72 Personal Finance Tips That Will Change the Way You Think About Money
“Financial peace isn’t the acquisition of stuff. It’s learning to live on less than you make, so you can give money back and have money to invest. You can’t win until you do this.” – Dave Ramsey (American financial writer, radio and television host)
Ask most people the first thing that comes to their mind when the word “money” gets spoken and you’ll get a bunch of different answers.
To some it’s a means a better house, financially stable future, and college education. To another person, it may bring up images of success, travel, and freedom.
Others may simply define it as being debt-free.
No matter what your view on money is, we all have our own personal definition of it based on our experiences, upbringing, and influences.
USE MONEY AS A MEANS, NOT A GOAL
The Richest Man in Babylon was a book by George S. Clason that described money as a tool for producing even more money. In the book, the main protagonist quoted, “Every gold piece you save is a slave to work for you. Every copper it earns is its child that can also earn for you.”
What does this mean?
If you think about it, George Clason was explaining the core concept of Investing.
He wanted us to see money not as a by-product of our labor, but as an “employee” that works for us and makes us money.
Some people call it Passive Income, while some might say it’s Compound Interest. Both are correct as they incorporate the use of capital money to earn more money.
Why are we not utilizing this great “tool”?
Even the great scientist Albert Einstein once said that Compound Interest is one of the greatest invention in human history.
While technically a man of science, he acknowledges this financial concept to be a powerful formula that every man should be made aware of.
1. Open a high-yield savings account
A typical savings account offers an interest rate around 0.01%, and a typical checking account is the digital equivalent of putting your money under the mattress.
However, high-yield checking and saving offer interest rates that exceed 1% — 100 times what you’d get otherwise.
This report from CNBC reveals how much a high-yield savings account performs compared to traditional checking account.
2. Develop streams of passive income
Creating any streams of passive income requires an investment upfront, whether of your time or money, but can lead to huge payoffs later.
3. Store it in retirement accounts
Save as much as possible to have your money work for you tax-efficiently and to get money in the markets.
4. Rent out your stuff
Get creative here. If you have some space or equipment that others don’t have, they might be willing to pay for it and rent it out.
5. Invest it in the Market
Take the opportunity of stock growth. For example, you can buy dividend stocks as these generally provide great returns for your money. Shareholders “reward” you for investing your money with them through the form of dividends.
This 2016 study on the Financial Analysts Journal concluded that “high-dividend-yield portfolios, which consistently offer the least risk, provide an annual average dividend yield of 4.3%”
6. Choose your Credit Cards Wisely
Credit cards are usually thought of simply as electronic payment method. But real pros choose and use them primarily from the rewards that each card offers. Fly often? Get one that gives excellent bonuses for frequent flyer miles.
7. Silence is Golden
If managing day-to-day business operations is not your cup of tea, why not stay behind in the shadows and become a silent business partner?
This will mean that your main contribution will be funding the business so you don’t have to involve yourself and spend time being an active owner.
8. Real Estate Investing
If you have the capital to back it up, investing in real estate can turn out to be a very profitable venture.
You can buy properties at a discount then flip it later for instant revenue.
9. Get Certified
Often times, the big bucks are just a couple of certification away from your reach.
With the right certification and degrees, you’re opening yourself to more high-paying jobs.
Spend money to earn more skills.
10. Rent out your stuff
Get creative here. If you have some space or equipment that others don’t have, they might be willing to pay for it and rent it out.
11. Lend money to your peer
Peer to Peer Lending works by allowing you (Lender) to lend money to individuals or businesses for the sole purpose of interest.
The rates of interest you can gain versus banks is quite significant, and websites like Lending Club makes the process easier and generally more safe than through traditional setting.
12. Crowdfunded Real Estate
If you’re familiar with how mutual funds work, then you’ll easily get the idea behind Crowdfunded Real Estate.
This investment mechanism allows different investors such as yourself to pool your money in order to buy or renovate real estate properties.
And just like with P2P, you’re revenue will come from interest gained through your initial capital.
