Monday Tip: Talk About Money

Talk about the money.

No, really. Money has been made to be this big taboo thing that we’re suppose to get keep to ourselves. So we secretly suffer under the weight of these money issues – debt, student loan payments, bills we’re behind on – never sharing our problems and never getting any helpful answers or real solutions.

And not all of us can afford a financial advisor to get advice from to better manage our money.

So I swap deets with friends. Not all my friends, obviously. But I do have one or two people in which I share ideas on how I manage my money and the struggles I have with cutting back here and there and what I’m learning and putting into practice. And it feels so good to have someone who can be money sound board. No guilt, no shame. Just open dialogue.

Money Tip: Have An EIG

Most of us have heard of EIC, right? Well, if you’ve done your taxes this year, you probably have. What is EIC? Earned Income Credit. This is typically a tax credit families and some low to moderate income earners will get from the IRS. I’ve never qualified for EIC, so please don’t expect too many details from me on the topic.

But an EIG, I’m all over that.

What is EIG? A little catchy thingy I call “Extra Income Goal”.

Starting a side gig can bring on a host of feelings, I get it: excitement, worry, empowerment, anxiety. But once in the groove of things, we need to start focusing on certain objectives, such how much do we want to earn a month.

If we side gig for the sake of side gigging, then we’ll accept what low fees offered my unfavorable clients. Trust me, I’m speaking from experience. To help remove ourselves from this, pick a dollar amount you want to earn every month. You can have a flat dollar goal such as an extra $500 a month. Or you can do it by the day, say you want r to earn the equivalent of an extra $20 day. For the month March, that would look something like an EIG of $620. In fact, tell yourself you need to earn this amount in order to keep pursuing side gigs. Why? Think of your time, your travel, other missed opportunities you could’ve taken on.

Yes, have an extra income goal to strive for so that all efforts feel worth it. Yeah, there may be a sense of reward for doing the kind of work we actually want to do, but if we can’t afford to do it, then we lose all around.

Money Tip: Get Refurbished

I’m looking around my apartment right now and I just realized everything (just about everything) I own is second hand. From my couch, to my dresser, my kitchen table and chairs to my HP Chromebook laptop, all of them are second hand.

Now my laptop wouldn’t necessarily be called “second hand”. I think the PC term (no pun in intended) is “refurbished”. I bought my laptop about three years ago to the date from Staples for less than $300. And I had the intention of using it for only side work and gigs, but I use it for everything now. And it’s held up pretty well. I even purchased an additional warranty just for peace-of-mind sake. Now, I gotta cracked screen at the moment that has nothing to do with its performance or life expectancy. Just me forgetting I am too big to be lying onto something that’s already flat. But my refurbished laptop has been one of my most prized investments that I use daily.

Do you know what refurbished means. Same body, new interior. Meaning, what makes the computer run has been upgraded to new, the shell and frame have had other owners.

And I love it. Like I love all my second hand pieces. I enjoy not paying full price for something that is just as good as when someone else bought it.

And I encourage others to live a little. Save money and buy second hand.

Money Tip: Challenge & Reward

Money Tips

Give yourself a financial challenge to aim for a period time, then reward yourself if you hit the mark.  For instance, if you typically eat out often (I’ve been guilty of this before), challenge yourself to go one month without eating out.  No take out, no delivery, no dine in, nada.  Cook and eat at home.  Too hard? Try two weeks, then.  Go two weeks without spending any money on eating out and if you’re successful in that time, reward yourself.  Hey, if that worked better than you expected, maybe you can go one month.  Who knows?

Your reward? Calculate how much money you would have spent over those two weeks and put it into your savings account.  Boring?  Okay, then.  Buy yourself a piece of clothing.  A professional piece of clothing.  Something you can meet a prospect client in and they wouldn’t mind meeting you again.  Or, use that dinner change to take a course at a local junior college.  Expand your knowledge and skill set.  Make yourself more marketable.

The idea behind this challenge is to stop wasting it where we don’t see any returns on our money and start saving and investing it.  What did I say Sophia Amoruso said?  Money looks better —where?-– in our bank accounts.  Definitely not on our plates.

Money Tip: Advertise for Free

Money Tips

Both rookies and veterans in the throes of side hustlin’ and freelancing can benefit from advertise their services or products for free.  Seriously.

Yes, I’ve heard it say before — several times — ‘in order to make money, you’ve got to spend money’.

But if you ain’t got no money to spend, then… um, how are you going to make that money?  Any thoughts? Ideas?

Free advertising.  It’s possible and the best part, it’s digital and that’s exactly where we’re at in society.  And before you give me the eye roll, site like Craig’s List are great sources for reaping new clients.

Ask me how I know!  If you like Craig’s or don’t trust it, fine. There are dozen of local online classified sites you can use to advertise yourself.  For nothin’!

A little advice: It’s going to take a minute for you to start reaping those waiting clients, so post often, post regularly.  Create a schedule and stick to it.  CraigsList’s posts expires after seven days, but if you renew your post every 3-4 days, you’ll keep your posts active longer and listed more currently.  CPictures say a 1,000.  Some them.  With every post you create.  There are an equal amount of license free photo sites online you use.  And don’t just think because you offer a service that you can’t use a picture.  I run a part time notary business.  That’s a service.  You know what my picture is?  A notary stamp.  Sometimes finding the photos are easy and obvious, sometimes you gotta be a little creative with it.  But do it.

Get a Google number.  I think they still offer these.  I’ve had mine so long, I don’t remember if they do or don’t.  But Google still offers these, make it your business number.  It’s free as long as you have a Google account.  Plus, those calls come to your phone, so no need to get a new cell phone or new service provide.

