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Increase Your Income in Ways Most People Don’t Know

Increase Your Income in Ways Most People Don’t Know

Like it or not, money is a reality we all have to face. Most of us understand that the things that are really important in life are experiences, friends, and family, but it is hard to escape the fact that financial freedom gives you a lot more time to make the most of those things. Couple that with the fact that not being able to pay your bills is one of the most stressful experiences a person can have, and you begin to understand that the ability to generate income is a key skill for most people. So what can you do to most effectively increase income?

1. Make a plan.

As with most things in life, the key to making money is to have a good plan in place. Having a set of instructions to follow will keep you on task and help you feel like you are making progress even on days when it is hard to see any movement. Each week, think of what you want to accomplish and write down the things you will need to do to get there. Break down the steps you will take to reach you goal and assign each of them to a day on your calendar. When that day comes, make sure you are doing everything you can to move towards success.

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2. Prioritize your actions.

It is a simple fact of life that 20% of the work you do will be responsible for 80% of the success you achieve. Whether you call it the 80/20 rule or Pareto’s Principle, the lesson remains the same: you should prioritize the 20% of your work that is likely to lead to success. Identify and focus your energy on proven sources of income or projects with a good probability of paying off big time. You still need the other 80%, which is usually side projects or ideas in the making, but build your day around your core projects and avenues for success.

3. Try something new.

Nothing will erode your confidence like spinning your wheels on a project that ends up going nowhere. If you have committed a lot of time to a project that isn’t paying off, don’t be afraid to walk away. There is a principle in psychology called justification of effort that says people are more committed to things that they have invested a lot of time and energy in already. This can lead to stubbornly wasting your time on things that will never pay off. Know when you cut your losses and move on to something new.

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4. Say “no.”

Your time is the most valuable resource you have and overextending yourself will drain it. Taking on too many projects will also lead to increased stress and less opportunity to pursue exciting opportunities. Cultivate your ability to say no to things. When a new opportunity comes along, ask yourself if the investment of time it requires is likely to pay off in a way that you feel is appropriate. If the answer is no, walk away.

5. Surround yourself with success.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but a great way to achieve financial success is to act like you already have. The notion of “fake it until you make it” actually holds some water. If you spend your time hanging out with successful people in places where money tends to concentrate itself, you will stumble into more opportunities to achieve success yourself. Make friends with people who have already achieved what you hope to achieve and use those ties to your advantage.

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6. Be a leader.

A well-known key to success in business and in life is the ability to recognize an opportunity before anyone else. With that in mind, you should always be on the lookout for the next great path to success. Keep your mind as open as possible and never stop engaging with the world in creative ways. Expose yourself to as many conflicting perspectives as you can by reading books to disagree with and taking meetings with people you don’t like. Viewing something from all angles is the best way to really understand it and will help you blaze a new trail.

7. Understand time versus replication.

The idea of time is so important, it is worth mentioning again. It is the only resource you can’t do anything to change. No matter who you are or how much money you make, there will still only be 24 hours in a day. For that reason you should focus your energy on sources of income that you can easily reproduce. Do something once and then replicate it as many times as possible to bring in the most money. This is the philosophy promoted my creator of the Dilbert comic strip Scott Adams in his book How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big and it holds true for you too. Now he makes a living drawing a single comic and having it published in thousands of newspapers all over the world. Time is valuable, so make sure your work transcends it.

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Featured photo credit: 401(K) 2012 via flickr.com

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Published on October 8, 2018

13 Incredibly Useful Tactics to Help You to Stick to Your Family Budget

13 Incredibly Useful Tactics to Help You to Stick to Your Family Budget

Are you having trouble sticking to a family budget? You aren’t alone.

Budgeting is difficult. Creating one is hard enough, but actually sticking to it is a whole other issue. Things come up. Desires and cravings happen. And the next thing you know, budgets break.

So how can you stick to a family budget? Here are 13 tips to make it easier.

1. Choose a major category each month to attack

As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” With that in mind, one approach to help you get into the habit of sticking to a budget is simply starting slow.

Spend too much on Starbucks runs, eat out too often, and have an out-of-this-world grocery bill? Choose one bad habit and attack.

By choosing one behavior to focus on, you’ll prevent yourself from being overwhelmed. You’ll also experience small victories, which help you gain positive momentum. This momentum can then carry over into your overall budget.

2. Only make major purchases in the morning

If you’re making large purchases in the evening, there’s a good chance you’re doing so after a long day and you’re probably tired.

Why does this matter? Because our judgement tends to be off when tired – our willpower is compromised.

Instead, only make major purchasing decisions in the morning when you’re energized and refreshed. Your brain will be firing on all cylinders and your resolve will be high. You’re less likely to give in and settle at this point.

3. Don’t go to the grocery store hungry

Have trouble with impulse buys at the grocery store? If so, there’s a good chance you’re going grocery shopping while hungry.

The problem here is that when you’re hungry, everything looks good. So you’re more likely to make split decisions on things that aren’t on your grocery list.

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Instead, make sure you eat prior to your grocery store trip. Then take your list, along with your full stomach, and go shopping. Notice how food doesn’t look quite so good when you’re not fighting cravings.

4. Read one-star reviews for products

Is there a product you just have to have (but maybe not really)? Check out the one-star reviews.

