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We all know people who, even though they may not be rich or live extravagant lifestyles, always seem to have money. And then there are those who never deny themselves any small indulgence, but are perpetually broke or strapped for cash. The difference between the two comes down to 3 things: what they value, what they do and discipline. Some people value fun, adventure and living in the moment! And others place higher value on long term security and comfort, even if it means a little sacrifice upfront.
In case you fall into the second group, here are 7 habits you try on to always have cash on hand.
They Don’t Rush to Buy
Amazon, with just about anything you want or need is only a screen tap or mouse click away – always. Never in history has ‘retail therapy’ been so accessible. This can be tempting late at night or after a particularly hard day or rough week. With just a touch, a box is delivered to your door the next day and can feel like a delightful present or reward!
But if you want to see bigger numbers in your bank account than your credit card statement, try building in an automatic wait period. Wait for 2 weeks to see if you really want it. Or, if it’s an impulse purchase, tags don’t come off and nothing gets opened for one full week. This is a rule I adopted after seeing a shirt hanging in my closet with the tags on for almost a year – what a waste of money that I could have had more enjoyment from if I had used it elsewhere. You have NO idea how many times this has saved me from collecting more things I really didn’t want or need in the long run.
They Price Shop
Impulse purchasing can be expensive in more ways than one. A quick click to buy can cost you real money. A mere 20% is an extra $20 on every $100 you spend over the course of the month. Take a moment, do the math. Is there something else you’d like to be doing with that cash? As convenient as Amazon is, they also have their own algorithms for promoting some products over others and it might not be the best price. No matter what it is your shopping for look around a bit, almost everything is at your fingertips these days. And it can be kind of fun, almost like an online treasure hunt!
They Have One No-Spend Day Each Week
Most things we do in life are habit.Spending is a habit. Saving is a habit. Investing is a habit. Get into the habit of having one day each week where you don’t spend a dime.Take your lunch, skip the latte and plan your gas and groceries so you do them on other days. Once you take that card out of your wallet it’s way too easy to just keep doing it. A no-spend day forces you to plan better and helps you to really think about your expenses and what is and isn’t necessary in your life. It has the added bonus of creating a healthy financial habit as well as cultivating self-control and discipline, all incredibly useful life skills.
They Avoid Paying Interest
Interest is just money completely burned away. Think about how much you pay in interest on each of your credit cards every month…. now imagine using that money to buy candles and burning them all… every month. That’s interest. Except you don’t even get the benefit of light and warmth. Being conscious of how you spend you money means you’ll need to use your credit cards less. And if you’re not paying interest that means more money for investments and ultimately earning interest. How nice would it be to flip that one upside down while building a strong foundation at the same time.
They Save Automatically
There are so many different options today to automate your savings. One of the most recent trends in that area is a process called “round ups”. For example, you buy a coffee for $2.75 with your debit or credit card and that purchase is rounded up to the nearest whole number, with the extra 25 cents being automatically diverted to your savings. Many banks and credit card companies offer these types of accounts, but there are also a whole host of apps for this, Acorns being the original one, but Stash offers it as well. (BONUS: Stash is an app I love for banking, saving, and investing. If you try it with my link and add cash, you’ll get $20! ) It’s a brilliant solution that puts your savings on auto-pilot and you probably won’t even notice.
They Give Up Frugal Habits That Aren’t Worth It
Just as it’s important to establish healthier financial habits, it’s also equally important to ditch the overly aggressive ones that really aren’t worthwhile in the long run. That may be something like driving across town to save a couple of dollars on an item, but it’s going to cost you almost that much in gas and a whole lot of your time. It actually creates a scarcity mindset that can perpetuate into a long term belief that you never have enough. This may be useful in the short term and acute circumstances, but in the long term it closes you off to opportunities that could potentially build true wealth and abundance in your life.
They Have a “Fun” Section in Their Budget
As important as it is to be mindful with your money, that doesn’t mean that you stop living – far from it! The whole purpose of financial responsibility is to live a better life, so by all means live, but plan it. Just like you would save up for a vacation, allocate a certain amount of money each week or each month for entertainment or fun; something that is done just because you want to and without any need. Maybe you splurge on super expensive concert tickets one month, but the cut back a bit for a couple of weeks before an after. Having an entertainment or fun budget actually feels pretty good. It gives you something to look forward to while at the same time helping you to avoid overspending. It also means that you you can plan for things like stunning new pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing, an indulgent spa day or a weekend getaway with your sweetheart.
Bonus: They’re Happy
Creating a budget, living by it and being financially reasonable isn’t about denying yourself all good things in life, it’s about creating stability, security, self-reliance and peace of mind. People who have money in savings and investments and know how the bills are going to get paid month to month aren’t stressing about living paycheck-to-paycheck or scrambling between buying sprees. They ultimately are living a lot happier and more well balanced lives.