7 Little Things to Help You Win with Money
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar once said, “I try to do the right thing at the right time. They may just be little things, but usually they make the difference between winning and losing.”
Nowhere is this more true than with your money. Learn 7 little things that can help you with with money.
1. Pay attention
Paying daily attention to your money is critical. No one’s going to care about your money and the things you can do with it more than you. Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean being an eagle-eyed scrooge who begrudges every penny or staring at spreadsheets for hours on end.
It just means making sure the things you’re buying are things you actually want to be buying, and that they’re not preventing you from getting things you actually want more. For example, maybe spending $2 a day scarfing down tasteless convenience store donuts isn’t worth as much to you as something else you could get for that $60/month. So pay attention to where your money’s going.
2. Pay less
When you buy something, pay less. This might mean taking a few minutes to make sure you’re not overpaying, using coupons, or just plain old asking for a discount. Why spend more than you need to? Wealthy people use coupons and ask for deals.
3. Have a plan for paying bills
When you get a bill in the mail or email, either pay it immediately or place it in a designated and highly VISIBLE spot to be dealt with on a set schedule (say, every payday.) Don’t let bills pile up, get lost, or be eaten by the dog. Paying bills on time and in full will save you a whole lot of money in late fees and interest.
4. Remember that life isn’t perfect
While living a charmed life sounds great, that just isn’t reality. Prepare for the unexpected by building up an emergency fund and getting adequate insurance. Keep your job, networking, and entrepreneurial skills sharp too in case of layoffs. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst is a motto that can keep your bank account in good shape.
5. Pay yourself first
The earlier you start paying yourself first, the better it is for your bottom line. So start right now. If you want to ease into paying yourself, start by setting aside 1% of your paycheck every single payday for many-years-from-now you (aka retirement). You’ll also want to set aside money regularly for emergencies.
You can do both of these automatically by having part of your check direct deposited to a savings account, an IRA, or a 401k (if the company you work for offers one), or you can make manual transfers each payday if the idea of watching the money go into savings fires you up.
Once you get used to the process of paying yourself first, move onto the next item.
6. Give your savings regular raises
Wouldn’t it be nice to get a raise every year? Or better yet, every few months? Well, start by giving your retirement accounts regular raises. Increase your contributions just a tiny bit at a time (say, another 1%) every 3-12 months until you reach the maximum contribution allowed.
7. Only spend money you already have
This last one’s pretty self explanatory. If you want to buy something and you don’t have the money right now, don’t buy it. If you’ll have the money as soon as you get paid, don’t buy it until after you get paid. (Are you sensing a theme here?)
Yes, this one requires patience. But it’ll keep you out of the destructo path of debt. Don’t pay up to 35% more annually to buy things on credit because you want them now. Having MORE money to save and invest is a great way to build wealth.