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13 Basic Rules To Grow Your Wealth Effectively

13 Basic Rules To Grow Your Wealth Effectively

Perhaps you started this year vowing to grow personally, expand professionally, or simply grow up.  Do you also want to grow your wealth?

While no two financial pictures are exactly the same, healthy portfolios do have similarities. Follow these 13 rules to grow your wealth effectively.

Think of money as a tool.

That’s all those papers and coins are — a tool to get you what you want. They aren’t the only way, but it is a universally accepted exchange. Thinking of money as a tool empowers you to avoid many of the negative, intense emotions that can be associated with it, and to make rational, calm spending and saving decisions free of emotion. Money is a tool. That’s it.

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Accept that it takes time to expand your tool kit.

It takes time to grow wealth. Period. “Time” in this case means years, sometimes decades. This can be a frustrating concept for young folks who are rarin’ to earn that cash, accustomed to getting what they want with the click of a button and bombarded by stories of internet sensations who made it big overnight and photographs of 20-somethings with luxury cars and diamonds in their ears.

Define “wealth”…

Do you desire a fat bank account, for uses to be determined in the future? The ability to fund an expensive hobby, like horses or photography? The chance to take years off work and afford time to raise your young children? Your definition of “wealth” may, or may not, be a McMansion and six sports cars. Whatever your definition is, congratulations! You’ve established a goal that is yours. Your definition of “wealth” is the one that matters.

… then define “wealth” again.

Accept that you will end up spending vast amounts of money on unplanned expenses. Your car will break down. You will have kids before you’re financially ready. You or a loved one will incur a hefty medical bill. This is called life. Money, that tool we keep in our pockets, will help us meet life challenges. So take a deep breath, relax, and accept the fact that your financial goals will change time and time again. Staying calm during times of unexpected spending will help you keep your eye on the long-term prize; freaking out or giving up on your savings plan in the face of adversity will not.

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Acknowledge that cash is king.

If you can’t pay cash for it, you can’t afford it. Treat your credit cards like cash; this means sticking to a lifestyle that suits your income level so you don’t rack off more than you can afford, and paying them off regularly. Do your best to avoid assuming car loans — if you can’t pay the sticker price, search for a used car or take advantage of public transportation for as long as possible. If you have a take a home loan, keep it modest, and wait to look at homes until you can afford to put at least 20% down.

Save.

This is frequently repeated advice, and for good reason — the secret to growing wealth is to accumulate it. Read up on the latest from accountants and peruse personal stories online, check books out of the library, or hire a consultant through your bank to help with financial planning; however you do it, you must develop a savings plan. Once you have at least six months of living expenses for you and your family readily available, you can start to grow your wealth through different types of funds, according to the level of risk you want to assume.

Diversify your tool kit.

Talk to a certified professional about the benefits and drawbacks of savings accounts, stocks, certificates of deposit, IRAs, mutual funds, and any other number of savings and investment options. The key word here is “diversify.” You want to build a broad foundation, so that if something unfortunate happens to any one area of interest, your financial ship simply bobs along in a different direction, it doesn’t sink (and neither do you). Remember that purchasing land or a rental property, or upgrading a home you currently own are also ways to invest.

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Shop around until you find a no-fee, cash back credit card.

Avoid complicated rewards point structures, or even airfare cards unless you are a frequent traveler; it can be difficult to gauge whether you will actually use these rewards and the value back on each dollar that you spend can be minimal. Annual fees add up and mean you often end up paying for your plane ticket or hotel room yourself with the fee. Once you find a card you like, stick with it for maximum benefit to your credit score.

Shop around, period.

It is tempting to purchase what we want, when we see it. Online shopping, however, means that nearly every product can be compared to a competitor, whether in your community or across the globe. Take the time to compare prices before you buy, especially on big ticket items. Once you have a good feel for the market, don’t be shy about negotiating for a lower price from a local merchant if you find an item cheaper elsewhere.

Expand your mind.

Get creative in seeking out ways to increase income — there are a lot of ways to earn money out there. Make a list of your skills, whether learned in a professional setting or elsewhere, then hop online to do some research, and talk to everyone you meet about how to possibly leverage those skills. Your local chamber of commerce, or meet up groups advertised online, can be good places to start. It’s a freelancing nation, and you may be surprised at what and how much you can pick up on the side of conventional employment.

