Gross. Don’t put your hand in the couch cushion.

Here’s 5 better ideas to find cash.

2019. Wow. I finally just started using the right date when writing a check and now it’s off to learn another. In the past it was February when the year became second nature, and now it’s November. It must be because we write so few checks. My kids don’t even have a checkbook. Venmo and Apple Pay rule their lives.

That got me thinking about money and budgeting (money, eating healthier, and fitness are the top 3 New Year resolutions).

The New Year is a great time to reset and put in a plan.

  1. Spend less than you make. Such a simple idea but, oh, so hard. 

We all expand our expenses to match our income. Instead, do the opposite! Use the 70-20-10 rule. Spend 70% of your income on housing, food, entertainment, school, car, etc. Save 20%. Put it away for a rainy day or the new hot water heater. Don’t touch it unless you must. Start small and watch it grow. Once it gets big you will fight harder to keep it. So the more intentional you are, the better. Give 10%. Tithe, donate, and help. Sharing our wealth (even a tiny amount!) builds your emotional wellbeing as well as those who it impacts. Double down and match the dollars with hours. Triple down…maybe your employer will match it!  Reach into the couch cushion for a little extra. Set a big goal, but make it easy. Sounds like a contradiction but it’s not.

       2.Want to buy a car? Buy a house? Pay off student debt? Keep the plan simple.

Set up autopay with an extra amount to go toward the principal. Either pick a target date to pay off by, or pick an amount you are comfortable to add. Once you do, you will forget about it. One suggestion is to make it an odd number right down to the penny. That way when you balance your finances at the end of the month your brain will simply roll over it. If the goal is big enough, and plan simple enough, your motivation and dedication will carry you through when you get the urge to, “Just this one time” ….

       3. Set up three -or more- bank accounts.

Two at one bank and one somewhere else. Paychecks are deposited automatically. Make the deposit go into separate accounts. You don’t have to think (I like it when a good idea makes it so I don’t have to think). Checking, savings, play fun, donations… Whatever you think. Then only use the checking account for day to day spending. The account at another bank is like your boyfriend in another city. Hard to get! Make it so the only way you can get it out is drive and fill out a handwritten withdrawal slip. It’s a lot of friction and will make you think.

        4. Watch where it goes.

We are being conditioned to the “It’s only _____ a month” mentality. Computer, software, cars, Netflix, spotify, apps…. Everything is about the payment. Be careful and diligent. Add them all up and see. You will be surprised. I am the worst at signing up for free access only to find I have been getting charged $4.99, or more, a month for a couple months. I now cancel instantly. We are all busy and try to make it easy.

Food: A huge money suck is food. Latte from the drive through, grab a lunch, then we run in and get the meal the local grocery store makes. Maybe if we are in the big city we might go out or have it delivered. If you want to save, make your own meals. Do it in batches to take away the daily stress.

         5. Use Cash.

Old fashioned, I know. If you are anything like me, you hate spending cash. It’s also impossible on a plane. But it does work. It feels, and looks, more real than a piece of plastic, giving you a visual along the way. That way, if you run out, you are simply out.  

We often make it too complicated then get frustrated and give up. So, make it simple. Set a big goal with an easy plan to execute. Make 2019 the year you…. buy the car, buy the house, pay off student loan… be debt free. It’s your year. Go crush it!