When you hit a rough patch in your life the last thing you might be thinking about are the lessons that could be learned from it. After I graduated in April 2016 my plans were to immediately move. I thought my ticket out of Arkansas would be to land a job and with the help of my family, move. It seemed like a smart plan since I was doing all the things I was told to do, but I didn’t think to have money saved incase no one wanted to hire me. After I learned that it’s hard to get a job out-of-state before relocating I had no money saved which meant no way to move because with no job my family wasn’t going to pitch in.
Along the way, I ended up having 2 dead-end jobs, couch suffering, having my bank account in the red more than once and doing some creative things for money. It hasn’t been a glamorous part of my life and some points were flat-out embarrassing, but I will say that by undergoing these trails I’ve learned a lot about finances.
There Is Always A Way To Make Money
I really hated being at home when I had to move back in. I mean no bills, yay, but I had to leave the life I loved behind to revert to being looked at as a child and boredom. I was desperate to move out. In my desperation, I came up with a motto: There is always a way; you just have to find it. I’ve seen an obese woman making a living from recording herself eating. I have seen a man who gets paid of balancing items. There are so many unique things that people will pay for. Some of the ways that I made money included: freelancing, wreath making, selling old/unwanted items, saving all change, InboxDollars). Some of these things only brought in a few dollars, but that’s a few more dollars than what I had. Think outside of the box! The best advice I’ve gotten is to think about the craziest things you’d do to make what you need to happen, happen. You don’t have to actually do that thing, but in thinking about it, it helps open your mind and motivate you. I had never made a wreath in my life and ended up creating and selling 3 for $45.
Always Have A Side Hustle
Even if you don’t desire being a full-time entrepreneur like I do I recommend that you have a viable side hustle. Relinquishing the power over your finances to someone else is far too risky. I was finally able to get a job after months of searching at a fabric store. I wasn’t proud of it, but it was a job and I made plans to keep that job until I saved enough money to move. It was a nice plan and I had finally gotten out of my home town and was living with my cousin in a more progressive city. That plan was shattered when I got laid off. After the setting up the store my boss decided she had too many workers to run it and I was one of the ones to get the cut. I ended up only pulling 2 checks from that job and moving back home. Don’t allow your money train to start and stop with someone else. Your employer is not obligated to show you loyalty. They don’t have to care about how firing your, cutting your hours or delaying your check can cause major problems in your life so don’t give them that much power over it. Find something you like to do, you’re good at and that can help others and go get that money.
Prioritize Your Spending
Being broke has let me know that I can survive without a lot of things I might want. I couldn’t splurge on getting my hair done, my eyebrows done or any of those things that I was used to spending money on. It taught me about the importance of figuring out what you really need and what you want and prioritizing those things. Even now with a better job I don’t go out every time I see a cool event, because I know my desire to move is stronger than my desire to cure momentary boredom. I also paid attention to the spending habits of others and how easily people spend their money on things that they want than things that need and end up in stressful situations because of it. Knowing much I love to be carefree and thanks to practice during this period of my life I’m confident than when I move I can put paying my bills first. When I meet a cross roads of deciding how to spend my money when I’m facing something I want I ask myself “will you die if you don’t have this now?” Sounds dramatic, but if you’ve been months or weeks without it you can survive an extra 2 weeks until you have taken care of more pressing matters first.
There’s Always A Reason To Save
For the past several months I have been saving to move, but I’m aware that just because I relocate doesn’t mean I get a spend like a manic free card. There are still so many reasons to save money. I don’t like that awful feeling of knowing I need to pay for something, but accidentally spent too much money so I know having a savings for my bills and essential needs (food and gas) is a must. I also have to save for my projects. You have to spend money to make money. I also need an emergency fund. Life happens and you never know when you’ll need a large lump money asap. Had I had money saved up before graduation I could have moved when I planned to instead of having to pay catch up now. Also, I have to save so that I can do things that I always wanted to do from getting to know my new city when I move to going to dope events like the BET Awards. The ways I save are by following the tips above. Always find a way to make money and have it as a side hustle and don’t spend your money on things you really don’t need. I still buy things that I want, but I keep things in moderation by finding great deals and practicing minimalism.
I’ve went from being terrified of paying my first bill to having the confidence that I know what I’m doing. The confidence that God knew I needed since I’m moving so far by myself. No matter what season you find yourself in good or bad take a look around and ask God to show you what He wants you to learn. Adulting here I come.