Saturday, March 28, 2009

My Own Stimulas Package...No Pun Intended

For the past few months, I have been getting Black Enterprise magazine delivered to my apartment. I am not sure how I got on their mailing list because I do not pay for it, but I am not complaining.

Not surprisingly, this month's issue focuses on the economy and ways that regular folks can save a few dollars here and there. The issue takes a look at the situations of families, singles (with and without children), divorcees, retired couples and even widows and shows them ways to save money in these tough economic times.

Though I have respect for BE, mostly due to the fact that I am an African American business owner (shameless plug: ION Consultants), they do have a way of perpetuating the Black community's blind eye towards gays.

I guess that is what I am here for.

Earlier in the year, I formulated a simple four step financial plan that will assist gays around the country in navigating through the economic downward spiral in which our nation will be facing in the upcoming months, while still keeping up with the Jones'.
Though mostly written in a satrical fashion, there are key points that can be used to save money.

Step One: Check Up On Your Checking Account

One way of saving a couple of duckets is to go through your checking or saving accounts and take a good inventory of all the automatic deductions that you have established. Do you really need to spend $45 a quarter for your subscription? How about your Netflix account? I know
that $20 per month is not a lot to spend on three movies at any one time, but when was the last time you visited your local library? You know they have DVD's as well, and they are free. Not only that, they have those things that go on bookshelves. You could even learn a thing or two in the process.

Step Two: The Smaller The Better

It's not always the size that matters. Speaking of Netflix, if you simply cannot live without your subscription, how about cutting your movie delivery from 3 to 1 at a time? I am sure that the extra two movies will still be waiting for you in your que when you are ready for them. You can also take a good look at your cell phone bill. If you are paying for 600 minutes per month but only use about 250 minutes on average, maybe it's time to switch to a less expensive plan.

Another area to investigate is that of your gym membership, which I know you must have.
Ask your gym if there is a way to save on your monthly costs by only paying for a membership to one of the gyms in town instead of having the all inclusive package.

Step Three: Entertain Yourself

Get your mind out of the gutter bois. I am not saying become a hermit and only leave your apartment to go grocery shopping. What I mean is, take a good look at the money which you shell out each time that you have a night out on the town, and see where you can save a little bit of cash. It may be as simple as passing on one round of drinks or even guzzling down a domestic beer verses the expensive imported microbrew which you are accustomed.

Step Four:Put Your Money To Work

All that hard work to save money will do no good if you just go out and blow it all on a new pair $300 designer Seven jeans or your next trip to Cabo San Lucas. Why not make that extra cash start working for you? Explore some investment options that will foster financial returns such as money markets, certificate of deposits or savings accounts. For those who find that they have a bit more cash after the afore mentioned saving strategies, you may want to stash your cash into more lucrative investment ventures such as real estate or 401k plans.

By no way are these steps a complete and all encompassed financial strategy. There are several different variables which must be factored into your individual financial saving's equation. But, by taking these baby steps in the financial walk of life, with a little help with a professional financial advisor you will be sprinting to financial freedom in no time.

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