9 Tips To Make Your Money Work For You
Updated: Aug 3
When you have a lot of expenses, you may feel that you need to get an extra source of income in order to make ends meet. While this may be true for many, what some of us need is to realize where our money is going.
Tip #1 - Budget everything.
Budgeting is the first creative way to lower your expenses. Make yourself an attainable allowance each month for eating out and entertainment, and try to stay under that amount.
A budget can help you see areas where you spend more than you think you do. You can take that realized money and put it toward savings or bills, to utilize your income more wisely.
When my husband and I first got married we had expenses through the roof including child support, alimony, and then college for two children. After a few years, things got tight enough that I decided to take a closer look at our spending habits.
What I found shocked me.
I found that we were spending a huge amount of money on eating out every month. I added it up twice just to be sure I was calculating it correctly.
The best way to eat out on a budget is to set aside a certain amount of money for the month. Once you've spent it all, you're done eating out for the month.
Tip #2 - Tighten up your spending.
When you are buying for four people, eating out can add up quickly. By then both of my sons were working so we changed things up a bit. It's unheard of in today's society, but we started making them pay for some of their own outings.
I felt that teaching my boys to cook at home was important also.
When my husband and I wanted a date night, I gave them the option of eating out and paying for it themselves or cooking their own meal at home.
It doesn’t hurt teenagers to learn to stand on their own two feet. It helps them to become independent.
When money was tight, my husband and I kept track of what we spent. I also made more sacrifices than I normally would have.
I didn't tell my husband I was doing it. I just started cutting back.
I started doing my own pedicures and stopped buying anything extra like perfume, make-up, jewelry, or hand bags.
I paired my clothes shopping down and have never picked shopping back up as a habit. I stayed with the basics and wore gym clothes most of the time to cut back on having a more expensive wardrobe.
This frugal way of living became a habit and I still limit my spending even though I don't have to now.
Whether my husband realizes how frugal I am or not, I've had the satisfaction of knowing that I am responsible with my spending habits.
When my girlfriends and I go shopping, they ask me why I'm not buying anything. I tell them I don't spend money, I save it.
Tip #3 - Lower Your Expenses
A good way to increase your income is to lower your expenses. If your income isn't sufficient to meet all of your current bills, it is a good idea to downsize some things.
Living below your means is the best way to get the most out of your income. If you don't have enough income, maybe you need to lower your expenses by selling your house and buying a more affordable one.
If you don't own your home, it might be a good idea to get a roommate to share in the expenses.
If you're driving a new car, you can sell it and buy an older one.
Insurance for a newer car is more expensive. New car payments are much higher than used car payments. A new car is more expensive in other ways too such as tires, oil changes and regular maintenance.
The more luxurious your car is, the more the dealerships charge to work on it. What are your priorities? I decided that new car smell wasn't worth not having extra money in my savings account.
Selling your name brand clothing, expensive perfume, or high-end or antique furniture may not feel good, but it will help you have an emergency fund or save for that future business you've been dreaming of starting.
If you're in debt or have high expenses, this isn't the time to worry about what people think of you. People are going to talk, that is inevitable. But who cares what they think?
What matters is that you take care of your family and create a peaceful environment within your home.
If possible you need to look at what you have spent over at least a six-month to a year period and then average it all together to see what you spend per month, since holidays and birthdays, etc. can affect what you spend.
If what you find shocks you, as it did me, use that element of surprise as a tool to help you control your spending next month.
Put the money you would normally be spending on eating out and on excessive things, toward bills. Getting out of debt will help you in the future. It may feel tight right now, but you will have financial freedom later, so be patient.
Tip #4 - Make Sacrifices
Make small sacrifices on a daily basis. Things you would normally buy, like a coke, or coffee, sacrifice it for the good of your family.
Take the money from each thing you sacrifice and drop it in a bucket. At the end of a month take all of the money out of your sacrifice bucket and pay it toward a bill.
No matter how insignificant it may seem, it really does add up over a months time.
If you don’t use cash, make an IOU bucket.
Each time you sacrifice something and the money is in the bank, go ahead and remove it from your bank balance and drop an IOU in the bucket.
At the end of the month add up all of your IOU’s and write one check toward a debt.
"Money isn't the most important thing in life, but it's reasonably close to oxygen on the 'gotta have it' scale.
Tip #5 - Make a “For Sale” Box
This is a box where you will drop anything you find in your home that could be sold. These non-sentimental things are usually just clutter anyway, so getting rid of them will help your home feel and look more managed and organized.
If you can make some extra cash off your junk, why not do it? Turn those items into cash and pay that cash toward a debt.
Have a yard sale. I think I average about $350-$500 each time I have a yard sale. Not bad.
Or, place those items on Craigslist or other trading sites. There are many trading apps you can use to sell things as well.
Tip #6 - Make a “Give-away” Box
It may not sound like a way to make some cash, but giving brings rewards far greater than you can imagine.
Luke 6:38 says give, and whatever measure you give with, will be given to you. If you give with good measure, other people will give back to you with good measure. Giving brings increase.
I like to give things away on a regular basis. I started a group on fb if you would like to join the fun called Gifters Market Group.
I feel that we all reap what we sow in this life, so giving is extremely important. Help someone else who may not have as much as you do.
Giving to the Kings Home or a local charity not only helps others, you can also use it as a tax deduction.
Tip #7 - Make a Cash Only Envelope
If you’re not cautious, it is easy to swipe a card without taking into account the amount of money you’ve spent. If you have trouble spending too much money from your bank account, make an envelope designated for cash only purchases.
For example, if spending on clothing is your weakness, make that your designated “cash only” purchase. Set aside a certain budget at the beginning of the month and then whenever the money runs out of the envelope, you are done shopping for the month.
Swiping a debit or credit card can be addictive. You don’t feel the urgency to stop spending money the way that you do when cash gets low.
Tip #8 - Shop Around
One thing you will learn about me is I'm thrifty. If I can get it cheaper somewhere else I will wait. I also don't buy on impulse (normally 😉). We all have our moments of weakness, but usually if I buy something on impulse it's because I know I can sell it and make money off of it later.
Shopping around is smart budgeting. I shop sometimes for months before making a large purchase because I want to be sure I have found the very best deal possible, and that I am not impulse buying.
Tip #9 - Work Together
If you are married, working together as a team is the best way to create a plan that will work for both partners. Get your heads together and create a budget that is realistic and reachable.
Remember- everything starts as a dream, but dreams become reality for those who consistently pursue them.