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Get your hands dirty.

Nothing is ever “too small” or “beneath you” in the money-growing game. Do not shirk from the hard jobs, the dirty jobs, or those that pay only a little in the beginning — pick them up, see where they go, and remember to save, save, save.

Find a good accountant.

Once you have money, you don’t want to give it away, do you? That’s exactly what you do come tax time — give your hard-earned cash back to the government. Tax codes are complicated, to say the least, so make sure you are giving exactly what you owe and not a penny more by enlisting the help of a seasoned professional. Though Certified Public Accountants are more expensive than do-it-yourself options, what they save you this year and in the years to come truly make this investment worth it.

Treat money management like a job.

Set aside time each week to review your financial accounts. If you’re starting out, this time may be as simple as going over your credit card statement to confirm that every charge is legitimate; if your financial picture is intricate and complicated, this could mean a weekly meeting with your financial planner or bank. Take time to study articles online, read a book from the library, or attend a local class that will teach you more about what all of those financial terms mean and how they apply to you.

Want to make progress today?  Find out The #1 Thing Stopping You From Becoming Rich Right Now 

Featured photo credit: Alan Cleaver via Flickr

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Published on October 8, 2018

13 Incredibly Useful Tactics to Help You to Stick to Your Family Budget

13 Incredibly Useful Tactics to Help You to Stick to Your Family Budget

Are you having trouble sticking to a family budget? You aren’t alone.

Budgeting is difficult. Creating one is hard enough, but actually sticking to it is a whole other issue. Things come up. Desires and cravings happen. And the next thing you know, budgets break.

So how can you stick to a family budget? Here are 13 tips to make it easier.

1. Choose a major category each month to attack

As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” With that in mind, one approach to help you get into the habit of sticking to a budget is simply starting slow.

Spend too much on Starbucks runs, eat out too often, and have an out-of-this-world grocery bill? Choose one bad habit and attack.

By choosing one behavior to focus on, you’ll prevent yourself from being overwhelmed. You’ll also experience small victories, which help you gain positive momentum. This momentum can then carry over into your overall budget.

2. Only make major purchases in the morning

If you’re making large purchases in the evening, there’s a good chance you’re doing so after a long day and you’re probably tired.

Why does this matter? Because our judgement tends to be off when tired – our willpower is compromised.

Instead, only make major purchasing decisions in the morning when you’re energized and refreshed. Your brain will be firing on all cylinders and your resolve will be high. You’re less likely to give in and settle at this point.

3. Don’t go to the grocery store hungry

Have trouble with impulse buys at the grocery store? If so, there’s a good chance you’re going grocery shopping while hungry.

The problem here is that when you’re hungry, everything looks good. So you’re more likely to make split decisions on things that aren’t on your grocery list.

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Instead, make sure you eat prior to your grocery store trip. Then take your list, along with your full stomach, and go shopping. Notice how food doesn’t look quite so good when you’re not fighting cravings.

4. Read one-star reviews for products

Is there a product you just have to have (but maybe not really)? Check out the one-star reviews.

By reading all the horrible reviews, you may be able to basically trick yourself into deciding that the product isn’t worth your time and money.

Next thing you know, you didn’t make the purchase, you saved the money, and you feel good about the decision.

5. Never buy anything you put in an online shopping cart until the next day

If you are making a purchase online, it’s typically a two-step process. First, you click “Add to Cart” and then you go in to review your cart and pay.

The problem is that there not typically much reviewing during step two. It’s generally click pay and there you go. However, this is the perfect point to stop for reflection.

Once you add to your cart, your best bet is to step away until the next day. Let the item sit there and grow cold, so to speak.

This gives you a night to “sleep on it” and decide if you really want and need to spend that money. If you wake up the next day and still find the purchase viable, then perhaps it’s time to go for it.

6. Don’t save your credit card info on any site you shop on

One of the other pitfalls of shopping online is that fact that most sites ask you to save your credit card information.

While the sites will frame it as a method of convenience, the truth is they know you’ll spend more money in the long run if your credit card information is saved.

The “convenience” takes away one last decision-making point in the purchasing process. True, it’s a pain to get out your credit card and enter the information every time. But guess what? That’s the point. If that inconvenience helps you stay on budget, then it’s worth it. Which leads into the next tip.

