A couple of months ago we posted an article about sisters who worked together to demolish $182,000 of debt and become financially secure. Stories like this show that if we put our mind to having financial freedom, then we can succeed. Forbes has published an e-book full of stories like that one called “Money Hacks: Forbes Stories of Superstar Savers“. One of the authors of the e-book said,
While the stories always astound from a sheer practical perspective, one thing that always strikes me is how the changes first began on a psychological level. While many of them employed the same tactics — cycling instead of driving, cooking at home rather than eating out, choosing inexpensive investments and minimizing taxes — what set them down on this path and kept them there tends to be more individual and unique.
She then compiled a list of 7 mental tips we all could learn from these everyday superstars. Ways that they think differently about their money, and you can too.
- Stop thinking of saving money as depriving yourself. Switch your thinking to say “I like spending my money–on my freedom”. Financial freedom, that is. Don’t think of it as saving money, think of it as buying freedom and opportunity without the burden of debt.
- Get clear on your goals. If you try to change your financial habits because you know you should, they won’t stick. Why do you want to save money? What is the goal?
- Live by guidelines, not by rigid rules. You’re human, you make mistakes. And sometimes you have a bad day and need to order a pizza, even if it’s not in your budget.
- Don’t be afraid to suggest cheaper alternatives for social activities to friends. “Let’s do something at your house instead” may not only help your budget, but often will be readily agreed to because your friends may not really have the money to eat out either.
- Think of recurring expenses on a 10-year time frame. If you commute 20 miles to work, that could cost $150,000 in car related costs every 10 years. Not just the “few bucks extra on gas” you may now think of it. Plus, if you factor in the value of your time wasted in the car, the costs are even higher. What recurring expenses do you have that you don’t think costs you much, but really adds up over 10 years?
- Value time as much [as] money. If you are making a big salary, but are working 100-hour weeks and don’t have time to enjoy life, is it worth it? Do you work to live or live to work?
- Find friends with your values. For some of the super savers, their choices did not much affect their social lives. For others, it was a big impact. One person said, “Not all of our peers signed up for it and so they’re trying to interact with us in the typical consumer way and inviting us to things that cost money and slightly guilting us too.” But eventually they got new friends who shared their values.
Tackling your own finances could involve some of these psychological challenges, but the rewards seem worth it. One person who went through it said,
“I feel like the best version of myself right now,” says Flanders, who also got rid of 70% of her stuff. “In getting rid of stuff and not being able to buy more, I’ve come to grips with who I am as a person. I’m very comfortable with myself. I don’t need to buy or own anything that will make me look or will make people think of me a certain way. I live a very good life with what I have.”
So what are you willing to do to become one of these everyday financial superstars?
For the full Forbes article, click here.