“Victory is not the result of avoidance.”
Repeat that to yourself. Mull it over. What does that mean to you?
It is SO wild the way God and the universe will just give you just what you need, exactly when you need it.
I was driving last Thursday. I was headed home to write this post – the second part in our new Two Peas Money Series. I knew I needed some inspiration. So I put on The Brendon Show.
Ashley recommended that everyone listen to it on New Years Day. I wanted to see what she was talking about. We both LOVE Brendon Burchard. He’s like your own personal hype man in your car. He’s amazing. He’s a motivational speaker, and his podcast is all about being the best version of yourself. It is free BTW… and it is totally transformative.
Anyhow Boom. Right there in the beginning of his podcast was the EXACT quote I needed to write this post.
“Victory is not the result of avoidance.”
If you couldn’t tell… we’re getting deep here in Week 2.
To me it means anything we need to conquer in life… we’ve got to confront those things head on. That is exactly what I was trying to say in Week 1. If we’re going to conquer our financial situations, we’ve got to stare them in the face. So for our purposes, that quote means… we’re not avoiding our finances anymore. We’re not saying “I have no idea where it goes.” We’re not hiding behind our husbands. No. We’re tackling our finances head on.
So here we are. We did the homework from Week 1. If you haven’t done it… go back and do it. We are not avoiding. We have taken a good hard look at our finances. We’re acquainted. We’re chummy. In fact…. we invited our finances into our living rooms to SPILL THE TEA. Our own personal tea.
The homework I had you do in Week 1 was like the Real Housewife Reunion of the last year of YOUR financial life.
I was like the Andy. I asked you the fully loaded, hard to answer, not so fun questions. Your bank account statements and credit card statements were like your cast mates. Your BofA statement said that you were an angel and just bought groceries and got gas last year. But your Southwest card…. uhhh uhh honey. It sung like a canary.
Your Southwest card hung your Nordstrom, Amazon and Target habits out TO DRY! I mean… at least mine did. OOPS.
And here’s the deal… I know I’m not alone here. I firmly believe that any good teacher should do their own homework. So I did this exercise with you. It took hours. It sucked. But… you know what? I learned a lot. And I’m sure we learned the same lessons.
What I hope you learned:
- I hope you learned that YOU DO know where the money goes.
- I hope you learned that YOU DO deserve to have a seat at your family’s financial table – even if your husband makes the money.
- I hope you learned that YOU DON’T have to fear your finances.
- I hope you learned that YOU DO understand your financial pie.
- The #1 thing I hope you learned is that the common denominator is YOU. And the way to change…. is YOU.
In Week 1 I had you make your financial pie chart. If you haven’t done that… go back and do it. It is SO valuable. Today we’re going to hone in on your expenses slice. We’re doing this because – to recap from Week 1: There are a couple ways to REALLY change your financial pie.
Option A.) cut expenses and save more.
Option B.) make more money and thus, save more.
OR – the most effective way to save more –
Option C.) do A and B together. Cut expenses, make more money, and grow your financial pie.
Today we’re going to tackle Option A. From someone who has done ALL of the above… I am going to tell you that Option A is ABOVE AND BEYOND the easiest. Option A doesn’t require a business plan. Option A doesn’t require you working two jobs. Option A doesn’t require any additional working capital. Option A doesn’t require later nights, earlier mornings, and less time with your kids. No. Option A doesn’t require anything more than you being honest with yourself.
Option A, Step 1 – Separate your expenses into two categories:
Separate your expenses into wants and needs.
But you have to be real.
My wants: My nails are a want. My eyelashes are a want. My hair, as much as I LIVE AND DIE by my extensions, are a want. My Amazon habit is a want. My children’s childcare – as much as it allows me to do my job – it is a want. 99% of the things I spend money on… when I really look at them… are WANTS.
My needs: Groceries. My mortgage payment. Necessary human items. And if we’re being really honest – I could find ways to shrink both of these items if push came to shove. You’ll probably notice that your list of actual needs is very small.
Option A, Step 2 – Figure out where you can shrink your “wants”:
People fail to cut expenses because it is uncomfortable. People fail to cut expenses because it is easier to live life they always have. People fail to cut expenses because they are scared of what others will think. Here’s the thing about any major life change you’ll make — it will always be uncomfortable —- at first. Eating healthier, working out, leaving a job, cutting expenses, saving money… these are all uncomfortable things — at first.
But once you start… you’ll never want to stop.
