What I am about to share with you will either get you excited OR have you shaking your head and saying “YEAH RIGHT!” It is something that you already know, something you may see ALL the time, but never made sense to you to do it unless you had absolutely NO choice.
When I worked part time for a financial services company, I sat with clients that had extra money to reach financial goals without any issues. Others, like myself now, find it hard to stretch that last dollar to make it til the next pay day. Not only is financial planning essential to reach any goal, whether it be debt freedom or saving up for that new car, it is only one component to the grand scheme of things.
This is for all of you who want to find extra money in your budget, where you believe no extra money exists. I am on a financial game plan. I know the date of when I will be officially debt free, well with what I have accumulated as of yet. I have savings set aside each month. Everything is going well and then BAM! (Not to be confused with Emeril’s BAM, cause we’re not cooking here, at least not today ) The unexpected expensives happen all at once. Sound Familiar? I have been off the road to financial freedom more times than I’d like to recall. I look at the budget, I shake my head ( is yours shaking to?), where do I possibly find extra money to make up for it. In my excel sheet I have become proficient in shaving dollars off this payment and off that one due next week to make ends meet and I make it to the next month fine. Then there are other times when I have no clue where to get it.
It is then when you need to get creative and chant that Harry Potter spell! Well not a spell, its reading as many ‘How to save money when you can’t find money to save.’ articles. About a year ago I read an article that said you can save money by driving smarter. What does that have to do with money? RIGHT! We are all aware of the ever raising gas prices that fluctuate ALL THE TIME. When I first started driving the price of gas was $1.37 and now its $3.00 plus in some areas. For those of us that drive, gas is an automatic expense. To get to work we drive, to go shopping we drive, admittedly we drive to everywhere all the time. So how does driving smarter translate to saving money on gas and putting more money in your budget?
Now be prepared what I am about to say is something you already know. Subconsciously you know that it will probably piss you off and others. WARNING: If you are a person who suffers from rage on the road then I advise you to take this transition of driving smarter, in small increments. The speed limit in most states is 55 miles per hour. I know. Yes, you know its 55. I know. You never drive the speed limit. Yes. I understand, you can’t drive 55 mph. I laugh now thinking of the first time I tried that. I was on Route 25 driving towards Waterbury, CT from Bridgeport at a steady pace of 55 mph. It was quite an experience. I was use to driving at 70 or more. Anything less did not make sense. It was very painful. I felt that I was having an outer body experience. In my mind, I jumped out of the car and ran along side it. I think I got there faster than I did in the car. I did it to prove a point. To see if what the articles were saying were true. Could I save money on gas? I didn’t do it long enough to find out. A few times I got the finger and most cars swerved around me. Sometimes I still have nightmares about it. Drivers can be very scary on the road.
A few months ago, I gave it another try. I bought a car in August that required Plus or Super. I was used to buying regular. I was spending $140 a month on gas. In my country that is a lot of money. Especially when your budget is so tight, you hope change falls out of it so you can say you have money in your pocket. So I got back on the road and drove that 55 mph. I turned up the music really loud and got into my groove zone to ignore all the people rushing by me. I sped up a bit, I brought it up to 60mph. Some days I drive 65. Point being, I went from racing to driving smarter. I would have to fill up my tank once a week. Now its every two weeks. I spent an average now of $70 a month and I’m using SUPER. So now I tell you, I happily drive between 55 and 65. Aside from not burning as much fuel, driving smarter also decreases the amount of times you have to brake. Braking also wastes gas. Oh, by the way, using your brakes less also keeps them in shape longer, which also saves you money in the long run. How awesome is that!
To prove that I’m not pulling this out of my left butt cheek, I have added links to some of the articles that are out there today that explain all the technicalities as to why driving smarter is good for your wallet. Next Money Monday I’ll tell you how to stretch that dollar even further, so STAY TUNED!