Question: What's ONE practical way to adjust your personal budget when preparing to start a business, and why?
"I love my Starbucks (maybe too much), but it's significantly cheaper to purchase coffee in bulk, buy a simple machine and make it yourself, rather than spending more than two dollars every morning for the same thing. Plus, if you really get into the routine, it can become the perfect morning meditation and start every day right."
Don't Resort to Walmart
"Instead, start buying from other small businesses! Whatever you need, I guarantee you that another small business owner like the future-you is trying to make money doing what they love. Give them a shot. Not only will you save big, but helping small businesses grow will mean more revenue for your business, which in turn translates into less budget cuts for you. Scratch my back, I'll scratch yours."
Cancel Your Cable
"Cancel your Cable TV subscription to save an easy $600 per year. You won't have time to watch TV anyway, and if you do need downtime, pick up a business magazine or a book instead. The Innovator's Dilemma, Great By Choice, and The Personal MBA are all great reads."
Do Your Own Nails
"...or other beauty treatments. It's important to look nice as a founder of a company, but when I looked at what I was spending on manicures and other beauty treatments every month, I realized that this was money my company would need. As a bonus, I can read business blogs while my nails dry!"
Cook for Yourself!
"Whether it's lunch or dinner out, you're spending massive amounts of money every day to have someone else prepare your meals. If you're in a city like NYC, SF or Boston, lunch can easily cost you $10 a day and dinner is $15-$20. Packing a lunch for a week can easily be done for $10, if you don't mind sandwiches, and you can make a great dinner for $5 a day. The savings add up fast."
Nix the Subscriptions
"Examined your budget and cut out needless subscriptions. If you are serious about reducing your spending, look at cutting out common subscriptions like Netflix, unused gym memberships, online memberships, cable TV, cleaning service, magazines and more. Subscriptions surprisingly sneak up on you, so cutting out the unused ones can save you a pretty penny."
Downsize Your Home
"If you don't have a family and can live with roommates, it's worth considering to save a huge amount of money every month. If you can live with your parents an extra year out of school to start a business, that's awesome too. Housing is the biggest monthly expense for most people, so any way you can cut that down to as little as possible will help you tremendously cut your expenses."
Hire an Accountant
"Many first-time entrepreneurs think that accountants are only for their business, and they're only half right. An accountant can be an extremely valuable asset when it comes time to file your personal taxes. With so many different deductions, credits, etc., having an experienced accountant on your side can mean the difference between eating Ramen or steak with your refund."
Ditch the Office Space
"When you start your business, company and personal expenses tend to be malleable. As much as possible, integrate your personal life with your business. Block off part of your apartment or home for a formal office space to save rent and claim the tax deduction! Similarly, eat at home often, but make sure to have business meetings over coffee or lunch."
Get Rid of Your Car
"Depending on where you live, you might rely on your car to get around. Alleviate yourself from that hefty car payment and walk more, ride a bicycle to save the environment, or carpool with your friends and families. The truth is, you shouldn't be leaving the house/office that much anyway while you're launching your business."
Get Real About Your Spending
"Before you can begin to adjust your personal budget, you need to get real with yourself. Most people overspend or spend in areas that could easily be cut back, especially in times of need. I recommend that people go to Mint http://www.mint.com and configure their accounts so they can see where their money is going. Getting a good look at what's happening will allow you to then make good decisions."
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.