Your new life is going to cost you your old one.Briana Wiest
Financial experts do an excellent job of educating us on what we need to achieve financial freedom. They teach us how to create a budget, utilize cash envelopes, invest in a retirement plan, etc. But, what about the things that we don’t need or obstacles that may hinder our growth? Here are nine things you may be better off without during your journey:
1. Your Former Mindset
Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.Henry Ford
Your attitude determines your latitude. If you say “I can’t do it” or “Saving money is too difficult” or “I’ll never get out of debt”, then you probably won’t succeed. You’re defeating yourself before you even get started. What would happen if you encouraged yourself by saying, “I can do this” or “Let’s give this a shot? All I can do is my best”. A simple mind shift can work wonders for your life.
So how does one readjust their mindset? Great question. Overdose on inspirational/motivational videos, blogs, and podcasts. Take baby steps and just TRY. Self-improvement books and reading success stories from people that strived through hardship are also super helpful. The BEST thing you can do is surround yourself with positive people. Step away from the Negative Nancies and start hanging out with the Positive Pams.
2. The phrase “I don’t have time” or “I’m too busy to budget”
You Have the Same 24 Hours as Beyoncé.Rachel Hollis
“But, Beyoncé has millions of dollars”… OKAYYY and all the money in the world still can’t buy her more time. We’ve all got the same 24 hours, regardless of status or income. During my debt-free journey, I was working three jobs while starting a business and building this website. Your frugal friend was working seven days a week, 80 hours/week, getting like five hours of sleep (if I was lucky) and still made time to go to the gym and manage my money. It’s all about your priorities. How important are your goals? How important is your vision? It all comes down to how you allocate your time.
Creating your first budget is going to take some work, but it’ll become easier as time passes. Something as simple as spending five to ten minutes a day with your money can make all the difference. Checking your bank accounts, seeing when bills are due, setting up automatic payments takes less than ten minutes, and it keeps you in touch with your goals. Block out ten minutes of your day, and give your undivided attention to your money. Your wallet will thank you.
3. Upgrading your Phone Every Two Years
Any so-called material thing that you want is merely a symbol: you want it not for itself, but because it will content your spirit for the moment.Mark Twain
Cell phone trade-ins are worse than University book trade-ins. Pay $700-1200 for a phone, and companies give you a $50-100 trade-in value for your device. Apple and Android are getting richer while you’re living paycheck to paycheck.
I have an iPhone 6 that my friend gave me for FREE (Thanks, Selena!). I got the battery replaced for $30 at the Apple Store. The iPhone 6 is like new. Does the camera suck? Eh, it’s not the best, but it gets the job done. Plus I own the phone and only pay $30/month for unlimited talk, text, and data. At this point, Apple is selling you a camera. They haven’t done anything innovative since Steve Jobs died. Plus the fact that they slow down the phone every update is a dick move, but we’ll save that for my next TedTalk.
Moral of the story: Stop running out to get the same exact phone every other year. Use your phone until it literally stops working. If these companies claim that their products are among the best, why do you need to get a new one every two years?
Side note: The iPhone 6 was released in September of 2014. It’s June of 2020 and the device still works over five years later.
4. Your Friends
You are a product of your environment, surround yourself with the best.Anonymous
You are who you surround yourself with. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. If you hang around smokers, you’re more likely to smoke. If you hang around people that are obese, it increases your chances of becoming obese. If you hang around people that don’t manage their money…you get where I’m going here?
Friends and finances go hand in hand. Do the people in your social circle make you better or worse? Do they support good habits or bad ones? What are your friends’ spending habits? Do they mirror yours? Can you have conversations about money that go beyond “I’m broke” or “I can’t wait ’til payday”? Are you always going out to eat, shopping, and drinking? Your circle is CRUCIAL to your success, finances included. Take the time to analyze who you’re around and how they affect you.
Disclaimer: I’m not advising you to cut everybody off and get rid of all your friends, I’m just encouraging you to be MINDFUL of who you’re surrounding yourself with.
5. The Excuses
Excuses destroy success every time.Jon Taffer
Blame it on “The System”, blame it on your parents, blame it on society, blame it on yourself. Where is all this blame getting you? Absolutely nowhere. Actually… it’s getting you further away from your goals because you’re hiding behind excuses. It’s time to walk in the light and do what’s right. The day you take complete responsibility for yourself, the day you stop making any excuses, that’s the day you start to the top.
