Let’s spend some time talking about living a boss life, on a budget.  I’m all for fancy things, vacations, well decorated and organized homes, hanging out with my loved ones and friends, and having fun!  But let’s be real, all of THAT cost money!  So how can we run our businesses and still live like a boss? I’m gonna share 10 Tips to Ball on a Budget:

  1. Keep Your Change. Virtual and Physical
    1. Sign up for Keep the Change type programs for your bank accounts. Those pennies add up over time.  You’d be amazed at how much you accumulate over the course of a year just from your everyday spending.
    2. Use a savings account that you don’t have an ATM card too. That way you aren’t tempted to touch it.
    3. Keep a good ole fashion piggy bank, change drawer, water jug, or something. I know it’s old school but those coins add up!
    4. Once a year, take your piggy bank to the bank and deposit it into the same savings account you are rolling your change into.
    5. I always say that my money spends better in my pocket than in someone else’s. So, let’s be more intentional about where our money goes and how we spend it.
  1. Be a Points Princess/Prince. Use Credit Cards with low-interest rates where you can earn points.  Then use your points for Airfare, Hotel stays, cash back, gift cards, you name it.  But use them to offset what you already have to spend so you have more money for other items.
    1. For example, I have two American Express cards: one business and one personal. American Express allows you to link all of your cards to your points accounts.
    2. At the end of the year, I use my points to purchase Christmas Gifts for my family and friends. Yes, you read that, I do not spend additional money in December to buy Christmas gifts.  But shhhhh, don’t tell my family.  I typically use points for gift cards at their favorite places to shop and eat or if it’s something specific I’ll grab that.   The way my life is set up, I have property taxes that are due Dec. 31st, Sorority dues for myself and my daughter due Dec. 31st, and few other annual commitments…all due Dec. 31st.  A sista is not trying to go into debt for one Holiday.
      1. For those of you with large families, I do recommend name swapping where each person pulls a name and only buys one gift valued at $25 – $50 or less.
      2. If you have small kids, shop for sales throughout the year. The day after Christmas is a great time to stock up on things like wrapping paper, clothes, etc.  I stopped buying clothes for the kids and opted for gift cards that way they could go shopping after and take advantage of sales.
    3. American Express offers advanced ticket purchases for major concerts, so you can get in early to get great seating and sometimes VIP experiences.
    4. American Express also offers free and discounted travel insurance when you purchase your airfare using an American Express card.
    5. I use my American Express card for most of my purchases because if I have to pay for something, I might as well put it to work for me.
    6. Pay your credit card balances off at the end of each month.
  1. Share Memberships. to places like Costco, BJ’s, Restaurant Depot, Sam’s, Planet Fitness, etc. Any place or organization that allows you to have multiple people on a membership, team up to save money and split the costs.  This will give you saving on gas, food, business, and household goods.
  1. Be Thrifty.
    1. I am the Craigslist Queen. I can find almost anything I need on Craigslist.  However, you have to be smart and savvy because there are a lot of people trying to scam folks especially if you are selling something.  I’ve furnished my daughter’s first apartment, her new home, my client’s homes, and my own home very inexpensively by shopping on Craigslist.
    2. Shop in your local Thrift Store. How many times have you given something to goodwill that still had the tags on it?  When my daughter was in elementary school while she took dance classes, I went thrift shopping every Saturday.  I’d give myself a $20 budget and leave with tons of clothes with the tags still on them.  Her teachers always comment about how well dressed she was.  Now that she’s an adult, she and her friends thrift shop to save money.
    3. Try out FB Online Markets, you can buy almost anything for your home and clothing needs, especially for kids.
    4. Find a clothes swap buddy if you have kids. It saves tons of money especially since they grow so fast.  I don’t recommend buying used shoes because everyone’s walking gate is different.
    5. Shop at stores like TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and other discount retail stores.
    6. When shopping at large retailers, take advantage of their coupons.
    7. I try my best to take advantage of coupons or has sales.
  1. Eating out and Activities.
    1. Sign up for rewards and emails to get coupons, free drinks, meals, and especially all of your birthday goodies! You can literally dine out for free your entire birthday month.
    2. Use programs like Restaurant.com, Groupon, Living Social, and Yipit to purchase discounted tickets for outings, events, workout classes, and discounts on food and desserts.
