Times are hard. An irrefutable truth about living in America is that we live in an extreme capitalist society. Everyone and everything has been commodified. In a place where time is literally money how are you spending your “free time”? In front of a tv? With a drink in your hand? Let me tell you now, the most successful people in the world do not spend their time away from work being addicted to things that won’t benefit them.
Two years ago I went through the separation from hell. He took my car, got it repossessed. He kept my apartment, got me evicted. Destroyed my reputation, burned and gave away my clothing and things I had left at the house. Tried to kidnap my child. It was not fun. I was in financial ruin. My credit score was dismal, I didn’t have a job, living with my one year old in my high school bedroom at my parents house. Things were not looking good. I was a college student just trying to keep my head above water. It took a couple months but got myself a car and 2 part time jobs. Now I am getting a house, my son is going to preschool, my credit is almost perfect and I have over $10,000 in savings. Here are the small steps I took to get my life back on track.
Let’s start with Saving
I know you have heard it over and over since you were a child, a penny saved is a penny earned. I can’t even tell you how important this statement is?!? I started with just $5 a week. Every paycheck I physically made myself put $5 in my savings account. I know this doesn’t seem like it would amount to anything very quickly. But seeing that number in my savings account go up was literally addicting. If I didn’t have school that week and didn’t have to pay daycare I would put the whole $120 in the account and just pretend he went anyway. The hardest habit to learn when you first begin to save is pretending that the money isn’t there. What made this easier for me was opening a second bank account. I decided to go with a credit union, the nice thing about credit unions is that you own a portion of the credit union when you have an account there. I took the debit card, stuck it in my sock drawer and refused to sign up for online banking. I didn’t want the ability to transfer money out of savings unless I went down to my local branch. If I skipped my daily latte( one of my part time jobs was at Starbucks) I would put that money into yet another account! Which brings me to my next topic
If you don’t have $2500-$5000 to start a stock portfolio then micro investment is the way to go! I use an app called Acorns Start investing with Acorns today! Get $5 when you use my invite link:
You can start the account with just $5 and set up automatic withdrawal or one time investments which is how I started! If I had a little extra cash I would throw it in the account. But my favorite thing about Acorns is they have an “Education” section. Before I knew it every chance I had I was learning about finances. The different kinds of stocks, different forms of investment, and quick ways to make extra money that I could invest. This year I decided was the year of making Money with my eyes closed. And so it started to happen. Not long after I started putting money into my Acorns account I started getting adverts on instagram for a website called “Ellevest” investing for women, by women, and recently in women! Being a #Girlboss myself I was interested. I set my goals and added $25 to each goal. I get monthly updates on how my investments are doing and what Ellevest as a company is doing in society. (If you want an invite for a $100 start to Ellevest please contact me they don’t just provide a link it’s a little more exclusive than that). Once I reached $2500 I opened an Ally invest account because they have a “do it yourself” account with no minimum investment. When you start to spread your money around it starts to gain in momentum faster. And Finally! I started a Summit account at Aspiration. I funded a new checking account as well as a green friendly investment account.
The Side Hustle
I cannot overstate the value of a side hustle. Any extra cash you earn is extra cash you can save. Let’s start with the side hustles which are my favorite, making money with your eyes closed. First is Airbnb, great company! Not only do I find great affordable accommodations when I travel, but it is also very simple to post a listing. And before you count yourself out because you “don’t have room” there are TONS of unconventional rooms to rent. On my trip to Florida last year I stayed in a small circus tent in a lady’s back yard. It had an air mattress and I had access to her bathroom and kitchen. Next to the tent there was also a large shed she had set up as a studio apartment that she rents out! Campers, grain silos, conversion vans!!! Don’t underestimate people’s desire for a cheap place to stay.
Use my Airbnb affiliate link to list your properties today!
Along the same lines as Airbnb there is a similar app for car sharing. Rent your car with Turk, sure there are restrictions for the year and mileage but as of a survey in 2016 an average car owner earned about $6000 a year. Stop and think about how an extra $500 a month would help you out.
Another venture I have been looking into is called peer lending. Like lendingclub.com you give your money to the website, they lend it to people and you get your money plus interest. This is just another form of investment.
Also I like to walk. I am a very big fan of walking. So last year I decided to put up a profile on Rover.com and Wag the app. In the month of December I brought in an extra $650. It really helped with Christmas. I house sat for 3 weeks with one family and did drop in visits for another. Very simple. I was still working at Starbucks, finishing up the fall semester at school, I just slept somewhere else and took a couple dogs for walks.
Fix the Credit
This is probably the hardest part of the empire. Making sure your credit is in a good place. Mine was in the toilet. But once I had my credit union account for a couple months I decided to put in an application for a secured credit card. I applied for A capital one platinum card and was accepted. Due to the nature of my credit I had to pay a larger deposit. For six months I put $100 in charges on the card and would pay it off. And my score would rocketed up 15-30 points every month! I contacted my delinquent accounts and got on payment plans to pull them out of collections. After 8 months my score was up almost 300 points and holding steady. So I hired Lexington Law to help me get over the last hurdle to be ready to buy a house. Credit is essential in our society today.
It is possible to start the first few steps when you are broke. The hardest thing is changing your mindset about money. It can’t be your enemy, it’s important to let the money flow freely through your life. When you can achieve the mindset that money is just something you use you can reach success!