Let me first start off by letting you know…this is not a sales pitch. We’ve been through a really tough year. And by “We”, I mean everybody. My hubby and I have been living off our savings for the past several months (after his heart attack) but I knew that it would be a temporary “fix” to a much longer term income issue.
There are 4 things I’m doing from home that are making a difference and starting to change the cash flow issue for us…
#1 We made a budget.
Our church is doing “Financial Peace” with Dave Ramsey for our small groups right now. One of our first assignments was to make up a budget. My hubby and I both rolled our eyes…
I am 52 and have never lived by a budget. I always felt they were too restricting and didn’t let you have any fun. Totally not true! We made up our first budget and found that rather than restricting us, it has allowed us to have fun, guilt free! We have a set amount every month for entertainment and it is so freeing to know we can spend that amount with no guilty feelings. We used to regret spending money on fun stuff because we always felt that something might come up that we’d need that money for, But now, we have an emergency fund for those unexpected things.
The budget has helped us see exactly where we’re spending money. And it’s not rigid, in that we can make a few adjustments, during the first few months. Since we’ve never done one before, we’re currently guessing on how much we spend for things like groceries and gas…now that we’re tracking every dollar, we’ll be able to adjust categories as needed next month.
How are we saving money with a budget? By being more mindful of what we’re actually spending, it’s easier to skip the drive through, “just one more” amazon purchase, and snacks at the checkout line. A budget makes it easier to say “no” to impulse purchases…or “yes” when you’ve saved your fun money for something you’ve had your eye on.
#2 Order groceries online
This single thing has saved us a TON of money! I order our groceries online and pick them up without ever setting foot in the store. Post COVID, most stores are offering this service for free. I make up my meal plans for the week, check my pantry and then make up my grocery list. Ordering online means I’m not throwing any extras in the cart or buying something “while I’m here”. I stick 100% to my list! Oh! And one other bonus? …no hour+ wasted going up and down the aisles of the grocery store!
#3 Start a home based business
Lots of people have gotten creative here…mowing lawns, pet sitting, cleaning houses, data entry, etc. With my background in retail sales, I chose to go with a retail option. There are lots of “business in a box” options with a very low start up cost. My hard rules were that I didn’t want to have to hit up my friends and family to buy things they don’t need and I didn’t want to have to beg people to “join my team” in order to make any money. I found an option I love and was making good money at fairs and festivals until COVID hit…all my normal avenues were shut down. I quickly realized I’d have to switch to online if I wanted to continue selling retail. With a little research and the help of friends, I learned a lot about online sales in a short amount of time and my stream of income is still steady (slightly less than pre-COVID, but steady nonetheless). I have learned to love working at home and, as events begin to open up again, I’ll be able to maximize both in person and online.
A couple of tips regarding a “business in a box”: make sure it’s a product you absolutely love; pick a business that does not require you to carry inventory; make sure there are not monthly or quarterly fees or quotas; find one that maintains a free website for you.
#4 Managing my own IRA
This option is not for everyone and definitely not for the faint of heart! There are huge risks to playing the stock market, but with a lot of patience and being willing to learn from teachers who have been doing it a long time, there can be some big payouts. Your decision making needs to be made logically and not based on fear or excitement during the ups and downs of the market. If you know that your personality tends to be impulsive, this may not be for you.
I started out by transferring my 401K into an IRA that I could personally manage. After a few months of studying and learning how to understand the stock market, we opened another trading account with some of our savings. The IRA is growing money for our retirement while the other account is usable now as needed. Again, there is big risk involved, but if you’re willing to put the time into educating yourself, you can make some pretty good money by managing your own investments.
So that’s it for now…
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Hope you have a beautiful day!
PS. I am not getting any perks or commissions from any of these…just sharing what has worked for me and hope that it helps someone else out there…Resources I have used and had success with are the following:
BUDGETING: Dave Ramsey: Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps
GROCERIES ONLINE: I use both Walmart and Publix
MY HOME BASED BIZ: Laurie Young, Independent Manager with Lilla Rose
MANAGING YOUR IRA: Why Choose TD Ameritrade | TD Ameritrade
FREE STOCK MARKET EDUCATION: TFNN.com | Educating Financial Investors