The Ultimate Predicament: No Debt

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Shouldn’t we all have a goal to be debt free?  It obviously makes the most sense; live better and more comfortably with less liability.  This has been my goal for as long as I can remember.

 Unfortunately, circumstances like a divorce, along with some bad financial decisions (at least I admit it, right?) along the way, left me in a tough situation like like a lot of others I know.

One step at a time, with limited resources, I’ve dug my way out of the hole.  Most recently I paid off my car.  Wow, what a relief!  To finally have no car payment, it’s a wonderful feeling! Of course, my car now has a lot of miles on it and I need to keep it on the road as long as possible so it can start paying me back now.

Now that I don’t have a monthly car payment, I do have to be aware and conscience of the fact that maintenance is a high priority.  This is especially true when you only have one car to get you around.   I really can’t complain though, my car has been so good to me…Toyota, you just can’t go wrong!

Outside of paying my car off, I finally paid off my kids’ braces.  I have twins that are fifteen years-old and unfortunately they both needed braces, not only for cosmetic reasons, but one had a bad crossbite and the other had a bad overbite.  It’s amazing how expensive braces are!  All I know is that it’s a big relief to have this off my plate too.

I can honestly say that I am debt free now.  Of course, I don’t have a mortgage like most do, so that’s a big weight off my shoulders.  Still, I have no credit card debt, no more car payments, no loans to repay….yep, I am finally starting to stand in the light at the end of the tunnel.  The best part of it all is there will be a lot more cash freed up to continue to invest with!  

Next up….well, I will likely purchase a home again, although I really don’t like the idea of having a mortgage.  I’ve read so many excellent financial bloggers that continue to steer clear of a home mortgage.  I can definitely see some positive  things about renting, but there are also some drawbacks that get under my skin too.  Most of all having to deal with a landlord and not being about to control the situation in the place I’m living, or just doing whatever I want to fix the place up.  It does get a little frustrating at times.  But, having a mortgage right now scares me to death, especially with the current home prices out there.  It’s ridiculous how overvalued homes are right now.  I’m not sure how the housing market will look next year, but that will likely be the time I make a decision on whether or not to buy.

One step at a time….right now, I want to bask in the radiance of a debt free lifestyle.   Feels good!

Stop Living Paycheck To Paycheck

paycheck to paycheckI ran across a great article written by Mary Beth Storjohann at Workable Wealth, about breaking the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck.  In the article, an estimated 1/3 of all US households are living paycheck to paycheck.  It’s pretty scary, but very easy to see and/or understand why.

People, especially middle-class workers, continue to live right up to their means.  What’s worse is, most also continue to rack up debt in the process.  Once the debt overcomes them, they have an incredibly hard time ever getting ahead.

I remember these days myself and that’s why I enjoyed reading her article because it reminded me of all the things I actually did right to get myself out of the hole and ahead for good.  Take a look at her article HERE.  Follow these simple, easy to understand guidelines and stop living paycheck to paycheck for good!

Check out other related blogs on my site at Middleclasssuccess.com

 

 

 

 

I Save Tons Of Money By Being Healthy

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I can honestly say that I’ve saved tons of money, year over year, for staying healthy and eating well.  I regularly exercise and eat well with home cooked meals and a Paleo style diet.  To me, when it comes to living frugally, staying healthy is a big part of my plan.  I haven’t been to a doctor in years, so no co-pay visits, no billing from the insurance companies….most importantly, no meds!

How many people do you know that are constantly sick?  If it isn’t a cold or sinus issues, it’s stomach problems, or some other health issue.

I see people like this everyday, especially at work.   A lot of my co-workers eat really bad and have no energy, or are just not motivated to stay active.  This is especially true at an administrative job, where you seem to get stuck behind a desk all day long.    I see co-workers eating fast food every day for lunch; taking in tons of sugar with junk food and soda, gaining more and more weight, then they wonder why they are sick all the time.   I just sit back and watch and appreciate the fact that I haven’t been sick even once this year or last year for that matter.  Obviously I’m not super human, but when I do catch a bug, I can quickly shake it and will be back to 100% in a matter of a few days.

