5 Tips to Afford the Services and Items You Want or Need


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Are you familiar with the common phrase when you know better do better? If only it was that easy. Sometimes you know of actions that you should take to better your health, better your career, progress your money or advance your business, but you simply don’t have the funds in order to do it. How can you afford the services and items you want or need? How can you do better when in order to do so you have to put out more money? Things can get expensive really quick. Believe me I hear you. You’re left wondering what should I do in the meantime. You feel like there is a conspiracy to keep you stuck. Ok, that might just be me. Here’s what I learned.


1) Use free until you can pay.

No matter the topic or service you want there are free options that you can use. They just may not be as good or may take more work. For example say you are working on keeping track of your money. How much you spent where. You could use Microsoft Excel to create a spreadsheet. You likely already have it on your computer or you can go to the library to use it. You could also use an online service like Mint or Level to track your money. However, say what you really want is to be able to track your income, track your expenses, monitor your investments and retirement accounts. Well then you need a more comprehensive service and you’ll have to pay for it.


However, in the meantime you could use several of the free services to achieve your goal. It’ll be a little more tedious, but you’ll get the job done. You can do the same to make progress with health. Perhaps you can’t afford services such as a personal trainer or fitness classes. When each class is $5 – $15 each, it can get expensive. In the meantime, use a free app and social media to monitor water intake, find workout routines, find healthy recipes etc. It will take more work to compile all the information you need, but it will start to make progress until you can afford those Zumba classes.


2) Make a plan to graduate to paying.

Although you’re currently using free services, price the products and services you do want to use. You have to know the numbers in order to plan appropriately. Determine how much the services would add to your monthly expenses. Now look at your spending plan aka budget and consider your options to be able to afford the services.

  • Think about what you can cut back or in other words in which categories of your budget can you spend less in order to free up money.
  • Once you’ve streamlined the expenses for things that aren’t that important to you then consider how to increase your income. You can add a side hustle (23 side hustles) or shop your closets for items to sell.


Once you’ve freed up money and increased your income, you can determine how much additional funds you have to put towards purchasing the new item or service. You may be able to afford it then and there or you may need to save up for a few months.


3) Target one thing at a time.

There are likely several things you want to purchase. You have a wish list that you really want to fulfill. Well … you can’t implement everything at once or aim to progress in too many areas at once. You have to prioritize what you need the most or desire to acquire first. Take your wish list and order the items or services by priority. Add the prices next to the names of the items. This will help you design and adjust your spending plan as well.


4) Pick a motivation tool.

Any time you’re working towards a goal you have to work on staying motivated to achieve it. As you work on the previous point, you’ll need motivation to keep going. Consider what will be the best method for you. You could use a visual aid such as a vision board, put your wish list in a visible location, or a put up a quote that motivates you.  I suggest also charting your progress. If you’re working on saving up a specific amount of money then keep a chart that shows how close you are to your goal. You’ll feel better as you see your progress.


5) Barter services or goods.

While working on your savings goals to afford the new services or products, in the meantime barter services or goods with others in your circle. The bartering system still works great. Say you’re a tax accountant and need professional headshots for your own website or projects. You have a colleague who is a photographer. Approach him or her with a proposal to barter equal priced services so each person benefits. The same thing goes for health. For example say you have a great garden where you grow organic fruits and vegetables. You have a colleague who has personal trainer expertise. Offer produce from your garden for healthy meals, smoothies and juicing in exchange for help with your fitness goals. An agreement can be reached that is mutually beneficial to each person.


Until you can afford the services and items you need or want, be unconventional and think outside of the box.


Photo Credit: sunshinecity

About Dr. Maria James

Dr. James, The Money Scientist, has expertise with designing income management, debt management, and wealth strategies to help you live your best life. She is the founder of Pocket of Money, LLC and the creator of The Wealth Protocol™. Dr. James has also been a guest financial expert on ESSENCE, WEAA, Madame Noire and more.

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