You should always be working toward a secure financial future, and the decisions you make along the way can make or break your savings. Here are some tips to keep you on the path to success and wealth.
1. Choose Your Spouse Carefully
Words commonly associated with divorce: heartbreak, failure, drinking, lawyers, and depression. And, depending on which side of the divorce table you sit on, expensive. It could spell trouble if your financial practices and goals don’t align from the start.
2. Pay Off Your Cards
Carrying a credit card balance is like having a munchkin on your back who reaches into your pocket once a month to steal money out of your wallet. With interest rates that hover around 20% (or more), credit card debt is amongst the worst debt you can carry.
Pay off your outstanding credit card debt as soon as possible, then promise yourself never to carry a balance again.
3. Brew Your Daily Fuel at Home
Whether you prefer coffee or tea, brew it at home to save yourself a fortune over your lifetime. Then, if you’re one of the lucky few whose employer provides free coffee or tea, lap it up.
And if you work in Silicon Valley, take full advantage of the complimentary espresso machine. Otherwise, your Keurig and a high-quality thermos are your best friends.
4. Picture Yourself as Broke
Financial freedom is psychological more than anything else. If you consider yourself a pauper, you’ll spend like a pauper. You’re no longer a relatively well-to-do professional who can afford things. You’re broker than the Lehmann Brothers. Start spending like it.
5. Avoid New Cars
As nice as new cars smell, they lose substantial value when you drive them off the lot. Find a comparable used alternative with low mileage, a clean Carfax record, and the features you’re looking for.
Let someone else take the loss on a new vehicle. Embrace used, and tell your friends or dates that you bought it new. Nobody will know the difference (except you, of course).
6. Make Water Your Fluid of Choice
Most people rely on coffee or tea to start the day. Aside from your kick-start fluids, make water your exclusive beverage of choice. It’s free, it’s an elixir promising longevity and high quality of life, and did I mention it’s free?
7. Embrace Community College
Even if prospective employers see a community college on your resume, will they care? So long as you transfer to a more respected college before getting your degree, you’ll have a degree from the more respected college.
Save two years of outrageously expensive tuition. Crush community college for a couple of years, then transfer and get that valuable degree.
8. When Items Are on Sale, Buy in Bulk
See sale, exploit sale. If you see an item you use regularly on sale, buy it in bulk. So long as perishability isn’t a concern, there’s no reason to pass up a buy-one, get-one deal. While it can feel wrong to buy “more than you need” (8 bottles of olive oil does seem excessive), if you can store it effectively, buying en masse is the sound financial move.
9. Track Those Small Transactions
Your bank account still counts purchases that cost less than $10. Those snack runs, and impulse fast-food pitstops add up. Keep track of all those miniature transactions, and you’ll find that, month over month, you’re blowing a modest fortune on non-essential junk.
Your budget isn’t a guideline or a suggestion for financial success. Until you’re out of debt and living on a personal island in the Bahamas, you purchased with cash; your budget is the 11th Commandment.