#6 Plug Your Money Leaks
According to that same Money Magazine article, “two-thirds of would-be exercisers never use their gym membership.” In other words, don’t sign up for things you will likely never use. Go through all your bills and credit cards and locate things you signed up for and never use. Things like a $30/month credit monitoring service, movie channels you never watch, or fees for travel rewards can easily be eliminated and save you money.
#7 Never Hesitate To Renegotiate
Last year when it came time to renew our health insurance I found by shopping around that I could save $300 a month (Yes! That works out to $3,600/year!) just by switching insurance. I also saved $60/month on my cell phone bill. Sure, it takes time and is sometimes a hassle, but the money you save when you renegotiate or shop services can be significant.
#8 Stop Going Out To Eat Frequently
I know people who make far less income than Thom and me who go out to eat nearly every night of the week. When they say they can’t seem to save money, I don’t even know how to respond. Not only will you save a great deal of money by eating at home, in most cases it is far healthier for your waistline, your overall health, AND your finances.
#9 Learn To Do Things For Yourself
I realize that not all of us have skills and talents to do certain things around the home or in our lives. But I also recognize that many times people will still hire out some of the most basic services rather than do it themselves. And why not try to learn? Where I live in California nearly everyone has a gardener. We did too until we decided to put in low maintenance desert landscaping and do it ourselves.
#10 Stop Using Your Hard and Long Hours At Work to Treat Yourself To Things You Don’t Need
I have friends who work literally like slaves at jobs they barely like. But because they do, they use those jobs as excuses to buy things for themselves (and others) to make themselves feel better. One friend leased a brand new expensive car for $800/month and then complained that he couldn’t quit because of that car. That’s a choice, not a requirement. I have other friends who go out to eat nearly every night. They say they do it because they are too tired to cook. Why not find a job with fewer hours and spend the time cooking and being with friends and family? Most of the money excuses people use make them slaves to a lifestyle they really don’t need.
BONUS TIP: Learn the Value Of Delayed Gratification.
Learning to resist the temptation offered in the present moment for a larger and more enduring reward in the future is one sure indication that we are well on our way to living a rich and more peaceful lifestyle. As the famous “Marshmallow Experiment” proved back in the 1970s, those children who could resist a marshmallow for a short time in return for the promise of more in the near future, grew up to live the most successful lives 40 years later. Anyone hoping to live well, peaceful, healthy and happy in the future must learn this important practice.
Of course, my strongest suggestion is to stay conscious about how, when and where we spend the money we devote the hours of our day generating. And ultimately, working at any job just to produce large sums of money but not having the time, energy or freedom to live your life is not SMART. Never loose sight of the fact that there are things each of us can do to reduce the stress that comes from debt and overspending. And no matter what, it is SMART to remember that peace of mind makes us wealthier than any amount of money.