SJBE 30 Day Financial Challenge: Tips for Success
So, if you follow my Instagram, you know that during the month of November, I’ve challenged my friends and followers to join me in a 30 day financial challenge. Although I started November 1st, please note that it’s not too late for YOU to start! We have about 8 weeks until Christmas/Kwanzaa, so you have adequate time to do a financial reset BEFORE you immerse yourself in the frenzy of potentially bankrupting holiday spending. Since I’m looking to meet some savings goals, I hope y’all don’t expect anything from me but love this year :) Merry Christmas and Happy Kwanzaa in advance!
The purpose of this challenge is not exactly to save money (although this will be a delightful benefit of the challenge) but to practice discipline, awareness, and intentionality about spending as we move into 2020. As I mentioned in my vlog, Americans spend an average of $18,000 per year on non-essential items, you know, like that third pair of sunglasses, that new hair lotion, although you haven't finished using the other sixteen bottles you have...that kind of stuff... Honey, we could both use an extra $18,000 right now! We've all complained about what we could accomplish if we just had extra money. Well we do; it's hidden in our obsessive relationships with unconscious spending. I’m changing my consumerist mentality and this year, I'm actually saving that extra $18,000 by making conscious decisions about my money! I want you to, too.
Especially if you live in an urban city, everyday, you’re spending small change on things simply to get through the day: coffee, gas, subway or rideshare fare, parking, lunch, happy hours, spontaneous meetups with friends, etc. (btw, if you have a business idea, this is the perfect time to get a business license to leverage these daily expenses for tax purposes). It’s easy to overlook these costs, but they add up. This month, we’re paying attention in order to PAY OURSELVES!
Remember, the goal of this is to decrease the amount of disposable income we spend for 30 days, in turn, practicing awareness of each dollar we spend and intentionality with each financial transaction. Please see the recap of the rules for our challenge:
Here are some tips to help you for the first week of your journey.
1. Notify your tribe. Everyone you care about needs to know that this month, you are not available for your normal spending, so participating in engagements that threaten your budget is a no-go. Your lover's should be aware of this as well. Remind them, it’s not personal.
2. Share the challenge with friends and ask them to join you! This allows you to hold each other accountable, and it’s easier to accomplish a goal when it’s a group thing.
3. Track your normal weekly spending and make a new budget (incorporating the challenge) on Sunday! Make a plan and STICK to it.
4. Practice saying NO! Our generation is OUT! Okaaaaay...we like mid-week happy hours, brunch on the weekends, concerts, festivals, and anything that offers a dope social media picture opp. All of this adds up! Can I make a confession? I fumbled on this one the second day of the challenge. I wanted to support a friend, and that’s what I did, but I had made a commitment to myself...and this month was not the month that I could support a friend without breaking that commitment. If you fumble, IT’S OKAY! Stuff happens. Add a day to the end of your challenge, and don’t do it again!
5. Take out the cash you would normally budget for each week. You should know this amount by studying your bank statements. Once you’ve taken out that amount, take half of it and put it in your wallet, and leave the other half hidden, at home. Your goal is to have at least half (you may have more if you follow the above rules) at the end of the week. Leave your debit card in your car (hidden in your locked glove compartment, of course). Use your card on file only for transportation and parking expenses.
6. Plan your meals and spending strategy on SUNDAY. For example:
This week I had previously planned and purchased tickets for an event. My weekly expenses will be:
Sunday: $35-50 groceries; $35 gas
Monday -Friday: $15 parking for office (or work from home two days to cut parking)
Saturday: Event parking $20; $5-10 tips (open bar)
Sunday: Brunch date (free)
7. Track your expenses in a calendar that you physically look at daily. At the end of the day, add up your expenses and circle the total! Total it at the end of the week and write out how much you have left from your original budget.
8. Identify your needs accurately. Friends, we have grown up in a generation where we do not exactly have to think for ourselves. Commercials and social media is targeted to tell us what WE need based on our browsing and cell phone activity. Because of which, we have expertly developed the skill of talking ourselves into “needing” a want. I do this with books...you may do it with something else.
Next week, I'll share some strategies to work your way out of purchasing wants disguised as needs! I hope you're staying strong with your challenge. Please feel free to email me with your updates and weekly accomplishments! I'm looking forward to hearing about your successes!