People in the LGBTQ community have a habit of overspending. There are many reasons for this, but one is because we all seem to judge one another by our possessions. I am guilty of it, and I am sure many of you are as well. In recent years I began to change my mindset when it comes to material things, and instead of needing the latest gadgets or driving the newest car, I have begun to focus my attention on meaningful experiences, including spending time with friends or family or going on a relaxing vacation and building lasting memories.
One thing I noticed as my ideology began to shift is my bank account balance also began to increase. Even though I was spending more on experiences, I was still spending less than when I had to have all the nicest designer clothes. Whether your job has been affected by COVID-19 or you simply want to begin to build your retirement savings, here are a few tricks to save money and increase your wealth.
Lose the Booze
I know, you have heard this before, but it bears repeating. Spending $10 or more per cocktail is not necessary and severely strains your wallet. If you enjoy two drinks every time you go to a bar or restaurant, you will end up spending $1,040 per year if you do that once per week. Do you know how many fun experiences you can enjoy for $1,040? LGBTQ people love to gather at bars and restaurants, but I would recommend enjoying a cocktail at home prior to going out, and try to limit yourself to one cocktail with friends if you absolutely need to have that drink in your hand.
Negotiate Your Expenses
Many times, we become complacent when it comes to our monthly expenses. We just assume that since it was “X” amount of money last month, it will be “X” amount of money this month. In reality, Internet providers, cell phone companies and even credit card companies may offer promotions where you can lower your monthly payment. Take a few minutes each month and make some phone calls. Even if you only save a few dollars per month, it will all add up in the end.
Leave Your Car Keys at Home
This is one of my favorite pieces of advice, because not only will it save you money, but it will also make you healthier. If possible, try to walk or bike to places instead of using your car. You would be surprised what a 30-minute walk in the morning can do for your mental health. It provides you with time to reflect on the day and develop the right mindset, all while burning calories. Try walking once or twice per week instead of using your vehicle. Doing so will decrease your monthly fuel cost and quite possibly your insurance premium if you notify them that you are driving less.
Learn to Cook
Time to embrace your inner Rachael Ray and break out those dusty pots and pans you have stored away in the closet. Instead of going out to eat all the time, learn how to make a few signature dishes and share them at home with some friends. A lot of people get intimidated by cooking, but in fact, if you learn a few recipes, cooking can be quite fun and relaxing, especially when you share the experience with others. You can even have a theme dinner. Ask friends to bring over a bottle of wine to share that comes from the same region as the dish you are preparing. Italian food… Italian wine. Throw on some Andrea Bocelli, and you can have as much fun as you would at a fancy Italian restaurant.
Automate Your Life
How many times do we forget to pay a bill and then get charged that annoying $15 late fee? It happened to me all the time until I decided to set up auto payments for my expenses. You would not believe how much money you can save by avoiding penalties and late charges, some of which can be as high as $25. In addition, if you work for a company that offers a 401K plan, I would automate your savings and try to contribute as much as you can every pay period. If it comes out of your check, you will not miss it, but sometimes it is hard to invest the money once you have it in your pocket.
I hope these tips help you begin to save money and build wealth. Many people in the LGBTQ community tend to have a short-term focus, but we need to think long-term. We do not want to work until we are 80 years old just so we can afford to live. Start today and you will see that saving money is fun.
Pride Wealth Strategies is a source for LGBTQ financial coaching and analysis. The company specializes in Investment Portfolio Reviews, Debt Management, Budgeting, Wealth Management and Estate Planning. For more information, visit pridewealthstrategies.com.
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