As a freelance journalist and communications consultant, my monthly income can vary widely depending on the month and amount of work I get. Now that I am in my 30s, I’m thinking much more about costs associated with healthcare, saving for retirement (!) and self-employment taxes. I’ve always been frugal – growing up I kept my money locked in a brown wooden box – but now I spend money on items and experiences rather than things, mostly. I tend to save in various ways. Here are my money-saving and money-making hacks that I’ve learned over the years.
1.Get iced coffee from the grocery store.
I’m a big fan of Starbucks iced coffee, and I don’t begrudge anyone who goes to get their daily fix (ahem, Suze Orman), but I’ve found that I can get much more bang for my buck by buying Starbucks iced coffee in containers at the local grocery store. It saves time, too. I don’t have to wait in line or even leave my apartment!
2.Keep a spreadsheet of what you spend and earn each month and your bank account total.
I’ve been keeping track of my monthly expenses and income for years now. It doesn’t necessarily keep me from purchasing an item, but it’s a good way to see how much I spend each month. I have a column for amount spent, amount earned, bank account total and any notes, such as payment for quarterly taxes as a freelancer. I can quickly gage how much income I’m bringing in, which helps me plan for the future.
Face it. We’ve been doing this for a while now. But it’s worth repeating. I haven’t had cable for years and it not only has helped my bank account but it’s also helped with the mindless scrolling. Now I know the same can happen with Netflix or Hulu, but I’ve learned to be more intentional about what I watch. I may lack some knowledge in the pop culture realm, but it has helped me to pick up other habits like reading, writing or exercising.
4.Have a glass of wine at home before going out on the town.
Another tried and true method is to invite that friend over for a glass of wine before heading out on the town.
5.File for class-action settlements.
My dad got me started on this. He researches class-action settlements and fills out the forms. There are judgments on a variety of things, most notably is the recent Equifax privacy settlement. I’ve received money from airlines, clothing stores and other brands. The settlements can range from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars, but it’s money that is meant for the users of the service or product so it’s worth your time to fill it out. Most companies will alert you to your possible inclusion in a settlement, but there are also some websites you can visit to search for settlements, including classaction.org and bigclassaction.com
6.Create a manual, guide or e-book and sell online for passive income.
Are you knowledgeable about a particular subject? Consider creating a manual, guide, e-book or book that can be sold. You’ll need to make an initial time investment to create it at first, but then it can continue to be sold, earning income far into the future. I wrote a book back in 2014 and continue to get residuals on it. Though it’s not a lot, it’s a nice little check to receive every six months!
Use these little tips and tricks and hopefully you’ll be seeing some extra green wherever and (however) you save your money!
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