Monday, July 13, 2015

The Basics of Financial Independence: Maximize your savings rate

3. Maximize your savings rate.
  • The first step is to find out your current spending rate. The usage of a free app such as Mint may prove very helpful in this arena. Once you have all the data of where your money is going you should try to align it with your goals (travel, photography, etc). Spending that isn't aligned with your goals is where you should be doing your significant cuts (Ex: junk food when you are trying to get into shape). I have found that this review alone is usually sufficient to get folks on the path to success.
  • Do not negate the savings achieved through discounts or cost cutting on ongoing items such as cellphone plans, cable bills, car insurance, childcare, commuting, etc. Some of these can be achieved via shopping around or via group affiliations (employer, alumni, professional organization, etc). Depending on your tax bracket and the state you reside in every dollar saved on these items can be as high as ~$1.50 in wages. As you can see, with some diligence this can translate into yearly savings of thousands of dollars in wages.
  • Finding ways (side gigs, promotions, etc) to earn more money is just as important. Maybe that travel you love to do can turn into a travel blog that you can use to generate ad revenue. Maybe that job opening above you is something for which you should apply. The point is you are only bounded by your imagination when it comes to additional sources of income. For example, I know a few engineers who make a lot of side money in real estate investing (both rental income and house flipping).
  • And last but not least get the most out of your employer via pension/401K contributions, HSA contributions, employee stock purchase plans that provide a built-in discount and tuition reimbursements for education/training that will improve your earning potential. This can be the most lucrative (Hint: some are tax FREE) and yet it is often the most overlooked.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention bulk buying at warehouse clubs like Costco and BJ's. You can stretch your dollars by buying non-perishables like toilet paper and detergent in bulk.