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Increase Your Income in Ways Most People Don’t Know

Increase Your Income in Ways Most People Don’t Know

Like it or not, money is a reality we all have to face. Most of us understand that the things that are really important in life are experiences, friends, and family, but it is hard to escape the fact that financial freedom gives you a lot more time to make the most of those things. Couple that with the fact that not being able to pay your bills is one of the most stressful experiences a person can have, and you begin to understand that the ability to generate income is a key skill for most people. So what can you do to most effectively increase income?

1. Make a plan.

As with most things in life, the key to making money is to have a good plan in place. Having a set of instructions to follow will keep you on task and help you feel like you are making progress even on days when it is hard to see any movement. Each week, think of what you want to accomplish and write down the things you will need to do to get there. Break down the steps you will take to reach you goal and assign each of them to a day on your calendar. When that day comes, make sure you are doing everything you can to move towards success.

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2. Prioritize your actions.

It is a simple fact of life that 20% of the work you do will be responsible for 80% of the success you achieve. Whether you call it the 80/20 rule or Pareto’s Principle, the lesson remains the same: you should prioritize the 20% of your work that is likely to lead to success. Identify and focus your energy on proven sources of income or projects with a good probability of paying off big time. You still need the other 80%, which is usually side projects or ideas in the making, but build your day around your core projects and avenues for success.

3. Try something new.

Nothing will erode your confidence like spinning your wheels on a project that ends up going nowhere. If you have committed a lot of time to a project that isn’t paying off, don’t be afraid to walk away. There is a principle in psychology called justification of effort that says people are more committed to things that they have invested a lot of time and energy in already. This can lead to stubbornly wasting your time on things that will never pay off. Know when you cut your losses and move on to something new.

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4. Say “no.”

Your time is the most valuable resource you have and overextending yourself will drain it. Taking on too many projects will also lead to increased stress and less opportunity to pursue exciting opportunities. Cultivate your ability to say no to things. When a new opportunity comes along, ask yourself if the investment of time it requires is likely to pay off in a way that you feel is appropriate. If the answer is no, walk away.

5. Surround yourself with success.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but a great way to achieve financial success is to act like you already have. The notion of “fake it until you make it” actually holds some water. If you spend your time hanging out with successful people in places where money tends to concentrate itself, you will stumble into more opportunities to achieve success yourself. Make friends with people who have already achieved what you hope to achieve and use those ties to your advantage.

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6. Be a leader.

A well-known key to success in business and in life is the ability to recognize an opportunity before anyone else. With that in mind, you should always be on the lookout for the next great path to success. Keep your mind as open as possible and never stop engaging with the world in creative ways. Expose yourself to as many conflicting perspectives as you can by reading books to disagree with and taking meetings with people you don’t like. Viewing something from all angles is the best way to really understand it and will help you blaze a new trail.

7. Understand time versus replication.

The idea of time is so important, it is worth mentioning again. It is the only resource you can’t do anything to change. No matter who you are or how much money you make, there will still only be 24 hours in a day. For that reason you should focus your energy on sources of income that you can easily reproduce. Do something once and then replicate it as many times as possible to bring in the most money. This is the philosophy promoted my creator of the Dilbert comic strip Scott Adams in his book How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big and it holds true for you too. Now he makes a living drawing a single comic and having it published in thousands of newspapers all over the world. Time is valuable, so make sure your work transcends it.

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Featured photo credit: 401(K) 2012 via flickr.com

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Published on November 20, 2018

The Best Ways to Save Money Even Impulsive Spenders Can Get Behind

The Best Ways to Save Money Even Impulsive Spenders Can Get Behind

The truth is, there are many “money saving guides” online, but most don’t cover the root issue for not saving.

Once I’d discovered a few key factors that allowed me to save 10k in one year, I realized why most articles couldn’t help me. The problem is that even with the right strategies you can still fail to save money. You need to have the right systems in place and the right mindset.

In this guide, I’ll cover the best ways to save money — practical yet powerful steps you can take to start saving more. It won’t be easy but with hard work, I’m confident you’ll be able to save more money–even if you’re an impulsive spender.

Why Your Past Prevents You from Saving Money

Are you constantly thinking about your financial mistakes?

If so, these thoughts are holding you back from saving.

I get it, you wish you could go back in time to avoid your financial downfalls. But dwelling over your past will only rob you from your future. Instead, reflect on your mistakes and ask yourself what lessons you can learn from them.

It wasn’t easy for me to accept that I had accumulated thousands of dollars in credit card debt. Once I did, I started heading in the right direction. Embrace your past failures and use them as an opportunity to set new financial goals.

For example, after accepting that you’re thousands of dollars in debt create a plan to be debt free in a year or two. This way when you’ll be at peace even when you get negative thoughts about your finances. Now you can focus more time on saving and less on your past financial mistakes.