    3. Even your favorite activities like going to the gun range, Basking Robbins, shows, acting classes, kickboxing, and even some schools offer certification classes at a discounted rate. You name it, you can find it.
  1. Travel like a Boss.
    1. Use a travel agent to get discounts or places like Orbitz, Priceline, eBay, Hotel Tonight, and Airbnb.
    2. Cash out those reward points and sign up for house swap.
    3. Use a Timeshare: If you are looking to buy a timeshare, buy one going to foreclosure and then use it to trade into other hotels and resorts worldwide. Once it paid for, you may have a small yearly maintenance fee and a trade fee.  But we travel all over the world for no more than $249 for a week’s stay.  It’s property that I can pass down to my daughter and you never lose the value or points that you have.
    4. Take advantage of air and hotel promotions. If you travel a lot and tend to stay in the same hotel chain, get a rewards card.  Those points add up quickly and you can use them for free stays.
  1. Say NO to Bank Fees. Do business with banks that offer free checking and savings accounts for both your business and personal banking needs.  Use banks that are all over the world with multiple locations in cities to avoid ATM fees.  Good examples are PNC & Bank of America.
  1. Take Care of Yourself. You can’t live like a boss if you aren’t taking care of yourself.  How do we save money to look pretty and be healthy?
    1. Again, use those discount sites to sign up for free exercise classes, cooking classes, etc.
    2. Use coupons to get a massage or a spa weekend getaway.
    3. Make your own beauty products. There are tons of all natural beauty hacks you can watch on Youtube to make your own toothpaste, facial & body scrubs, skin tightening regimes, etc. using products already in your kitchen.
    4. Take advantage of free workout classes on cable, youtube, and some people stream live workouts like my friend Jorge, go follow him at Fly Girls Dance Fitness on FB and iamofficallyjorge on IG.
  1. Limit the amount you eat out
    1. If you are busy like me, find quick easy recipes and meals that take less than 30 minutes. I used to watch Rachel Ray’s 30 Minute Meals years ago and I still use most of those recipes today.
    2. Make your own Morning Coffee, you can save over $700 a year just by doing that.
    3. Take your lunch and snacks every day. I’ve made it a good habit to make my breakfast every day (usually something as simple as a healthy smoothie and I take my lunch almost every day as well.  Dinner time is sometimes a challenge but I meal prep on Sunday’s for at least 3-4 meals during the week.  But I do like hanging out with my friends so I typically only eat out if I want to catch up with a friend or a new client.
  1. Live off a Budget! Both in your business and personal life.
    1. You should know what’s coming in and going out each month. If you are an entrepreneur and your monthly income varies (meaning there are months that you don’t make enough to cover all of your bills, then at a minimum, you need to know what your bare minimum expense are.  And the months where your income increases, you should be diligently saving for those months you know you will have a deficit.  Click here and download my Budget Spreadsheet which comes with a bonus for your Personal monthly expenses.  bit.ly/tlcproducts
    2. Budgeting is a great way to determine where you can cut costs and save more money. You can also see how much you are spending on what each year and begin to set limits for yourself.  For example, if you are spending $200 per month eating out which is $2400 per year.  Set a limit for yourself, so reduce it to $100 a month and take the extra money and put it in your retirement account.
    3. Keep separate accounts for your business and personal money.
      1. For your business, have a checking and saving. All income and expenses should run through that account.  Use that saving accounts to set money aside for payroll, long-term expense, and yearly expenses and memberships.
      2. For personal. Have separate accounts like checking, savings, play money, etc.  I pay all of my bills out of one account and typically keep a lil more than what is needed each month to cover the costs of my expenses.  You shouldn’t have crazy amounts of money in a checking account that’s earning 0 interest.
  • I also have a play money account. I allocate a certain amount each month to myself to spend on whatever I like.  This includes eating out, clothes, shoes, nails, hair, etc.  And when it’s gone, it’s gone.  I don’t replenish it until the next month.
  1. Budgeting is a great way to
    1. Save for your future and for rainy 7 days
    2. See your income and expenses at a glance
  • Develop a financial plan for yourself and your business that you can stick to and makes good sense for you, long term.

If you aren’t good at budgeting or have never done a budget, click here www.bit.ly/tlcproducts to download your Budget Spreadsheet today!

Until next time,

Renay Butler