Outside of my interests with my finances and investing, I love working out.  I’m a personal trainer and enjoy exercise as one of my passions.  Of course the way I look at it, both of these hobbies actually go hand-in-hand.  If I keep myself in good shape and take care of my overall health, I stay away from the doctor and save tons of money year over year.  I can imagine I’ve literally saved thousands of dollars over the past several years (in comparison to most people I know), by just maintaining my health.  I feel better than I did 10 years ago and I’m in a lot better shape.

I actually get the best of both worlds….good health and significant savings.  Both of which play a big part in my future goals.  I plan to live well and enjoy life to the fullest as I age.  Staying in shape, maintaining my health AND stashing away all that extra cash I saved in the process to reach my financial goals.  It’s a win-win situation!

Look good, feel good, live a long healthy life and stay away from the doctors office.  No meds, no insurance bills, tons of money saved in the process!   Get active, stay active, eat clean and live well.

 

10 Ways To Build Your Wealth In 2015

2015I came across this great Forbes article written by Laura Shin called “10 Surefire Ways To Build Your Wealth In 2015”, that I wanted to share.  It has some great information that we can all benefit from to help us stay on course to accomplish our financial goals this year.  Check out the article here.

I hope 2015 is a happy and prosperous year for everyone.  Stay focused on your goals and monitor your spending closely.  Watch your investment accounts grow and feel good about your accomplishments this year!

 

Retirement Savings In The US, A Sad State Of Affair

no-retirementDue to the fact that pensions seem to be a thing of the past, workers today are forced to rely on self-directed savings plans for their future retirement funds.

As millions of people are approaching retirement each year, how are forecasts looking for average American worker and their retirement savings accounts?

Among recent articles, one particular piece from the Financial Times (UK) really stood out to me.  According to the author, in one New School study of US Census data, people aged 50 to 64 in the bottom three income quartiles, or 75% of all adults in that group, averaged less than $28,000 in total retirement savings as of 2011.  And a sizable 77% of those aged 50 to 64 in the bottom income quartile didn’t have a penny of retirement savings.   The rest were not much better, with 66% of the second quartile, 41% of the third and even 22% of the highest having zero in retirement account dollars.

Other studies, including a 2013 survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, found similarly grave results for soon-to-be retirees, with 43% of workers aged 55 and older reporting they had saved less than $25,000.

The author also points out another issue that continues to sabotage future retirees accounts, is the continual trend of dipping into accounts for loans or early withdrawals.   A survey of 4,100 workers from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies found nearly a 1/4 had taken cash out of their accounts already, most often paying heavy penalties in the process.

These statistics reflect a sad realization that a high percentage of American workers will be unable to sustain current standards of living in retirement.  This is especially true as more people are living longer on average.  This will undoubtedly put a heaver strain on Social Security, as their last (or only) resort of income to support themselves.

It’s interesting to see articles come out of the UK related to issues, such as retirement for US workers.  It seems to give a more realistic and unbiased perspective, in my opinion.  All in all, it’s just another sad reminder that most Americans are not disciplined when it comes to their finances. Most, simply do not plan at all.  How many people do you know that don’t want to think about, or even discuss retirement?   It’s amazing to see patterns of massive spending, with no real consideration for their future financial standing.

I believe most middle-class people, simply think it will all just work out somehow and they will find a way to get by.  Even if that means working in their 70’s or 80’s, if they are lucky enough to have good health (that’s another thing most people don’t even account for, good health).

Obviously this trend can be changed with the right mindset and dedication to financial goals.  Let’s not allow ourselves to fall into one of the statistical categories mentioned above!  Start saving today, be aggressive and disciplined in your financial goals and don’t be one of the those middle-class folks that are “hoping” things will just work out.  Plan accordingly and later in life you will thank yourself!

Joining The “Million Dollar” Club

Million Dollar Club

Ah, don’t get too excited with the title of this blog….I’m not really there yet, although it is exciting to me to be joining a list of many others that have dedicated themselves to achieving this goal.

