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10 Ways to Live Cheap, Your First Year of Entrepreneurship
I was excited to write this post, to help you to cut back costs in your personal life, so when you are first beginning your business, you are able to save some more money, to help you out when your cash flow in, is small in the beginning and you are hustling to grow your business!
I wrote a post here about the importance of focusing on improving your personal finances (but often overlooked), in order to have a successful business, that you might want to check out here as well.
1) Reducing Grocery Costs is One of the Biggest Ways to Save Money
The 2 most common first places that my clients can start saving money right away, is on groceries and eating out and their subscriptions. Focusing on meal planning and being more prepared when it comes to meals, is literally one of the things that can make it or break it, for having more money you can put towards your business. So really be intentional about grocery shopping and meal planning and save the money there that you can.
I don’t know the statistic specifically for Canada, but in the US, they throw out about 40% of the food that they purchase, that goes uneaten from excess groceries, food expiring or going bad, a lot of it due to poor planning and preparation. A four-person family loses about $1500 a year on wasted food. This statistic is taken from CNBC in January of 2018.
2) Order Your Groceries Online
It might sound counter-intuitive to shop for your groceries online if you have to pay a fee (some places are free and some stores have a small fee), but I can honestly tell you, that even with a small fee, you will still be saving money on your groceries! Why? You know how many times you have been walking through the grocery store and what you had on your list, is completely different than what you have in your cart? You went in for 7 things and came out with 21? Sound familiar?
When you order groceries from home, often you aren’t “hangry” and you’re not as emotional and you don’t grab all of the little extras, you actually often pick healthier items and you stick to your list! So even if you have to pay a small fee, it’s still much cheaper than you going to the store and buying alllll of the things!
3) Cancel Your Subscriptions You Don’t Need
Subscriptions are a huge way to save money easily, every single month!
As an online financial coach, I see the longgggg lists of subscriptions that people have, when they come to me for financial coaching. Because a lot of these are seen as “little” costs, they are often overlooked by how much they add up. I consistently have people who right off the bat, have no problem canceling $50-$300 worth of subscriptions to save money!
What shocks me the most, is how many subscriptions people have that they totally forgot or didn’t even realize they are paying for. They signed up for something with Apple forever ago, they purchased an app, but they didn’t realize that they were being billed monthly for it. Many times the receipt might just show their overall charges, they don’t see the breakdown of what they are actually paying for and they forget.
Just a few examples of the most common subscriptions I see: iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Prime, Audible, apps, satellite radio, gym memberships, network marketing purchases, FabFitFun, etc.
Subscriptions can add up quickly, but the great part is, it’s an easy expense to cancel!
4) Bank at a No-Fee Bank
It saddens me to see how many people are still paying outrageous bank fees!
I have had financial coaching clients come in that were paying really high banks fees and they didn’t realize just how much they were paying in the long run.
One of my clients has been with her bank for ten years, so I did the math on how much she has been paying in banking related fees over the past 10 years and it was $5640! Those small fees really DO add up!
So I encourage you, to bank at a no-fee bank.
If you live in Canada, I recommend Tangerine and Simplii Financial.
If you live in the US, I recommend CapitalOne360 and Ally.
Yes, it might take some time to switch things over, but it is absolutely worth the very small investment of time it takes to switch!
5) Cancel Cable & Watch Netflix Instead
Do you really need all of the channels on cable, or do you just watch a few? More and more people are canceling cable and are totally loving just using Netflix. Plus, as an entrepreneur, you aren’t going to have tons of free time in your first year as a business owner, to be watching a ton of TV, just being honest here. Netflix is great because you still get to watch your favorite shows or movies, but it is way cheaper!
6) Make Travel Less Luxurious and More Affordable
Often I see people when beginning entrepreneurship, taking expensive trips. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all about vacation, travel and exploring new areas and having meaningful experiences. But, when you are feeling stressed about finances when you’re beginning your business, I think it’s best to hold off and doing big trips in your first year and saving those for when you have more clients and business steadily coming in and you are feeling less financial stress.
