I was recently asked by a reporter from U. S. News and World Report to offer some advice for people who are trying to start the New Year on a good note by getting their personal budgets in order. You can read that article here. A few other tips that didn’t make it into the final article are:
- Use underutilized resources. Most of us have stuff that has value sitting around, but we don’t use it. Food in the freezer? That’s lunch. Cans in the pantry? Get creative about what you might make with their contents. Clothes you don’t wear? Can they be repurposed or re-shaped into something you might use?
- Trade time for money. There may be ways you can use your time to avoid having to spend. For instance, if you volunteer for a not for profit, do they offer lunch or snacks? If you help out at the local library, do you get first dibs on their book sales? Might a local vendor be willing to give you merchandise in exchange for you doing something for them? Are there local service providers who might trade your time for one of their services?
- Consider bartering. This could take the form of swapping things like books, CD’s and clothes for similar items that are new to you. Or as mentioned above, bartering your skills for something you need. Some people save money on babysitting by swapping nights with one another, for instance.
- And of course, saving can also result from earning money, just not spending it. There are a wealth of sites today that can help regular folks earn money on a flexible basis. Spare room? Airbnb. Spare time? Amazon Mechanical Turk. Special talents? Try Upwork. Have a special craft skill or good at making homemade goods? Here’s a link to a description of lots of sites where you can sell those things.
There can be a lot of satisfaction in taking a measure of control over your personal budget. Before the year gets too old.