I’m no kind of financial expert, but I do have to balance a checkbook like everybody else. I’ve learned a few things along the way, made mistakes, and looked askance at the same kind of things you probably have if you spend a lot of time online like I do. I wear a lot of hats ranging from college student and “people watcher” to blogger and freelancer and somebody who pays attention to the news, so I see a lot of people who think they have it together, but they find out differently when something goes wrong. So here’s a few bits and snabs I’ve picked up along the way for your entertainment.
Tips For Financial Success From The Experts
- Sign up for the right kind of freelancing site. Freelancer didn’t work out for me, but Fiverr was great about helping me through a financial rough spot. That’s the one where you do little jobs for people for $5 (really $4 because Fiverr does take its cut). If you worry about the economy, taking stock of your skills is definitely helpful here because, even when things get a little bumpy, there are companies and individuals that will pay you to do odd jobs for them.
- Make no financial decisions before breakfast. Yeah, I’ve made this mistake too. Luckily, I didn’t go broke, but it does sting. Eating breakfast will at least give you time to think things over and give your brain an energy boost so you can make your common sense decision.
- Ignore the “gurus”. You know the ones that offer to help you make piles of cash for very little effort. Well, guess what. If they have it figured out, why are they spending so much time and effort trying to sell you their program for $19.99? There are legitimate work at home sites out there, but you have to be discerning about what you sign up for.
- Don’t be discouraged if you don’t succeed the first time. My first effort at creating a website tanked. Badly. So did my second. However, both tries were a decent learning experience. Because I’m an optimist, this is my third attempt at an actual, real website and things seem to be going a bit better so far. I haven’t yet reached my goal of earning enough to get to Archon 37, but it’s just a matter of persistence.
- Have a backup plan. Remember what I said about freelancing? It’s real cool for when you get laid off and you don’t want to just sit around your house until you land your next job. You don’t want to wait until the worst happens before you start building your reputation. Your Plan B doesn’t even have to be freelancing unless you like the idea of telecommuting. It might be anything from a new career to stashing away any extra money in a rainy-day investment plan. Just do whatever works for you.
- Budget carefully. If you’re on a tight budget, naturally you want to count every penny. If one line item doesn’t quite match your expectations, scratch it out and consider alternatives, including dropping that gym membership if you can simply ride your bike to work every day and do sit-ups at home.
- Know when to say no. I’ve seen parents who obviously didn’t have a ton of extra money cave on that toy their kid wanted simply because they threw a temper tantrum. Leaving aside questions of what makes for good parenting, that kind of thing can really stack up and blow your budget. So see if you can come up with alternatives like encouraging your children to make their own fun.
- Know when to say yes. Would switching to energy-efficient light bulbs save you money? If you buy the right brand, certainly. I have two of those light bulbs in my bedroom’s overhead lamp and I can honestly tell you that they’ve lasted through three years and several changes of my third “regular” light bulb. I’m not affiliated with any light bulb company, but if you make smart small changes in the way you consume products, they can really save you big.
- Cash in those items you never use anymore. Have an “original” iPad in the back of your closet? Take that thing to the nearest Apple store and you might be able to trade it in for an Apple gift card. Then you can put it towards that iDevice or accessory you’ve been thinking about buying anyway. Look for items you can sell on eBay, trade in on Amazon, sell to a scrap dealer or just sell at a garage sale and you can pick up some extra cash for life’s little essentials.
- Be aggressive about paying off debts. This should be an obvious one, especially if you’ve calculated how much you’re paying in credit card interest every year. So before you go on a nice dinner out, think about how much you’ll save by making meatloaf at home and put that money towards your debts.
If you have some money sense, these tips might well be familiar to you. If not, you could very well find a few extra dollars by deciding what you want out of your financial life and having the discipline to pursue it. Good luck, and don’t forget to search under your couch cushions for spare change.
A Reminder To Be Smart With Your Money…