Challenge to Find Money
If you didn’t get from my blog name, Lady Dividend, or from reading these posts, I love saving and watching my money grow. However, in doing so, my goal is to challenge myself to do better than I was the week before, but not to stress out by placing unreasonable demands.
I make dumb mistakes. I bounce cheques. I buy things online and pay enough in Canadian Customs fees to buy a nice meal out. I’m too generous with people. And I’m always looking for ways to have fun by playing games to see how much money I can save.
I call this “Found Money” because it doesn’t require starting a side hustle or getting a second job. You are just reclaiming money which you would have spent had you not intervened. Will you join me on one of my challenges this week?
Half Your Allowance
Imagine you were closing on a house in a month and needed every cent you could spare for the down payment. That means no more coffees, no more fancy lunches out, no more buying drinks (you’re pre-drinking from now on)! This was my situation in 2014. Somehow the banks overestimated what I would have for my condo down payment. Or I underestimated it. One of us fucked up, probably not me though.
For two months, I literally lived on two dollars a day in nonessential discretionary spending. What did that look like? There were a lot of bagels with butter, instant noodle packages instead of take out, waiting for my parents to invite me to dinner, and the like.
As unpleasant as this sounds, it wasn’t that challenging since I knew it was temporary and was a means to an end. What’s your primary goal right now? Vow to cut your allowance or nonessential spending by half and funnel the remainder to your dreams.
Buy One Get One
In the buy one get one challenge, you only buy something when you are getting something of value free. With the right kind of friend or companion, this could be an amazing way to search for and share deals. Need something at Sephora? You can’t buy it until something else you need is being offered as a free sample. Want to get a drink out with a friend? You can’t pay until you find a place with free appetizers or an industry event. My favourite events are the 86’d nights at the Drake Hotel. You will find free food, mixed drinks, or seasonal specialties. Coffee shops will also have buy one get one deals now and then. Challenge yourself!
Cut One Monthly Charge or Fee
I recently almost signed up for an organic beauty box. It’s only $24 dollars a month. Oh wait- that’s $288 a year. Damn! This is why monthly charges are so insidious. Times it by 12 and a little number becomes a lot. It is mentally more acceptable to sign up for the smaller monthly payment. Biweekly payments are even worse (except if they are for mortgage payments). So why don’t you cut an automatic monthly charge that is not serving you? We’ll file it under “found money.”
Claim Your Benefits
Ok Canadians, we are usually entitled to some pretty sweet work benefits. Do you even know what they are? Are you sitting and working through your lunch break when you could be enjoying a massage or an acupuncture session. Or the gym? These are all benefits my last three employers have offered.
You can spend money and live it up a little. Except you’re not spending your money. You’re getting reimbursed under your extended health benefits instead of doing some other knuckle-headed thing to part with your money.
I want you to save your dough, but not at the expense of your fun and happiness. I dare you to pick one of these challenges and see how it improves your life and financial situation.
How much have you saved this month?