First Person: Finding Extra Money for My Holiday Spending

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This past year I have had a number of unexpected expenses, such as medical expenses for my late cat and some large emergency dental expenses for yours truly. However, I still want to be able to celebrate the holidays and have challenged myself to accumulate $1,000 by year-end. Unlike our dysfunctional Congress, I know that it will take a combination of raising revenue and cutting expenses in order for me to reach my goal.

I have my own practice and that provides me with some flexibility. I often turn down the opportunity to do small planning jobs for new clients and I am going to alter that practice through year end. That will easily generate half my goal. I only need to find a few hours of billable time in order to accomplish that.

Another source of quick revenue would be to sponsor a seminar on "Tax Saving Steps to Make" or on "How to Make Your Divorce Easier". Either would generate more than enough income for my goal. The difficulty is in finding the time.

I always find it easy to cut back certain expenses for a short period of time. I can stop buying morning coffee outside and instead make a cup when I get to my office. I often go to Dunkin Donuts or McDonald's for a morning cup of plain black coffee, even though I don't order any food. That will save me $1.50 each morning. I will also bring my lunch to work. Each day I spend $9 getting a large sandwich and a soda at the deli next store. If I buy the two liter bottle of Pepsi or Coke products at the supermarket, they are only one dollar. I can buy 24 bottles of soda for $26 and that will likely save me $26 for the period. Making my own sandwiches will cost me less than $2 per day - or I will save about $7 per day. During this six week time span, I will save $250 simply by foregoing some small niceties.

However, I am still $250 shy of my goal and I need to cut back one additional item. I will not go out to any restaurants on the weekends. I will either cook at home or eat at other people's homes. That will save me at least $50 each weekend and I will have achieved my $1,000 target through a combination of more work and fewer expenditures.

Who knows, I might even continue most of these steps into 2012!

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