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10 Surprising Things Financially Successful People Do Differently

10 Surprising Things Financially Successful People Do Differently

The financially successful often get a bad rap in our society, especially from the poor. We see footage of Donald Trump on TV, or watch movies like “The Wolf of Wall Street” and think being financially successful means living a gluttonous life of excess at the expense of the impoverished. This may be true for a few, but for many financially successful people, their success is only part of the story.

What we don’t see is the passion, hard work, mistakes, thrift and plain old smarts that went into creating the lifestyles of the rich. The media didn’t follow them around with cameras when they were living in cars, working in diners, or recovering from debilitating addictions, before they achieved their financial success.

The good news is babies aren’t born with millions of dollars in their bank accounts, and everyone has the ability to become financially successful. As Wallace D. Wattles put it,

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“Talented people get rich, and blockheads get rich; intellectually brilliant people get rich, and very stupid people get rich; physically strong people get rich, and weak and sickly people get rich.”

Here are 10 surprising things financially successful people do differently:

1. They surround themselves with positive people and do not waste time on negativity.

It is interesting to note that 67% of wealthy people watch one hour or less of TV every day, and only 6% watch reality shows.

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2. They make sacrifices at first.

The financially successful will accept a reduction in income, drive a cheap used car, and downsize their house when they’re first starting out. They then take the money they save and invest it or re-invest it in something that will make them more money down the road. Sometimes, wealthy people choose to live frugally their whole lives. Warren Buffett is known for driving his car until it looks so disreputable that his employees pressure him into buying a new one.

3. They don’t waste time complaining.

If something bad happens, they change course, learn from it, or look for a way to use it to their advantage.

4. They make paying off debt and saving money a priority.

They know that “When one is bound by debt, he has no choice but to stay in a miserable job, location or house against his own will.”

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5. They don’t blame the government or economy for their situation.

Instead, they take full responsibility for themselves and their actions, and believe they are in charge of their own futures. As Jim Rohn pointed out, in the six years it took him to make his first million dollars, the fact that a Republican President was replaced by a Democrat didn’t make one bit of difference.

6. They focus on long-term financial goals.

Instead of just making money and spending it, they take the time to create financial plans which enable them to reach long-term goals, and then they stick to those plans.

7. They don’t assume they already know everything.

86% of wealthy people love to read and believe in lifelong education. 88% of them read educational or work-related material for 30 minutes or more each day. 63% listen to audio books as they commute to and from work.

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8. They offer services or create things of value.

They don’t just consume what other people have produced.

9. They do more than show up at the office, do their jobs, and go home.

They seek out ways to go above and beyond the call of duty, even if they are wage earners in a 9-5 job. 44% of financially successful people wake up three hours before work starts.

10. They are more excited about the process of creation than the money they make.

It’s not that they don’t care about making money, but money isn’t their top priority. The financially successful get satisfaction from making their clients and customers happy.They don’t necessarily need all of the latest gadgets and toys.

A Final Thought: While none of us have control over the government, our negative friends and relatives, or the economy, we can control how we think. If we can adopt a financially successful mindset, sooner or later we will become financially successful in reality, and in the meantime, we will FEEL financially successful, even if we’re strapped for cash. So we have nothing to lose by changing our thinking. Happy success!

Featured photo credit: International Currency Money/epSos.de via flickr.com

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Published on September 17, 2018

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

2. When you want something big, wait

Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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So, you get the itch.

You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

Here’s where you have to take a step back.

Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

3. Live smaller than you can afford

You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

4. Practice smart grocery shopping

Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

Create a grocery budget

Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

Make a list… and never deviate

Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

Eat before going grocery shopping

It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

5. Cancel your gym membership

Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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