I recently came across a great blogger J.Money at Budgets Are Sexy that has really inspired me.   He created a Million Dollar Club for people like myself that aspire to build some serious long-term wealth.   Although, at times it seems like wishful thinking for most of us working-class stiffs to make this type of a goal, I see absolutely no reason why I won’t be there by the time I retire (or during retirement).  Unfortunately for me, I started way too late in life and I did have a financially devastating divorce right in the middle of it all.  Still, starting late is better than not doing anything at all.

Now, I’m not one to sit back and just hope to make this goal, I know it’ll take a lot of hard work and dedication. I’m also not naive to believe that reaching this goal will be the end-all for me and I’ll fade off in the glory of my riches in retirement.   This is an excellent goal for me at this point in my life, plus I get to be a part of the “Club”, that’s the cool part!

In order for me to make this goal, I need to stay focused and listen to my own good advice…..at least I think it’s good advice!  If I do the following things and make some smart financial decisions, I will make this goal.  Hopefully sooner than later.  For the most part, all I have is time, and time is what it will take to make it.  With limited resources, time is really the only thing you have on your side.  To build this type of net-worth, it’s going to take me some time, but I’ve already dedicated myself and this website to long-term wealth building, so let’s take this journey together.

Here’s my plan:

1. First off, build up my savings account to give me a healthy emergency fund to cover all my unexpected expenses. Ideally, I would like to have at least two or three months-worth of living expenses saved up.

2. Continue to live debt free.  If I can stay away from debt, I’ll be way ahead of the game.  All of my resources will go into achieving this goal.

3. Continue to aggressively fund my brokerage account, especially buying good dividend paying stocks.  If I stay focused on this path, I will be able to build a solid income stream that will snow-ball my account year-over-year.

4. Finish out my current employment and earn the service credits it takes to lock-down a significant pension at my State job.  I pay 10% (mandated) right off the top of my salary every month for my pension.  If I can get 25 years of service, I will be able to secure about 65% of my three-year highest average salary for my pension income.  I already have 14 years of service, so I’m not too far out now.  This will be the life blood for me in retirement!

5. Build up my 401k and don’t take any loans against it (although this has been a great resource in a pinch).  I just pay myself back with a low interest rate and it doesn’t show on my credit report.   It’s has been a life saver in the past.

6. Build up my wife’s accounts: savings, Roth IRA, etc.  Remember, it’s a team effort when your married!  Ultimately, I want to make this goal with my accounts and investments, but we can get there twice as fast together.

7. Continue to fund my investment club with my co-workers.  At this club we use a separate brokerage account with four of us contributing monthly.  It’s been a nice pool of money building on the side.  I really don’t think about this one, I just fund it with the other accounts and it continues to grow.  It’s just another great way to build wealth on the side!

8. Look into purchasing rental properties.  I’m especially interested in vacation condos at destination resort areas.  I can rent the condo year around and occasionally enjoy it myself!  I have a good friend that has successfully owned and rented condos for years.  His guidance will be crucial and absolutely priceless when I get to that point.

9. Dedicate my spare resources to all of the above.  Continue to make smart financial decisions as I go.  Stay healthy and fit to hopefully avoid any health issues along the way.  Eating well along with routine exercise will keep your body healthy for the long haul.  I feel like I’m in better shape now than I was 20 years ago!   Good health can keep you away from expensive doctor bills and medications.  How many people do you know that rely on meds to get them by everyday?  It’s sad, but true.  Stay healthy, not only for your own life (and your kids, if you have any), and start to realize how much long-term health care could potentially cost you.   It’s extremely scary to think about health care costs in retirement.  I’ll take care of myself to try and avoid this hazard!

10. Last but not least, I should have a Social Security benefit as well.  I paid into the system for many years, so I’ll take whatever I can get from this income stream.

If all goes well, I will wear the badge of the Million Dollar Club.  Good luck to everyone else on the list!

