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10 Jun 2013

Playing ‘Find the Money’ to Achieve Your Big Goals, Faster

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by Jesse Mecham

You know you want to get out of debt and save more money, faster. Here’s a little game called “find the money” that will help you accelerate your financial goals by $30 to $100 per month – without affecting your quality of life.

Step 1: Find Your Discretionary Categories with Nice, Round “Budgeted Numbers”

For example:

Pets: $50
Restaurants: $150
Groceries: $600
Fun Money: $40

Step 2: Shave a Small Percentage Off the Budgeted Amount

Pets: $44
Restaurants: $136
Groceries: $588
Fun Money $37

Big impact on any individual category? Nope. Freed up cash? $35.

Step 3: Allocate Freed Cash to a Big Goal

Add it to your monthly mortgage, credit card, or retirement savings category. Then give yourself a big pat on the back.

Will Category Shavings Make a Difference to Your Goals?

A win is a win. Check it out:

Life-changing amounts? Probably not, but a win is a win. You’re adding efficiency to your budget, employing a small percentage of your dollars in higher paying positions.

If your income is stable-to-growing (cost of living raises, bonsues, etc), go through this exercise every six months, gradually increasing your “get ahead” number. Be constantly on the lookout for ways to sneak your dollars into more productive categories.

(If your income isn’t “stable-to-growing”, I’m sure you’re used to this game – minus the fun part where you allocate freed-up cash to a big goal. I feel for you – hang in there.)

*Thanks to YNAB education lead, Erin, for the post idea.

Your Next Step

Remember, budgeting is not restrictive. You won’t be spending less, you’ll be spending right. You can do this! Today. Right now. What do you have to lose? Except all that debt and stress. (Ok, so kind of a lot.)

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