So this is the time of year that we make resolutions and set out goals that have the potential to forever change our lives. Sometimes we actually stick to them, but most of the time we procrastinate and make excuses and then set the exact same resolution again the following year. I thought I would give you some ideas of solid goals that you should be making that are a lot more attainable than you think.
This is the year you start your side hustle
Most of us could all use a little extra cash, and maybe you’ve been trying to figure out a side hustle for a while. The key is to look at what you enjoy doing, figure out the resources you have available and make the time to put it all to work.
> Selling stuff on eBay: This is one of my favorite ways to make a little extra money, and it’s also one of the easiest. Do a clean out of your closet and storage and look for items that are sellable online. I’m talking old iPhones (even blackberrys), electronics like quality brand name headphones or speakers and of course, designer goods. I sold my iPhone 4S for $260 a few weeks ago, and have sold old herve lever dresses that I outgrew (both literally and figuratively) for almost as much as I paid. If you aren’t using something anymore and it is a popular brand – sell it. Here’s my tutorial on how to do it: How to Sell on Ebay Like a Pro.
> Start an online store: Is there something that you’re already creating that you could sell to the masses? Maybe you love making jewelry or printed t-shirts or custom hats or those wierd dream catchers that hipsters love… you can sell this stuff on sites like Etsy or you can take it a step further and create your own online store or maybe a blog where you can also sell your product.
> Start a business from home: If theres something you love to do – maybe you’re a workout buff who could be a great trainer, or maybe you’re really into Reiki and healing — why not get certified and start a business from home? Oftentimes certifications for these things do not require a great deal of time or money to attain, and you’re able to do them in addition to your regular job. If you’re good at something and you love doing it, oftentimes you can make enough income for it to become your full time job. Just install an app like the Shopify credit card processor to your phone and BOOM you have a fully functioning, professional side business.
This is the year you start saving real money
I hear people constantly complaining about how difficult it is to save money. Usually it becomes difficult because they aren’t putting any energy into actually doing it. The two ways I’ve been able to save my money are as follows:
> Figure out your expenses: Write down all of your fixed monthly expenses (rent, utilities, cell phone, transportation etc) and give yourself a budget for other lifestyle expenses (food, going out etc). The formula is generally 50/20/30 — 50% of money goes to essentials, 30% to lifestyle and 20% to your future. If putting aside 20% of your take home seems crazy, don’t worry – many experts recommend saving 10%, so that is certainly a good start.
> Automated savings: To make the saving process easiest, log in to your checking account and set up recurring transfers. Arrange for the transfers to occur shortly after payday so the money comes off the top of each paycheck. I personally have this money transferred into my online Ally bank account so that I don’t have immediate access to it with a debit card and it is out of sight. Now that this savings is being built up, at the end of the year you can decide how much of that will go into investments like your retirement fund and how much will be left as an emergency fund (which is suggested to be three months pay).
This is the year you become healthier
> Eating WHOLE foods: This means eating less processed food that comes in packaging and more natural, organic options. I break down how to do this on the cheap in my post 10 Ways to Eat Organic and Healthy on a Budget. So many people think that eating healthy is just too expensive, but some of the best super foods are actually very affordable. One of the best investments that I made last year was getting a Magic Bullet NutriBullet – for $90 I’ve been able to make amazing smoothies for breakfast every morning (my favorite: almond milk, banana, organic almond butter, spinach)
> Start (really) working out: I know that gym memberships are expensive, but there are ways to get them down – check out my post on Saving Money on Your Workout to get all my tips. You can also check out social coupon site like Groupon and Living Social for deals on classes like yoga or cross fit in your area. I’ve recently started using a program called class pass – it’s now in many major cities and offers unlimited classes to a variety of studios like FlyWheel and Barry’s Bootcamp for $100 (max 3 visits to each studio a month) – but with those classes costing an average of $35 each in NYC, I’m saving 50%.
This year – no excuses. Remember, it’s never too late to get your shit together. Let’s make 2015 your best year yet.