13. Ad Space Rental
Did you know that you can have your car plastered with ads and get paid for it? Easy money huh? Or let’s say you live in the city in an area where there’s constant foot traffic?
Maximize your space and rent it out for ad space, squeeze some extra money virtually doing nothing.
14. Cryptocurrency Mining
You probably heard about it. Bitcoin and other types of these “Cryptocurrencies”. Depending how tech-savvy you are, you just might find something of value out of these new digital money that people have been talking about for years.
But before you shell out your hard-earned cash to invest, always remember to do your due diligence first.
15. Sell Digital Products
Do you have an eye for photography? Passion for music? Know how to write eBooks?
These are all excellent ways of earning money. If you have the eye for photography, you can sell your photos to sites like ShutterStock.
If you have a book, you can sell it online through Amazon or your own website.
16. Buy and Sell Websites
Much like regular, physical properties, you can buy and sell websites.
Sites like Flippa and Empire Flippers are online marketplaces where owners of existing websites post their sites for sale and show its stats (how much it earns, number of visitors, etc).
You can buy it and assume ownership of that website income. Of course you can do it vice versa, build and sell your own website for profit.
INCREASE YOUR EARNING POTENTIAL
17. Switch jobs
If you have been stuck in your job position in the last 2-3 years and don’t see any chance of a promotion happening soon, it might be time to re-think your situation and open your mind to the idea of switching jobs.
Who knows, you’re current company just might re-negotiate your contract once they realize that you are very valuable to the company.
18. Ask for a Pay Raise
Remember, you should never be embarrassed to request for a raise.
Especially if you have proven your worth to the company and have given plenty of value in the last few years.
Everyone deserves the right to be compensated accordingly.
19. Do side gigs
Make the most out of your current skills by freelancing.
. Freelancing is a very viable source of income so definitely check out this option.
Ever wondered why there are so many blogs out there? Because it pay good money, that is. You can earn from ads placed on your website or through affiliate links.
There are millions of websites out there built solely for the purpose of affiliate marketing and the money these sites make in a month can be a great source of cash flow.
21. Be a Coach
Do you have the knack for guiding others? If you have a skill that you have tremendous expertise on, coaching is an incredibly rewarding endeavor that both earns you money and helps another person.
Coaching does not need to be an always one-on-one experience, you can think of ways to “systematize” it (do it via website, apps, online, etc.) depending on the nature of your expertise.
22. Tutor someone
Similar to coaching but more focused on academic settings. Say you’re good at math. You can set up teaching sessions in your area during the weekend or on your free hours.
If you want a more structured approach, you can join a group like Kaplan—a corporation that provides educational services online.
23. Set up and sell an online course
You can go solo by building a website and audience, and then have them pay for premium online courses.
24. Temp Jobs
Like a summer job, applying as a temp allows you to earn extra money through a temporary gig for a defined period of time.
There’s a lot of offices in need of temp services, you might want to check Craigslist or LinkedIn for openings.
25. Tap your inner artist
If you have a bit of a creative side on you, try setting up shop online and use websites like Cargoh, Etsy, and others to sell them.
26. Become a Tour Guide
Tourism is definitely a hot market right now. Take advantage of this and offer tour guide services around areas that you love and know by heart. Not only are you earning some bucks, you’re also sharing the beautiful scenery and history of your favorite places.
27. Offer your services to Fiverr
Fiverr is a website that serves as an online bulletin board where clients posts tasks and people like you check it out and do it. Fiverr is popular because of the breadth of tasks that clients can request for:
From hiring a virtual assistant to having someone visit your place to cook a meal. The possibilities are endless.
28. Uber Around Town
They would not have been able to disrupt the transportation industry if not for their excellent business idea and execution.
Uber and Lyft are great avenues of income, so if you have a few hours available you can try driving people around and earn some cash.
29. Survey Pays
Websites like Survey Spot, Survey Savvy, Opinion Outpost, and others allow participants to take surveys and get paid for it.
30. Build an App
If you have the chops for programming, this is a potential life-changer. If successful, apps can have the potential to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars whether you choose to run it yourself or sell it.
