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Want to Make Your First Million? Don’t Save Every Penny! You Should Spend Money Wisely Instead

Want to Make Your First Million? Don’t Save Every Penny! You Should Spend Money Wisely Instead

Have you ever heard the saying, “You have to spend money to make it?” I have. In fact, I’ve given that cliche statement as advice half a dozen times. While I tell entrepreneurs to spend money on the right team, I never use that advice myself. After all, I’m in my twenties still! I don’t have the luxury of spending money as if I’m made of it!

But these excuses are detrimental. In fact, the idea of spending money to make money is not as dangerous or risky as it may sound. Sure, it seems counterintuitive, but bear with me. I promise it will make more sense soon.

Saving Every Penny You Earn Can’t Bring You to Your Desired Destination

So many people think the only way to save money is to give up their social lives in order to minimize all those “unnecessary” expenses.

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What’s problematic with this approach, aside from how miserable you will be ignoring your friends’ invitations, is that it’s only a short-term way to save money. Think about it: are you really going to stay at home and never come out forever? The goal is to be future-focused; saving every penny and dollar you can is not exactly effective. What’s more important is spending on the investments that can bring returns.

I know what you’re thinking, “But Heather, I don’t know how to invest in general! How will I know how to invest in order to double my dividends? That’s for business-savvy people and those really good at math!”

Not true.

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While knowledge of those things can be helpful, anyone can be an expert investor and spender. You just need a little insight. Plus, we aren’t talking about becoming an investment banker. We’re talking about knowing when to invest your money into something and when to withhold. And it’s easier than you think.

Spending Money in the Right Way Can Help You Generate More Money

Enrich your mind through lifelong learning

This is one of those long-term money-making methods. While some people may find it unfair, the more educated you are via school system, the more desirable you are to companies who are hiring. This comes in handy when discussing salary, because the more experience college or university gave you (even in the form of unpaid internships) the better chance you have at requesting more than you might otherwise feel comfortable.

Even if you’ve left the formal education system, taking classes after work to expand your skill set can make you more popular and competent in the job market in the long-term.

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Prevention is better than cure

Listen, as an American, I know how frustrating health insurance can be. Even now with more access to it than ever, if you are paying out of pocket for insurance it’s a big sum of money! But here’s the thing: if you don’t get insurance because of the price tag, when you find yourself needing to go to the emergency room or even to a doctor’s appointment, you will be paying much more. And that expense will leave you with nothing left over to invest and grow.

When you feel more attractive, you can attract more opportunities

This one is so important, no matter how old-fashioned it may seem. Invest in your appearance. I make a lot of jokes about how much money I spend on quality makeup, complexion/skin products and getting my hair and nails done, but at the end of the day, it’s an investment I feel good about. When I look healthy and feel attractive, I approach people with more outer confidence.

As a disclaimer, this is not me telling you that in order to make money you have to be attractive. No way. What I am saying is that you should feel attractive – whatever that word means to you. If you come off as insecure and weak, it can be difficult to ask for that raise you absolutely deserve, or even get a loan you know you’re capable of paying off. There are (semi-depressing) studies out there that prove this, but if you don’t want to get wrapped up in them, just take my word on this one.

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As a quick example to help put it into perspective, I work for a very casual company (I’m talking yoga pants and blue jeans on the daily!) but when I first interviewed, I wore a suit. I knew the atmosphere was super casual, but I wanted to ensure they knew I was serious and professional. The way you look is the way you brand yourself as an individual. So who are you marketing to, and what is your message?

Set up a website to promote your expertise

Sites like LinkedIn, or even websites boasting your personal domain, can be a great way to up your income. Having a professional image and resume helps people see you as a trustworthy, knowledgable individual they would gladly hire. So if you’re a photographer, make your own website! If you’re a Freelancer, do it too! If you’re passionate enough to make it your career, then prove that to the world through a portfolio they can access 24/7. Learn how to maintain mailing lists, become an expert marketer. We live in a technology age; anything you could need to know is at your fingertips!

When you can’t do everything yourself, spend money to get help

When it comes to investing, and to your life in general, it’s essential to know what you need.[1] For instance, if you are trying to start your own company, your numbers will be in the red within a month if you don’t have the right team. Invest in a brilliant accountant. Invest in the perfect assistant. Have the right marketing team and IT guru. Yes, at first you will feel like you’re bleeding money, but when that team starts working with you and you see the spike in clients and income, you won’t remember any of that initial stress. The same is true when it comes to investing your money. What is it you need? A retirement fund, or a mansion? What is your goal? Once you have the intention set, you can begin to achieve it.

Reference

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Heather Poole

Technical writer

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Last Updated on June 18, 2019

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Making Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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