Retirement: Will You Have Enough Money To Live On?

retirement  Planning for retirement is most often overlooked.  For some people it’s a complete afterthought.  Oddly enough, most people simply think they can rely on Social Security (SS) to get them by in their retirement.  To me this a very scary proposition.  Why in the world would anyone think that SS is going to allow them to live the type of lifestyle they are accustomed to when they actually do stop working?  It doesn’t make much sense to me, so I hope it at least raises the same question for you.

So when you do retire, how exactly are you going continue to support yourself?  I sure hope you have some additional income streams that can allow you to live the type of lifestyle at least close to where you are today.  In all reality you should at least have three or four different income sources to keep you afloat.  Some of which should be continually earning more money, even while you are drawing down on the account.

So let’s look at a few ideas for these income sources:

1. Social Security.  Yes, we already mentioned this one and it should be a source of income for your retirement (assuming you had been paying into the system).

2.  Savings account.  Hopefully you have a healthy savings account built up, if not start working on that now.  This account won’t give you hardly anything in return at the current interest rates, but it is liquid cash that you absolutely need to have at your disposal.

3.  Personal retirement account (IRA/401K).  If you haven’t already started at least one of these accounts, you need to think about starting one as soon as possible.  Research the tax implications/benefits of each type of account and decide what is best for you.  Generally speaking, you either pay taxes on the money going into the account up front or later when it is withdrawn.   Both account types are great for building wealth long-term.

4.  Personal brokerage account (taxable account).  Open a brokerage account with a reputable online broker, such as Ameritrade, E*Trade, Scottrade, etc.  Buy stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc.  Pay taxes on capital gains and build wealth through dividend reinvesting with good solid dividend paying companies.

5.  Real estate / rental properties:  Create a consistent income stream through rental properties.  Build equity in real estate properties and have your renters pay down your mortgage.  Hopefully by retirement time there is no mortgage, so the rental income is pure profit.

There are obviously many more ways to create income sources, but these are 5 simple things that you do to start planning for your retirement right now.   If you manage to secure all five of these income sources successfully, you will have nice income streams to keep you afloat during retirement.  Of course, it’s all about how much you spend that really dictates your success long-term.  Analyze your spending habits closely, especially going into retirement. If you haven’t done so already, eliminate all debt and roll-on into your glory years without any liabilities.

I also found an interesting article from MarketWatch called with 5 tips to help you retire early.  These are some simple tips that can help you reach your goals in retirement, that also reiterate many of the past blog topics we have covered on Middle Class Success.com.   Spend wisely, save relentlessly, and build wealth.

10 Steps To Get Ahead And Create Long-Term Wealth, Part 1

In my blogs I’ve discussed a lot of ideas on ways to get ahead.  For most of us working-class folk, we need to look for easy, creative ways to squeeze out extra money from our paychecks and find a way to build some wealth.  When you’re strapped for cash, it’s incredibly hard to find a way to get ahead of the game and get out of that financial rut that everyone seems to find themselves caught up in.  This website is dedicated to help people find ways to get ahead and break out of the “blue-collar” mindset that seems to keep working class people locked in to unending debt and a feeling of hopelessness of ever creating any wealth.

I want you to understand that you can get ahead, and you can create wealth a little at a time.  You have to be patient and you have to be persistent.  More than anything you have to change the way you think about money and your spending.

I was fortunate enough to make an acquaintance with a co-worker that actually changed the way I think about money for good.  This guy is truly the “millionaire next door” or in this case the “millionaire in the next cubicle”, I call him.   I never imagined a guy like this ever had any money.  He drove an old, beat up car, didn’t dress fancy, and didn’t look or act like he had any money at all.  After I really started to get to know him and he opened up about money and how to actually use it to make make more money, I really started to understand.  He truly changed my prospective on money for good.  Since meeting him and really starting to understand money and how to manage it, my finances have turned completely around and are heading in an upward trend month over month, year over year.

It’s truly amazing how much you can accomplish when you have a different mindset about something and really focus on your goals.  This applies to really anything in life, but for me it was all about my financial future and setting the stage for long-term success.  Now I know that it is possible for any working class stiff like myself to create an environment for financial success.

