10 Final Tips from Our Favorite Personal Finance Bloggers
FrugalTrader, Million Dollar Journey. If you are looking to build wealth or improve in any area of your life, track it. The intention is stay focused on the task at hand by finding out where you stand now, make a goal, and work towards making improvements in baby steps towards that goal. For example, I started the Million Dollar Journey blog in 2006, which is when I started tracking our family net worth (age 27). Our net worth started at $200,000 with the goal of reaching $1 million by the age of 35. To help achieve that goal, I write monthly net worth updates, or basically I keep score. Along the journey, seeing the numbers made me realize what I had to do differently, or improve, in order to achieve the goal. It could be that we had to save more of our monthly income, and/or that I had to work a little harder to increase our income. I'm happy to say that at age 34, we are just about there, and now onto the next goal.
Sam Dogen, Financial Samurai. Building wealth starts with developing the proper positive mindset. If you don't believe you deserve to be wealthy, then you never will be wealthy. Someone is amassing a large fortune every single day. They can be immigrants or fifth-generation Americans. It does not matter. In addition to believing that you belong, it's also important to know your place. Respect your elders and latch on to a mentor who can save you from heartache and also help accelerate your career or business idea.
Len Penzo, Personal Blog. Although it was unthinkable to me a decade ago, I'm now having very serious concerns about the continuing viability of the U.S. dollar. In fact, I think a real currency crisis is on the horizon. I don't think most people realize that if the dollar fails, their nest eggs will be annihilated. For that reason, I've been urging my readers to consider purchasing wealth insurance by diversifying into physical gold and silver (not paper-based exchange-traded funds). Remember, a silver quarter in 1964 bought a gallon of gas -- and it's no coincidence that the melt value of that same silver quarter will still buy a gallon of gas today.
Steve Chou, My Wife Quit Her Job. When it comes to building wealth, I believe in doing three things. One, you should live below your means. Two, you should find a steady job to pay the bills. And three, you should start a business on the side in order to give yourself a chance of making life-changing money. While frugality is an excellent strategy for saving money, becoming your own boss is the best way to break out of the cycle.
Kelly Whalen, The Centsible Life. My best personal finance tip is to never stop negotiating. You work hard for every dollar you earn, so don't give it up too easily. The small wins like saving 20 percent on a clothing purchase or using coupons to save $30 at the grocery store are valuable. The big wins will save you much more so don't be afraid to ask for additional savings on a big purchase. You shouldn't just think of negotiation when you buy things though -- you should be constantly looking for ways to increase your earnings as well.
"Lazy Man," Lazy Man and Money. The bigger a purchase is, the more research I put into it and the more time I take to think about it. I'll impulsively buy something that is a couple of dollars. However, for something like a tablet, laptop or a new television, I really try to find the best value. Then I ask myself if I really need a new one or if what I have still does a reasonably good job. Sometimes I end up not spending the money after all, and sometimes I do. When I do, I have no regrets.
Jefferson McDowell, See Debt Run. Life is too short to spend your adulthood nickel-and-diming all of your expenses. You certainly should show restraint when appropriate and avoid taking on debt in most situations, but you shouldn't feel bad for buying yourself a morning coffee or tickets to see your favorite band when they come through town. If you don't have the budget for such items, then you have to be willing to find additional sources of income. From selling items on eBay, to taking part in surveys and focus groups, there are tons of opportunities out there to hustle for a little bit of extra cash to live the life that you want. The life of an extreme cheapskate is one where self-deprivation becomes the norm, and it just doesn't have to be that way. Instead, choose to make a hobby out of finding ways to earn extra income. Doing this will lead to a life where its perfectly acceptable to buy yourself a little something every now and then.
Miranda Marquit, Planting Money Seeds. Figure out what's important to you. Not what's important to your neighbors, in-laws, co-workers or anyone else. Decide what's important to you and your family, and determine what would contribute to your desired lifestyle. Spend your money on those things, whether it's socking money away for retirement, giving to charity, travel or anything else that boosts improves your quality of life. Stop spending on what's not important to you; stop making purchases because it's "normal" and "what people do." You'll be in a better financial position, and feel more satisfaction with your life.
Crystal Stemberger, Budgeting in the Fun Stuff. Prioritize your spending. It's much easier to say no to a fancy new car if you know that you rather fully fund your Roth Individual Retirement Account. Make a list of all of your expenses and planned savings accounts. Then cut the unnecessary ones with super-low priority, and rank the remainder. Pay attention to your spending and make sure you are spending and saving based on your priorities. This will not only save you money, but it ensures that you aren't wasting assets on things you don't actually value. Prioritization is the key.
Robert Pagliarini, Pacifica Wealth Advisors. One of my favorite financial tips to give clients is to increase their human capital. Financial advisors are always so focused on investment capital -- things such as stocks, bonds, and real estate -- but they don't pay any attention to the client's largest asset -- their income potential. Use your free time (what I call "the other eight hours") to boost your skills, get new certifications and credentials and increase your marketability. These things are your human capital and it is your human capital -- especially if you're younger than 50 -- that can have the most positive impact on your finances.
Haven't read the other articles yet? Check them out:
- Our Favorite Personal Finance Bloggers Share Their Best Tips
- 10 More Top Tips from Our Favorite Personal Finance Bloggers