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The Power Of $25 A Day To Reach Your Financial Goals

The following is a guest post by Scott from Making Momentum.

After listening to countless hours of the best personal finance podcasts and pouring over the top recommended books on money, there were two concepts ever-present.

Manage your spending like the Millionaire Next Door and continue to diversify your income streams or make focused efforts to grow existing ones. If you can compound wins through the 1-2 punch of those concepts, you will expedite the timelines to reach your financial goals.

Small shifts in your mindset and habits with money can change the landscape of your finances without depriving your quality of life or have you pursuing get rich quick schemes.

A simple $25 a day swing in cash flow can truly alter your financial trajectory.

It can sound a little daunting when you expand that out to $750 a month or $9,100 a year. However, setting that micro-goal of freeing up $25 each day through more mindful spending and side hustles to earn extra cash, makes it more manageable.

Start Saving More Money On The Big Three

Generally the first steps to more mindful spending is tracking your current cash flow, setting a budget and then monitoring and adjusting. After you have that money management system in place you can start to identify opportunities to save more.

The big three expenses make up over 50% of the average family’s household budget. What are the big three? Housing, transportation and food.

With that in mind, the best place to focus your time and efforts are those big three. The opportunity for bigger savings are around these line items and there are some proven tactics to do so.

Housing

  1. Be realistic with size and space requirements you (and your family) need. With more space comes higher rental or purchasing costs but also more furniture, increased utility costs and more upkeep.
  2. If you’re renting, the simplest solution can often be to get a roommate, especially as young professional, to reduce overall living expenses.
  3. As a homeowner, you can house hack by renting out a room (or basement) to drastically cut your mortgage payment.

Transportation

  1. Walk or take public transportation when feasible to work, errands or shorter distance trips.
  2. Negotiate your car insurance rates by doing some competitor pricing research and share those details with your current provider in a simple phone call.
  3. Form a ridesharing group among coworkers living in the same area as you. This helps pool gas money, parking and wear and tear on your vehicles.
  4. Purchase a well maintained used vehicle in cash and avoid the negative cash flow of interest paid on financing or leasing.
  5. Start travel hacking with rewards credit cards and by taking advantage of the travel system. There are a number of ways to help yourself see this amazing world for free (or deeply discounted prices).

Food

  1. Make a shopping list based on sales, stick to that list, bulk cook at home and meal prep your work lunches.
  2. Stack cash back and discounts with digital coupons, cash back apps and a cash back credit card.
  3. When eating out take advantage of specials, daily deals, happy hours, purchase discounted gift cards online and control that liquor expense.

All of the above sound like pretty simple solutions for saving money on housing, transportation and food. However, putting them into action and sticking to a more mindful spending approach is the pitfall for many.

Most personal finance advice will focus on the saving and frugality aspects of money management. Which is great as it’s generally a more attainable place to start for most. Unfortunately, it’s finite and you can only scale back so much.

The other side of equation is earning more money.

The first place to start is your career and maximizing those earnings through a focused approach. Your career is a million dollar asset and for 99.9% of the population it will be their number 1 income source throughout their life.

However in this scenario around the power of $25 a day, we’re going to consider side hustles and other income streams.

How To Start Side Hustling To Make More Money

Personal finances are personal and the same can be said for side hustles. Your skills, experiences, interests and lifestyle might skew what fits best for you. But the goal and benefit remains the same. Earning more money through side hustles, building passive income and growing your career salary will help you reach your financial goals (much sooner).

Set a goal of making $1,000 fast and you’ll be hooked as your debt falls, savings grow and investment accounts begin to swell.

Here are five places to consider, test and start:

  1. Monetize your drive to and from work by using Uber’s “Driver Destination” feature. You will only be given riders in the general direction you’re travelling to or from work.
  2. Freelance the skills and experiences you already have on websites like Upwork and Freelancer as a way to make money online from home.
  3. Take advantage of your mornings, evenings and weekends to make money in the gig economy. From deliveries and mystery shopping to tutoring, there are dozens of avenues to earn more money on a flexible schedule.
  4. Use services like Rover or Wag to make money from walking or looking after dogs.
  5. Leverage the assets you own to generate income. Rent a room on Airbnb, invest in crowdfunding real estate or take part in peer-to-peer lending. Even your car and driveway can be monetized with sites Turo and Just Park.

The opportunities are endless if you’re willing to make side hustling a priority and find the time to do so. The first step is to just get started.

As you gain experience and find your strengths, the ideal scenario is you can scale your side hustle efforts to something that might grow to generate a full-time income or supplement your finances in retirement.

The Power Of $25 A Day On Your Financial Goals & Timelines

Assuming you’ve unlocked an additional net gain of $25 in daily cash flow based on more meaningful spending and earning more money, let’s see what impact that can have on your financial goals.

These examples are not the optimal scenarios or a picture-perfect representation of paying off debt or investing. These are meant to highlight what can be feasible by opening up that $25 shift in daily cash flow.

Debt Repayment Timelines

Based on the staggering statistics around student loan debt, this hypothetical example will assume you’re committed to paying of that debt and operating with the following:

  • Outstanding balance: $30,000
  • Interest rate: 5.5%
  • Current Monthly Payment: $500

The expected timeline for repayment would be approx. 71 months. This would have you paying $5,162 in total interest over this time.

Let’s now explore the power of $25 a day based on the better money management and side hustling we’ve discussed above. That $25 a day is essentially $750 per month (give or take on the number of days) to be routed towards your financial goals.

Assuming every dollar of that was redirected into our student loan repayment:

  • Outstanding balance: $30,000
  • Interest rate: 5.5%
  • New Monthly Payment: $1,250

The expected timeline for repayment is now approx. 26 months. The amount of interest paid has decreased to $1,885. The power of $25 a day has reduced your debt repayment timeline to almost one third of the original and saved you over $3,200 in interest.

Want to experiment based on your own financial situation? Run the numbers with this Credit Karma debt calculator and see how $25 a day impacts your timelines.

Investing Growth

Next up, let’s consider the power of $25 a day as it pertains to compound interest and your investments. You’re debt free and earning a reasonable salary that allows you to put a portion of your income towards retirement. For this example we have the following:

  • Starting Balance: $5,000
  • Current Monthly Contributions: $500
  • Rate of Return: 6.0%
  • Timeline: 30 years

Over that 30 year period of consistent $500 monthly contributions and an average rate of return of 6.0%, your investments will grow to over $532,370.

How does the power of $25 a day impact that assuming it’s all being funnelled into your investment account?

  • Starting Balance: $5,000
  • New Monthly Contributions: $1,250
  • Rate of Return: 6.0%
  • Timeline: 30 years

The positive cash flow from your more mindful spending and side hustles have allowed your investments to now grow to $1,285,757. Over 30 years, $25 a day generates you over a $750,000 difference in returns when compared to the original scenario.

Pretty powerful, right?

Personal finances are personal, so test the numbers based on your own situation with this Smart Asset investment calculator.

Conclusion On The Power Of $25

Imagine the power of $40, $60 or $100 daily after seeing what $25 a day can do to reach your financial goals. The numbers in these examples are almost arbitrary and only meant to inspire taking a different approach to your mindset around spending and earning.

The next time you pull out the debit or credit card ask yourself if this is the best course of action for your money. What else could this $20 or $100 help you achieve?

When you’re evaluating the free time you have based on your current lifestyle, what could you be doing to earn more money or diversify your income streams?

Don’t underestimate what a $25 a day swing in cash flow can do for your financial goals.

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