LEARN HOW TO BUDGET
When people hear the word, “Budget”, several things come to mind. To some, it’s an action. Allocating a specific amount for a particular item or time frame.
To some it’s a word to describe the relatively cheap amount they spent on something (travelling on a budget).
But for our purposes, we’ll use the former—a verb for determining how we spend our money purchase things. The ultimate goal, however, is to control our spending so that we are allocating our resources correctly.
31. Track it like a boss
Just like how productivity coaches track their client’s time to figure out why they’re not making use of it correctly, tracking how you spend each dollar lets you have a bird’s eye view on which purchases are eating up your finances.
Some food take out last night, a new pair of sneakers last Sunday, a couple of movie tickets—you’ll quickly have an idea where your money is being spent.
You’ll be surprised how most of your money goes into purchases that are spur-of-the-moment, and acknowledging this is the first step towards achieving your daily, weekly, and monthly goals.
32. Change your perception about handling money
Most of us have a specific “reality” when it comes to money.
Some have a $30k/year reality, some have $50k/year, some have $100k/year. And there are some who make by $20k/year realty.
These people, when they receive a surplus of money outside of their “reality”, tend to spend it quickly just so they can get back to their comfortable reality.
Just take a look at all those lotto winners who go bankrupt a few years after getting their millions. As your money increases, so should your capacity to hold it.
33. The 3-Category Budget
Set 3 categories that you’d like to focus on tracking and budgeting. For example, clothes, food, utilities.
Why do this?
Because without it, you will focus on one thing only and then end up squandering money the same old way on other stuff.
You might be doing all sorts of hypermiling techniques in your driving but upon getting home you still order take-out food a lot.
34. Use your Credit Cards Smartly
Cash tends to be harder to track. Naturally, you use credit cards as the next best alternative.
Not only do cards give you the convenience of checking how much you’ve racked so far online, they also give out nice rewards to card holders.
Be smart, pick the right credit card for you and use them wisely.
35. Pay Yourself First
In the seminal financial-wisdom book, “The Richest Man in Babylon”, the first lesson in acquiring and building wealth is to “Start thy Purse to Fattening.”
By saving at least 10 percent of what we earn, we’re building up on capital that is necessary to start our ventures in investing and acquiring more wealth.
To “Pay Yourself First” means putting importance in your future and opening yourself to opportunities of wealth-building.
36. The 50/20/30 Rule
The 50/20/30 rule was popularized by the book, “All your Worth”, a book that focuses on simplicity as means to financial freedom. The author stresses that we should follow a formula to budgeting your money: 50 percent for necessities, 20 percent to long term savings, and 30 percent to lifestyle choices.
This gives you a simple framework on how you should budget your income.
37. Make use of Online Apps and Tools
The popularity of smartphone apps and services like Mint, Acorns, and Venmo is proof that people need a tool to make the process of budgeting easier. Millions use these services.
Most can link all your financial reports seamlessly which gives you a starting point for properly managing your finances.
38. Smart Shopping is Key
When shopping for items, be it groceries or clothes, making lists and sticking to it is a time-tested way of staying out of spur-of-the-moment purchases.
Best to buy stuff alone as well, as it prevents peer pressure and spending way more time than usual.
39. Buy stuff in bulk
More often than not, buying stuff in bulk is a good way of saving some money. If you compare retail prices versus wholesale, it’s a significant difference.
Plus, it saves you the hassle of additional trips back to the supermarket.
If the item is something that you or your family use on a daily basis, be smart, buy those in bulk and save some cash.
40. Discounted Gift Cards
When used properly, gift cards are a quick way of getting more from your bucks. Say you always buy from a specific store. Instead of dropping by on a weekday, go online first and try to see if they have any discounted gift cards available. Most shops offer these and it’s not uncommon to slash 10 to 20 percent off the regular price.
41. Move Closer to your Job
This paper featured on the World Leisure Journal revealed that people with the longest commutes have the lowest overall satisfaction with life.
Time is money, the old adage goes. And spending hours on commute to and from work is definitely costing you more than you think.
If your work is closer, you can sleep more hours or allot it for personal development projects and family since you don’t have to set aside an hour or two for commute.
