#002 – On this episode, Mayra reviews the 5 things her family did to increase their disposable income and pay off their debt as quickly as possible.
[0:04] Hello, hello, welcome to the All Things Money Podcast. My name is Maya Alejandra Garcia, and I am a financial coach that wants to inspire you to reach your goals, grow your net worth, and be wise with money. Welcome to today’s show, we’re gonna be talking about all the ways we can increase our disposable income. What does that mean? This is the money that is left over after all our bills are paid. You might be saying but Mayra, I don’t have any money left over once all the bills are paid. Well, we can increase that. If you’re starting at zero, that’s okay. And so we are going to be talking about different ways to grow that gap between what you make and what you owe.
[0:53] So number one, the quickest way to increase your disposable income is to get a second job or start a side hustle. So when we were first starting our debt free journey in 2010, my husband got a second job. And that really helped us really quickly increase our income to pay off our debt. And now one of the ways that we have an increased disposable income is because I now side hustle. So this podcast, my business, all of that is side hustle money that is coming in a side of my day job.
[1:38] Now, the second way that we were able to increase our disposable income was by calling the phone company, the power company. And if you have a gas company because we don’t have gas here, but if you have gas then you call them too. But call all of your utilities and ask if there are deals or packages, or maybe a time of use program that will help you save money by maybe… or decreasing your power usage on certain times of the day, that will then give you a better discount. That’s what happened with our power company. Our phone company is the same as our internet and cable provider. And what they were able to do for us, was put us in a bundle that better suit our family. So like one of the things we noticed was that we were only watching the local channels. We hardly ever went past channel 20. And although it’s really nice to have HDTV, and the Disney Channel, and all the ESPNs and all the things, we really weren’t watching them, and when we really analyze what we needed, we didn’t need anything past 20. So we got a basic, super, super basic program, or package, that also included very high speed internet because I really wanted that so that, we were able to increase our internet, reduce our channels, and we didn’t do our phone, our home phone because we have our cell phones. So we were able to get into a really nice sweet deal there.
[3:26] Number three, we called our insurance companies. So we work with a local broker here who will shop around for us and find us the best deal. So one of the things we asked our insurance broker was what will help us reduce our monthly fees? And one of the things he mentioned was raising our deductible. And we did that, only after we had reached our 3 to 6 months of expenses in our emergency fund. We didn’t do it prior because we didn’t want that burden on us and we weren’t quite ready yet. So if you do have an emergency fund, and you are able to put more of the burden on you… so like, for example, I believe our deductible at first was 500. Then we moved it up to 1000. And I believe it’s now up to like 2000 or something like that. Can’t remember. But that’s definitely an option. But shop insurance companies, it’s super important. And if you are a business owner, you can also shop health insurances. If you are self employed, shop those health insurances.
[4:43] Number four, check your subscriptions. We now, at one point in early 2020, when I looked at how many subscriptions we had, we had quite a few. So this was fairly recent that I went through. And we use a lot of Netflix, so we kept that. And we don’t have Hulu, so that’s just… I just wrote that down because I just know that people sometimes have both. And you really have to analyze: do you use both? How often do you use both? Is it… Are you willing and able to maybe go down to just one. And then another thing that we got rid of was Prime. We didn’t need Amazon Prime anymore. When I really analyzed that account, I saw that everything I ordered was over $30 and I probably would have gotten free shipping anyway. So why pay the extra 120 odd dollars a year for Prime when I really wasn’t using any of the added benefits like the movies and music and there’s quite a bit other things that I know. I don’t recall what the benefits of Amazon Prime, but there’s quite a bit. Anywho… There is another thing that I want to talk to the ladies about is those Boxycharm and Ipsy boxes. I mean, I got them for a while, but when I started seeing my makeup pile up, I’m like, you know, I could do without this. So if you can, and you want to, reduce those subscription boxes, whatever it might be, right? There’s tons and tons of them out there. That’s one way to reduce your expenses.
[6:43] And fifth, this is the number one way we were able to control our spending. We started meal planning. We made things very simple in our house. We are a Mexican family that eats lots of rice and beans. And so one of the ways that we were able to reduce our food was by always making sure we had the staples, the rice and the beans. And we would always just add a veggie and a protein of some sort to whatever meal. And by having the rice and beans, it was a quick meal for the kids. We were able to just make them quesadillas or able to make them something really simple for lunch that didn’t take a whole lot of time and having these foods that stay in the fridge for quite a bit. I mean, I usually can keep my beans for about five to six days, and they’re still good. So when we analyzed our eating out in 2010, we noticed that we spent over $1,000 eating out at the beginning of this journey, and so that was very eye opening, I could not believe we had spent over $1,000 eating out. So I just simplified things. I made things just much more easier for our family to maintain long term. And it’s worked so far, I think. That we still eat out. We still do quite a bit of grocery shopping, but we have reduced that significantly. It’s interesting how much you can control when you’re paying attention.
[8:40] So one of the things that we do is we do the envelope system, we pull the cash out for our food and we didn’t go over because if it wasn’t in the envelope, we wouldn’t spend it. The envelope system enables you to really hone in and change the habit of overspending on your food, and any other category that you might be struggling with. So, we will be talking in another episode about the envelope system and how that changed my life. But these are the things that really helped us at the beginning when we were starting our debt free journey. So make those phone calls, make time to reach out to your insurance company. Look at those subscriptions, plan your meals, and if you can, and you want to start a side hustle or get a second job. That is one of the quickest ways that we were able to increase our income.
[9:45] Thank you so much for listening. If you are enjoying this podcast, please head over to mayraalejandragarcia.com. I’d love to stay in touch with you. And make sure to drop your email address so that we can stay in touch. If you have a question, make sure to leave that on my website as well. I’ll make sure to answer it on the show. And if you would like to share this on Instagram, please make sure to tag me, @mayra.alejandra.garcia and I’ll see you in the next episode.