If you’re new to personal finance blogging or fairly new, you’ll quickly realize that many of your readers are well – other bloggers. You will also realize that you have a lot in common. You’ll also realize that there are some things you don’t have in common. These may include how you grew up, the steps you took to save more money than some of your peers, ways you have generated passive income and, steps you are continuing to take in order to save and invest. The ultimate goal as many writers have put it is to reach something called FIRE – Financial Independence Retire Early.
Sometimes I read other sites and think WOW people have really worked hard and are continuing to do so to reach this FIRE thing. There are people out there saving up to 90% of their income. There are people out there earning tens of thousands in dividends per month. There are people out there who can go for more than a third of a month without spending a single dime. Most of the time it’s inspiring, but sometimes I’m like well I don’t think I can do all of those things. But then I say that’s fine. I don’t have to be able to do every single thing. I should focus in on financial activities that work for my specific lifestyle.
In my reading, I’ve come across the following creative ways to save money and generate more income actual writers have and are continuing to deploy:
- Buy and wear ONLY second-hand clothing,
- quit eating any kind of meat,
- shopping in the kid’s section for their own clothing (for people who can fit into them)
- didn’t travel at all, not even a weekend getaway for three years
- Ate questionable, exotic and sometimes slightly expired food
- didn’t go out to eat a SINGLE time for an entire year
- maximize days in a month without spending on anything
- investing in exclusively dividend paying stocks
- renting out a room or apartment via Airbnb
- renting their car via Turo when they don’t use it
- selling stuff on Craigslist or Offer-Up
- driving Uber or Lyft
- taking surveys or shopping online (like we would anyway) and earn cash back
- planting and selling fruits and vegetables
All, well most 🙂 of these are great ideas and as a result, many writers have achieved early retirement. As a result of the early retirement, some of these strategies have become habits and part of their lives, which is a fantastic end result. But not all of them may work for everyone. And guess what that’s ok. We all have our own separate and sometimes common path to financial freedom. We all don’t want to worry about money, but at the same time don’t want the lack of money to become a worry in itself either.
The point is that we’re all humans and naturally we’re going to compare ourselves to one another every now and then. But we shouldn’t because everyone is custom built to handle their own specific set of variables and uses the tools they see fit to achieve their financial goals. I myself don’t plan to retire in my 40s or even 50s. Presently I enjoy going to work, interacting with people, learning new systems, procedures while assigned on various projects. I like the team atmosphere at my job while at the same time being able to think and work freely as well.
Create Your Own Financial Lane
Staying in your own lane here means establish and working towards your own path for financial freedom. Maybe you can only do number 3 in saving money and number 6 in making money. Don’t stress out if you can’t do any of the other things or become disheartened when you read about others who can. Instead, try doing some of it. For example, if you have a business or overseas trip or vacation coming up and you really don’t need your car, try putting it up on Turo. If you get a renter, great, if you don’t it’s ok at least you won’t have to buy gas because you’ll be out of town anyway.
If the motivation or desire to achieve financial freedom increases, most likely we will find a way to implement more saving money strategies and more money making strategies. Our circumstances will enable us to work harder and spend more time in our jobs and side jobs to achieve our financial goals.
And finally, one of the most important things is to have a plan and stick to it. This is basically a prerequisite or requirement in my book….or in this case website 🙂
Can you answer yes to all of these questions?
- Do you have a savings goal and are you following it?
- Do you have an investing strategy and is it working effectively?
- Have you cut back on discretionary spending on anything and stuck to it?
- Have you automated savings?
- Do you view savings the same as paying a bill?
- Do you know how much you may need to have at the time of retirement, how much you plan to spend during retirement and how much you may or may not want to make during retirement from a side job?
So how do you determine which personal finance saving and investing methods will work for you? Have you read a personal finance recommendation in a book, magazine, or website that you thought may not have worked but were surprised when it actually did?
I use Personal Capital because (1) it’s free, (2) it tracks all of my accounts and overall net worth, (3) my account balances automatically update, (4) it shows how my investments are diversified and allocated in various sectors, and (5) can use built-in tools like “Investment Checkup” to get….wait for it…free personalized advice!