This is one of the best money tips that I could steal and share. This is not an original idea of my own, although I’ve heard it shared by many other reputable sources and practice it as often as I can. Simply put, always choose quality.
If we spend a little more money on quality items we regularly use, we’ll spend less money replacing them when they do become worn out, which equates to more money saved in the long run. Best example: clothes.
It seems like fast fashion is everywhere now. Cute trendy clothes for pennies on the dollars made cheaply and quickly. So let’s say we buy a new top every three months because it’s only $5.99. But because it’s only $5.99, it’s not made with the best materials, so after a few washes and wears, it’s already ready for retirement. So, every 3 months, we’re replacing this particular top. That comes out to $23.96 plus tax every year.
Tax in L.A. is 9.25%, as an FYI.
Or you can buy a really nice top between $25-$30 that you may have to replace every 3 or 4 years. Which means in the four years we would’ve kept that really nice top, we’ve spent 3 times as much on really cheap tops. So, not only is the quality inferior, we wasted more money on it.
I may not be wealthy, but I know that’s not how we get there.
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.
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.
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!
I’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.
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.