Get Creative on the Financial Front

Are you sitting on small treasures all around you?

We all tend to be aware of how much we’re earning, and those of us who follow a budget tend to know what we’re spending too. But sometimes it can be worth taking the time to see where we could be padding our bank accounts—without taking on a third job or cutting out that one indulgence you really love. Try these savvy strategies to add to your savings or pay down your debt.

Look for “found money”

Do you ever get a small check from a relative or a small refund from an insurance or utility company? Think of it as loose change you find in the couch cushions—it’s not a lot, but put it in a big jar with every other coin you bring home over the course of a year, and it’s enough to do something with. Stop thinking of those small amounts and start seeing them as the foundation of your nest egg. (Or as a small dent in your debt.)

If you open a separate savings account for a specific purpose—say, for that $25 dollars a month you want to sock away towards an emergency fund—you’re more likely to keep it going over the course of the year.

Stop sitting on stuff that’s worth something

Craigslist is your friend! Put things up on eBay! Stop hoarding those CDs and DVDs you never listen to or watch. Rip them first, if you must, but get rid of them! There are other places designed make it even easier to offload stuff. Let go of those old textbooks with BookScouter. They’ll help you get the best price for selling them back online. Movies and music? Try Decluttr. You ship stuff to them for free, and once they accept it, you get paid right away. No waiting for it to sell and arranging shipping, delivery, or pickup.

Or do it the old-fashioned way. Put things aside for a sidewalk sale—you can make hundreds in a day just by cleaning out your basement. You can possibly make even more if you have a good eye—and some decent storage space. You may have noticed how in some neighborhoods a lot of great stuff ends up on the sidewalk during trash day. If you take the best stuff, clean it up and paint it, you’d be surprised how much people are willing to spend for something that cost you an hour of your time and a coat of paint.

At the very least, take the stuff to Goodwill, and get a tax write-off. The less you pay Uncle Sam, the more stays in your savings account (as opposed to your “pocket”— where spending money is).

Look for other savings shortcuts.

Whether you want to take that extra shift at work, or just have a little more down time for all the responsibilities you’re already juggling, consider getting some help with routine tasks that eat up valuable time in your week.

You’d be surprised how many people offer reasonable rates to help with housecleaning, grocery shopping, odd jobs around the house, or even planning a trip. Coupons can also be an easy way to save a few dollars here and there, and there are sites where you can register and become part of their regular retail habits. Every time you go to buy something online, do a search first to see if there is a coupon available for the site where you plan to buy from. If you do save an extra $5, put that “found money” into your savings account right away. When you make this a habit, the savings can add up in your favor!

Not every one of these strategies will be right for you, but try to make one change this week that will set you on a path towards more financial control. This is what leads to financial freedom down the road. Good luck!

As a provider of career-focused training in allied health fields, we want to promote healthy habits among our students and the public. For more information about our school, visit us online.