I’m hard at work developing content and resources for the Early Exit Academy. So what better time to share some of the fun activities that will be part of the Academy? I love a good challenge and I’ve sprinkled a few of them throughout the course. Are you up for the 28-Day Sprint to $1,000? Download the Challenge Calendar and get started today.
I’ve been researching personal debt in America while developing the Pay off my Debt Tool, another resource for the course. And one document that caught my eye was from the Federal Reserve – Report on the Economic Well-being of U.S. Households in 2016. A pair of findings jump out:
- 44% of adults say they either could not cover an emergency expense costing $400, or would cover it by selling something or borrowing money.
- 46% of adults with a credit card report that they are carrying credit card debt, and 55% carried a balance at least once in the prior year.
One of the reasons why so many people end up in a spiral of debt is because they don’t have any emergency funds to take care of unexpected bills. So let’s fix the problem!
Generally, it’s easier to accomplish short-term goals than long-term goals – progress is so much more visible. So let’s save $1,000 in just 28 days. Is $1,000 too much to save in such a short time? If you’re working a minimum wage job and responsible for rent and transportation, then yes, $1,000 is too much. If that’s you, how about trying to save $10 per day and turn it into a $280 challenge? While there are some exceptions, I believe that MANY of us can save $1,000 in 28 days if we make some lifestyle changes. Are you ready to give it a go?
Three Savings Routes
You can make your own route, or follow one of three options. The download contains a calendar for each route, so it will be easy to follow along. And keep your savings separate from your checking account. You can even stow cash away in a safe place as a last resort. Just keep the money apart from your other accounts so that your savings don’t evaporate.
Route 1: Weekly Rewards
Route 1 may be the toughest to follow, as you’ll need to save $40 on most days. But every seventh day, you save just $10 and can treat yourself to a $30 reward (if you like). Now you don’t have to actually save $40 each day, but you should try to save $250 every week. By the end of 28 days, you’ll have reached the $1,000 goal.
Route 2: Weekly Paycheck Savings
If you get paid weekly, your job is to save $10 per day – except on pay days. You get 4 paychecks in 28 days so set up automatic transfers of $190 into your savings account from each check. And those $10 daily sacrifices shouldn’t be too painful. Or alternatively, deposit $250 from each paycheck and you’ve got your $1,000.
Route 3: Bi-weekly Paycheck Savings
If you get paid every other week, you’ll receive 2 paychecks over the course of 28 days. In addition to saving $10 per day, you’ll transfer $370 from each paycheck into your savings account. Or just cut back on your expenses during the week and transfer $500 from each paycheck.
Easy Ways to Find “Extra” Money
I can hear the groans from my dining room table! But Brenda, I can’t possibly save this much money! I’m barely getting by right now. Well, that’s why this is a challenge. And you might have to be creative. Here are ten suggestions that will prompt you to action.
- Eat the food in your freezer. You might be able to eliminate an entire grocery bill or two if you just unearthed the food hiding in the bottom of your freezer bins.
- Make your own meals and skip the fancy coffee. Your scale might be happier too!
- Sell things you no longer use. Post an ad in your neighborhood bulletin or advertise your stuff on Craigslist.
- Go on a shopping hiatus. Do you really need the new pair of shoes or yet another kitchen appliance? The shoes will be there at the end of 28 days, if you still want to spend the money.
- Shop around for a better insurance policy. This is a a great time to negotiate a lower premium or switch to a company that offers a better auto or homeowner’s insurance policy.
- Make some extra money. If you are an hourly wage earner, volunteer to work some longer hours (overtime, if possible). Or pick up some extra cash babysitting, walking dogs, mowing lawns, or using your special talents. Check out side hustles.
- Get rid of unused subscriptions and services. Review all the subscriptions you have and get rid of things you no longer use. Halt newspaper and magazine subscriptions, trade satellite TV for Roku, dump or downgrade gym memberships that go unused.
- Go without luxuries. Distinguish between “wants” and “needs.” Do you really need a pedicure, regular massages, and housekeeping services? Buy only things you truly need for 28 days.
- Opt for game night over happy hour. Challenge friends and family to join you on the $1,000 quest. Find ways to enjoy your friendships that don’t cost a lot of money. Instead of meeting at the restaurant, sponsor a game night or suggest a walk in a local park.
- Follow the buyerarchy of needs. Only buy something new if you can’t use what you have, borrow it, swap for it, purchase at a thrift store, or make yourself.
Now go out there and win the sprint to $1,000!
The Early Exit Academy will launch in in 2019. Sign up here and you'll be the first to know when our courses go live.