• Sarah Lyall-Neal PsyD

5 Money Saving Tips to Get Your Business Up and Running

Stop Wasting Money and Start Making Money

pile of pennies with twig

Let’s face it, starting a business isn’t cheap. Even with online businesses that have low overhead, there are still startup costs. Some examples include:

  • Creating a website and buying a domain

  • Getting an email service (convertkit, mailchimp, etc.)

  • Getting Legal (business license, contracts, etc.)

  • Getting a coach

I could keep the list going, but you get my gist. You have to have money to make money. Most people who are looking into creating a business are already working a full or part time job and are looking for a way out. The key is in careful spending and saving. The quickest way to lose leverage in a business is to get underwater financially. As Christy Wright, a Dave Ramsey Personality, says a business makes money and a hobby costs money. You don’t want your business to become a hobby.

Don’t Go in Debt to Start Your Business

Use the following 5 tips to find money in your current budget to pay your startup costs out of pocket. You can talk with your tax professional later about ways to write off these initial costs, which will save you even more money.

Watch how much you are spending on food. When I first started looking into creating my speaking and coaching business, I realized I needed a coach and I wanted a good one. The coaching program I found was a stretch for my budget, but I knew that they could help me get to the next level. I evaluated a month of my spending and found that a large percentage was going to eating out. I know how it happened. My husband and I both work and often find ourselves tired and less than enthused by the idea of cooking in the evenings.

I set a weekly shopping day to get just the groceries needed to cover lunches and meals for the week and no extras. I also made a plan to cover days when we were too tired to cook by having something that could be quickly heated on hand. My food budget has decreased drastically, adding some cushion for my coaching payments.

Utilize Second Hand Stores for Clothing. If you have never shopped second hand this might sound like a foreign concept, but hear me out. A lot of clothes that are donated to thrift and consignment shops have barely been worn and you can get them for a small fraction of what you would pay retail. I have been thrift shopping for years. I have one recommendation; always wash any items you buy at thrift shops before trying them on. I never try on clothes in thrift shops because I don’t know where the clothes have been. I can guess my size pretty closely and if I miss it most thrift shops have a return or exchange policy. I also don’t recommend thrifting undergarments for obvious reasons.

second hand clothing

Evaluate your Entertainment Costs. If you are like me, you probably have subscriptions to several streaming services and or beauty boxes, etc. These “little” bills can add up quickly. I cut everything that I was not currently using and only kept the services that I believed truly added value. When thinking about what to cut and what to keep, make a list of your services and then write out from each item an estimate of the amount of time you spend each week utilizing the service. Are you utilizing the service enough to justify the cost?

Wait 24 hours before making purchases. When you come across something you would like to purchase, wait one day before hitting the add to cart button. Every time we go online we are inundated with ads that are specifically targeted to us. Almost every site you visit on the web has trackers that let big brother know what you are interested in so they can dangle the bait in front of you. While it’s okay to look, hitting add to cart too soon can leave you wondering where your money went at the end of the month. By waiting 24 hours, you skirt the impulse buy and give yourself a chance to truly evaluate if the item is worth the expenditure or if you can wait a bit and save money for your startup costs.

Use the resources at your local library. Most people don’t realize how much money they can save by hitting up their local library. I could write a whole article on the resources available at most libraries, but I’ll keep this brief. The most obvious way that a library can help you is by giving you access to entertainment and business resources. Did you know that you can download an app on your phone and access your library’s audio and ebook collection? I have used my library to find books related to my business to listen to while driving to work. Some of the more popular books may require a hold, but you can usually get them within a few days to a few weeks.

The library is also a great place to access technology that you might not have at home such as a computer, printer, scanner, etc. Printing usually costs about $.10 to $.15 cents a page. If I have a large printing project, I usually go to my library and print instead of using up my home cartridge. Finally, the library is an excellent place to work if you need a quiet space outside of your own home. Bonus, most of them don’t have coffee shops, so there’s $5 saved. Give your local librarian a call and ask about what resources your local library has to offer.

The Upside of Saving

As I implemented the tips above in my own life, I found some unexpected benefits. When I set a grocery budget, I had to start planning our meals. This led to my being more creative in the kitchen. During the first couple of weeks, we got out of our fast-food dinner rut and had some yummy comfort foods like grilled cheese and tomato soup and homemade beef stew.

I also loved thrifting for fall clothes. The maxi dress (pictured above) is really more for summer, but I’m going to throw on a denim jacket or cardigan with it and wear this fall before it gets too cold. The Sonoma sweater is slightly oversized and so soft, it will be perfect for lounging this winter or for running errands.

Further, I rediscovered my love for my local library. I hadn’t been inside a library in some time, opting to utilize the library through the Libby app. But, since starting my business, I have been visiting my library more frequently which has led to my reading more for pleasure as well as business.

Starting a business doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go in debt or suffer. If you evaluate your spending, you will likely find places where you can make cuts that won’t affect your life that much. You may have to slightly change your mind set about money and engage in a little creativity, but the outcome will be worth it when you have your own business and no longer dread Mondays.

This article first appeared in the publication The Innovation on Medium on October 11, 2020.

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