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This week, I thought we’d try something new. We’ve been on a roll with actionable content on finding jobs and making money.

But you might still sit around wondering how to save money.

Putting money away is one of the most important aspects of being a successful online teacher, and indeed, of doing any type of self-starting work. You can never be quite sure when the next dry spell will hit.

So, here I’m going to break down the importance of saving money as an online entrepreneur/teacher/remote worker, and how I go about doing it. We’ll cover tips and resources, and look at some simple scenarios for digging out of debt.

I’m going to get personal, and won’t waste any time jumping right in (see point number 1, below).

I’d also love to hear from you about how your backup plan for your location independent lifestyle. Leave a comment below with your thoughts.

Get rid of that car

Over the past few years, I’ve become quite the fan of Mr. Money Mustache. He preaches much common sense when it comes to money management.

The more of his stuff I read, the more I’m baffled when I look back at certain parts of my life.

Why was I so loose with money? Especially during the times of my life when I was the most broke?


One of MMM’s biggest and most frequent points of concern is the automobile. Particularly, the fascination of western culture with driving big, shiny, expensive hunks of metal around everywhere when it’s much cheaper and better to ride a bike, drive a used car, or take public transit.

His basic rule of thumb is that one should never spend more than $10,000 on a car, and never buy one new.

One car per household, used sparingly, is ok. Years ago, when I was living the US and working a corporate job, I bought a $20,000 vehicle and it gave me nothing but problems pretty much the whole time.

I racked up a fair amount of credit card debt just keeping that thing on the road, so I could spend more money on gas.

Why?

With the rise of ride sharing and with more cities adopting bike-friendly policies and infrastructure, the need for every person to purchase a depreciating asset and then ruin the planet by driving it around everywhere is on the way out.

For those of us fortunate enough to work online, there’s really no need for it. We don’t have to deal with rush hour. Getting rid of your car is a HUGE step towards putting yourself in a better place financially.

Cut out extras when going out, and stay home more often

Fortunately, this is something I’ve always been pretty good at, for the most part. I’ve never been a soda drinker. When at a restaurant, I’m either drinking alcohol or water. I never order dessert. Ever. I’m not much for gas station snacks or other impulse buys at the grocery store that are meant to weasel that extra dollar or two.

I credit my time in the Peace Corps and my early days of being an entrepreneur for this frugality. Water had to suffice.

I keep this practice intact today. Part of it is a result of being married and in my thirties. Laura loves to cook, and we make incredible meals at home. When we do go out to dinner, we try to go somewhere where we can use a coupon or other type of discount.

Being married means we’re not out at bars all that much. This habit of not regularly going out on weekends took time to curb. Getting married was – and this is meant with all due humor –  the final nail in that coffin.

Every night in adds up in the bank.

Save. Save. Save.

Another Mustache-ian trait I’ve slowly gotten better at. I recently signed up with the Qapital app, which can be programmed to transfer money into a savings account based on a number of triggers.

I’ve got a trigger set up that rounds up to the nearest $2 every time I spend on my debit card, which is proving to save money pretty quickly. I’ve got another set up as a recurring weekly transfer into my savings account.

If you can develop a consistent, automated way to save money, you’ll likely find that it actually adds up pretty quick . You don’t need a big lump sum all at once, and you don’t even need to be financially ahead to stary doing any of these three things.

All are big committments — but once you get into the routine, you’ll find that you begin to hold yourself accountable almost automatically.

The whole Marie Kondo trend is huge right now, but there’s definitely something to it. Having a bunch of extra stuff not only weighs you down physically, it adds unneeded expenses, as well.

It takes discipline to start and keep at it, but you’ll thank yourself the next time you have a lull in students or an extended break.

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