10 Steps to Better Money Habits
Increase Your Financial IQ: Dedicate some time, either daily or weekly, to educate yourself. Read money magazines and websites, listen to money advisors while in the car, etc. The better you understand how the money game works, the more opportunities you will see to accumulate wealth.
Pay Yourself First: Before you spend any money when you are paid, make a commitment to take some off the top immediately to go towards a savings or investment account. Do this before paying your bills or a single penny. Better yet, use your pre-tax retirement account to pay yourself even before Uncle Sam taxes you on your earnings.
Track Your Spending: Look back at your bank and credit card statements for the past three months and take a good hard look at your spending habits. Find out where your money is going, what your biggest expenses are, and uncover unnecessary expenditures that can be eliminated.
Being Green Can Make You Rich: Don’t let the water run while brushing your teeth, turn off lights when not using rooms, adjust the thermostat when leaving your house, don’t drive more than you have to, don’t over-order when eating out, etc. Use the money you save from being eco-friendly to invest in your future.
Be Consistent: Don’t try to make it rich by “playing the market” and trying to compete against professional traders and institution that move markets. Act like an investor and plan to be in the game for the long haul, which means ignoring the short-term ups and downs of the market and consistently managing your money well. Slow and steady is the only sure way to become wealthy.
Start a Part-Time Business: Boost your income by doing something you enjoy and that provides value. Start small and slow to understand what it is like to be a business owner. Most self-made millionaires earned their wealth by being business owners because of the tremendous income and tax reduction opportunities it presents.
Budget and Set Goals: Fail to plan and plan to fail. Creating long-term money goals and smaller goals along the way defines an end result, provides a sense of accomplishment and gives you something to hold yourself accountable towards. Use online budgeting tools to help you achieve your goals.
Be Conscientious of your Spending: Resist urges to waste money, buy generic versus name brand, look out for discounts, do-it-yourself, avoid ATM fees, cut out junk food . . .
Put Your Wealth Generating Plan on Autopilot: Make arrangements with your company or bank to automatically deposit funds in a separate high-yield savings or investment account before sending you your paycheck. Set up automatic bill pay services with your reoccurring bills in order to avoid late payment fees. Some companies even reward you with a discount for early or automatic payment.
Start Today: Quit waiting for the right answers and start now. The sooner the better when it comes to building wealth.