Here’s a personal example. Over the past year I had a savings goal. I also had a TON of expenses and I had just quit my lucrative job in finance. The future was unkown. What was known… was that I had 3 Kids in daycare, 2 mortgages, a home build, college savings accounts to fund… where do we even begin? ACTUAL, REAL LIFE, IMPORTANT THINGS. So I decided to hone in on one area of my spending that would save me a good amount of money — and fast. I decided, for a year, that any major designer purchases were not for me. In a world where bloggers seem to measure their success by the amount of designer bags they own, this was definitely unconventional. It sucked… at first. I felt jealousy… at first. I felt like our following would notice that I kept using the same bags over and over when other girls were getting new ones every week.
But you know what? NO ONE CARED.
In fact, last year, our blog sales were the highest they have ever been. In fact, we grew over 100% every month last year compared to the year prior. No one gave a crap that I wasn’t buying designer bags. No one will care that you’re drinking nespresso instead of Starbucks. No one will care that you invite them over for a home cooked meal instead of going out to dinner. No one will care that you pregame at your apartment instead of going to a bar. If you have any of these concerns… let me be the first to tell you… they’re all in your head. These are all things you tell yourself. And they’re lies. I promise.
Your new life motto… as Michelle Tanner famously said… “CUT IT OUT DUDE.”
This is an exercise in empowerment. You should feel empowered by knowing that if push came to shove, you would know where to cut back. You should feel empowered by knowing what your life would look like if you had to make some changes. This exercise is designed to make you stare your fear of “not knowing where your money goes” in the face. You should feel empowered by knowing that YOU ACTUALLY CAN SAVE MONEY.
And if, after doing this exercise, you find that you absolutely cannot save money, or that you absolutely cannot chip away at your debt… this is to show you that you need to make some changes. You 1.) either need to look at your list again and reevaluate… or 2.) it’s probably time for you to make more money. It’s time for you to level up that existing business, to pick up a side hustle, or to chase your dream. Let me tell you – in this day and age – everyone can have a side hustle. I will delve into that (OPTION B) next week.
And… because I would never leave you hanging… if you need some ideas of how to cut back on your expenses slice… here we go.
Easy Ways To Cut Your Expenses:
1.) Cut out your coffee habit:
This is one of the easiest ways to save meaningful money. As a nation and as a culture, we mindlessly spend money on coffee, tea,and the like. If you buy a $7 coffee/snack combo at Starbucks… or even at the local coffee shop once a day… you are spending about $2,500 a year. If you make your cup of coffee at home… you’re looking at about 17 cents a cup…. or about $63 a year.
2.) Split an entree:
This is such an easy change you can make. It will not only benefit your wallet, but your health too. Joe and I often times will go to dinner, we’ll both order a salad, and then we’ll split an entree. It ensures we’re getting our greens in, it helps us avoid overeating, and it is friendly to our finances. Over the course of a year… if you were to cut out one $20 entree a week… that’s $1,040 a year.
3.) Cancel Your App Subscriptions:
Ashley shared this amazing money saving hack on our Instagram stories the other day and people went wild. It is SO easy. Open your app store, click on your account, go to subscriptions, and then you can cancel each app that you no longer use. We got SO many messages telling us that we had saved you $20 -$100 a month. Many apps auto renew fyi and that is what will really get you! We are so happy that you found this tip useful!
4.) Stop being a shopping snob:
Repeat after me. I AM NOT TOO GOOD FOR WALMART. When I started shopping at Walmart versus the “nicer” grocery store in my area, I COULD NOT BELIEVE how much money I was saving. Things just cost less there. And… if you think you are too good for Walmart.. you can always check out their grocery pick up option. It’s awesome. You can easily save 1-2k a year by changing where you shop. You can also look at shopping local small farms!
5.) Make meals ahead and freeze them:
I am the QUEEN of making meals ahead of time and freezing them. Not only does it allow me to always have delicious meals on hand… but it allows me to buy in bulk (saving money here ) and I don’t waste food this way either. I love freezing meals in pre-portioned bags – and this way I can just take one out whenever I need it!
6.) Buy a steamer and stop dry cleaning:
This applies to women much more than it does for men. I used to dry clean EVERYTHING. I was wasting SO much money by just dropping my clothes off at the dry cleaner. Now I steam everything and get SO many uses out of each piece before I even think about dry cleaning anything. The dry cleaner is a LAST resort for my clothes now. Plus – No one needs all those chemicals!
