I grew up in a house where money was openly discussed. My parents taught all of us to budget, had finance books around and various relatives owned businesses.
Here are 9 of the rules I live by and feel are important.
Disclosure – this post may contain affiliate links to products and services I use.
1. Pay Yourself First
You pay all your bills and everyone else but if you don’t pay yourself first by putting money into savings, you’ll get nowhere. Transfer 10% at a minimum if possible then build it to be able to transfer more to savings and investments as you reduce debt and other expenses.
Increase the amount you transfer as your income increases as well. Otherwise, lifestyle creep happens. Meaning, because you earn more, you spend more.
I use Up Banking at the moment. They give you $5 for signing up plus another $5 when you use the card 5 times. There are no monthly fees and it was so easy to use my card overseas. Plus customer service within the app is great.
I learnt this tip as a kid and it was reinforced when I read The Richest Man In Babylon.
2. Avoid Debt
While it’s not always possible to avoid debt (I have debt because of business and my long custody battle), avoid it if you can. Pay off any debt you have quickly.
Debt is taking from tomorrow to pay for today. Too often we end up with huge credit card bills, personal loans or car loans because of consumerism. If we stepped back, most of the stuff we’ve bought or thought we had to have, we don’t.
To clear debt quickly, check out this post. It includes tips for dealing with debt collectors as well.
3. Live BELOW Your Means
Living within your means isn’t enough, you have to live below your means. Spend less than you earn and treat your savings as a bill. Pay yourself first then reduce all your other expenses to be less than you earn.
It might be hard at first but it is essential. Even Living $2 below your means is better than overspending.
Go over all your expenses and look for ways to reduce them. This post shares tips on how to reduce all your expenses from food to transport, accommodation to hobbies.
4. You Can Always Make More
In my view, there is a limit as to how much you can cut back but there are so many ways to make more. I’ve experimented with different side hustles and tend to go for ones that are more flexible. Blogging, freelance writing, renting out my place on Airbnb, renting out my garage, buying things to resell etc.
Check out how I made $33,277 on the side in 12 months, how I’ve made over $10,000 in a month buying things to resell. My tips on how to become a freelance writer or virtual assistant. Also, 43 ways for single mums to make money has a huge list of flexible options anyone can do.
Check out 99 Side Hustles for Aussies with 99 ideas plus how to do them and make more money.
Pick something and do it but decide what you will do with the money before you make it so you don’t waste it. Extra money gets split between debt, splurge and investing in my home at the moment.
5. Have a Splurge/Sanity Account
Be smart with your money but don’t be a total scrooge. Life is for living and enjoying. As a teen, my Dad showed me the importance of having a little money to myself. It was often referred to as Sanity Money, Scott Pape called it Splurge Money in The Barefoot Investor but the idea is the same. Set aside an amount for you to spend on whatever you want.
This money can be used for anything and helps prevent massive budget blowouts or shopping sprees that have not been budgeted for. Some people have a set amount they each get and it has to cover alcohol or extras such as that. Others use it for nights out with friends or saving for a specific item they want which they don’t want coming from the family budget.
6. Life Is For Living
Be smart with your money but don’t be a total scrooge. Life is for living and enjoying. Many things can be done for free for example we love the beach, swimming, snorkelling, hiking etc. None of that costs us anything and it is great time together as a family.
Have a hobby, take care of yourself, do things you love. No one gets to the end of their life and wishes they had worked more. Save, invest, live below your means and have fun!
Check out this post for a list of freebies and discounts, read how to get a discount on everything and work out what you love doing then do it.
For me, travel when possible, diving, experiences and self-care are a priority. When I neglect them, I get stressed and my money gets worse.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Meaning, spread out your investments, always have some savings and don’t overextend yourself. Speak with a financial advisor for some professional advice specific to your situation and goals.
My investments are spread across shares, business and real estate. And with that, my shares are diverse, as my property grows that will be diverse too and thankfully, with business I have a few options.
Doing this way means if one goes belly up or there are major issues, you have other options and income streams still working for you.
8. Abundant Mindset & The Law of Attraction
If you don’t know anything about the law of attraction and keeping an abundant mindset check out Unleash Your Inner Money Babe plus Kathrin’s podcast, as well as books and content by Aussie Denise Duffield-Thomas.
While we might always be aiming higher, we still need to be grateful for what we have. Having gratitude for what you have and living with an abundant mindset makes it easier for your mind to locate opportunities to make more or manage money better. If you are grateful for what you have and focus on feeling abundant, you are less likely to blow through money.
When we feel depressed about our financial situation we’re more likely to manage our money poorly, overspend or indulge in an effort to make ourselves feel better. Inevitably, we feel worse and it creates a downward spiral. Check out 7 tips for managing money when you are struggling with mental health issues.
9. Know Your Money & Investments
Create a budget or spending plan, track your spending and be smart with your money. Check your accounts regularly. Know what you invest in and ensure you are comfortable with the risk level as well as how they are performing.
Many things can be set and forget such as regular savings but you must know what is happening with all your money. Otherwise, you will waste a lot.