Below are some of the steps I’ve learned that can help you find a way to get ahead for good.  Remember, stay focused and keep your sights set for long-term success.  One step at a time, little by little, you will succeed.  Here are the simple but effective steps to take control of your financial future:

Step #1:  Set your financial goals

You need to set some financial goals and make yourself accountable to stay on track.   As I mentioned, It’s all about changing your mindset regarding spending and saving.  Your goals will help you stay focused and help you make financial decisions as they arise.  Your goals should be really personal and mean something to you, so you really keep locked-in on them.  I make a point to create goals every New Year’s Eve and write them down on a piece of paper.  I stick the paper in a jar and stash it away, so at the end of that year I go through all my goals and see what my progress was.  It’s amazing how much you actually accomplish when you set your mind to it.  It’s also fun to look back and see how things change in just one year.  I now have my wife and kids doing the same thing.  It’s a fun family activity to look at all our goals every New Year.   Just make sure you make realistic financial goals….don’t shoot for the moon.  Make goals that you really think you can accomplish, you will be surprised how good it makes you feel to make and/or exceed each goal.

Step #2:  Set a budget and track every dollar you spend

As I’ve mentioned in some of my other blog posts, you can’t possibly get ahead if you don’t know where your money is going.  Some people don’t even really know how much money they have coming in!   It’s really important to know what you have coming in and what you have going out.  I like to use a free online budgeting program called Mint.com.  This program is very easy to use and you really can track your money coming in and going out, as well as your spending trends of all your accounts.  You must set a budget or you will never be able to accomplish your goals.  If you don’t want to use a program like Mint.com, then you can simply create a budget on a pad of paper.   You just need to start with your gross (take-home) pay, then track each and every expense so you can account for every dollar you spend.  Then you will truly understand what you have left over.  The bottom line is, you ultimately need to spend less than you earn.  Spending less than you earn is the only way you will be able to free up some extra cash to start building wealth and/or pay down your debt.

Step#3:  Eliminate debt

Once you have your budget tweaked correctly and you know exactly how much money you have left over after paying all your expenses, start paying down your debt.  The best way to get ahead and stay ahead is by not having any debt. Eliminating debt gives you the cushion you need to cover any unexpected plans or life changing events.  Life is so much easier and less stressful without debt, so this is a high priority on your list.  Eliminate all debt!  Start with credit cards or small loans.  Pay off the smallest or highest interest debt first.  Put a large portion of your resources towards this task.  Once you eliminate the first one, take the money you saved from that payment and put it towards the next debt to knock that one down.  Keep going with this routine until you have eliminated all small loans and credit cards.  Keep one credit card for emergencies only and don’t get in the habit of ever using it for any other reason. Now start new goals for bigger loans, like car payments or a home mortgage for example.

Step #4:  Build your savings up

You may have noticed in step #3 that I mentioned to put a large portion of your available resources towards debt.  I didn’t say put all your resources towards debt.  You absolutely need to create a savings account right along with paying down debt. This account is needed to cover any unexpected expenses at any given time.  Put whatever you can in your savings automatically every payday.  Always pay yourself first!  I learned this a long time ago and I never looked back.  Once I paid myself, I found ways to cover everything else and looked back to realize that my savings continued to grow month over month.  Make sure you put money into a bank that offers you easy access to your money 24/7.  This account needs to be liquid and fully accessible in case you have an emergency.   Build up your savings account to your own comfort level.  Financial experts recommend that you have at least three months of expenses saved up in your account.  That would be a great goal, but for now shoot for at least $1000.00 and keep building from there.

Step #5:  Review and analyze your expenses

Once you have your budget working well and know where all your money is actually going, start looking at each and every expense closely.  You need to decide if you really NEED that expense.  Obviously some things like utilities are a given (even though there are a lot of ways to save money on heating and electric bills), but look at extra things like our TV service.  Do you really need four high definition TV’s in your house?  Satellite TV service is really expensive!  Take a look at your programming, do you really need to have 250 channels including HBO or the NFL package?  These are obviously extra services you don’t NEED.  How about your home phone?  Do you have a cell phone, if so, why do you need a home phone?  Cut down on all these services and save hundreds of dollars each year!  Well, you get the point, take a look at each and every expense and see where you can cut corners to free up some extra cash.  You will be surprised how much you can save.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this article for the rest of my tips on getting ahead for good.  It’s so important to start right now with these steps.  If you really focus on your goals and getting ahead, I know you will get there!

