Your mission: Make a $50 difference in your available cash over the next 30 days. (Should you choose to accept it, of course.)
That means you’ll either go out and earn an additional $50 this month, or you’ll find a way to cut $50 from your spending this month. For bonus points, you could do both! (Or you could get really fired up and make a greater than fifty buck difference.)
Why accept the mission?
Cutting $50 from your spending or bringing in an additional $50 in income can give you more money to send toward debt. That’s less interest you’ll be paying, and less time you’ll have to go until you are DEBT FREE.
(Every little bit helps, which is pretty much the whole concept of debt snowflaking.)
There may be other benefits too. Maybe you’ll get rid of some junk you no longer need or eliminate subscriptions you’re not using. You might even get a better deal on something you do want to continue using. Who isn’t a fan of paying less and getting more?
If you’re taking the cut expenses approach…
To cut expenses, think back on what you bought or spent money on last month. Make a quick list. (Meaning, actually write it down.) Now log on to your checking account (or look at whatever you use to track your spending) and see what you really bought and spent money on last month. Anything you couldn’t remember originally is a good candidate to cut. Get ruthless with each item — or as many as you need to get rid of $50 or more.
For example, maybe you didn’t see the inside of the gym last month, but are still paying the membership fee. Go ahead and admit that you’re probably not going to use it this month either, or the next. There’s no shame in cancelling, and if you do suddenly get the urge to exercise the minute you do so, well, you can borrow a yoga DVD from the library, or walk a few miles in the great outdoors. (Or the mall, if you live in a not-so-comfortable climate.)
Or, suppose you notice that you’re paying a lot for cable TV. (The average price of cable was $86 a month in 2011, according to The NPD Group.) Maybe you can get a better deal from your existing company, switch to a different provider, or cancel it altogether. Just keep in mind that a better deal means a cheaper total price. Don’t get caught up in confusing “deals” that don’t result in a lower bottom line.
If you’re going for the “make more money” angle…
Well, the world is your oyster, because there are a whole lot of ways to make extra money if you’re willing to put in the elbow grease and time.
Long term, of course, you could start running a side business. If you can get one up, running, and bringing in cash this week, that’s a perfect way to reach that extra $50 or more goal. To do that, you’re probably talking about doing something like cleaning houses, babysitting, tutoring, or using Rover to walk dogs. Those are all things that require little to no start-up funds, and that can quickly bring in the cash.
No interest in starting a little business? How about asking for a raise where you already work. If you make $32K a year, $50 a month is a 1.875% raise, or about 29 cents an hour. Surely your employer would consider at least that much, especially if you’ve proven yourself to be a hard working, valuable employee.
Short term, you could sell things. You’ve probably got something (or multiple somethings) in your house worth at least $50. Maybe you’ve got bicycles you haven’t ridden in years, movies you haven’t watched, or craft supplies that are languishing in a drawer. Someone out there wants them. So put them on Craigslist or hold a garage sale. Folks may even want things like shrubs from your lawn, that pile of old bricks laying out back, or a shed that’s filled with junk. The saying that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure is absolutely true. As a bonus, you might get paid to have your yard cleaned up.
Take on the mission
So take on your mission, and put that extra money to work in your debt snowball. Try one or both approaches, and let me know how it goes!