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Aleenah Ansari changing multiple income streams mindset

Growing up, money was always on my mind. From a young age, I had an underlying fear of not having enough to support myself, especially as news of layoffs and the ever-changing economy filled my inbox and threads. topical.

So I had a tight grip on the money I had, even when all I was paying for at those times was late fees on my library books, an occasional coffee, or a new make-up or a new skin care product.

Looking back, I was not operating from a place of intentionality, but of scarcity.

When I landed my first full-time job out of college, things started to change for me. I knew I would have enough income to pay my mortgage and other bills and max out my 401(k) and still have enough left over for discretionary purchases.

I was able to get closer to the financial security I had dreamed of all my life, which gave me the mental space to address that mindset I had had for a long time about money.

Even understanding this, spending has always been an area for me where I had to make an active plan, otherwise I would find myself buying clothes or appliances just because I could, not because I needed to. .

Ideally I wanted to find somewhere in the middle where I could support myself and have a 6 month emergency fund to fall back on, but I could also enjoy the things I love like traveling, dining out and exploring new museums, concerts, and events.

Now I’m 9-5 years into my career, while maintaining multiple streams of income that bring in $1,300 a month.

As I earned more, I made it my mission to use my money more intentionally. Here’s how.

I automate my savings and retirement contributions

Once I started working full time, I quickly realized that when I had more access to money, I would find ways to spend it. Now I try to allocate more not only to maximize my 401(k), but also to invest and pay my mortgage.

The “out of sight, out of mind” principle is one I’ve applied to my spending habits since I started working as a teenager. Whether it’s $50 from childcare or a signing bonus from my tech job, I’ve made a habit of setting aside at least 10% for my savings or my investments.

When I was younger, that usually involved putting money in my savings account, but now that I’m working full time, I’ve automated my contributions to my 401(k) and Roth IRA so the deductions happen before I even get my paycheck.

This way, I base my spending on how much money I have left, which lessens the temptation to spend money meant to be saved.

I make sure that my expenses correspond to my values

A big priority for me is making sure my spending habits are in line with what I value. For example, I prefer to use the funds I have set aside for discretionary spending on flights and travel because it brings me joy and allows me to connect with people around the world, so the major part of my money goes towards flights and Airbnbs.

This means less income is spent on dining out and I often take the bus instead of using carpooling systems since I don’t have a car of my own. By understanding how I want to spend my money, I’m much happier with the purchases I make or don’t make.

I have created a dedicated account for secondary earnings

When I started my scramble as a freelance writer and speaker, I worked with my bank to open a separate business account for my business earnings. I also created an excel spreadsheet to track my business income and expenses.

This not only makes it easier for me to control my expenses, income and business receipts when filing my taxes, but it also helps me set clear income goals and identify the most profitable sources of income.

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For example, my 2021 earnings chart showed me that increasing my prices on individual career counseling services allowed me to increase my earnings from that revenue stream, while focusing more on fewer customers.

I also took note of the times I negotiated higher rates for speaking and writing opportunities, and found that those incremental increases added up over time.

I try to invest in clothes that last

When I was in college, I frequently bought clothing from fast fashion companies because it was in my price range and I was unaware of the implications of its environmental impact. I also found that these clothes often crumbled over time, especially when I bought basics that I wore over and over again.

In order to create less waste or use what I have as long as possible, I now focus on buying clothes that I see myself wearing at least 30 times. I’ve also started saving up my basics or shopping for items, and I’m looking for older clothes that are often made with sturdier materials that hold up wash after wash.

Along with buying more sustainable clothes, I’ve stopped buying trendy clothes that I can’t see myself wearing for a long time. Instead, I focus on timeless pieces that can transition from season to season.

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In the past, I was the type of person who bought duplicates at Target or Sephora, especially when items were on sale or came in gift boxes that were better deals. That meant I had at least three body washes, concealers, and backup lip stains in all shades of mauve.

It was a small thing, but by switching to buying products only when I ran out, I’ve significantly cut down on unnecessary spending and tend to be less distracted by all the things I would buy. that weren’t on my list in the first place. I also appreciate having a little extra space in the wardrobe.

I avoid senseless online browsing

I was someone who spent a lot of time browsing clothing websites looking for an item I could buy next, and the marketing emails and coupons sent straight to my inbox just allow this habit. How many times have I found myself browsing through dozens of items to find something to buy instead of shopping when I actually needed something?

As a result, I found myself making multiple trips to the mall to return items that didn’t suit me but weren’t my style, which only fueled more purchases of new items that I found. To curb my own temptation, I’ve decided to unsubscribe from most marketing emails so I won’t be asked to make purchases, and I also have a list of items I might need to replace or to add to my closet.

All of these steps have helped me spend my money more intentionally and use it for the things that will matter most to me in the long run. As your income and lifestyle change, I encourage you to continue to reassess how you spend your money and whether it aligns with your values.

Aleenah Ansari is a Seattle-based writer, creative problem solver, and journalist at heart who strives to rise as she climbs. She is passionate about media representation and enjoys talking about her favorite murals and why Seattle is her chosen home.

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