December is a hard month financially for a lot of individuals, myself included. It’s especially hard when our consumer-driven society tells us that we need to buy presents for loved ones to show them that they matter. I’m 100% guilty. I LOVE buying gifts for all of the humans in my life. It honestly brings my heart so much joy, which is quite the opposite affect that it has on my bank account, leaving me feeling all like “woe is me!”
Enter January (AKA a clean slate). I definitely fall into that category of people who dig making goals for the upcoming year. I’m action-oriented. I like to fix problems. This whole bank account thing? A problem. If you’re anything like me, you want to fix this issue ASAP.
Yet, before fixing anything, I think it’s important to acknowledge that we cannot change the past. We cannot climb into our time machines, go back in time, and wish we would have saved more money in December. So, let’s cast those sneaking thoughts aside, and switch gears to creating a plan (AKA a budget) to save additional funds in 2018.
I know, I know! Budgeting has such restrictive implications, but saving money doesn’t have to be sad and dreary — it can be fun. Yeah, I totally just said fun. At the end of this post we’ll either be having the times of our lives, or you’re going to think I’m an absolute crazy person for thinking this stuff is enjoyable. Hopefully not the latter. Shall we begin?
1. CHANGE YOUR MINDSET
Before bringing anything new into your budgetary life, you need to change your mindset. Saving money and budgeting will never be fun if every time you think about it, you cringe. This is where I like to take a page out of Jen Sincero’s book You are a Badass at Making Money.
Jen Tip #1: Lose the negative connotation behind wanting to bring money into your life.
Jen Tip #2: Believe that money is good for you, that money is going to help you do good in the world, and that you deserve to make as much of it as your hearts so desires.
I’m serious about these tips! If you constantly feel bad about wanting to possess, retain and/or enjoy money, you’re going to sabotage yourself and your budget. Now, this is important (and will probably sound a little self-helpy but bear with me): I need you to root for yourself. Rather than bringing yourself down about not being able to save money or not being able to stick to a budget, I need you to tell yourself over and over again that you are the budget master, and that saving is a piece of cake! The only way to get over your gloomy December spending habits (or any period of too much spending) is by getting under a new January money mantra.
2. SET UP (OR REVISE) YOUR BUDGET
Do you have a budget? No? You have a couple of options — set one up yourself in an Excel doc, or subscribe to an app that allows you to track your spending.
For most, setting up a budget is the most painful part. It’s difficult to see what we’ve been spending our hard-earned cash on, especially if it is something that isn’t considered a necessity. For example (and only because it’s an easy example), let’s use coffee as our model. If you spend $5 on coffee every day, you are spending $1,825 annually — just on coffee! I’m not saying you shouldn’t grab coffee at your local shop in the morning, but I am saying that most things are best in moderation. Which brings us back to December and gift-giving and totally throwing our budgets out the window. What if you only grabbed coffee half as often in 2018? If you did this, you would be spending $912.50 on coffee annually, leaving the other half for potential holiday gifts!
Not spending a bazillion dollars on coffee? Here’s the thing: everyone has vices. If it’s not coffee, it may be something else, so look at your budget, identify a couple of areas where you are overspending, and quarter it, halve it, or do whatever feels right to you! I know it’s hard, but think about how much easier your life (and how much happier your budget) would be if you saved $500 throughout the year for holiday gifts, or some other big-ticket budget area. Think about how happy it’ll make you to know that you don’t have to worry about overspending! Fun, right?!
3. BRING HOME MORE BACON
Now some of you are reading this article thinking, “But I already pared down my budget to be as lean as humanly possible! There is no coffee! There are no trinkets! Nothing is left to cut and I still don’t have enough money!” Okay, then you need to make more. It’s that simple. Here are a couple of options that I can think off of the top of my head the will give you some additional funds:
- Ask for a raise
- Join Ebates and/or Ibotta
- Look into applying for a credit card with cash back rewards
- Sell your clothes online and/or at a consignment store
- Sell your unused books
- Flip furniture and sell it on craigslist
- Become a babysitter
- Airbnb your place when you’re out of town
If these items didn’t hit your fancy, I gathered a couple of articles that have some great money-making suggestions. Check them out below:
- How to Make More Money at Any Time, No Matter What You Do
- 10 Side Hustles I have Done to Make Extra Money
- 9 Money-Making Weekend Side Gigs You Haven’t Thought of Yet
- 50 Ideas for a Lucrative Side Hustle
- 50 Side Jobs to Help You Make an Extra $500 or More this Month
Do you have any budgeting and/or money making suggestion? If so, leave a comment below!
Janell is a HR professional from Chicago, Illinois. She is a coffee shop enthusiast that is passionate about using exclamation points in work emails, finding Chicago’s best taco, and helping professionals revamp their resumes. Check out her blog, janellology.com, or her Instagram, @janelloohh, for additional content!
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