There is a central theme I am seeing here in the blogosphere. That is, most of the popular financial bloggers already had money or a great education when they became wealthy. I am not discrediting these bloggers in any way. However 10 years ago, when I had no college degree and no special skills and a poverty line level income, hearing people talk about saving money wasn’t even an option for me. Most of the other individuals I worked with at a casual dining restaurant were just tired of getting beat up by life and barely getting by. And that is exactly who I am targeting with this post!
Instead of me writing about theories from a book, I’ll summarize a few bullet points. In the following months, I plan to do individual posts elaborating on these items in detail. All the items mentioned bailed me out when I was not able to save any money. All individuals have different circumstances, but hopefully we can define a standard for building a healthy savings account.
- Create a budget: You can’t figure out where you’re going if you don’t know where the heck you are. A budget is your starting point. And later in life, this tool will be what you and your partner both use to align your goals and proactively communicate your fiscal behavior. I have noticed that most couples who fight over money don’t do a budget together (just an observation).
- Work: Let me be clear. Work any job, all day, and find ways to not have free time because you’re too busy working. Sounds miserable right? Well, I can attest, working a job you hate still gives you more options than the alternative. Which is, not being able to provide for your family, yourself, and if you’re in debt, losing all that you have because you cannot pay the monthly payments. That is the key here. Options! Even if you work a low wage job, you still make relationships, learn new skills, capitalize on the perks they job may offer. Being stuck at home just means you start consuming. Consumption by itself is not bad. But sooner or later, you’ll have to produce or you’ll starve. Simple math my friend.
- Sell: Everything extraneous laying around. Your old cell phone, a spare computer, even the television! You’re too busy working to watch tv. Listing items is free on the Facebook marketplace and craigslist. Or just call up one of your friends and see if you can jump on their next yard sell.
- Save: As you accumulate funds for working like a maniac and selling everything, try to save 3 months of expenses and put them in an emergency fund.
- Invest in your education: I am not telling you to enroll in a university and get a degree. I am saying, use the online resources mentioned on this post and start acquiring skills. Computer programming, book editing, math tutoring the sky’s the limit. Note that I use the word, invest. That is intentional because when you are new at a skill, it will take a while to start earning money. But if you are unemployed, see what skills are in demand by browsing LinkedIn. Literally walk into any Christian church (I don’t care what your belief system is) and ask them for help finding a job. If you are underemployed, this is easy. Ask your manager what skills you need in order to get a raise. Then, wait for it, learn those skills. Do not expect an immediate raise from your employer. But you can probably guess that your employers competitor will have much respect for your new skill-set. Nothing is wrong with filling out an application for the competitor and seeing their offer.
I am glad you asked, I am writing a book about what I did to destroy $225,000 of debt after these steps mentioned. If you’d like to receive a few free chapters, please sign up for the mailing list here
Did I miss anything? Please let me know in the comments.
This has been another entry in my poverty engineering series where I debunk the cultural norms surrounding wealth generation. I don’t claim to have all the answers to poverty, but I can tell you what worked for me.