How To Be A Financial Rock Star in 2018

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I’d like to take a moment to say Happy New Year to all of my readers! We finally made it to 2018 and I am super excited! If you’re new around here, you’ll soon find out that Mr. Mad Money Monster and I love living a selectively frugal lifestyle in order to reach our financial goals. I say selectively frugal because we’re not at all averse to spending bookoo bucks on things that we value. Two things we value most are our home and experiences. We absolutely love making memories, so spending a few bucks to do so doesn’t phase us one bit. That’s not to say we’re not going to be financial rock stars in 2018. Oh, we are. And if you want to be too, read on!

Budget Your Way To Rock Star Status

Financial Independence | Financial Freedom | Wealth Accumulation | Money Management | Wealth Accumulation | Side Hustles via @MadMoneyMonsterWay back in the day, my husband and I were pretty normal (read: terrible) with money. Before meeting and starting down the path to financial independence, we were chugging along racking up credit card debt, car loans, and not making wealth accumulation a priority. Why? Because we had PLENTY of time ahead of us. But let me tell you something, plenty of time goes by really fast. Before we knew it, our age was catching up to us and our wealth accumulation wasn’t anything to brag about.

So, after almost buying a house we couldn’t comfortably afford, we pulled our heads out of our butts and made a plan to make our money a major priority in our lives. We sat down and made a budget. But we didn’t just make a budget, we stuck to it. Little by little our debts started to disappear and our wealth started to pile up.

We don’t do super strict budgets anymore. Instead, we just don’t spend money on anything unless it’s a necessity or we truly value it. This way of operating suits us just fine.

Fortunately, both Mr. MMM and I have careers that pay well (but not crazy well – we’re not investment bankers over here), so by dialing down our normal lifestyle to a super frugal one, we were able to free up gobs of cash. And once we did that, we re-directed that cash towards debt elimination and investments.

You’d be surprised just how quickly you’re able to make financial progress by tweaking a few areas of your lifestyle. And with that, let’s look at how you can give yourself a raise in 15 short minutes – without haggling with your boss!

Give Yourself A Raise By Eliminating Little Expenses

family room - financial rock star in 2018

We love spending time in our family room.

When we started embracing a frugal lifestyle we also started to evaluate little expenses that were eating into our bottom line. One of our easiest and biggest wins was canceling our cable TV subscription. With one quick phone call, we gave ourselves a $150/mo raise.

And that’s not all we cut back on. We stopped eating out like we were high-rolling ballers. Haha! We cut our mobile data package down to the bare minimum. And we stopped buying STUFF we didn’t need.

If you’re ready to do the same, check out these quick financial wins that’ll put money back in your pocket, literally, overnight.

10 Quick Financial Wins

  1. Cut your cable and dramatically increase your available cash each month
  2. Refinance your student loans with LendEDU or SoFi
  3. Reduce your mobile data package – you’ll be surprised how little it might affect you
  4. Cancel your gym membership and work out at home
  5. Skip the expensive latte and make your own joe instead
  6. Eliminate restaurant meals except for special occasions
  7. Plan a staycation instead of a vacation
  8. Cut your own hair and/or let your natural color shine
  9. Implement a clothes-buying ban for a specified period of time
  10. Entertain yourself at home – never underestimate the power of a Netflix binge

Other articles you might enjoy:

Evaluate Your Current Employment Status

There are no two ways about it, your job is likely your single largest source of income you have at your disposal. But just because your job pays the bills doesn’t mean it’s the right job for you. If you’re unhappy with your current employer, start the new year out on the right foot by looking for a new job.

You might not be able to quit your job until you have another one lined up, but you’ll get a huge boost in confidence and self-esteem just knowing your options aren’t limited and that change is on your horizon.

Changing jobs is also an excellent way to make more money. You will definitely get a better pay increase by switching jobs than you will if you stay in your current role and wait for the annual pay bump.

However, if you actually enjoy your current job and just want to make more money, you can either ask for a promotion, pick up a side hustle, or do both.

Side Hustle Your Way To Extra Income

Mad Money Cat - financial rock star in 2018

Mad Money Cat is already a financial rock star. #nosidehustlerequired

Side hustles are a great way to earn extra money if you don’t want to leave your current employer and are just looking to pad your bottom line. They’re also a great way to try out an entirely new career path without committing to it full-time at the outset.

I was able to do this with this blog. When I started Mad Money Monster back in 2015 I had no idea it was going to make as much money as it currently does. Not only do I absolutely love writing content that is helpful and, hopefully, entertaining, but I am earning some extra money to boot.

