Time to invest money, shave bloated spending, and look for additional supplemental income! Sorry, this wasn’t really about a post on 2% milk fat. But it sort of does relate as I’m sure a lot of people have fat, a.k.a. unnecessary costs, in our lives that we could cut down on in our diet. Mr. Money Mustache was a life-saver, literally, for me. When there is excessive spending and stagnant savings sitting in a bank account, what was I thinking?!
Credit cards can mitigate some of the spending costs. When comparing Mr Money Mustache’s CardRatings.com versus Nerd Wallet’s card recommendations for cash back cards, CardRatings.com had better ones up front for the amount of credit card spending I do monthly and annually. It was crazy to think about juggling credit cards based on their cashback rewards but the savings are definitely there even if its 0.5% to 3% difference. Another idea in regards to juggling credit cards better on day-to-day spending is to label your credit cards so you know how much %cash back you’re getting back on each one. This helped me shift from using the Costco Citi Visa card over to my first (and staple) Capital One Quicksilver card where every purchase provides 1.5% cash back. Applying for other cards with higher rewards will soon be in this mix as well but the other thing I took into factor is looking for the best cash back credit cards with no annual fee as I don’t spend enough to justify a hundred dollars in annual fees, even if it is waived the first 12 months.
The other spot I started shaping and cutting the fat out on is my spending, especially food. I spent, wait for it, a whopping seven hundred monthly in food (and bars) expenses last year. Granted, there are people who probably spend much more on food than me, that still seems insane if you start to break down how much that cost means per day and per meal. By first trying recipes that were on Mr. Money Mustache’s site had sparked my love for SeriousEats with fusing quick, healthier, and inexpensive meals. Seriously, SeriousEats has some amazing proven science behind good cooking, I definitely recommend getting The Food Lab book by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt if you are ever curious about cooking and why things turn out the way they do. Anyways back to meals–going from sometimes 20 to 30 bucks a meal down to 1 to 2 dollars a meal means I’m saving that much more, which means I can place this unspent cash into investments which will work more for me rather than against me. Unless the fees are astronomical, then the investments could be maximizing your returns.
The primary cost I have is rent, which is a little less flexible than food since living the San Francisco Bay Area has cost of living to epic proportions. I remember living in the central valley where I could have a 1Bed/1Bath and parking spot apartment for a very decent price, whereas spending the same in the Bay Area will get you maybe a bedroom in a shared house with sparse street parking in a low-income neighborhood. Have to remind myself that I’m paying for the weather, the good air quality (although hasn’t been too good lately due to the CA fires), local businesses, and the diversification of things. I do have some wiggle room but it is definitely a lifestyle adjustment to have roommates and no reserved parking considering I have a personal and company vehicle.
The last thing I’ve looked into lately is investments. Holy cow there’s so much stuff out there that I’ve been out of the loop on. There are things like roboadvisors, REITs, and cloud/internet-based financial management services. I never even heard of a roboadvisor until this year, a little sad, but I’m learning…. I’m learning… <starts curling up into a ball rocking back and forth>. Anyways, with unspent cash that might be going towards a large purchase or just straight up providing additional supplemental income, I couldn’t pass this up considering all my savings is just sitting there in an FDIC savings account accruing a fraction of a % of interest, ugh. The two sources I did find that are a good starting point for this so far is Nerdwallet and Investor Junkie. I’m taking some risk but at the cost of not only staying afloat but to secure a near future as well as retirement.
All in all, I know it’s not spring cleaning but fall cleaning! Haha. Well, in terms of balance in life, I’m learning that doing regular checkups on finances can be a really good and inspiring thing, especially when seeing how much little bits make a difference.