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As with most things, if you can’t manage something small, you can’t manage something bigger.
So how do you go about spending less and saving more?
You can read finance or business books or learn from entrepreneurs.
Since starting my podcast and interviewing entrepreneurs, I’ve adopted better habits. Each guest shared their success story and financial wisdom. The best part was being able to relate to these entrepreneurs.
If you’re struggling to save money, here are some smart tips you can adopt.
1. Make Extra Money to Pay Off Debt Fast
“Focus on earning more money” – Latisha Styles
Saving money is great until you’re forced to be (extra) frugal.
Would you be willing to penny-pinch despite feeling miserable? Probably not. You need to find your sweet spot.
You’ll earn more with a side hustle the harder you work. This doesn’t mean earning money will be easy, but you’ll have unlimited potential. This can make all the difference when you’re looking to pay off debt.
Imagine starting a freelance writing business, earning $200 montly (a conservative amount.) This means you’d have an extra $2400 after 12 months. You’d then be able to apply all this money towards any debt you carry.
Continue cutting your expenses, but have more focus on increasing your income. You’ll pay off debt faster and feel happier that much quicker.
2. Be Serious About Getting Organized (You’ll Avoid Unnecessary Headaches)
“Get organized” – Robert Farmington
How much are you spending on your groceries and other miscellaneous expenses?
Can you even answer these questions?
If not, the odds are that your finances aren’t well-organized.
Don’t feel bad, though. My finances aren’t as organized as I’d like them to be. Robert mentioned that getting organized allows you to make intelligent financial decisions.
For example, if you track your spending, you know where your money is going. By setting reminders to review your expenses and goals, you’ll be better positioned to pay off debt.
To start getting organized, download Personal Capital and import all your bank information. Then, set reminders to review your finances every few weeks. Spending your money when you’re constantly checking it will be challenging.
3. Spend Money Around Your Values
“Focus on spending around your values” – Debt Free Guys
There’ll always be a debate on the best way to spend your money.
Should you go hard-core frugal or spend like tomorrow’s your last day? Neither extreme is correct, but everyone’s answer will be different.
Not everyone enjoys shopping at thrift stores or spending money on high-ticket items. Instead, spend money around your values while hitting your financial goals. For example, buy a nice car but sacrifice the way you dress.
The Debt Free Guys believe prioritizing your spending around your values is essential. The problem occurs when you’re spending your money without sacrifices.
Just because you can afford something doesn’t mean you should buy it. Instead, spend around your values. You’ll spend less and feel happier than if you’d purchased every nice thing that came your way.
4. Track Your Spending
“Track your spending” – Stefanie O’Connell
You already know that you should use apps like Personal Capital to track your spending.
The problem is relying on these apps to do all the work for you. Most people continue to make bad financial decisions because they’re not tracking their spending correctly. Stefanie recommends people track their spending daily to improve their financial situation.
For example, track when your money gets deposited into your account and where it’s being spent. Write this information down and categorize your expenses. Doing this daily will keep you up-to-date with your budget and cause you to spend less money.
To pay off your debt, you need to make consistent progress. This is challenging when you’re spending as much as you’re paying down debt. Track your finances daily and see how much they’ll improve.
5. Follow Great Role Models to Improve Your Money Habits
“Have great role models” – Ilia Griffo
Sadly, most people have bad role models when it comes to managing money well.
On the flip side, some people have great role models and grow up managing their money well. Ilia mentioned that growing up with great role models allowed her to find comfort in not relying on material items to be happy.
I bet you have good intentions for improving your finances. You’d like to grow your income, pay off debt, and be financially well off. But, you’re often surrounded by people with bad habits.
You don’t need to cut these people out of your life, but you do need to surround yourself with people who have good habits.
How do you do that? Get creative! Technology gives you the option to connect with more people than ever.
For example, you can use apps like Meetup to find groups with like-minded people. Join Facebook groups related to finance. Listen to business/money podcasts and read different types of books to expand your mind.
Eventually, you’ll find yourself on a different level, networking with like-minded people and picking up good money habits along the way.
6. Transform Your Debt-Paying Journey Into Something Fun
“Make it a game using the “double up” strategy” – Grant S.
Saving is stressful.
Paying off debt is stressful.
Improving your finances will be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. So why not have fun with the process?