I chose to blog because my side hustle needed to be something I could do from the comfort of my own home. As my long-term readers know, I also work a high-stress, full-time, out-of-the-home W2 job. So for me, working outside of the home wasn’t an option – not if I wanted to keep my marriage together and be a loving mother to our daughter.

But if you don’t have such constraints, side hustles can range from blogging to pet sitting to driving for Uber. Not sure what you might like to do? Check out these ideas…

Popular Side Hustles:

  • Start your own blog – Use my quick How-To guide to get you up and running in just minutes!
  • Drive for Uber – Check out my brother’s experience in this in-depth interview.
  • Take online surveysUse Pinecone Research to earn extra money in your spare time.
  • Bake cakes – There is a huge market for specialty cakes, cupcakes, and the like. If you’ve got some talent, use it to earn some extra dough.
  • Pet Sitting – Love animals? Why not get paid to watch your neighbor’s cat when they go on vacation? People are willing to spend an enormous amount of cash on pet care. Take advantage of it.
  • Offer music lessons – If you have some musical talent, use it to earn extra cash at home.
  • Pinterest virtual assistant – If you have an artistic eye, try your hand at being a Pinterest virtual assistant.

And there you have it, a few awesome ways you can get your money on track and start to build massive wealth in 2018. What are you waiting for? Get started now!

Do you have any suggestions for making more money and building wealth? What did I miss? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.


12 comments… add one
  • Life Your Wage Jan 9, 2018, 11:47 am

    Great post! It’s amazing how powerful just being aware and intentional about spending can be. Most people make enough money, they’re just spending even more. Some are freaked out by the word “frugal”, but when you’re digging out of debt cutting the cable, skipping eating out, and dropping the latte habit can kickstart a really great money turnaround.

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 9, 2018, 2:57 pm

      It’s so true. Just making a few minor tweaks can add up to HUGE savings over time.

  • Jason Jan 3, 2018, 11:49 am

    Good tips. One of my long-term goals is finally to do some monetizing with my blog. I will finally make my first $100 (ads) this month (and it only too 3 1/2 years). Anyway, congrats on your success and hopefully it continues.

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 3, 2018, 7:36 pm

      Thanks so much. And, congrats on your success! Making that first $100 is the BEST! I remember telling everyone when I made my first $100. It’ll take off. You’ll see.

  • Mr. Groovy Jan 3, 2018, 10:05 am

    “Fortunately, both Mr. MMM and I have careers that pay well…so by dialing down our normal lifestyle to a super frugal one, we were able to free up gobs of cash.”

    Nailed it, Mrs. MMM. So many people equate frugality with deprivation. And that notion couldn’t be further from the truth. Just be half normal with your expenses (i.e., just spend $17K on your next car rather than $34K the typical American spends) and you should have no trouble saving money–and having fun. A little mindfulness and a little creativity go a long way. Great post.

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 3, 2018, 7:34 pm

      Totally agree! Obviously 🙂 Yeah, we’re all about spending less than what most people do on most things.

      It was funny, over the holidays I had someone mention that getting the new iPhone X wasn’t any big deal because they just roll the cost into their monthly payment. That thinking is so far from my normal that my eyes nearly bugged out of my head. 🙂

  • Femme Frugality Jan 2, 2018, 11:02 pm

    Love this! One other thing you can pick up that you can do from home is tutoring pretty much anything. There are entire platforms dedicated to it! And totally agree on cutting the small expenses–they add up. Saved me almost $5k the first year I got really serious about it!

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 3, 2018, 7:31 pm

      Wow, $5k/yr is amazing! Yeah, I did almost add tutoring online. I know a few people who make good money from it. Good point.

  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach Jan 2, 2018, 9:00 am

    One of my mini goals in 2018 is to find a cheaper way to get my hair cut. It’s short, so I have to get it cut every 6-8 weeks or else it will look terrible. I’m terrified to try a place like supercuts, but if it works out the cost savings would be huge!

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 2, 2018, 12:10 pm

      I’ve had short hair before and I’ve gone to Supercuts before, so I definitely feel your pain. The key with those places is to find a good stylist. Most of them are fresh out of school, but some of them are really good. The problem is that most of the good ones get picked up by good (read: expensive) salons before too long. I’ll be interested to hear how it goes!

  • Penny @ She Picks Up Pennies Jan 2, 2018, 8:53 am

    Happy New Year! It’s nice how you can ease up a bit on budgets when you’ve spent time tracking and really have a good sense of what is necessary and what is not. After the holidays, I always think it’s such a relief to track closely for a month to see what normal spending feels like again. Ha 🙂

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 2, 2018, 12:08 pm

      Yeah, the holidays do always throw a wrench in things. No matter how I try, we always tend to spend too much for gifts. Thankfully January is a fresh start! 🙂 Hope your new year is off to a great start!

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