Plus, it saves you money. Say goodbye to expensive cab fare or train and bus tickets. It’s one of the best hacks you can do to improve your life.
42. Find a cheaper gym membership
There’s nothing wrong with taking care of your body. But why shell out expensive membership fees for that posh gym when you can have almost the same services in a regular gym at a much lower cost?
43. Downsize your house or move to a new area
Okay, this is a biggie. But with all things considered and the proper due diligence, getting a smaller house can be a highly rewarding move in terms of financial value.
If you’re living in a city with a very high cost of living and can barely afford your payments, strongly consider downsizing and moving to a different location. Who knows, it might turn out to be the best financial move you ever made.
44. Lose the bad habits
Spending money on stuff than can kill you like alcohol and cigarettes should be immediately dropped. Others that are “less harmful”, like junk food or going out too much should also be re-considered.
You may not notice it, but if you start tracking your spending you’ll be quickly be made aware that those typical night outs cost you $200 to $400 any given month.
We’re not saying to completely cut them off, just make an effort to be more conscious with these types of expenses.
45. Get Rid of Unused Subscriptions
Any paid service that you signed up for and paying for on a monthly basis should only be for content that you actually use.
Too busy to watch Netflix or cable TV? Drop them.
Online magazine subscriptions that you rarely have time or energy to read? Cancel them.
If you’re not listening to Pandora or Audible regularly, you should consider closing your account completely.
All these things drain money from your pockets on a monthly basis, so if you’re serious in having complete financial freedom, a little reflection and discipline on these types of things should be made.
PAY OFF YOUR DEBT
Getting off debt is a crucial step in a financially-successful life.
There are methods and ways that can help you accomplish this and the following tips are a good place to start.
46. Automate your Payments
Keeping things automated saves you time, money and prevents headaches later when you realize you forgot to pay up on time again.
47. Debt Avalanche and Debt Snowball Techniques
Have you heard about debt avalanche and debt snowball? These two are great ways of how to repay your debt and thousands of people swear by it.
48. Setting up Milestones
Studies show that rewarding yourself upon hitting specific milestones reinforces the habit. It’s your way of giving back to yourself for a job well done. Small wins will all add up until you conquer debt completely.
49. Throw your plastic, use cash
Doing this makes us think twice before we spend our hard-earned money. Think about it, it’s so easy to go online and order stuff right? Because everything’s meant to be that way, from a seller’s standpoint.
The less friction there is on the transaction, the more willing customers will be to buy stuff. By using cash as your mail means of payment, you are generating more transactional friction which may lead to less purchases due to inconvenience.
50. Cancel Unused subscriptions
Have a Netflix subscription but only using it twice a week because your super busy? Pandora, Spotify, Audible, Cable TV—take a good hard look if you’re really maximizing your subscriptions and if not, consider ditching them to save money and use it to pay your debt instead.
51. Eat your vegetables first
Our mothers always tell us that dessert will only be served once you’ve had your vegetables. Similar to paying off debt, we should delay any form of gratification for now until we finish off our responsibilities.
52. Track your spending
Having data on how much you’re actually spending on a daily basis is good. It gives you an accurate idea on the stuff that you spend money on.
With this data, you’ll be able to determine which purchases can be trimmed or cut-off completely to make way for debt payments instead.
53. Don’t Keep Up with the Joneses
Comparing your situation to others will only make you miserable. It’s not a catch-up game.
Be content with what you have right now and focus your efforts on paying your debt first.
Keeping up with the lifestyle of others might be the very reason why you’re in debt right now.
54. Downsize your home
It’s not a bad thing. It’s realizing the essentials and determining what you can live without. In a way, your focusing on things that are truly important and clear out all unnecessary clutter as well.
It’s incredibly liberating and will save you tons of money.
55. Do some side jobs
The more income you have, the faster you can get out of debt. So instead of spending hours on social media everyday, learn a new skill or two and do side jobs instead.
It’s much more rewarding and can even turn into something much more rewarding in the long run.
