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When working towards saving money and growing your wealth it can be easy to fall into the living stingy trap. It can be hard to distinguish being living stingy and living frugally when pursuing financial independence. Living stingy invokes feelings of never spending money and missing out while others enjoy the fruits of their labor. You CAN grow your wealth without living stingy with a little mindfulness and intention towards your financial goals.
Step 1: Set goals
Setting goals should be the first step in your personal finance journey. Ask yourself the following…
“What do I need to live a happy life?”
- This can include how much money do you think you need to make, what tangible items do you need, what activities do you want to pursue, etc…
“About how much is this type of life going to cost me?”
- Determine how much you think it will cost to achieve the life you have defined above. If you listed living in a mansion in California versus living in a place near national parks where you can hike will yield drastically different costs.
“Are there aspects in my life I am willing to compromise on to achieve my happiness goals?”
- Evaluate what you spend your time and money on. Is there something you would be willing to trade out in order to start saving towards your personal finance goals?
“What is it going to take for me to achieve these goals?”
- If the lifestyle you want is going to cost you $5,000 per month what can you do today to start working towards that goal? Can you start saving, investing, or creating a side hustle?
The first step to achieving your goals is to define them. With purpose and direction in mind, you are more likely to execute and excel with your goals.
Step 2: Start with mindful savings
Saving money can be a daunting task. However, saving doesn’t require giving up all of the things you love and stashing your money in a jar. By focusing on being mindful with your purchases, you will find that there are quite a few items you would willingly give up in order to achieve your financial goals. Below are just a few easy first steps to take without feeling like you are living stingy.
- Start a budget
- If you are looking for a good way to track your spending, try budgeting apps. There are hundreds out there that can help you track and reduce overall spend. Try a financial tracking app like Personal Capital to track your net worth and spending.
- Set up automatic savings
- If you are having trouble saving after at the end of every month- start at the beginning. It is very tempting to spend what we have in our account. By saving at the beginning, you reduce the visible amount you have available to spend which can help cut down on unnecessary purchases while helping you to grow your savings.
- Try a money saving challenge
- Want to make saving more fun? Try a money saving challenge. There are plenty out there so take a look and choose the one that’s right for you- or do a few at once! One of the more popular challenges is the 52 Week Challenge, in which the first week you save $1, the second week you save $2, the third week you save $3 and so on until at the end you have over $1300 saved up.
- Use the 30 day rule
- Many of us run in impulse purchase mode and love the thrill of the purchase. The 30 day rule can help deter that need for immediate gratification. Every time you want to make a purchase, write it down on your list and wait 30 days. Chances are, you won’t actually still want the item at the end of the 30 days! If you do, consider purchasing it.
Related: Budgeting 101
Related: 45 Easy Ways to Save Money
Step 3: Make money on purchases
When you do make purchases, use cash back apps to make money off of those purchases! There are many apps that you can download straight to your phone like Swagbucks, Drop, and Rakuten. Living stingy means not spending any money, so stop living stingy and start making money off of dollars you are already spending. Many of these sites also offer surveys you can take in your free time to generate extra cash.
Step 4: Start a side hustle/create passive income
One way to avoid living stingy is to generate more money. While saving is part of the equation, increasing the amount of money you bring in every month can be a big step on your financial independence journey. Starting a side hustle can be as easy as dog walking in your free time or as complicated as starting your own business. Figure out what you are passionate about and what skillset you have to offer and start there. Many people start their own blog in a field they are passionate about as a way to generate additional income.
Step 5: Travel smartly
Living stingy means never going anywhere or spending any money. Plenty of people on their financial independence journey travel frequently. Focus on traveling smartly through travel hacking to fuse your personal finance journey with your love of traveling.
- Use Google Flights to find cheap flights around the world
Google Flights is a great resource that shows you the cheapest flights all around the world so you can build an affordable journey in a matter of minutes.
Simply put in your starting location and any region in the world
Set your dates to flexible and you will be amazed at the number of cheap flights that pop up
You can even use the Date Flex window to fine tune your dates and length of stay while comparing cost
- Find affordable housing anywhere in the world through AirBNB
AirBNB is a great way to find affordable stays while living like a local. Many people prefer AirBNB over traditional hotels because they are able to stay in less touristy areas and experience the culture of the location they are visiting.
- Visit national parks
Taking a hike through nature is a fun and affordable way to explore while saving money at the same time. Schedule in some outdoor activities in lieu of an expensive theme park day on your next vacation.
- When in doubt… road trip
Road tripping is an effective way to visit your favorite places while saving money on pricey hotels and rental cars. Get a group of friends together and enjoy the journey.
Step 6: Focus on what makes you happy
You can avoid living stingy by focusing on what makes you happy and living mindfully. You don’t have to give up traveling or time spent with friends while working towards personal finance goals. It is all about focusing on what is important to you and cutting back on things that don’t mean as much. Creating and tracking your progress towards financial goals will help you keep your personal finance at the forefront. You can achieve financial independence while living a full life and kicking living stingy to the curb.