The third reason people are broke is because they’ve invited uncle Murphy to stay with them for a while. Murphy doesn’t do anything except eat you alive and keep you broke. He’ll take over your whole house if you let him. Murphy may be visiting you right now and you’re probably saying that you didn’t invite him, he just showed up. You may not have wanted to invite him – seriously who would want to do that, right? But, because there’s one thing you didn’t do he got an invitation whether you like it or not.
You have to prepare for Murphy’s visit. When you’re ready at the time he comes knocking then you will be prepared to boot him straight out the door. Don’t pass Go and don’t collect $200 Murphy! Send him straight to Murphy prison. What do you do to prepare for his visit? We’re glad you asked!
There’s only one thing you must do. Save money. That’s right. It’s as simple – and difficult – as that. Murphy often stays a long time because nothing has been built up that’s strong enough to keep him from entering your house. Having an emergency fund will make sure he doesn’t come knocking, and if he does, that you have enough power to kick him back to the street.
So how much is enough? There are different ideas on this. Some people say you should save up 3 months’ worth of living expenses and some as much as 12 months’ worth. Then there are others that say $500 or $1,000 will suffice. How much you need to save right now depends on where you are financially. If Murphy is currently living with you then $500 is probably already going to be a challenge. You’re going to have to fight hard to get that ground but you can do it. If you have debt then you already have a big financial goal to achieve – getting out of debt – and you should probably start off closer to $1,000. Then when your financial goals change from getting rid of debt that’s bogging you down, you can focus on creating a bigger emergency fund that’ll knock Murphy into someone else’s house.
Another thing to take a look at when determining how much of an emergency fund you need is your insurance deductibles. If something happened how much would you have to spend out of your pocket at one time? You don’t need to add up all of your deductibles because God forbid they typically shouldn’t all happen at once. If they do then you’ve got more than Murphy in your house and you better start praying! Just save up enough to cover your largest deductible and have that as a target for your emergency fund.
Getting Rid of Murphy
Okay so Murphy has moved in with you. What can you do to get rid of your bad roommate? Yet another great question! It’s going to take all you’ve got to put him behind you and then build up enough power to keep him at bay. Here are a few suggestions to help you build up money faster than you have to spend it:
- Start by eliminating every expense that isn’t absolutely necessary to survive. Cut it down as much as you can so you can free up as much money as possible for saving. Don’t worry, this is only temporary until you get into better financial shape.
- Start looking around your house to see what you can sell that you don’t really need right now. Here’s a good rule when trying to decide what to sell: If you haven’t seen it, touched it or thought about it in the past 6 months consider selling it. That will translate into a lot even for a person in a one-bedroom apartment. If it’s something you really want again then buy another one later when you’re ready for it.
- Utilize your talents and skills to identify ways to make some extra money. Most often the easiest way is if you can get paid for overtime at you’re current job. If you make $10 per hour that translates into $15 for every hour you work over your traditional 40. That’s a $5 per hour raise on those extra hours! When is the last time you got a raise that big? It’s usually better than getting a second job, unless of course your second job can land you some good tips like being a server in a restaurant or delivering food. If overtime isn’t something you have access to then it’s time to look at what your skills and interests are and see where you can get someone to pay you for those skills. For example, if you’re passionate about dogs start a dog-walking service. Are you great at making lawns look good or clipping bush sculptures? Land a few side jobs doing that. You don’t need to setup a formal business either. Just find someone who will pay you for what you’re good at. Everyone has something that qualifies here. If you would like some more tips or aren’t really sure what you are good at then don’t hesitate to email SavingChristmas@Live.com. We’d love to give you some input. Don’t worry, it’s free!
If you put all of these tips to work for you, you’ll discover that Murphy isn’t so tough after all. But you have to have some stamina because Murphy is going to put up a fight. So get out there and fight hard and win your house, your finances and your life back!