Lower Your Expenses for More Freedom
To build wealth I think the best thing to focus on is lowering your expenses as opposed to raising income. One reason to do this is lowering expenses is a tax-free endeavor. Any extra income you make will be taxed. Another reason to have low overhead, and companies do this all the time, is to have less of a need for money in general. That in itself gives you more freedom. You don't have to work as hard at your job if you have less of a need for money. It's nice to have options in life, and having low expenses gives you more of them. I want to concentrate on the three main areas of housing, transportation, and food and see if we can come up with some ideas on how to lower these costs.
The first and biggest outgo of money every month is housing. Even if you own your property outright you still have to pay for insurance, property taxes, upkeep, and utilities. You will always have some kind of housing cost. Accept that right off the bat. One way to keep this cost low is to move or live in an area of the country that has cheap housing. Once you have locked in to a 30 year fixed then pay that sucker off by sending as much coin towards it as you can. Having a paid off house is about as secure as you can get even though you never truly own it because of property taxes. Another way to have cheap housing is to rent a low cost place like an apartment or room. There are some other ideas such as living in a camper, trailer, or boat. For those really adventurous you could try living in a cheaper country.
The second area most people spend money on is transportation. This usually means a personal automobile. I think it's really not efficient that society is set up to force us to have our own car. It's much cheaper to take public transportation if you have a good system available where you live. Think about how much cars cost these days. It's a lot! Cars are a giant money suck, but let's face it, they are a necessity. Aim to use your car less and combine your trips. You could also buy a bicycle to go a longer distance than walking. So as far as the car goes pay it off, keep it maintained, and drive it less.
The third area of big money expenditure is food. I've been trying to kick this habit since I was a little kid and haven't quite done it yet. In fact it seems to have gotten worse. Eating out is a big no no if you are watching those dollars. At a sit down restaurant you're paying for a mark up on the food, sales tax, and a tip. You wouldn't be paying for any of those costs at the grocery store. A lot of people eat their lunch out every day. That adds up man! It takes a little planning, but it can save a lot of money to depend on the grocery store primarily for the fuel you need to live. The dollar menu at fast food places is cheap too. I would limit this though because it's usually not very healthy.
I hope I gave you a few ideas on how to lower your expenses in the big three areas of life. These big three needs will always be bearing down on us as long as we're alive, and they are recurring expenses. Just be thinking about ways you can part with less of your money to get these needs met. Even small simple changes can put you on more firm financial footing. Be sure and take the money you save from these areas and put it to work in some kind of investment to free yourself from the need to work a job for survival.
© 2013 Blair Williamson ChFC®