Hello Campers! Two Tactics for Gaining Financial Momentum
October 6, 2016
This is hopefully a shock to no one reading this blog, but I like budgeting. I like talking about it, thinking about it, writing about, doing it. But more than I love budgeting I love the feeling of gaining momentum, taking the reins a little bit more in my life by controlling my spending, doing things to change my future in positive ways.
With spending more intentionally, I’m more intentional about the physical stuff I want to prioritize in my life and don’t let the Jones family shape the future I’ll have. Sidenote: some of my best friends have the last name of Jones. The Joneses I’m referring to here are figurative Joneses:)
But in case you are struggling to get to this point, I want to share with you my very exciting and not-proprietary Tactics of Gaining Financial Momentum. These are definitely not mutually-exclusive and both are recommended, nay even strongly encouraged. Okay Campers! Pay attention! I think I’m channeling some 80’s actress with big hair who acted on a movie of that same decade called I believe Troop Beverly Hills when I say that.
The first tactic is to cut expenses.
This sounds not-fun. And when your income is staying the same and you’re cutting expense in order to stop putting money on the credit card or trying to squeeze out an extra $10-20/month I will admit – loudly even – that it is really not fun. However, if you have some wiggle room in your existing budget/lifestyle and, by trimming some of the expenditures that weren’t adding that much value to your happiness anyway, you can free up some additional decent wiggle room, it can be fun! And you can start getting a taste of momentum.
Things that fall in this category: over-ordering at restaurants, buying a cheap shirt you find cute for approximately 1.4 seconds, wear once, then bury it in the closet, expensive beverages, that sort of thing. These things seriously do not really add to your quality of life much. You didn’t seek them out intentionally, you mostly just let them happen. And then, even if you could technically afford them, you feel a little guilty.
This is the stuff that’s easy to trim. Some of you are probably making more serious cutbacks, like deciding toilet paper can be rationed down to 1 square per bathroom visit, and I’ve had some budget cycles of this myself. If this is your reality and you are having to penny pinch on even staple groceries I admire you for caring enough to PINCH THE PENNIES and not just throw your hands up and spend on the VISA.
But I also super encourage you to invest in the second tactic so that you don’t have to pinch the pennies so hard.
The second tactic is to increase income.
This also sounds less-fun because money is typically not handed out willy-nilly-like. However, this one has a HUGE emotional benefit and honestly I need to give it a lot of credit for my falling in love with budgeting. A couple years ago, coming out of a career-retraining-chapter, I didn’t have a lot of wiggle room in the ol’ budget and budgeting therefore was NO FUN. So I didn’t do it. So there:)
But the cool thing about retooling your skill set is that it leads to increased earning potential and within a year of quitting a good job I was back to my previous salary and have since exceeded it by quite a bit with tons of room to grow, something not very likely in my previous career. A decent bump in pay was the first time I actually had money to “play with” and it felt awesome!
if you’re struggling with finances and can’t seem to get ahead, I cannot encourage you enough to do something, anything, to get your income up. It guaranteed yields financial momentum whether you achieve this through raises (making the case for why you’re worth the additional money you’re asking for), extra hours at an existing job, a part-time job bringing in some extra moolah, selling plasma (not recommended unless you’re in college– then it becomes a rite of passage and something to swap stories over), anything. And more importantly, it is fertile ground for hope and an important feeling of actively doing something to change your future.
Marriage of the above tactics: increase income and trim expenses.
In the period described in the paragraph above I wasn’t, however, doing any trimming and became increasingly frustrated with the fact that my margin seemed to be disproportionally spending itself. It’s almost like expenses rise to meet income for, oh, just about everybody. It was really only when I decided which things I could trim a bit on that I started getting a lot of mileage out of income increases. T
he combination of the above is like a rock rolling down the hill, it starts rolling and picks up momentum as it continues. Little miracles will occur that accelerate it even more – unexpectedly large tax refunds, bonuses, your car insurance company does a random payout for overpaid premiums…random right?
These are the so-called “coincidental” things that start happening to a person on the path of more intentional spending and living and I cannot wait to see what is in store for you as you continue/start/try-again!
And if you ever watch Troop Beverly Hills I hope it’s as funny/charming/something as I remember it being.