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Increasing Your Income

The following blog post is written by Jeremy McKinnon. Jeremy’s passion for money management was passed down from his parents and grandparents who looked at money as a tool and realized its limitations. Two years ago, he decided to quite his job as a project manager in the construction field to focus on pursuing some of his passions. Currently, he works part-time in the concert and convention industry as a stage hand. Jeremy also volunteers at Denver Open Media – a project that educates and puts media in the hands of the community.

What if I told you that you could increase your income tomorrow without earning a raise, changing your job, winning the lottery or receiving a big inheritance? All you would have to do is change the way you use your money.

 

People have many different expectations of what money can and can’t do for them, but in the end, isn’t it just a tool that can provide some of our needs and wants? And if we used that tool more efficiently, could it lead to more satisfaction in our lives? Below are few ideas that tackle these questions.

 

Spend On Value - There has been recent research asserting that people who spend their money on experiences are happier than those that spend their money on things. But what exactly is the difference between an experience and a thing? Don’t we purchase things so that we can have experiences? Don’t we buy that new kitchen gadget because it makes cooking easier, and in turn, doesn’t that lead to having a good experience if we enjoy cooking?

 

In my own life, I have learned it really doesn’t matter what we purchase, as long as it corresponds with our values. These kinds of purchases usually leave us feeling positive about our decisions and bring greater joy when being used. On the other hand, when my purchases are not in alignment with who I am, I often feel neutral at best, and at worst, that I wasted my money. Find out what you value, so your purchases are less influenced by those around you and more influenced by what makes you feel good. Do yourself a favor and brainstorm what you value in life, then see if you are spending your money accordingly.

 

Can’t Wait List - Many times we make purchases because we are certain we can’t live without something, only to discover a year later that same thing is in our closet just taking up space. What if there was a technique that helped us keep our closets free of things we don’t use?

 

Several years ago, I started making a “Can’t Wait List”. I record anything that I want to purchase that isn’t a routine expense. Then, I wait 30 days before I decide to purchase the item. After 30 days, you check your list, and, if you still want the item, purchase it. It is that simple. If you can’t decide, keep it on the list for another 30 days. If you no longer desire the item, enjoy the feeling of crossing it off the list.

 

Waiting to purchase these items has had two positive effects on me. First, it gives me more time to think rationally on whether this item is really going to be used or just a brief fade. Second, it helps me from feeling deprived because I know that if I want the item after 30 days, I am free to purchase it. Give it a try and see if your closets are a little lighter at the end of the year.

 

Nickels And Dimes - Most of us have a weakness for something, that when we see it, we have to purchase it. We can’t walk past it without it ending up in our cart. These items can nickel-and-dime us. We often have several of them lying around the house, but we keep purchasing more. They also can be the items we habitually buy every week. Their costs may be small, but they can add up to big money at the end of the year.

 

For one week, identify and track your own “nickels and dimes”. Add up the cost and multiply by 52. What is the yearly cost if you keep going at this rate? Are these purchases worth it, or could some of that money be used for something better? Many times, just being aware that we have “nickels and dimes” can help us change our spending habits.

 

Tracking Finances - Budgeting is one of those things that many people compare to a diet. They are restrictive, hard to follow and, when we see that we failed, we often want to give up. What if there was a better way – a way without restrictions?

 

How about just tracking your expenses and your income every month without putting limits on how you use the money? The only thing you have to do is be diligent about tracking every penny that flows in and out of your life. This includes the pennies you find on the ground or the pennies that fall out of your pocket. At the end of the month, you take those numbers and you enter them into a monthly chart. Have as many main categories as you see fit and then come up with subcategories to get more specific.

 

For example, under my food category is groceries, eating out, and treats. After each month, determine if the subcategories are adding fulfillment to your life or subtracting it. If they don’t add much to your life, then try to find ways to decrease the expense. If they are filling you up and you can afford to spend more, spend more.

 

This is all about being mindful of how much money you are using and where it is going each month. If time is your worry, consider it takes me less than an hour a month to complete my chart. An hour is worth the peace of mind knowing that my accounts are balanced and how my money is being spent.

 

So, take some time to reflect on HOW and WHY you spend your money. You may be surprised to discover the areas that hold the extra income you’ve been looking for.

 

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