56. Wait for prices to go down
Products like gadgets and smartphones typically go down in price in 6 months. I personally wait for year before buying stuff as it dramatically brings the price down versus when it first came out.
Sure, it’s no longer “fresh”.
But through this way was I able to buy last year’s flagship products at 30 to 40% off.
57. Track expensive spending
Or be more mindful of your habitual expensive purchases.
For example, it might seem automatic for you to go out every Friday and spend the night with a fancy dinner and some drinks later.
Sure, you deserve it after a stressful week. But you should at least consider cutting back on these types of expenses if you’re in debt. You can find less-expensive yet fun ways to spend your weekends.
58. Downgrade your phone
If you’re one of those people looking to snag the latest iPhone every year—you should stop if you’re in debt.
There are a ton of great options out there who offer almost the same features but at less than half the price of flagship devices.
Sometimes you have to ask yourself if you really need to have the most expensive phones.
59. Save before you spend
When you get your paycheck, set aside something for debt first, then allocate the rest for the month’s budget. This way, you can ensure you will always have money to pay your debt.
60. Don’t buy a new car
If you need to buy a car, seriously consider buying a used model but with an excellent track record. You’ll be able to save a lot of money by buying second hand stuff.
PREPARING FOR RETIREMENT
Saving for a worry-free future is a must. After all, who would want to dedicate a good portion of their lives working only to be met with a retirement life that is dependent on others?
That’s not a good way to spend the later part of your adult life. It should be spend doing the things you have planned to do, life projects that you never had the time to tackle, spending time with family and friends—the good stuff. It should not be spent worrying how to make it through the next day.
61. Teach yourself to Save
Automating your savings is the first step. It removes the hassles of setting aside money on a regular basis. It makes the whole process easier.
Have it deducted from your paycheck right away so that you’ll “no longer see” the saved portion and adjust your spending with the remaining money. This is a proven method of saving consistently.
62. Save at least 10%
Ideally, you should save at least 10% of what you make per year. If you start at around the age of 30, you’ll theoretically have enough for your 60s.
63. Choose your investments
Get financial education so you can have a good mix of investments with a stable rate of return.
Sure, saving your money in the bank is better than not saving at all, but you’re missing out on tremendous passive-earning power if you don’t delve into other investment vehicles.
64. Don’t spend your time over-analyzing the market
Decide on an investment strategy and allot just enough time on your schedule to check on it every once in a while.
You’re not a day trader, you’re investing your money for retirement and it’s not money that you should be playing with around.
65. Clear your debt
Paying off all your debts is a critical step for having healthy financials by the time you retire. Remember, the more debt you have, the less money you’ll be able to set aside for retirement.
66. Consider a Roth IRA
A Roth IRA is a good way of saving for retirement. It’s appealing to adults aged 30 or more because it’s a flexible way of saving. It allows withdrawals without the tax and penalties at any given time.
67. Ask for a raise
Even a couple of percentages increase in salary helps a lot to fight inflation and increase your potential savings.
68. Be on the same page
It’s important that you and your spouse are on the same page in terms of financials. Lifestyle, retirement, the kids education—everything. It’s no use if only the other half is doing their due diligence to be financially stable.
Talk things out and work together towards the same goals.
69. Utilize employee benefits
Most companies offer great employee benefits. Insurance benefits for disability, life, and health. If they don’t have everything, you should still consider paying for them simply because of their value.
70. Catch up contributions
If you’re over 50 and have not saved enough in your 401k, don’t fret. People aged 50 and above are eligible to contribute beyond the normal 401k limits.
This will allow you to save more for the remaining employee years you have and be better prepared for retirement.
This excellent article from Investopedia offers strong points why catch up contributions are a must.
71. Get a financial advisor
If financial stuff is simply too time-consuming or difficult for you, don’t worry, you can always get professional help.
By hiring an adviser, you can educate yourself money-wise and be exposed to more financial vehicles to save for retirement.
72. Set a goal
By setting a clear goal, you’re giving yourself an actual target that you can pursue and measure your progress against.
This will make saving easier because you’ll have data to look at to determine if you’re on schedule with your goals.