Cutting Back to Get Ahead

•  Consider alternative currency. Though Pressley had less money to spend, he didn’t want to cut down on his charitable giving so he started doing more volunteering for local charities through HandsOn Greater DC Cares. “Your time is probably your most valuable resource,” he says. Exchanging one service for another is a way to get things you need without spending money, he says. Pressley bartered his marketing expertise to get some business services such as website development and video production, although he sees it more as an extension of networking than as bartering. Websites such as www.u-exchange.com and www.swapace.com can help you find people beyond your network who are looking to swap products and services.

•  Make use of technology. Look for Internet services and mobile phone apps that can reduce your monthly expenses. Pressley recommends services such as Netflix and Hulu.com to reduce your entertainment bill, while smartphone apps such as CBS Sports Mobile and WatchESPN can give sports enthusiasts on-the-go coverage. Instead of paying for the fastest Internet service, Pressley suggests using a less expensive plan and finding free public Wi-Fi hotspots at www.wififreespot.com.

•  Adopt a goal-oriented mindset. Many people think that living within their means is a way of depriving themselves, but that’s not true, Pressley says. “It doesn’t mean you’re poor or broke.” It means you’re ensuring that your money is available for the things that matter most to you. Knowing that his spending and savings choices allow him to meet his obligations and invest time in his startup provides Pressley with the motivation he needs to give up some of his former luxuries. He suggests coming up with one or two financial goals that excite you so you can focus on them rather than on what you’re “giving up.” 

 

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