Updated: Jul 7
Getting more cash each month doesn’t necessarily mean you have to win the lottery, get a big raise, go back to college, or change jobs. Even small lifestyle changes can yield big monthly savings and with some more serious changes a complete overhaul to the budget can be achieved. Here are three ideas that could help dramatically alter your budget and increase how much cash you hold onto each month.
1. Get creative with where you live.
Bigger isn’t always better. So many people think having a bigger house, more bedrooms, more bathrooms, and more space will make them happy. More often than not, though, that means more money is needed, not to mention more time spent on cleaning and maintenance. Those things do not create more cash flow and often take you away from doing the things that are more important in your life.
Consider downsizing where you live. Do you really need all those extra bedrooms? Maybe you can sell your current residence and move from say a 5 bed 3 bath house to a 3 bed 2 bath house. In doing so, you very well may be able to lower your mortgage payment and in addition put money in the bank. Additionally, less time on maintenance is also a hidden money saver. Remember, one measurement of time is in fact money, so more free time means more potential savings (or time to spend on other productive activities).
Another possibility is buying a tiny home. Downsizing to just the essential living space is picking up in popularity, and many have found that simpler is better. Less time and money spent on the house means more time and money for other things like time spent with the kids and family, travel, reducing time at work, etc.
Or if you have a bigger house or land, renting out some space is another option. Perhaps making a trailer available on your property for rent, converting extra space into an apartment, or some other area like a shop or basement can be made available. With tools like Airbnb available, it’s easier than ever before to generate cash from your extra space someone else might be in need of.
2. Reduce the number of toys you have.
Cars, trucks, boats, RVs, motorcycles, four wheelers, jet skis, side by sides, and trailers to haul it all. The list of available big-purchase recreational vehicles out there is long, and a newer bigger better model is always coming out. Toys are fun, but paying for them? Not so much.
Don’t get me wrong, I like toys and recreation is important. However, the extra expense can strap down the best of budgets and cause a lot of stress. After all, buying them is only part of the equation. There’s insurance, tax and registration, fuel, maintenance (oil, brakes, tires etc.), and storage. Similar to a large living space, all this takes time and money. Oftentimes some end up spending more time paying for toys than they have to spend actually using them.
A good rule of thumb is if you are not able to use a vehicle more than a few times a year, it is more likely cheaper to just rent it than owning it outright. Reducing the number of big-budget possessions like this can make a big difference in the monthly budget.
3. Find remote work, or get a side gig.
How much money do you spend just to actually have a job? For example, most households need no fewer than two reliable cars, both of which need to be insured, fueled, and maintained. In addition, others are responsible for providing their own tools and certain clothing/outfits that need to be replaced throughout the years.
The point is this: Having a job costs money, reducing the effective amount of take-home pay for a family. And getting a higher paying job doesn’t always pay you more if you have to spend more of your own money to keep the job. Sometimes a lower paying job gives you more if it costs you less to work there.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies now allow for remote work. No longer making a daily commute can be a huge savings for employees. Also, remote work opens up new possibilities for employment online. Being physically located near your job may no longer be a necessity.
Additionally, many individuals have started their own side gig using sites like Upwork or Fiverr that allows them to work on their own terms. Or they have started their own side business from home selling on various sites like Etsy, Shopify, or Wix.
While 2020 has been a very difficult year, the good news is that new options have been made available! Thinking outside the box and a willingness to make some changes is all that’s required. Not all these items will work for everyone, but trying just one can make for some big results. You might be surprised how much of an impact it can have on your monthly budget.