7.) Drink water:
A very easy way for most people to save money is to stop drinking anything that isn’t water. Water is pretty much free in this country and can you imagine what you would save if you didn’t drink any alcohol this year? Let’s talk numbers now. If you – on average – have 4-5 drinks a week… and let’s say each drink costs about $7 CONSERVATIVELY. If you just cut out that habit… you’d save AT LEAST $35 a week… or $1,800 a year. Now.. I know… many people reading this drink WAYYY more than that… and drink much more expensive alcohol than that. So I would say $1,800 savings is the bare minimum.
8.) Talk to an accountant:
A really great way to figure out how to save more money is to sit down and talk with an accountant. Many people, especially if you are self employed, have SO many expenses and things they can write off that they have NO idea about. That being said… please be responsible. A good rule of thumb for if you can write something off for your business is, “Is it necessary for your business?” For example… Ashley and I can write off our camera equipment, our laptops, work conferences, business lunches, etc. Things we cannot write off… designer bags, clothes, extensions, botox, etc.
9.) Look locally for free things to do:
This is a great way to save money and it is SO easy. Most communities have SO many free activities for you to do year round. All you have to do is look!
10.) Cancel Your Subscriptions:
Do you have subscription products that are stacking up? I know I did. Amazon subscriptions. Essential oils. The Honest Company. Thrive Market. Look at these services and make sure you are using what you are paying for. If you have items stacking up in your home, cancel those subscriptions, or just put them on hold if you don’t need a surplus right now!
11.) Evaluate Your Cable:
This was something my husband was ADAMENT about when we moved to our new home and we are saving about $100 a month by switching to Youtube TV and Disney Plus.
12.) Meal Plan & Online Grocery Delivery:
You probably don’t realize how bad your impulse shopping is at the grocery store until you order your groceries online. I had NO idea how many random things I was putting in my cart or how many random things my kids were putting in my cart until I started to shop online. I also am SO much better about ONLY buying for the meals I am making that week when I shop online. I also love that I can actively go to my pantry and see what we have while I am online grocery shopping. When I am at the grocery store, I am the QUEEN of second guessing. Am I out of milk? Do we have enough butter for this recipe? Did I buy apples last week? I always end up overbuying. But when I order online I can double check the fridge and pantry since I am at home. I have also noticed that I am much better at price comparison and buying generic when I shop online. I hope this helps you too! Our grocery store offers free online grocery order pickup and delivery to my house is $5. I can’t tell you how much money this saves me and how much time it saves me as well. AND don’t be fooled… time is money people! Every second counts!
14.) Evaluate where you live:
I went over this in Week 1.
A very easy way to save more money is to live in a tax friendly state. Ashley and I love where we live – and we also love that Nevada is one of the few states left that doesn’t impose a state income tax on most income earned here. SO many companies that you know place their financial arms in Nevada for this very reason. Apple’s financial arm – Braeburn Capital – is located in Reno and was directly above my office when I worked as a bond trader… even though they are famously headquartered in California. TONS of extremely wealthy people choose to have their primary residences in Nevada for this very reason, even though they live the other half of the year somewhere else. Many family trust offices are located in Nevada. The list of extremely financially savvy people who flock to tax friendly states goes on and on and on. If you think your state’s tax situation doesn’t matter… think again. Trust me.
I know it doesn’t make sense for most people to just get up and move, but I wanted to include this way to save more money this year – in case – you have a job where you can work from anywhere. It makes a HUGE difference.
There are 7 states that currently don’t tax most income earned:
- South Dakota
15.) Think about your purchases – and for the LOVE – stop going to Target when you are bored.
Nothing will send your money flying out the window like a trip to Target, or Walmart, or wherever you go when you are bored. For me – lately – it’s home goods. :/ Wherever your trigger is… avoid it like the plague. If you stop making this a habit and replace it with something worthwhile – the money will stack up SO quickly and you will feel more fulfilled. I also like to use the 30 day rule. Set it aside for 30 days. If you still need it… buy it. If it’s sold out… or gone… or if you realize you didn’t really want it… that’s cool. None of it was meant to be.
I hope you found this helpful, worthwhile, and I hope you see meaningful ways to save that can easily be applied to your life. Please share this with your friends if you found it useful and you think they can benefit! If you were an average person, and you implemented all of these changes… you would – in my opinion – at the BARE minimum – save 10k next year by making some simple lifestyle changes.
Stay tuned… next week we’ll be covering Option B – ways to grow your financial pie. 🙂
I started this process in November for myself when I realized I didn’t even try in 2019 to save. I am now on a plan to pay off all debt, but student loans by October 2020, and student loans by May 2023. So far I am on track and happy. The only way I allow myself extra expenditures is by picking up OT at work. So far so good. I have used the website undebt.it to create an Avalanche plan for my debt goals. I wish you all the best in your financial goals.