Entrepreneurs like Grant advise others to focus on one problem at a time. For example, if your goal is to build up a $1 million nest egg, don’t worry about this if you’re still in debt. Having ruminating thoughts in your mind about being far from your goal won’t serve you any good.
Instead, break your goal into actionable steps and then take action. Reward yourself along the way to motivate yourself to keep going.
Grant used the “double-up” strategy to grow his wealth. For example, if he’d saved $500, his next goal was to save $1000, and so on. You can do the same thing or something similar.
Your goal is to continue to make progress toward your goals despite any challenges that arise.
7. Choose to Be an Avid Reader
“Read a lot” – Michael Diamond
How often do you read?
Reading mini news articles or job-related material doesn’t count.
You’re actually delaying your debt-paying process if you don’t take time to read daily.
Michael attributes his success to reading daily.
As mentioned earlier, having a side hustle is a great way to increase your income. But your side hustle is only as good as you are. If you’re earning $500 per month and want to double this amount, you need to continue to invest in your learning.
Books are the perfect option because most people have access to them. They’re also inexpensive, and you can easily buy them online.
But what if you don’t have extra money lying around to buy dozens of books per year?
Go to the library and choose from the thousands of books that are at your disposal. There’s no excuse for not reading other than choosing not to. Reading can help you increase your income by helping you learn from successful people.
Learn more. Grow your income. Pay down your debt faster. Rinse and repeat.
8. Save Money by Moving to a Different Location
“Move to a different location” – JLD
If you have a ton of debt and see no way out, relocating may be a viable option.
JLD, at one point, paid a high tax percentage for his business while living in San Diego, California. Eventually, a friend recommended he move to Puerto Rico, and he jumped at the chance. He’s now paying fewer taxes and enjoys great weather throughout the year.
The same can happen to you if you’re currently living in an expensive state like California. But moving away isn’t easy. It’s hard to pack your things and move, especially if you’re leaving your friends and family behind.
Saving money on taxes can give you the extra money you need to crush your debt faster. If you can’t move to a cheaper state, consider changing your city, neighborhood, or a different type of housing situation. Everyone’s situation is unique, so it’ll be up to you to get creative.
9. Realize When You’re Lonely, You’re Not Alone
“Know that you’re not alone” – Anna Yen
You already know that paying off debt is hard.
And if you feel alone during your debt-paying journey, it may make things feel worse.
I felt like this sometimes too. However, after speaking to many entrepreneurs, I discovered this wasn’t the case. Anna shared that she’d experienced financial setbacks as well.
If successful people like Anna can overcome financial setbacks, so can you. Throughout your financial journey, seek out help from your family and friends. Be honest about your current situation and share your struggle with others.
You may discover that you’re not the only one experiencing the same challenge. Knowing you’re not alone will make your journey to financial freedom easier.
10. Make Steady Progress (Not Fast)
“Be patient” – Tim Tobin
You want to pay off your debt fast. That’s obvious.
It’s why you’re reading this post and hustling so hard. But the reality is that paying off all your debt will take time. You need grit, determination, and patience.
Some of the best advice Tim received was to have patience.
This was where I failed in the past. I’d use all my extra money to repay my credit card debt. Although I was making progress, I’d felt miserable for 18 months.
I may have paid off my debt at the same rate and felt happier if I’d had more patience.
To build patience, break down your goals into smaller, more easily obtainable ones. This way, you’ll build confidence knowing you’re making steady progress.
The Secret To Crushing Debt Fast
The fastest way to pay down debt is sometimes the slowest.
Here’s why–tracking your spending and reading a lot doesn’t yield immediate results. You won’t experience immediate benefits from spending 2–3 hours analyzing your expenses, nor will you see immediate benefits in spending hours each month reading new books.
But, one day you’ll wake up smarter and more organized. Eventually, you’ll start adopting new money habits that’ll allow you to eliminate all your debt and stay debt-free.
Be Debt Free Faster Than Most People
You can either let your debt crush you or crush it and be a better person for it.
You now know that entrepreneurs like you have overcome financial setbacks. The only thing stopping you from paying down debt fast is yourself.
The odds are that you already have some good money habits. Browse the list and choose a practice you’re weak in. Then, work on improving this habit until you’ve mastered it.
As you’re paying down your debt, remember to enjoy the journey. Before you know it, you’ll wake up as a new person, one with better money habits and a happier life.