During this COVID-19 pandemic, most of us have been heavily focused on day-to-day concerns and expenses. While this is quite normal, you may be missing out on a huge payoff in the long term.
Carving out a little time right now to look at a
bigger picture, could pay off for your future
Before COVID-19 happened, most of us had considered reducing household expenses. But the temptation to dine out with friends or catch the latest movie with the family was just too much. As a result of the COVID-19 social distancing restrictions, though, many families have discovered that they actually can do without all those optional expenses.
Expenses are our habits and so we consider them necessary when they really are not and when situations come around like COVID-19 they quickly disappear and boost our cash flow.
Meet Lamar’s family
Lamar’s family spends thousands every year on gas. They believed, like so many families do, that there was no other option. For the last several weeks, though, their fuel expenses have dropped to almost zero since all work and meetings are being done from home, virtually. Once the virus restrictions ease up, if Lamar’s family can continue calling businesses instead of driving to them, they will improve their cash flow.
How Cashflow Works
Cash flow is your household income minus your expenses. A family like Lamar’s, earning $100,000 a year and spending $120,000 a year, has a negative cash flow. If his family reduces their expenses to only $80,000 a year, it now has a positive cash flow. Overspending, or having a negative cash flow, equals poverty.
Cash flow is a better measure of wealth than the size of your home or the number of cars parked in the driveway. A positive cash flow gives families the money to boost savings accounts, invest in start-up businesses, save for college, or crush debt.
During the current restrictions designed to ease the impact of COVID-19, your family likely has new insight into how to improve its cash flow position.
When the restrictions ease and businesses open again, consider asking your family to continue doing without a few things in order to improve your cash flow and build wealth.
Here are some tips for how to improve your cash flow:
#1 - Skip the Theater
Before you jump on board, though, educate yourself about all the options. The banks are offering deferrals, not canceling payments. If you accept the deferment, the bank tacks the interest onto the end of your mortgage. In the end, you’ll pay interest on your interest. If you can tap into your savings account to make payments, it may be a better choice.
#2 - Meal Plan
Numerous websites point to the cost-savings of meal planning. Planning a week’s worth of meals at a time means making one trip to the grocery store. It is easier to avoid impulse purchases when you are not in the store facing a display of fresh bakery goods.
#3 - Look for Free Events
Take advantage of free or low-cost community events. After spending weeks stuck at home, inexpensive outings like visiting your friends and neighbours or going for a picnic at a local park will feel as special as traveling to the city for a weekend getaway and will save you money.
#4 - Pay Your Bills
Pay your bills on time, every time. Over a year, even a $5 late fee each month adds up to $60. That is six months of Netflix. Binge watching the latest Netflix series is a lot more fun than paying late fees.
#5 - Reduce Credit Card Debt
If you can, pay off your credit cards. The interest rates vary, but they all add up fast. If you owe $200 on a credit card charging 19% interest (the average rate in Canada), your minimum payment is only $15. Even if you never borrow another dollar on that card and keep paying only the minimum payment, it will take 16 months to clear the card and you will pay $26 in interest. That is two months of Netflix.
#6 - Create a Budget
One popular budgeting model is to spend about 50% of your after-tax income on what you need (housing, groceries, medicine, etc.); another 40% on what you want (entertainment, dining out); and then put the last 10% into savings every month. If you have a plan, you are less likely to dip into savings or mindlessly spend money.
#7 - Go on a $500 Treasure Hunt
Many people have money that they don’t even realize is theirs to utilize. Because of this, CleveDoesMore has developed a genius program called the $500 Fix that is guaranteed to help you find money you didn’t even know you had. Simply schedule a call with CleveDoesMore and after a short consultation, the team will help you locate money you didn’t even know you had.
The process has been time tested and the results are guaranteed
Take this time at home to consider how you can cut expenses and save money in order to create a positive cash flow and build wealth for your family.