How to afford (basically) anything

This one is for you #girlbosses out there who want to get cracking with their businesses/adventures/dreams but are facing a bit of a financial blockage. Sometimes –no, scrap that– USUALLY it feels like everything would be so much easier if someone would just give us a wad of cash so we can kickstart our journey. What if I told you that you can create a system where this wad of cash will always be available to you? Well, not always.. Just once every cycle. If you want to know how I set up a Girlboss Fund (that’s how I ended up calling it), this post is for you!

A couple of years ago, 4 American friends traveled to rural Guatemala to attempt to survive on a dollar a day to experience living in extreme poverty. Their battle with hunger, illness and intestinal parasites resulted in an inspiring documentary that is available through Netflix. I felt so humbled by this Guatemalan community that appeared to have next to nothing, yet made the best out of everything and still seemed happier than the average Westerner. Of course, all is well until you are suddenly faced with a situation where you have to choose between medicine to fight your pneumonia or food for your children. Replacing the broken refrigerator, or sending your kids to school for a year.

 
It’s not all despair and agony, thankfully! This tight knit community has set up a super simple yet ingenious financial aid system that usually means they never have to choose between the above scenarios any longer. They’ve created a system that allows any member of the community to receive a lump sum anytime they’re in financial need. Before I continue, I want to say that it feels a bit strange to adopt a system that was meant for providing the financial means for life necessities… But on the other hand, I feel like it can really help people do good for themselves, and thereby achieve some kind of higher good.
 

How the system works

In this Guatemalan community, several different families decided to work together to create a micro loaning system, even though loaning is probably not the best word. So here’s how it worked: let’s say there are 20 families, and each chip in $10 into the ‘bank’ every single month. Then, one family is picked at random to receive ALL the money that is in this ‘bank’, which means that in that particular month, they have $200 extra to spend on something they need. This is a LOT compared to what they would normally make in a month! The next month, the same thing happens, until every single family has received their $200. In this system, a family can also nominate themselves when they are faced with an emergency that requires some extra cash. The community can then agree on granting this family the money, or decide that someone else has a higher priority.

I wish it was this easy..

How to apply it

It made me think of those moments in my life where it would have been SUPER convenient if I had an extra €300 lying around. Of course, not to splurge on those fancy ass shoes, but to spend on something I really needed to help me in my endeavours: better camera gear for my freelance work, a new sewing machine so I can finish up those Etsy orders, heck, even a better laptop so I can edit my movies more easily. And this is exactly how I pitched it to some girlboss friends that I mostly knew through Instagram! It helped that most were in the creative/freelance industry.

Let me break down the steps to creating your own Fund:

  1. Gather some trustworthy peeps. Funnily enough, I haven’t actually met any members of the Girlboss Fund IRL except for one! Let’s just say that yoga and Instagram brings people together.. I aimed for 12 people, so we’d fill an entire year, but it really doesn’t matter. Unfortunately some people backed out (with the reason coming up), so we ended up with 8.
  2. Decide on a feasible amount of cash per month. Make sure that you are confident that you can ‘miss’ the amount each month. This is where some people ended up backing out because they felt like they couldn’t afford it. We decided on €25 a month, resulting in a total of €200.
  3. Draw someone at random on the 1st of every month, and communicate the ‘winner’ through a private Whatsapp group for example. I used a fun tool called random name picker.
  4. Transfer the money!
  5. Repeat until everyone’s had their turn.

Some stuff to think about

  • Make it fun! Talk to each other about your goals and what you want to achieve with the Girlboss Fund.
  • Think of it as a savings account. The money you put into the ‘bank’ will make its way back to you eventually, but this way you can help your friends achieve their goals too!
  • That’s why you should convince ‘supporters’ to join in too. Not everyone might have a project they’re working on, but their contribution can help increase the sum each month.
  • Be realistic with your monthly contribution: too low and you might as well not do it, too high and people may get into financial trouble. Imagine if we decided on €50 with 12 people. That’s €600 every month!
  • REALLY think of it as putting it on a savings account. I can’t stress this enough, and it’s something everyone should be doing anyway. €50 should be attainable if you keep your finances in check. You’ll be surprised at how quickly the little things will add up: a bottle of wine here and there, that dress that was on sale but that you don’t really need, the bits of make up, a night out, that magazine subscription… I recommend tracking your expenditure so you can see what you would’ve saved, and how much you can actually contribute to the Girlboss Fund!

In our group of 8 women, the fund was used to buy a DNA kit, contribute to a yoga teacher training, invest in a website and more! I personally ended up using it for a week-long sacred femininity retreat that became a first step in my path to healing.

Are you gonna set up a fund too? Let me know in the comments below!

Xx Eline

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Author: Eline

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