#1. Tracking your money every month
Whether you budget or prefer tracking your net worth, you have to know where your money’s going if you want to improve! And getting into the habit of doing this monthly can have a profound effect on not only your wealth but your mindset as well. It’s amazing what a little paying attention can do over time!
#2. Grabbing those (FREE!) 401(k) matches
It still blows my mind that people leave thousands of dollars on the table every year just because they don’t think they can live without the 2% or 3% siphoned from their paychecks. EVEN IF YOU PUT MONEY IN YOUR 401(K) AND THEN CASHED IT OUT AFTER GETTING THE MATCHES AND WERE HIT WITH ALL THE PENALTIES, YOU’D *STILL* COME OUT AHEAD VS NOT PARTICIPATING AT ALL! Not that I’d ever – EVER – recommend that, of course, but financially speaking it just doesn’t make sense to not take advantage of this perk.
Jack up your contributions *at least* to what your company is matching, and even if you never do a thing again with it at least you’re doubling – or coming close to it, depending on the plan – your contributions. And it’s pre-tax so you’ll feel it even less! (If at all!)
#3. Paying off your credit card(s) in full
I don’t care if you put $10,000 on there or $1.00 on there, if you can pay it off every single month you will be a financial ROCK STAR and people will swoon all over you… Bonus points if you can hack the system too and score mad credit card rewards along the way! (But don’t you dare dance with the devil if you don’t trust yourself! Better to be DEBT-FREE with no rewards than DEBT-FULL with them!)
#4. Automating your savings/investments
I won’t try to put a % here as we’re all in different stages with this stuff, but obviously, the more you can manage to stash away the better. And more important than that is getting into the habit of *increasing* it over time so that snowball keeps compounding as it rolls! All the while keeping that wretched lifestyle inflation at bay!
#5. Setting aside “fun” money
I know this sounds the opposite of what I just said, but unfortunately we have these things called “emotions” as humans, and the last thing you want to do in your financial journey is burned out 🙂 If you can set aside X amount of money to blow every month, it’ll not only help keep you sane throughout the years, but it’ll also make this stuff more FUN because who just wants to hoard it all the time and never be able to touch it?? You have to have a release valve with this stuff, and so long as you’re keeping it within reason you’re not going to get arrested by the money police. Enjoy your spoils a little!
#6. Experimenting, experimenting, experimenting!
This is my favorite of the bunch, just because there’s an ENDLESS supply of ways to get from A to a Million, and once you stumble across something that works it feels rewarding as hell. Whether it’s finding a good side hustle, dabbling in stocks or real estate, trying your hand at a “No Spend” month, rocking a new savings hack, or simply taking on a fun challenge. The more you experiment, the better the chances of finding that game changer!
#7. Learning to be content with what you have
This is probably the hardest habit of them all, but also the most rewarding as you go. The less you “need” in life, the more options it opens up for you! In terms of both finances (savings) as well as lifestyle (freedom). There’s a reason so many money people are also minimalists: they realize owning more is not the answer to happiness – being content is! And the more you can get in the habit of remembering this, the quicker you’ll reach your FIRE goals.