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7. Tape an “impulse buy” reminder to your credit card

Credit cards make spending much easier than cash. When you spend cash, you can literally see your wallet emptying. A credit card comes out, then goes back in. No harm, no foul.

That’s why it’s a good idea to tape a reminder to your credit card. Customize a message that is something along the lines of “do you really need this?” or “does it fit the budget?”

That way when you pull out the card, you get one last reminder to help you question your decision and stick to your budget.

8. Only use gift cards to shop on Amazon

Amazon is probably the easiest place online to blow money. It’s just so easy to click and buy. However, one way you can slow the process down is buy only using gift cards. Here’s how it works.

If you plan on making a purchase on Amazon, go to the grocery store and purchase a pre-loaded Amazon gift card of the proper amount. There’s no convenience fee, so you literally pay for the money you’ll spend.

Now take that gift card home and load it to your Amazon account. There’s your money to spend.

Why does this help? It makes you have to purposely go to the score and purchase the card in order to purchase the item. That’s a pretty deliberate thing that takes some time, commitment, and thought.

This process will effectively kill the impulse buy.

9. Budget using cash and envelopes

As mentioned earlier, it’s a lot harder to spend cash than swipe a credit card. You can take this even farther by using only cash, and separating that cash by budget category.

Create an envelope for each category and stick the cash in there at the beginning of each month. When the envelope is empty, no more spending on that category, unless you borrow from another (be careful of that approach).

This can be pretty helpful for people that have a hard time following transactions in their checking account, or keeping a budgeting spreadsheet.

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The envelopes simplify the tracking process, leaving no room for error. Nothing hides from you because it’s tangible in the envelopes in front of you.

10. Join a like-minded group

Making the decision to stick to something like budgeting is difficult. It takes long-term commitment.

You’re going to feel weak sometimes. And sometimes you may fail. That said, support from others can help strengthen resolve.

Support can come from a spouse or a friend, but they won’t always have the exact same goal in mind. That’s why it’s a good idea to join a support group that’s likeminded.

No need to pay here, as there are tons of free communities that fit the bill online.

For example, reddit has multiple subreddits that deal with budgeting and frugal living. You can follow, subscribe, and get active in those communities.

This will open your eyes to new tips and strategies, keep your goal fresh on your mind, and help you realize there are others dealing with the same struggles and being successful.

11. Reward Yourself

When you set a budget, it’s usually with a large goal in mind. Maybe you want to be debt free, or perhaps you want to see $10,000 in your savings account.

Whatever the case, the end goal is great, but the end is often far away, making it hard to see the end of the tunnel.

With that in mind, it’s a good idea to set mini-goals along the way. This helps you still look at the big picture but have something that’s attainable in the short-term to help with momentum.

But don’t stop there – set rewards for yourself when you reach that small goal. Maybe it’s an extra meal out. Or a new pair of shoes.

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Whatever the case, this gives you something in the near future to look forward to, which can help with the fatigue that can result in pursuing long-term goals.

12. Take the Buddhist approach

You don’t have to be a Buddhist to recognize some of the wisdom in the teachings. One of the tenets of the philosophy involves accepting that we can’t have everything we want. And that’s okay.

Sometimes you won’t feel good. Sometimes you’ll have cravings. You can’t deny them. But you can recognize them, accept them, and let them pass by. Then you move on.

Apply this to the times you want to do things that will break your budget. You’re going to have the desire to eat out when you shouldn’t. You might want to stay out and spend too much at happy hour with your work friends.

The feelings will come. Recognize them, accept them, but let them go.

13. Set up automatic drafts to savings

If you wait until you’ve spent all your budgeted money to deposit money into savings, guess what? You probably aren’t going to put any money into savings.

It’s too easy to see that as extra money and end up using it to treat yourself.

Instead, set up automatic savings withdrawals. That way, the money is marked and gone before you can even think about it. It becomes a non-issue. It’s no longer “extra.” It’s just savings.

Conclusion

Sticking to a budget can be difficult. No one is denying that.

However, if you can do a few things to set yourself up for success, and put some practices in place to curb impulse buys, then you can (and will!) be successful sticking to your family budget.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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