Achieving financial freedom doesn’t mean that you have to be a sacrifice all of the fun and enjoyable things in your life.  “Smart swaps” allow you to make changes with less impact to your life.  For example, I truly enjoy going to Starbucks.  Initially, my drink of choice was a white chocolate mocha.  After purchasing this drink for a period of time, I began to evaluate its value.  Specifically, it was 470 calories and about $4 for the size I desired.  Since I loved Starbucks and didn’t want to deprive myself, I made a smart swap.  I switched to a grande hazelnut coffee.  The smart swap allowed me to continue to enjoy the experience of grabbing my daily coffee, but it also allowed me to save calories and money.  By switching to a coffee with flavored syrup, I saved $1.60/day.  Considering that I go to Starbucks between 5-6 times per week, that change saved me between $415-$500/year.  That probably doesn’t sound like much, but after 10 years, assuming 3% interest, that’s almost $5,000 while still allowing me to get my fix!!!

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Another example is a change in my shopping behavior.  Sometimes I like to treat myself to stylish, name-brand clothes and shoes.  I realized that buying clothes at vintage and/or consignment stores allowed me to avoid depriving myself, while also enabling me to save money when I shopped.  I could still buy the name brand item, but at a fraction of the price.  Another side benefit is that it makes me unique.  I don’t have to worry about someone else wearing the same outfit.

I do want to warn you.  The change to shopping second hand wasn’t easy at first.  Sometimes I noticed that I was spending more because I didn’t want to pass up a great deal or one-of-a-kind buys.  Initially I was spending more money, but I had to learn that spending money to save money does not result in savings!  After I learned this, I started to save money on the change from buying new to buying used.

Sometimes the small steps seem like they don’t matter.  There is a quote that asks the question, “How do you eat an elephant?”  The response is, “One bite at a time.”  Neil Armstrong said it best “one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.”  Making small swaps is equivalent to taking a small step, but the resulting promise, to reclaim your finances and your life, is a giant step forward. You have to start somewhere.

Where will you start?  What will you do with the extra money?  Will you donate it to charity, pay off debt, or increase emergency savings?  Think about how making changes will help you have more control over your own life? What should you do with that newfound control?  What impact can you make?

Share your starting points with me!

If you like this then, join the FNPhenomenal Community to learn how to “Live More. Spend Less” and be financially phenomenal.  Click here to join, get a special gift, and begin 2015 strong!

Aisha Taylor is a #1 Amazon Best Selling Author of the book “5+5 FNPhenomenal Ways to Save $100 This Week Without Killing Your Lifestyle”, and the Founder of FNPhenomenal (Frugal –n- Phenomenal). FNPhenomenal helps women to break the vicious cycle of making money, but not keeping it.  FNPhenomenal provides education about money management, empowers women to take control of their lives, develop a healthier relationship with money, and pursue being phenomenal. 

Visit Aisha online at www.FNPhenomenal.com

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