Live a comfortable life, not a wasteful one. Do not spend to impress others. Do not live life trying to fool yourself into thinking wealth is measured in material objects. Manage your money wisely so your money does not manage you. Always live well below your means.
A penny saved is a penny earned.
– Benjamin Franklin
- Redefine your definition of “rich”. – I remember sitting in a cubicle at my first professional job staring at a picture of an SUV I wanted to buy (and eventually did). Now, I sit in my office and look at the pictures of my kids, and just outside my window I can see the beater I drive sitting in the company parking lot. What a difference a decade makes! To sum things up, my definition of being rich is having enough money to meet my family’s basic needs, a few of our wants, and to be able to give some away to others.
- Borrow and share. Everyone wins! – We borrowed a DVD from a friend instead of renting or buying and had a little snack from our own fridge! Way cheaper than using gas to drive to the theater/rental place, paying for a movie or Amazon Prime, and paying for a snack.
- Avoid the mall. – Going to the mall is not entertainment! We used to go when we were bored. Of course, we usually ended up spending money while we were there. If you need clothes, then shop sales or go to stores that offer name-brands at a discount. You can save a ton on these items if you are a smart shopper. Dave Ramsey says, “Never pay retail!” We probably save $15 to $30 per month by staying away from the mall.
- Limit your intake of advertisements. – Advertising sucks. That’s the cold, hard truth. It’s engineered to make you feel like you’re incomplete, that you have an unfulfilled need, that you’re not good enough.
- Buy with cash. – You can’t spend money you don’t have. Many bank accounts provide overdraft protection, so even with a debit card, it’s easier to go over your account balance than you think.
- Find a better deal and actually SAVE the difference. – Regardless of what they sell, if you’ve switched companies for price reasons, save the difference. Think of phone companies, internet access, cell phones, credit cards, and others.
- Adhere to a long-term investment strategy. – I’m a long-term investor. The stock portion of my portfolio is spread over several mutual funds, a few ETFs and a few individual stocks. Each and every one of these holdings was carefully chosen, after thorough research. I believe in these stocks and funds. I consider them as my best bet in growing my money – LONG TERM.
- Curb your consumerism! – Have you ever watched how a child can play with a cardboard box for hours, and leave the toy that came in it by the wayside? How is it that children can enjoy themselves without a lot of “stuff”, but we as adults feel the need to reward ourselves by buying more stuff?
- Stay Healthy! Medical problems drain bank accounts. – James M. Rippe, M.D is a best-selling author, world-renowned cardiologist, and founder of the Rippe Lifestyle Institute. He explains that if you look at all the risk factors for dying, the one that is most predictive is fitness level. In addition, an older person with high cardiovascular fitness is healthier than a younger person who is physically inactive. By increasing your fitness level, you can actually roll back your biological clock.
- Stay in and relax. – So, think about it the next time you go out. Are you going for with a purpose? Maybe the solution is to not go out at all. Stay home and save! Save up for something you really want or need.
- Gradually prepare yourself for a rainy day. – Even when things are going great, and you feel on top of the world, you must always be prepared for a change. If you take the time and patience to set yourself up properly, then when things to take a turn for the worse, you will be prepared to handle it. If you live above your means, then when the slightest change occurs, you will not be prepared to adapt. Financial flexibility is more important then keeping up with the Jones’.
- Stop competing. Forget about the Jones’ altogether. – If getting rich makes us happy, then why don’t countries as a whole get happier as they grow wealthier? They discovered that as a country gets wealthier there’s no overall increase in happiness. Why? We continually compare our wealth against that of others. We are competitive and envious. Add to that the fact that Western countries encourage people to strive for more and more, and you have a formula that spins many into depression.
- Get out of the “easy street” mentality. – I think there is too much emphasis on the quick fix or the easy option in today’s society. For example taking diet pills to lose weight instead of the “hard option” – exercising and eating well…. money is sometimes being used as a substitute for hard work. Do you think there is an increasing expectation that you can get want you want by throwing money around instead of working hard and “earning” it?
- Avoid impulse buying. Buy things you truly need. – Don’t you just love the excitement you feel after coming home with a new TV? Driving home in a new car? Opening the box on a new pair of shoes? I sure do. But, from watching the behavior of myself and my friends I’ve found that the new quickly becomes just another item. The excitement of novelty passes quickly.
- Time is money. Properly manage your time. – The fewer tasks you have, the less you have to do to organize them. Focus only on those tasks that give you the absolute most return on your time investment, and you will become more productive and have less to do. You will need only the simplest tools and system, and you will be much less stressed. I think that’s a winning combination. Focus always on simplifying, reducing, eliminating. And keep your focus on what’s important. Everything else is easy.
- Find ways to give without spending. – Want a quick, easy and (almost) free way to be guaranteed that you’ll make someone’s day special? Send them a letter. Why not set aside some time this weekend to sit down and write to a few people? If you don’t enjoy writing, try buying some nice postcards of your home town. If you’ve got an artistic streak, why not design your own note cards? You don’t have to write a long letter for it to be effective. It’s the thought that counts and the personal touch that makes it special.
- Don’t let greed and deceit get the best of you. – According to Stephen R. Covey, if you reach an admirable end through the wrong means it will ultimately turn to dust in your hands. This is due to unintended consequences that are not seen or evident at first. The example he gives in The 8th Habit is: The parent who yells at their kids to clean their rooms will accomplish the end of having a clean room. But this very means has the potential to negatively affect relationships, and it is unlikely the room will stay clean when the parent leaves town for a few days. Now, to return to the topic of wealth, I think it is possible to see much of the world’s current financial problems as stemming from people who wrongly believe the ends justify the means. My advice? It is fine to aspire to wealth, but don’t lose sight of the means to accomplishing it.
- Never ever pay retail. – You can easily save hundreds of dollars a year on clothing purchases by waiting for sales or shopping at discount retailers like Marshalls. Better yet, avoid name brand clothing all together.
Also, check out these best selling books for more financial tips:
- I Will Teach You To Be Rich
- The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, & Broke
- The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich
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