By reading all the horrible reviews, you may be able to basically trick yourself into deciding that the product isn’t worth your time and money.

Next thing you know, you didn’t make the purchase, you saved the money, and you feel good about the decision.

5. Never buy anything you put in an online shopping cart until the next day

If you are making a purchase online, it’s typically a two-step process. First, you click “Add to Cart” and then you go in to review your cart and pay.

The problem is that there not typically much reviewing during step two. It’s generally click pay and there you go. However, this is the perfect point to stop for reflection.

Once you add to your cart, your best bet is to step away until the next day. Let the item sit there and grow cold, so to speak.

This gives you a night to “sleep on it” and decide if you really want and need to spend that money. If you wake up the next day and still find the purchase viable, then perhaps it’s time to go for it.

6. Don’t save your credit card info on any site you shop on

One of the other pitfalls of shopping online is that fact that most sites ask you to save your credit card information.

While the sites will frame it as a method of convenience, the truth is they know you’ll spend more money in the long run if your credit card information is saved.

The “convenience” takes away one last decision-making point in the purchasing process. True, it’s a pain to get out your credit card and enter the information every time. But guess what? That’s the point. If that inconvenience helps you stay on budget, then it’s worth it. Which leads into the next tip.

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7. Tape an “impulse buy” reminder to your credit card

Credit cards make spending much easier than cash. When you spend cash, you can literally see your wallet emptying. A credit card comes out, then goes back in. No harm, no foul.

That’s why it’s a good idea to tape a reminder to your credit card. Customize a message that is something along the lines of “do you really need this?” or “does it fit the budget?”

That way when you pull out the card, you get one last reminder to help you question your decision and stick to your budget.

8. Only use gift cards to shop on Amazon

Amazon is probably the easiest place online to blow money. It’s just so easy to click and buy. However, one way you can slow the process down is buy only using gift cards. Here’s how it works.

If you plan on making a purchase on Amazon, go to the grocery store and purchase a pre-loaded Amazon gift card of the proper amount. There’s no convenience fee, so you literally pay for the money you’ll spend.

Now take that gift card home and load it to your Amazon account. There’s your money to spend.

Why does this help? It makes you have to purposely go to the score and purchase the card in order to purchase the item. That’s a pretty deliberate thing that takes some time, commitment, and thought.

This process will effectively kill the impulse buy.

9. Budget using cash and envelopes

As mentioned earlier, it’s a lot harder to spend cash than swipe a credit card. You can take this even farther by using only cash, and separating that cash by budget category.

Create an envelope for each category and stick the cash in there at the beginning of each month. When the envelope is empty, no more spending on that category, unless you borrow from another (be careful of that approach).

This can be pretty helpful for people that have a hard time following transactions in their checking account, or keeping a budgeting spreadsheet.

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The envelopes simplify the tracking process, leaving no room for error. Nothing hides from you because it’s tangible in the envelopes in front of you.

10. Join a like-minded group

Making the decision to stick to something like budgeting is difficult. It takes long-term commitment.

You’re going to feel weak sometimes. And sometimes you may fail. That said, support from others can help strengthen resolve.

Support can come from a spouse or a friend, but they won’t always have the exact same goal in mind. That’s why it’s a good idea to join a support group that’s likeminded.

No need to pay here, as there are tons of free communities that fit the bill online.

For example, reddit has multiple subreddits that deal with budgeting and frugal living. You can follow, subscribe, and get active in those communities.

This will open your eyes to new tips and strategies, keep your goal fresh on your mind, and help you realize there are others dealing with the same struggles and being successful.

11. Reward Yourself

When you set a budget, it’s usually with a large goal in mind. Maybe you want to be debt free, or perhaps you want to see $10,000 in your savings account.

Whatever the case, the end goal is great, but the end is often far away, making it hard to see the end of the tunnel.

With that in mind, it’s a good idea to set mini-goals along the way. This helps you still look at the big picture but have something that’s attainable in the short-term to help with momentum.

But don’t stop there – set rewards for yourself when you reach that small goal. Maybe it’s an extra meal out. Or a new pair of shoes.

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Whatever the case, this gives you something in the near future to look forward to, which can help with the fatigue that can result in pursuing long-term goals.

12. Take the Buddhist approach

You don’t have to be a Buddhist to recognize some of the wisdom in the teachings. One of the tenets of the philosophy involves accepting that we can’t have everything we want. And that’s okay.

Sometimes you won’t feel good. Sometimes you’ll have cravings. You can’t deny them. But you can recognize them, accept them, and let them pass by. Then you move on.

Apply this to the times you want to do things that will break your budget. You’re going to have the desire to eat out when you shouldn’t. You might want to stay out and spend too much at happy hour with your work friends.

The feelings will come. Recognize them, accept them, but let them go.

13. Set up automatic drafts to savings

If you wait until you’ve spent all your budgeted money to deposit money into savings, guess what? You probably aren’t going to put any money into savings.

It’s too easy to see that as extra money and end up using it to treat yourself.

Instead, set up automatic savings withdrawals. That way, the money is marked and gone before you can even think about it. It becomes a non-issue. It’s no longer “extra.” It’s just savings.

Conclusion

Sticking to a budget can be difficult. No one is denying that.

However, if you can do a few things to set yourself up for success, and put some practices in place to curb impulse buys, then you can (and will!) be successful sticking to your family budget.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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