This is How I Save Money, How About You?
Saving some portion of your money income is not just prudent these days, its necessary. I read yesterday that by 2020 they expect 40% of all Americans to be freelancers. Freelancing is a cool job I think, but it does mean that you have to pay for your own health care, plan for your own retirement, and secure your own future.
Though I consider myself a small business owner, because I'm the sole proprietor and affiliate marketer, I am in some ways, kind of like a freelancer.
So saving money is a big deal to me.
If you're new to affiliate marketing and online business, then budgeting as a self employed person may be new to you too. In this post I want to share with you some of my tactics for saving money, and I also want to open up the comments for you to share your methods.
My tactics may not work for everyone, but they can at least provide a springboard for your own ideas to develop.
1. Set Really Strict Goals, Then Adjust
I always plan to save more than I actually can. It puts a bit of pressure on me. For example, if I want to save X amount of money per month, but I actually spent Y amount over, then when grocery shopping comes up in the last week of the month, I just buy cheaper food. If I spent less than I planned for the month, I can buy some extras like more beer, or maybe get the ‘nice coffee'.
2. Set Long Term Goals AND Short Term Goals
I start by working backwards. I pick a big number I want to save for the year. I then divide it by 12 months, and then by 4 weeks. I keep a weekly tab on how much money I'm under or over, and adjust spending accordingly for the following week. It's much easeir to save $20 next week and keep on budget for the month, than to realize on Month 10 of your budget that you saved $2000 less than you planned, and try to save $1000 MORE for Month 11 and Month 12.
3. Keep on Track
Sometimes things come up, and you go over budget. Don't freak out. So you spend $100 more than planned. Just remember that when next month comes around, don't do it again. A lot of people fail when budgeting because part way through they realize the goals they set aren't really working, and quit. In fact, people fail at lots of kinds of stuff for this reason. Keep your eye on your future security.
4. Identify Need VS Want
There's a difference between NEED and WANT. That doesn't mean you need to deny yourself of everything you want just to stick to your planned budget. That type of lifestyle sucks. But realize the difference between you feeling like you need to buy something, when you actually just want it.
A think I do a lot is convince myself that something I have that is old, ‘doesn't work as well as it used it', therefore I need a new one. Actually, many times I'm just bored, read a great review of a product, and want to spend some money. Avoid doing this.
5. Stop Making Excuses
You CAN save money. Even if you save $1 per day, that's $300 per year. Not much, but it's a start to a profitable website. You can grow from there. But if you constantly convince yourself you have no money, you will get nowhere.
6. Cash, Investment, Safety Net
I divide my savings into 3 categories, and the subdivide those categories. I keep one account for cash. This is what I use on a day to day basis. Even though I never actually use physical cash (I use credit cards), that's what I call my ‘cash account'.
I then have an investment account (actually a couple accounts) where I keep my stocks, mutual funds, and eventually will put some bonds in there if interest rates ever come up. Ideally I'll be getting some kind of cash flow from this account, but I don't plan it into my budget. All dividends are reinvested.
And the most important part of my savings is the safety. This is so important to self employed individuals, and internet markers addicted to the internet marketing lifestyle. So much so, I've created separate section for it.
The Safety Net
And important part of budgeting for an internet marketer is having an appropriate safety net. Especially when you're starting out, it's very likely that much of your money is coming from one source, ie one affiliate account or business.
It's also very likely that much of your traffic is free, ie coming from Google.
But what happens if Google changes their algorithm and your sites tank, or lose a bit of their monthly revenue? What happens if your main affiliate program changes their terms of service and your site gets cut? What if your site gets hacked, or the products you sell lose their audience?
There are many things that can go wrong, but don't worry.
You will still have the necessary skills to rebuild your campaigns from scratch, or completely start over and start in a new niche. It will take time, work, and you will be extremely frustrated, but you can do it. You did it once, and you can do it again.
But you need some time to get it done. I like to have enough of a safety net to provide me with rent, food, and other daily living expenses for 6 months. Some have less, some have more. Evetually I would like to have about a year on hand, but for now, 6 months is fine. I don't have a house payment or a car payment to worry about, so basically I just need rent, food, and internet, and I'll be good to go.
If you keep your budget close the cliff, and something happens to one of your sites, you may have to look into borrowing money, or going back to a J-O-B. Didn't you just quit that thing to be come an internet marketer?
These are just some of my ideas for developing an effective budget. So far, it's worked for me, and I've saved an amount I'm happy with. I'm always adjusting my goals and setting new ones. My life changes quite frequently, so I often have different ideas on how best to use my money.
So let me know what your money saving tactics are. How do you save, does it work, and what's your advice? Leave a message in the comments below!
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