Want the extra money to buy a new car every few years? How about extra money to go on a nice vacation each year? Could an extra $5,000 each year come in handy for you? Of course. But how hard is it to make that a reality? Actually, not very hard at all. You just need to find a way to create a weekly $100.00 “swing.”
Step 1: List 5 Daily Habits You Could Break, and Their Attendant Costs
Too often, personal finance sites talk about abstract ideas. “If you could save an extra $100.00 each week you could retire by Age 55.” I want you to take action. Specifically, first I want you to sit down right now and come up with a list of 5 daily or weekly habits you could break. Next to the habit, approximate the average weekly cost. The list could look something like this:
1) coffee in the mornings on the way to work: $25.00.
2) Smoking: $50.00
3) Eating out for lunch: $35.00.
4) Expensive Hobby: $30.00.
5) Buying books I could be borrowing from the library. $15.00.
Step 2: List 5 Extra Ways You Could Realistically Make Extra Money Each Week, and The Expected Income Gain.
This list could look something like:
1) Move money from checking to savings: $10.00.
2) Babysit: $35.00.
3) Blog: $20.00.
4) Clean an office once a week: $75.00.
5) Odd Jobs/selling scrap metal: $40.00.
Step 3: Choose Any Combination of Savings/Increased Earnings to Reach $100.00 Per Week.
So, using my example list, I could decide to move money to savings from checking ($10.00), quit smoking ($50.00), and take on odd jobs each week ($40.00). Then, each week I would have to make sure I was paying myself via savings rather than allowing lifestyle creep to set in.
If I did that each week for the next year I should have approximately an extra $5,200 (although taxes might reduce this amount).
Why did I walk you through this? Because it really is that easy. Now if you’re not ready to quit smoking, then I’m not trying to undersell how difficult that step might be for you. And I know firsthand how tough it is to quit, being an ex-smoker myself. But that’s the beauty of the $100.00 swing: you can earn/reduce expenses any way you would like to get to $100.00 per week.
You might be wondering, why $100.00?
I chose $100.00 because it is a substantial savings but also quite realistic. Almost anybody could find a way to earn/reduce expenses $100.00 per week, if they really put their mind to it.
Motivation and the $100.00 “Swing”
Often we start out strong when we decide to earn more/spend less, but with time begin to lose motivation. I have found greater success when I keep a daily/weekly log. Every week I log how much extra money I make on the side. Not only does this help come tax season, but it also helps with keeping me fixed on my goal.
I’ll be going to Europe on vacation in a few weeks thanks to my “swing.” I call this extra money my “mad money.” — which of course is an old saying which means, spend it how you please.
There may be times when you need to tap into this money due to an emergency. That will hurt, but it’s still a better feeling than being short the money and increasing your debt load. If you can though, think of a motivating goal and stick to it. There are more intelligent ways I could spend my “mad money”, but perhaps I wouldn’t be saving as hard if that were the case. You might be more motivated than me. For me this extra money allows me to do the types of things I really love doing.
Another way to motivate yourself is a fore each $1.00 of fun, you put aside another $1.00 towards paying down debt/saving for retirement or any other goals that you have.
With time, you may find that it is easier to create the $100.00 swing each week. You might even decide to get ambitious and go for a $125.00 or $150.00 swing. It’s like exercising, the more tolerance you build up, the easier it is to enact real change in your finances, and in your life.
Best of luck to you as you set out to create a $100.00 “swing” in your own life.
What are your tips/suggestions for freeing up/creating an extra $100.00 each week?