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How to Effortlessly Track Your Spending

Stop manually tracking your spending.

Leverage powerful analytic tools such as Personal Capital and these money management apps to do the work for you. This tool has worked for me and has kept me motivated to why I’m saving in the first place. Once you login to your Personal Capital dashboard, you’re able to view your net worth.

When I’d first signed up with Personal Capital, I had a negative net worth, but this motivated me to save more. With this tool, you can also view your spending patterns, expenses, and how much money you’re saving.

Use your net worth as your north star to saving more. Whenever you experience financial setbacks, view how far you’ve come along. Saving money is only half the battle, being consistent is the other half.

The Truth on Why You Keep Failing

Saving money isn’t sexy. If it was, wouldn’t everyone be doing it?

Some people are natural savers, but most are impulsive spenders. Instead of denying that you’re an impulsive spender, embrace it.

Don’t try to save 60 to 70% of your income if this means you’ll live a miserable life. Saving money isn’t a race but a marathon. You’re saving for retirement and for large purchases.

If you’re currently having a hard time saving, start spending more money on nice things. This may sound counterintuitive but hear me out. Wouldn’t it be better to save $200 each month for 12 months instead of $500 for 3 months?

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Most people run into trouble because they create budgets that set them up for failure. This system won’t work for those who are frugal, but chances are they don’t need help saving. This system is for those who can’t save money and need to be rewarded for their hard work.

Only because you’re buying nice things doesn’t mean that you’ll save less. Here are some rules you should have in place:

  1. Save more than 50% of your available money (after expenses)
  2. Only buy nice things after saving
  3. Automate your savings with automatic bank transfers

These are the same rules that helped me save thousands each year while buying the latest iPhone. Focus only on items that are important to you. Remember, you can afford anything but not everything.

How to Foolproof Yourself out of Debt

Personal finance is a game. On one end, you’re earning money; and on the to other, you’re saving. But what ends up counting in the end isn’t how much you earn but how much you save. Research shows that about 60% of Americans spend more than they save.[1]

So how can you separate yourself from the 60%?

By not accumulating more debt. This way you’ll have more money to save and avoid having more financial obligations. A great way to stop accumulating debt is using cash to pay for all your transactions.

This will be challenging, depending on how reliant you are with your credit card, but it’s worth the effort. Not only will you stop accruing debt, but you’ll also be more conscious with what you buy.

For example, you’ll think twice about purchasing a new $200 headphone despite having the cash to buy them. According to a poll conducted by The CreditCards.com, 5 out of 6 Americans are impulsive spenders.[2]

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Telling yourself that you’ll have the discipline to not buy things won’t cut it. This is equal to having junk food in your fridge while trying to eat healthy–it’s only a matter of time before you slip. By using cash to make your purchases, you’ll spend less and save more.

A Proven Formula to Skyrocket Your Savings

Having proven systems in place to help you save more is important, but they’re not the best way to save money.

You can search for dozens of ways to save money, but there’ll always be a limit. Instead of spending the majority of your effort saving, look for ways to increase your income. The truth is that once you have the right systems in place, saving is easy.

What’s challenging is earning more money. There are many routes you can take to achieve this. For example, you can work long and hard at your current job to earn a raise. But there’s one problem–you’re depending on someone else to give you a raise.

Your company will have to have the budget, and you’ll have to know how to toot your own horn to get this raise. This isn’t to say that earning a raise is impossible, but things are better when you’re in control right? That’s why building a side-hustle is the best way to increase your income.

Think of your side-hustle as a part-time job doing something you enjoy. You can sell items on eBay for a profit, or design websites for small businesses. Building a side-hustle will be on the hardest things you’ll do, be too stubborn to quit.

During the early stages, you won’t be making money and that’s okay. Since you already have a source of income, you won’t be dependent on your side-hustle to pay for your expenses. Depending on how much time you invest in your side-hustle, it can one day replace your current income.

Whatever route you take, focus more on earning and save as much as possible. You have more control than you give yourself credit for.

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Transform Yourself into a Saving Money Machine

Saving money isn’t complicated but it’s one of the hardest things you’ll do.

By learning from your mistakes and rewarding yourself after saving you’ll save more. What would you do with an extra $200 or $500 each month? To some, this is life-changing money that can improve the quality of their lives.

The truth is saving money is an art. Save too much and you’ll quit, but save too little and you’ll pay for the consequences in the future. Saving money takes effort and having the right systems in place.

Imagine if you’d started saving an extra $100 this next month? Or, saved $20K in one year? Although it’s hard to imagine, this can be your reality if you follow the principles covered in this guide.

Take a moment to brainstorm which goals you’d be able to reach if you had extra money each month. Use these goals as motivation to help you stay on track on your journey to saving more. If I was able to save thousands of dollars with little guidance, imagine what you’ll be able to do.

What are you waiting for? Go and start saving money, the sky is your limit.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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