 

 

10 Steps To Get Ahead And Create Long-Term Wealth, Part 2

Continuing on from my previous post, “10 Steps To Get Ahead And Create Long-Term Wealth, Part 1”  here are the next five steps that I’ve personally used to help me get ahead and create an environment for long-term financial success.  I want you to understand that you can also get ahead and start building wealth.  Keep the process simple… your finances can be as complicated as you want it to be.  For me, I like everything in my life to be simple, so I use very simple methods.

As I keep things simple, I continue to educate myself, as you will see in Step #10.  There are so many resources out there at your disposal.  Step #10 will touch on some of them that I’ve found useful.  This website is dedicated to try and inspire people that are in the same situation as I was, just trying to find a way to create some wealth with limited resources.  I’ve learned so much in the past 10 years, I only wish I could have started the process earlier. Still, the key to long-term success is starting now, no matter what point in your life or what your current finances are.  Start now and secure your future for yourself and your family.

Continuing from Part 1, here are the next five steps that have worked for me:

Step #6:  Be conscious of your spending 

Evaluate every purchase and decide if you really NEED to make the expense.  Living frugally is really the key to creating an environment for long-term financial success.  No matter how much money you earn, if you make good financial decisions you can definitely get ahead.  The good majority of people I know that are struggling with their finances have done so because of bad financial decisions, over and over again, then they wonder why they have no money and live paycheck to paycheck.  Remember, being frugal and controlling your spending is a true mindset and lifestyle that you have to implement in order to get ahead with limited resources.

Of course, living frugally doesn’t mean that you have to totally deprive yourself completely.  We all have hobbies and different interests that cost money.  You also need to treat yourself with a reward occasionally, you earned it!  Just be smart about your expenses and really think about each purchase.  After I changed my mindset on accomplishing my financial goals, I soon realized that material things just weren’t important.  Just ask yourself, “will buying this help me make my goals”?  Most people simply don’t think about spending money, they act impulsively, then when the reality sets in with their spending it just gets them down and depressed.  Again, it’s all about making good choices.  If you do this, you will come out ahead and the money you save by living frugally will help you secure your financial freedom for good.

Step #7: Setup automation on your accounts

In earlier steps, I mentioned always paying yourself first before your expenses.  Once your budget is totally tweaked and you fully understand how much you have coming in and going out, you can setup automatic transactions for deposits to your savings or investment accounts.  This way you make sure money is funneled into your accounts, so you get paid first.  Then you can also setup automatic payment transactions for your expenses.  It really helps to have a system down to make sure you don’t forget to pay a bill.  Automatic transactions eliminate the human element, which really helps from potentially paying late fees if the payment is accidentally overlooked.   You can setup automatic payments for just about everything.  It just simplifies the process and helps you manage your budget better.

I also use an EXCEL spreadsheet for all of my bills every month.  I mark off each bill or financial obligation once I see it clear my checking account, just to make sure I didn’t miss anything.  Do what works best for you, but keep it simple and efficient so it makes it easier and less stressful to deal with every month.

Step #8:  Fund Your Retirement

Step #8 goes right along with Step #7.  Pay yourself first!  Your long term-wealth building is just that, long-term!  It takes time to accumulate wealth, especially with limited resources.  If you don’t already have a retirement account, you need to start one now!  Time is on your side and it will take many years to build up a significant amount of wealth to live on in retirement.  I’m not a mathematician, but the basic numbers from my Social Security (SS) benefit tell me that I will need much more income to live on in retirement.  If you haven’t done so already, take a look at your potential SS benefit and really think about how much money you will need to live on.  If you think that you are going to make it on SS and live the way you currently live, you’re in for a real shock.  Do the math and really think about this, it won’t be hard to see that you will need different sources of income to keep you afloat…especially if you live 20 to 30 years after you retire.

