Myth: You need to make a lot of money to have a lot of money.
Truth: You need to hold onto your money to have a lot of money.
No matter how little or how much you make, if you spend about what you make or more, you won’t have much money left. The simple secret to accumulating wealth is to spend less and save more. Here are some commonsense savings guidelines to help increase your account balance.
Pay yourself first
Before you pay your rent or utilities, pay yourself. If money is tight, start by depositing $10 or $25 from every paycheck into your savings account. Eventually you’ll be able to save more. The important thing now is not how much you save but to develop good savings habits.
- Don’t spend more than you can afford
If you don’t have enough cash in your account to cover your purchase, you can’t afford it. If you use a credit card, pay it off in full every month.
- Distinguish between want and need
You need a new pair of shoes. You love the $298 Kate Spade wedges, but the $59 Bass counterparts are nicely styled, well constructed, and offer the support you need. Buy the sensible shoe and deposit the $240 difference in your savings account. (When you read the “The $500 Cup of Coffee,” you’ll learn how to satisfy your urge to splurge without spending a lot of money.)
- Pay for value
Even when buying necessities like chairs and plates for your new apartment, don’t buy the cheapest, which is usually poorer in quality and shorter lasting. And don’t buy the most expensive, which is more than you need. Buy the best value, which is the highest quality that you can comfortably afford.
- Reward yourself, but don’t indulge (except on special occasions)
You’ve worked long hours to complete a project at work. You deserve a night out with your friends. You can spend $20 or $45 for a meal. You can bring your own bottle or pay $7.00 for a glass of wine. You can drink a glass or two, or three or four. You get the idea: everything in moderation. OR you can treat yourself to the more expensive meal with a half off Groupon. (Remember special occasions are rare. That’s what makes them special.)
- Bank your savings
When you spend less on rent, you’ll spend more eating out if you leave your savings in your checking account. Move the money you saved on shoes and coffee into a separate savings or investment account where it can grow. Move money every time you save, once a week, or every time you’re paid.
- Talk to your parents
According to a 2014 study sponsored by the National Endowment of Financial Education (NEFE), young adults who asked their parents for advice felt less stress following the 2008 financial crisis. Without doubt, you’ll make your own mistakes, but you’ll save yourself a lot of heartache and expense by avoiding theirs.