If you don’t know your net worth (here’s my net worth history), that is a super simple place to start if you want to start taking charge of your finances again.
The calculation is simple:
What do you own? (Assets), and from that, minus out what you owe (Liabilities) such as a car loan, mortgage, consumer debt, credit cards, student loans, borrowed money from family and/or friends.
The result figure is either negative or positive.
You want the figure to be POSITIVE. As positive as possible, even a Zero Net Worth is preferable to a negative one.
I used to have a -$60,000 net worth (yes, that is a minus sign, as in a super major negative), and in 18 months I finally reached zen, or debt freedom with a net worth of $0, and now having worked about half my actual career (or less, I’d wager), my own personal net worth is hovering just under half a million.
How? I budgeted my money, tracked my expenses with TheBudgetingTool.com and took charge of my finances. You can too.
Life isn’t about stuff. Simply put, it is about the things you remember and the people you create memories with.
Even a harrowing experience of getting lost in an unfamiliar city when you were traveling can be one of your most treasured memories, long after that Forever 21 dress you bought for $5 on sale has been donated to your local thrift store.
Spend on experiences and living your life (abroad, preferably), and focus on getting the most out of the one life that you have.
Stop putting all of your savings in a savings account and INVEST that money instead.
Letting it earn a pittance of an interest rate is just stupid when it could be invested long-term in the stock market and beating inflation. You are losing money otherwise, and could end up like my aunt who only has $20K to her name in her mid-80s.
If it’s all too much work and too difficult for you to figure it all out, you can check out my super easy book on how to invest that money simply & easily… it is a foolproof step-by-step (screenshots included) on how to invest your money.
Don’t look at a place unless you can easily save at least 20% down for it. If you are taking a mortgage for 80%, it is a real financial strain and burden on your budget if you are unable to weather the rise in mortgage interest rates or if you lose a source of income (horrors of horrors!)
If you live in a high cost area like the SF/Bay Area or Manhattan, consider a relocating to a cheaper city to have your house dreams realized, or if you love the city too much, then continue renting to stay there.
Life unfortunately, is not full of unlimited money and you need to make choices about what to do that is best for you and your own.
The one thing that a lot of people regret, is buying a house, and especially, a house that is way too big and unaffordable.
Renting isn’t a death sentence. It can be very flexible and freeing to know you can leave at any time, not to mention cheaper.
Your partners in life should be partners in the truest sense of the word. Choose them carefully and make sure you are both on the same money page.
They say 50% of marriages end in divorce and the #1 reason is because of money. The lack of it, the abundance of it, it all causes issues if you aren’t in it together.
I am not just talking about life partners either, business partners, accountants, anyone who makes your life run smoothly should be vetted and people whom you can trust and respect.
You don’t need to say “Yes” to everything. Friends want to go out and you are a bit skint? Say “No, next time”.
Someone is buying rounds at the bar and you definitely don’t have enough to reciprocate? Don’t take the drink, you’ll just be a parasitic mooch that no one will want to hang with.
A family member wants to buy a big fancy gift and asks you to go half on it? Be polite, and decline, because you haven’t got the funds but offer to pay what you can afford towards it.
People want to go all out on some fancy vacation and invite you along to party but you haven’t even saved enough even for next month’s rent? Turn it down and save up for the next time.
#YOLO, #FOMO, these are all things that we say to ourselves to trick our brain to letting us spend but we’re just hurting ourselves in the long run.
Don’t live in debt forever, it doesn’t have to be your reality.
Instead of blindly buying brand new items when nothing in your wardrobe seems to work, consider that you may be able to #DIY or re-tailor your pieces to fit better.
If you really love the item and its print but it doesn’t quite fit in the hem or the straps or would take a little tweaking to be perfect then try to get it taken in to feel perfect.
If the item itself is flawed fundamentally, like the rise is mid when you need it higher or the cost to fix it would not be worth it, then buy “new”, that is to say “new-to-you” at the very least because buying secondhand is always my second “go-to” option particularly if your budget is tighter and you have time to wait for the right piece to pop up at your local cosignment shop.
You have no risk here because you don’t want it any longer so if it turns out badly, just donate it and if it turns out great, you’ve got a new piece to love!
I have successfully done this with leather jackets and skirts, and they look fantastic now as real statement pieces.
It sounds so stupid but if you’re not in the room and/or are not planning to go back to it any time soon, then turn off the lights!
This has been drilled into me since I was a child and now it is instinct that whenever I am in a room and leaving, the lights are turned off.
The only time I’ve slipped on this is when I am with Baby Bun and this mini toddler tornado runs around into all of the rooms forcing me to continually turn the lights on/off!
Vampire energy is surprisingly expensive and we cut down on our utilities by installing power bars all over the place and we use the energy only when we need it rather than leaving the item plugged in.
You had good intentions when you signed up for that gym membership but now it is time to come to grips that you don’t use it.
No matter what you pay — $20 a month or $200 a month, this could go to other, better more useful things like savings or investing.
Paying for something out of guilt or a sense of shame is never productive, and not only that, there are a ton of free things you can do to work out, such as walk, run, take the stairs daily, or download the awesome Gaiam Yoga app I bought and do it at home instead of paying $20/class!
Save your money. You’re not going back. Stop wasting it. You know it, I know it, and your wallet should too.
Taking your foot off the gas pedal and not doing jerk stops at Stop signs or when you come up to a red light can save you a surprising amount of gas.
I recently ran an experiment where I sped to every stop sign and red light instead of coasting and I ended up using about a quarter of a tank more of gas!
Now I coast, I look ahead to see if the light will turn red and take my foot OFF the gas pedal.
Other reasons to not rush would be to not incur a speeding ticket (been there, done that, got the T-Shirt) that can run into the hundreds.
The last point is that speeding or rushing everywhere in a panic also guarantees that you will make mistakes. A lot of mistakes, and they could end up being extremely costly such as forgetting items and having to go back or signing or paying for something you didn’t want or need.