things such as old toys or instruments can be sold to second-hand shops or online marketplaces. Furthermore, potential collectibles like comic books and records can bring in a lot of money that you didn’t even realise.
DRAINED, GAINED, PAINED, OBTAINED
Getting the most from your money is all about addressing how you spend it. Do you over-do it on things that you simply “don’t give a f*** about” (see the earlier book recommendation). Do you think that be tweaking how you spend your money, you could free up some of it to start an emergency fund or invest?
While your problems will not all be solved overnight, everyone has to start somewhere. Why not you? Why not today?
Saving money isn’t difficult. The challenge is sticking to a budget and avoiding all the triggers that get you putting your hand in your pocket unnecessarily. We could all do with this reminder. Dragging others along for the ride might just help, so give it a go and commit to having a more mindful 2018!
That was an epic post, but I hope you enjoyed it and found it useful!
Come over to the private Facebook group and let us know where you’ve identified “drains” and where you’re making “gains”. I look forward to “meeting you”.
Until next time!
P.S. I’m soon to be running a “beginner’s guide to investing course” – my beta-testers are currently taking a look and when they’re done, I’ll be unleashing it on the world! If you’re interested, drop me an email and I will make sure you are the first to know when I launch.