Welcome to this week’s Monday Night Finance. Each week we highlight three recent personal finance articles. Check it out!
The novel coronavirus has completely upended our entire country in the matter of weeks. On New Year’s Day, who would have thought that before Tax Day we’d be facing record unemployment claims, school closures, sheltering in place, and stimulus checks? In this article, Diana of FreeFunFamily.com shares how the coronavirus, which she affectionately calls, “The ‘Rona” has affected her family and finances.
When you don’t know what’s coming, cash savings are the best bet, even with the inflation we’ll likely see come from this. Banks still seem pretty safe at the moment, but who knows what might not be? ~Diana at Free Fun Family
While Diana’s family is still drawing their same income that they were at the start of the year, they are taking moves to be prepared for whatever may happen next. Diana points out that we are living in unprecedented economic times, and anyone who claims to know exactly how quickly the economy will recover is likely not being honest with themselves. To brace for this uncertainty, Diana is working on building up her family’s cash reserves. She increased her emergency fund, “sinking fund” for large expenses, and buffer in her checking account. These moves helped Diana get some peace of mind and set her family up to be more financially resilient in these next coming months.
With record levels of unemployment, people are looking for ways to make extra income. In this article, Forrest from Don’t Work Another Day details how to use a 3D printer to make money. While it’s not quite as easy as “printing money”, there are lots of ways to use a 3D printer to make money.
For consumers, 3D printers make great gifts that can spark creativity and inspire entrepreneurship. The capabilities are almost limitless, including the ability to make a profit with your printer. ~Forrest at Don’t Work Another Day
If you’re unsure of what a 3D printer is, it’s a device that can build three dimensional objects from a computer drawing. Most home 3D printers use plastic to build the shape one 2D layer at a time. The article starts with a review of different 3D printers for home use. It then goes on to detail how to monetize the printer. The easiest way to make money is to simply rent time on your 3D printer to others with a need. On the difficult end of the spectrum is teaching classes on 3D printing or starting your own YouTube channel. Check out the article if you’re interested in more details.
Shannon and Sergio at ScrewTheAverage.com are minimalists who are part of the FI/RE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) movement. In 2019 this couple lived on only $7,000! Here they share some of their tips for using less. They also explain why you may be happier consuming less, even if that sounds counter-intuitive.
Using less makes our life simpler. In other words, we’re less dependent on ‘this’ or ‘that’. So, when we’re in new or changing circumstances, like traveling, or there’s stress on time or resources, we have less to worry about, and we can go with less or do without. ~Screw The Average
Shannon and Sergio point out how using less creates a virtuous cycle. Using less helps you to make less trips to the store, which also helps you to save money. Consuming less not only helps you save money today, but also allows you to ultimately live on less income. Both of these actions lead to greater financial security and hopefully less stress and more happiness. There are lots of different ways to work towards minimalism. Shannon and Sergio detailed how they studied their consumption of various products around the house and reduced their consumption of shampoo by 70%. A similar framework could be applied to many regular purchases. Beyond using less, Shannon and Sergio detail how to decide whether you need an item at all or whether you could do without it or find a multi-use alternative.