Think about other options that you can do, to rejuvenate that are more cost-effective. Can you go camping? Can you borrow a camper trailer or a tent from someone (if you don’t have your own) and go out in nature and explore? Can you stay in a hostel or Airbnb, versus a hotel room?
Here is a photo of me out hiking in Banff National Park/Lake Louise area and I stayed in a hostel both nights. It was an incredible experience and the digital detox was huge for helping me feel rejuvenated!
7) Track Your Spending
If you’re not already tracking your spending, what are you doing?! Just joking! But seriously, start tracking your spending right away, so you can see where you can tighten up your budget specifically and where you can cut back and save. You can use an online tool such as www.mint.com which will automatically categorize your tractions for you (you will need to double check that it put them in the correct category and you may have to change a few of them). This is a good way to track if you are a beginner and really don’t have a lot of awareness around your spending habits.
You can also use a spreadsheet which is fantastic and I highly recommend, but I do like the option of Mint as well, because it is an easier way to at first show you, areas that you may have “money leaks” (money coming out of your account that you have no idea about (ex: bank fees and charges, subscriptions, etc).
If you want to learn more about how you can improve how you are managing your personal finances, you can read some of the blog posts here that I have written on those subjects:
- How to Plan Your Finances For an Entire Year (in under a couple of hours)
- 11 Ways to Save Money on Groceries
- Frequently Asked Questions about Financial Coaching
- How I Saved Thousands of Dollars so I Could Leave My SIX Figure Career
- How I Made Over $9000 Just by Selling Things I Already Had in My House
- How to Make Saving Automatic & Easy
- 9 Things You Are Spending Way More Money on Than You Think
- 3 Real Reasons You Are Overspending & How to Overcome It
8) Set a Budget for Gift Giving
This is an area that is often hard to address because many people love giving gifts. And I totally get that, I love giving gifts too, it really is an amazing feeling! But we can really quickly rack up huge bills when it comes to gift giving at Christmas, birthdays and other times of the year.
Sit down and write out how many people you will be buying gifts for, for the year and set a limit. Hold yourself accountable to only purchasing gifts that fall within your budget.
Remember, all of these “little” things, really add up and can make your first year of entrepreneurship, way less stressful!
9) Pick 1-2 Personal Grooming Services, Not All of Them
I know that when you are an entrepreneur, you can want to treat yo’self because you’re hustling. I totally get it.
But if we aren’t mindful of all the ways we are treating ourselves, it can quickly add up.
Pick 1-2 things that you feel the highest vibe when you do them for yourself and keep doing them. I want you to full enjoy them and not feel bad about them. I want you to get the full experience of them. But if you do all of them, it’s going to contribute to you feeling stressed around money.
Decide which ones make you the highest vibe and just temporarily, out the others on hold.
Think about which ones you do, that make you feel your absolute best: haircut + color, nails, eyelashes, massage, mani, pedi, skin treatments, tanning, etc.
You can also space them out the ones that you get done, a couple of weeks in between, that is also helpful, but you’re still doing it for yourself!
10) Trade Services with Someone Else
Another thing that you can do, is trade services with someone else. If you know you are tight on money, you can totally approach someone else about trading services with one another. I definitely wouldn’t recommend doing this often, it should be more so the exception to the rule, but it can be beneficial! You do need to make sure you have some sort of agreement or understanding, so there is no confusion or assumptions as to what it entails and to make sure that both parties feel that it is fair, but it is totally something you can give a shot!
Is money not really your zone of genius and you want someone else to look over your financial situation and give you suggestions of where you can be saving? I would love to help you! I am an online financial coach and this is what I do for a living, I love troubleshooting personal finances with my clients! You can read more about what I do here.
Do you want to finally feel confident in how you are managing your everyday finances? Click here to download my free checklist!
I am very active on Instagram, follow me here for more financial tips & tricks: http://instagram.com/mandyythomas (@mandyythomas)
Do you have any questions or anything to add? Leave me a comment in the comments below and I will respond back to you!