You got this, I know you do!

 

*Other ways: network, barter, reach out to people and small companies whose services or products compliment yours and see if they’d be willing work something out.  Get clever with it.

Money Tip: Keep Hunting

Happy President’s Day… to all those lucky souls who have this day off.   Not me and my coworkers.

Or a few friends of mine.

But since we’re talkin’ dead presidents, let’s talk about how keep more of them in our wallet.

One money mistake that people make and I know I’ve made is they stop the job hunt once they’ve been made an offer an employment.  Now, I get it.  Sometimes we’ve been unemployed for a minute — maybe longer than a minute — when we’ve nailed the interview and we’re offered the job, we’re not wasting any time signing on the dotted line.   Even so, that doesn’t mean we need to stop looking for ideal prospects.  I cannot begin to tell how many times I’ve heard of someone getting a job (at the company I work at now) or to later decline when they were due to come on board because something they were waiting for came through.

Money Tips

We need to be like those people.  Keeping on the job hunt.  With no F’s given.  Seriously.

When you’re looking out for you and yours, you don’t care about the other party and their interests.  You can this ruthless if you want, sure.  But those people who went through the who process of coming on board one company only to decline the offer when an opportunity they really wanted came along, I bet you are happier at the job they really wanted than the one they they accept because it was there.  They are happier, probably make more money and have a better working culture/ environment.

You don’t need to be loyal to a company you just started.  You need to be loyal to you.

I know this sounds a little off for a money tip, but who we work for drives our income.  Our money.  And making better choices as to who we work will improve our income and our income growth.  Y’know, while we work on that side hustle.

Money Tip: Budget Eating Out

I huge advocate for eating at home.  And if for no other reasons than your bottom line and your waistline.  Eating at home saves money and worry.  Never once do I have to worry if I unknowingly pissed off the waiter asking him to take back my food.  And dinner can easily be served as lunch for the following day.

Trust me, I’m a leftovers lover.   Mmmm, mmmm mmmm!

But cooking all the time can get boring, especially if you only know how to make a handful of dishes.  There’s only so many times you can make spaghetti or make a chicken salad before you’re over it for the month. I get it.  I allow myself one meal a week where I can get to eat out.  Whether it’s out with friends for a night or something I order in on a Friday night.  But that’s the catch.  I don’t order food that whole day.  Just for one meal.  So, whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, I pick one day of that week and one meal I’m willing to spend a little dough (did you like to food pun I did there? No? Really? Well, stand up comedian is not one of my side hustles, so have no fear).  And then I set a budget for what I I’m willing to spend on food for that meal.  Say, $15.  And no roll-overs.  So, if I pick up one of those $4.99 12-inch sandwiches Subway has going on right now (comes to $5.45 with tax), that doesn’t mean I get spend the difference I didn’t spend on my food plus that week’s budget on food I eat out.  I’m trying break the monotony without breaking the bank.

I do allow myself to spend $20.00 on one meal, giving myself a $80-a-month budget to eat out.  This is to factor in dinner and tip.  Hell, I’m spending $200 on food month, how much more money do I need to spend for just one person?  And I hold myself to the same principles, no rollover unused money to the next week.  So, if I only spend $40 on food that I ate out on, I saved my self $40 on my own budget.  I like that.

Money Tips

 

Monday’s Money Tip: File Your Taxes Today

The best money tip I can offer my fellow side hustlers is file your taxes today!  The IRS is officially open and is accepting filings.   And if you typically receive a refund, then there is no logical reason for you to wait to get yo’ money, honey!

Okay, let me take it down a notch.

If you file your taxes electronically with the IRS today, you should expect to get your refund in about three weeks.  I’ve learned, much of the time, it’s a little sooner than that.  And that’s good.  Because February’s a short month.   And for all us hourly employees, are checks from our full time jobs are not going to be as stocky as they would be if there were 30 or 31 days in February.  So, getting your money now will help cover the cost of March’s rent and get you back on track — in case you weren’t — with paying all your bills on time and in full.

Now, I’m happy to say that I’ve estimated my tax refund a few times throughout January (like a dozen, really) and I’ll be getting the best refund I’ve EVER received.  Yes!  But, I’m an adult and I want t make sure I am as responsible with my government windfall as I can possibly be.  So, 67% of my refund will be going into two separate savings accounts: my Dream Home Fund (self explanatory, right?) and my emergency fund.  A girl’s gotta be ready for those rainy days.  What about the remaining 33%?  It’s going to cover any cost of rent and bills I may be short on given the fact that’s February is a short month.  And to some personal investment for myself.  Gotta be wiling to be a little better than the day before.

Happy filing, Side Hustlers!

Money Tips

Money Tip: Pick ‘N’ Save Days

Money TipsI’m all about keeping more money in my pockets.   I don’t work at great place that plays me well, so every hard earn dollar I make, I want to either save it or make it last longer.   So I have days which I’m not allowed to spend ANY money.

None.

Nada.

Zilch.

This isn’t an extreme overhaul.  This is just two nonconsecutive days of the week where I give my little coin purse a break.  That means no running to the store after work, no shopping on Amazon, nothing.

First of all, I don’t need to be spending money every day anyways.  I ain’t go it like that yet.  Secondly, taking two days out of the week where I’m not spending anything, helps me take more days out of the spending equation.  I started off with not spending money on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Now some days I go, Monday, Tuesday, Thursdays and Sundays with spending anything.

I don’t even look at the Amazon app on my phone.