Friday, April 10, 2015

Exploit Your Finances, Exploit Your Life!, Step Three – Exploit YourCash Flow

Below is part three of a four step series on how to go about Exploiting Your Finances, Exploiting Your Life! Start here - Unexploited Finances.

Now the fun starts!

Now you get to BLAME your priorities and exploit your finances!

Exploit Your Income

Cutting your expenses is still the default solution to find money for your goals, but it doesn't have to be the only solution.  How about your income?!

This may be the time for you to ask about that raise at work. Go in with your accomplishments, what you bring, and why you deserve a raise!

No opportunity for a raise...have you looked at the job market lately? You should always keep your eyes open! If you're not watching for it, your ideal job may pass you by. You may have also boosted your current skills since your last job search. (Don't forget to update your LinkedIn profile.) Go ahead, take a look. Blame it on your priorities!

If time is on your side, just not the income, there is also the possibility of a part-time job or a side business. There are lots of opportunities to make more money, it's just a matter of having a reason! Priorities = Reason.

Adding income is a great tool for exploiting your finances because this money hasn't already been allocated. Fresh money! You can just shovel it into your goals!

Exploit Your Expenses

Okay, now it's time to look at those bills.

After your cash flow statement work in Step Two, Current Finances, you have a starting point for your current budget. So how does it look?

Does it look pretty slim?

Do you already cook your meals at home and cut out the cable bill years ago?

Write down your priorities from Step One, Priorities. With this list next to you, go through your expenses - one by one. What's more important?

Is the daily lunch more important then getting your time back?

Is the cable bill more important then your gap year? (You watch all of your shows on Netflix and Hulu anyway.)

What's left?

You may not be able to cut expenses out if they're all reoccurring debt payments or rent payments (student loan, car loan, credit card debt, rent, etc). If this is the case, look at whether you really need these items. Take a BIG step back. We're making drastic changes here, we're exploiting!

Do you really need two cars? Can you move to a lower rent apartment?

These are painful decisions. But that's where we exploit our finances! Blame your priorities! Is your priority to be debt free? Well...selling the car can not only reduce your current debt, but also remove a monthly payment! You don't have to go car free, get a used car. One that fits your new goals!

(After my last car and paying off all of my debt, I promised myself that I'll never take another loan out on a car!)

If friends start giving you a hard time about your 'used' car, say "I could have a new car if I wanted, but I have this goal to be debt free"...(priority blamed!).

The 'extra' monthly money can go towards the student debt, paying it off early! And so on, and so on. Amazing!

Make sure you don't cut everything out though. Exploiting life means that you enjoy every single day. If having that morning latte is about the best thing that's ever happened to you on a Monday morning, then keep it!

Keep items that make you happy, remove items that are just filler!

Blame Game

Have fun with the "blame." Make it a game!

What can I change and blame on my priorities?

Your family and friends will understand and soon everyone will be trying to help you meet your goals!

Using your priorities as scapegoats can have positive side effects - one of which is a conversation starter.

When you decline the next lunch out and blame your priority, coworkers and friends will ask you about it. You can share why being debt free, gaining your time back, and/or traveling the world is important to you. They may even be inspired and start working on their own priorities!

Daily Life

As mentioned in Step One, Priorities, talk about your priorities regularly! Don't be shy. This will help set it in your daily routine! This will help keep you focused! This will help you apply your priorities to all of your financial decisions!

You may still feel uncomfortable talking about finances with strangers. Money is still a taboo discussion in society today, but do it anyway! Showing that you're comfortable with your money is an example of you managing your finances! Those individuals who are uncomfortable talking about money are usually managed by their finances. (I'm not saying discuss your huge salary, no one will want to talk to you...ever. I am saying discuss your financial goals and how you plan to meet them!)

Blame, blame, blame! Use your priorities to exploit your finances!

Get ready to Exploit Your Finances, Exploit Your Life!

Join us in the Personal Finance Revolution!

Are you using your priorities as a tool to review your cash flow? How are you exploiting your cash flow?