So the government shut down. Awkward.
But what do you expect from a group of people whose purpose is to get as much as they can for their people (who ironically aren’t the everyday hard-working American people who voted for them, even though they do their best to push that façade) while only remotely caring about the financial repercussions that come with using other people’s money that way? It’s like a 90-year old racking up credit card debt like it’s going out of style because he knows he’ll be gone before the crap hits the fan.
So it got me thinking, how about we talk about something our government doesn’t know much about these days? We’re going to talk about how you can increase your monthly surplus. In fact, maybe we should all send this on to our local Congressperson. Wouldn’t that be fun? 🙂 Anyway, here are some thoughts about how you can increase the amount of money you can put toward your financial security each month.
Pay yourself first. This doesn’t really impact the amount of money that comes in, but it sure can impact the amount of money you keep. If you’re just saving whatever is leftover at the end of the month, you’re doing it wrong. Put away some money as soon as you get your paycheck. I don’t care what you’re saving for as long as it’s attached to a solid goal that is going to improve your financial security. It will leave you with less money for the rest of the month, but it puts your priorities in perspective and will force you to cut down on lame-o expenses that don’t provide any real value.
Get your yard sale on. I’m just a little obsessed with getting rid of stuff we don’t use. I drive my wife crazy every time we move because I’m constantly thinking about what we can get rid of. But I’ve seen too many people spend way too much to store crap that they’ll probably never use again. Really, paying anything to store your crap is probably too much, unless you’ve got a legitimate reason to do so. So whip out your salesman skillz and put together a yard sale. If you don’t have enough to have your own, get together with some of your friends and do a multi-family yard sale. You’ll have success AND your friends will be grateful that you talked them into making money off of their old stuff they don’t use. You obviously can’t do this every month, but it will help you get out of any storage fees you’re suffering from.
Drop the hammer. This is one of my favorite things to do because it’s so easy and the impact can be huge. Call your internet or cable company and let them know you’re thinking about dropping their service. You’ll be amazed at how many “special promotions” they’ve got up their sleeves to keep you from leaving (although I’d recommend kicking cable/satellite to the curb completely and substituting it with Netflix or something similar, but that’s just me). This one works better if you’ve been with the company for a while and have been in good standing, but some companies will work with just about anyone to keep them a customer. Do the same with your auto insurance. Spend an hour or so shopping around. Insurance rates are constantly changing, so who knows what a different company could do for you? The last time I switched I was paying $50 less for the exact same coverage. And in all of this, don’t forget the most important seven words, “Is that the best you can do?”
Side hustle it up. There are so many opportunities with this one. What it really boils down to is what you are passionate about. Odds are you’re better at something than a lot of other people. I started this blog because I love personal finance and love talking about it. Shortly after I started, I reached out to a family publication to see if they would pay me to write about family finance. I now make a little on the side doing that, which now funds advertising for this site so I can get it to where I can start earning on this. Whatever it is you’re good at or passionate about, I’m confident you can find some way to turn it into a little extra income on the side. Isn’t that what all of us want to do? Make money doing something we love? My sister loves Scentsy candles and sells those on the side. A friend of mine bought a few snow cone shacks and spends next to no time managing them. You don’t have to be a serial entrepreneur to do something you love and make money off of it. Just enjoy it and it could turn into something awesome 🙂
Is there anything you try to actively do to increase your surplus?