From the Extension Agent - Too Much Month at the End of the Money?

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Published Friday, February 2, 2018
THUMBNAIL - Jeramy McNeely
by Jeramy NcNeely

Too Much Month at the End of the Money?

Most of us get up every day and trade our time for a specific amount of money each month.  There are also some of us out there who also work when we have time off like on the weekends or even holidays.  Then there are the select few that have passive revenue streams like rentals, a cow herd, or other investments that help them create wealth to try and get ahead or just help provide for the family.

Most of us also have a lot of expenses that deplete that wealth we worked so hard to obtain.  Insurance, house payments, car payments, utilities, phone bills, along with other various expenses that we need to live can suck the life right out of you.  So what can we do to have more money at the end of the month?  Here are a few strategies that I have used just in the past month.

1. Create a Budget and Write down Every Expense - It will boggle your mind when you sit down and capture every income and every expense throughout the month.  Then highlight everything that you spent money on that you did not need to survive.  You will see that our fixed expenses are bad enough, but every latte, candy bar, iTunes charge, and credit card purchase truly hinders our potential to save money.

2.  Find Ways within your Fixed Expenses to Cut Back - Once I wrote everything down, I was able to pick through my fixed expenses and find ways to cut that total amount down.  Here are some examples of how I saved:

TV Bill - We have Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon along with our basic cable from which to choose something to watch.  By cutting cable, sharing streaming services, and just not watching as much TV, I have been more productive and will save $38.55 a month or $462.60 a year.

Cell Phone - We had an unlimited data plan due to the fact that a certain teenager in the family likes to use a lot of data.  After having a talk, we were able to change our plan and save $45 a month or $540 a year.

Unused Vehicle - We had an old pickup we used to run around a little and to check cows.  After thinking about how much we actually didn't drive it, we sold it, used that money for hospital bills, and will save $235.67 a year on insurance and tags.

Switched to Liability - My car I use for work is getting older and getting a lot of miles.  After checking its value on Kelley Blue Book, we decided to switch the insurance to liability only saving $195 a year.

Now these may not seem like large amounts of savings but they do add up.  I was able to save $1433.97 a year just by writing down my expenses and finding ways to cut down.  It took only an hour to figure out where to cut and the savings will pay for my house insurance.

3. The Other Expenses - Eating out.  This is a huge expense for most households.  I don't eat out a lot but would usually grab something for lunch every day.  By bringing leftovers from home, I will probably save well over $100 a month or $1200 a year.  Like to buy toys?  I love guitars and would own every brand if I could.  Do I need more than one?  Unfortunately I do not.  By not purchasing things that I don't need, well it will be interesting to see how much that saves!

I'm not telling anybody how to live their life or spend their money.  But if you're like me, you're ready to start building some real wealth and it all begins with taking the initiative to tighten the belt and find ways to keep more of it.  My guess is, we aren't going to miss those luxuries after a while.

For more information, contact your local Extension Office:  Baca County 719-523-6971, Bent County 719-456-0764, Cheyenne County 719-767-5716, Crowley County 719-267-5243, Kiowa County 719-438-5321, Otero County 719-254-7608, Prowers County 719-336-7734 or your local health department.