Monday, March 17, 2014

Why it's harder to spend "your" money

If you have kids, you've probably seen them in tears demanding life can't go on if they can't get Captain Ken's Blaster thingy.  But when you said, "Fine, use your money." Suddenly, the life or death need seemed to disappear.

I've had a similar experience when I've earned money outside my teaching pay.  When I went on a mission to earn some extra money each day, carefully tracking each penny, I found that gave me a different perspective.

I had a garage sale about a week ago and was delighted to earn about $300. But to make that much and have cash in hand, made me realize how much stuff I'd had to sell to earn it. This was somehow different than my regular paycheck. It made me take a pass on those frequent trips with the kids to McDonalds where $3.29 or so for three ice cream cones equaled three shirts sold (I sold all clothing for $1 each). I didn't really think an ice cream cone was worth a shirt anymore;-).

I had such a fun time making this extra money that I started to ask myself if I could do some other things that would bring in a small bit of extra cash and started setting a few perennial divisions out in my driveway with an "honesty jar". I would often come home to a few dollars just tucked in there while I'd been busy at the store. Again, this money seemed much harder to part with, as did money in general when I would think, "Would I trade one of my hostas for this $3 box of sugar cereal?" Or, should we just use up the food we already have at home?

Last night, the day was about to end when I realized I had made no attempt to "earn" any extra so I took five minutes and found a book to list on Amazon. So best wishes to each of you as you try each day to earn just a wee bit more. I think you will find the benefits twofold: First, if you are successful, you will have an extra $150 a month or $1800 a year. Second, you will find yourself doing a very specific analysis in terms of spending almost in line with a "trade" and I suspect you'll find it much easier to save than spend.

Knowledge + Action = Financial Independence

Now You!

For fun, take a piece of paper and come up with ten ideas to earn extra cash. Be as creative as you can, you're not held to the list. Maybe you could dog sit for a neighbor's dog you otherwise listen to bark half the day. Maybe you could mow lawns, babysit, tutor math, have a garage sale, or sell perennials from your driveway. All of these ideas have low or no start-up costs and can quickly be shut down if they don't work out. In the meantime, the extra cash/work equation will become strong in your mind.

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