At a minimum, take a look at your employer and see if they offer a 401K plan.  If so, do they offer matching funds?  If they match your deposits up to a certain percentage, take advantage of that, it’s free money!  If they don’t offer a 401K, you can start your own IRA account.  There are lots of good options, so do your homework and see what works best for you.  If possible, have one of each going and utilize them for different tax purposes long-term.  I also highly recommend opening a taxable account with an online broker, such as Ameritrade, E-Trade, Sharebuilder, etc. I am a huge fan of dividend paying stocks.  With a brokerage account you can buy good dividend paying stocks that pay you to own them.  You will be amazed how much you can accumulate with a good dividend stock portfolio.

We will take a closer look at these different types of retirement accounts in future blog posts.  Visit my website for more on this subject later.

Step #9:  Earn extra money

Once you have your budget set and fully functional, you may realize that you still don’t have any money left over. At this point, you may need to simply find ways to earn extra money.  The best way to push your financial goals over the hump is to bring in more money.

Maybe you can find a promotional opportunity at your current job?  If not, maybe you can work with your employer to ask for a pay raise.  Most of the time employers don’t realize how important you really are to the organization until you bring it to their attention. If you are highly valued as an employee, you might be surprised that they will do whatever it takes to keep you.  If not, maybe you can look at switching jobs and finding a better avenue for future advancement opportunities somewhere else?  If you are happy where you are, maybe you can just consider working a second job?  That may be the answer to help you bring in that much needed extra money each month.

You should also look to get rid of stuff around the house to free up some extra cash.  I’ll bet if you look around the house, you’ll find plenty of stuff that you can get rid of that you really don’t need.  Put your ads on Craigslist, it’s free!  You could also sell stuff on eBay with online auctions.

Getting extra money selling stuff you don’t use or need around the house can really help you get a jump start.  I can honestly say that I’ve used Craigslist successfully for everything that I’ve tried to sell.  It works great for advertising your stuff and won’t cost you a dime.  You might also find local papers in your community that you can advertise your stuff for free.  Do some research and look for the best alternative to paid advertisements in your area.

Step #10:  Learn as much as you can about money and finances in general

Educate yourself and learn as much as you can when it comes to money.  There are so many good resources for this, including on-line blogs like this site, books and financial newspapers or magazines.  You can go to the public library in your community and check out books for free!  Knowledge is power, the more you learn the better off you will be. Remember I said that I prefer to keep my finances as simple as I can, I also keep this prospective when reading new books or articles.  I take whatever I can from each type of material and implement what I believe would work for me. Every book I’ve read has given me different perspectives to consider.  Some offer great information or ideas that I really find valuable.  Either way, it’s all really a continual learning process.  I find that reading and researching financial books and topics help to keep me focused on my own goals in creating long-term wealth.

Getting a grip on your finances and building wealth can be overwhelming, stressful or even intimidating at times.  That’s why I really like to keep things as simple as possible.  Learning different perspectives from multiple resources can be beneficial, but ultimately finding what works best for you is the key to your own financial success.

In summary:

Use the 10 steps I’ve outlined here (part 1 and part 2) to help you get started on your journey to taking control of your finances for good. Stay focused and persistent with your goals.  Make good financial decisions that will put you in a position for long-term success.  Use addition income resources to build a security blanket account to cover unexpected expenses, then use anything left over to start using your money to make more money.  Do your research and continually educate yourself.  Once you change your mindset about your finances, you will actually break the mold of the typical blue-collar worker and get ahead of the game for good.  Best of luck to you!

Disclaimer:

We are not professional financial advisers.  All of the information presented on Middle Class Succuss.com is for informational purposes only.  Our goal is to try and help as many people get control of their finances and create an environment for long-term success as possible.   Please continue to do your own research and/or consult with a financial professional to make the best possible decisions for your own financial future.