6. Your Overpriced Vehicle
You could retire a multi-millionaire just by avoiding car payments!Dave Ramsey
This was my third car, and I was only 18 years old. This car cost $30,000, which was WAYYYY beyond my means. My mom would front me the money for my car payment, and I would pay her back once my McDonald’s paycheck came in. I had no savings, I couldn’t put away $1 for retirement. That monthly car payment was kicking my ass. Not to mention gas, state inspections, oil changes, tire rotations, and the 50 other expenses that come with vehicle ownership.
It got to the point where I was sick and tired of my car payments. I also got a job working on a cruise ship in Hawaii and was gone ten months out of the year, so I was paying for something to sit in the driveway and depreciate. I decided to take it to CarMax to sell it. They offered me $8,000. I told them I’ll think about it and come back in a few days. Less than five minutes later, I was rear-ended and my car was totaled. I had just lost $8,000. FML.
The accident wasn’t my fault and I had insurance, so I received actual cash value for my car (total cost minus depreciation). GEICO wrote me a check for $13,000!!! I owed about $4,500 on my car loan, so I paid my lender, gave my Mom a huge chunk of money for always looking out for me, and put the rest in my savings account. From there, I started paying off some debt and reading personal finance books to make sure I never go broke again.
My vehicle was totaled in 2015. I’ve been taking public transportation ever since. Utilizing public transportation was the key to success on my debt-free journey. I lived around Washington, D.C., where public transportation is cost-effective and reliable. $175 a month got me anywhere I wanted to go by train. I also worked three jobs, so I was able to put away $800/month into my savings and pay off debt. On top of that, I was still able to travel outside of the country at least three times a year. Not having a car changed my life.
7. Bad Habits
Change your habits, change your life.Thomas C. Corley
At the end of the day, it all comes down to your habits. What’s the first thing you do when you get paid? What do you do after that? Do you head straight to happy hour after work or do you head home to make dinner? What about the weekends? Ask yourself these questions and analyze your habits.
The book, The Power of Habit, analyzes how the human brain functions, and how habits are formed. Studies concluded that the best way to break a habit is to replace it with another one. So, instead of hitting happy hour, hit the gym. Instead of frequenting the mall, try the thrift store. Try replacing going out to eat with trips to the grocery store. If you’re looking to maintain your social life, take turns hosting potlucks and game nights with your friends, rather than barhopping. It’s all about replacing one habit with another.
Back when your frugal friend was Young, Fabulous, and Broke, I used to go shopping, go partying, go out to eat…then I would try to pay my bills with the leftovers. IT NEVER WORKED. A simple adjustment called “pay yourself/bills first” was EXACTLY what I needed. The first thing I did when my paycheck arrived was take care of all of my bills (rent, cell phone, insurance, gym membership, credit card), put money in my savings, and the rest was for me until next payday.
My mentality became “my bills are paid, so even if I blow the rest of this money, my responsibilities are taken care of”. Before, it was “treat yourself” then pay bills. Simply switching to pay bills then “treat yourself” saved me a lot of hassle and a lot of money on late payments. I would also play a game with myself and see how much money I could keep in my checking account until the next payday. It’s the little things that truly make a difference.
8. Credit Card(s)
Every time you borrow money, you’re robbing your future self.Nathan W. Morris
I have two credit cards: One is a Visa, the other is a Victoria’s Secret Store Card. I pay them off every month, but I wasn’t always good at this. It’s not about “no credit cards at all”, it’s about using them responsibly and to your advantage.
I’ve also canceled four credit cards to reduce temptation because I know myself. Be sure that your credit limits are reasonable for you. The most credit card debt I can ever be in is $12,000, which is manageable for me.
Yes, there are benefits to credit cards like reward points, cashback, and free flights. But, is that 1.5% cashback on a $15,000 maxed-out credit card with a 17% interest rate really worth it? Weigh the pros and cons of how much your credit card is costing you. You may be better off cutting up your card and closing the account. I know you’re saying, “but what about my credit score?!”…
Spoiler Alert: having a maxed-out credit card can be worse for your credit score than closing the account.
9. Being Just Like Everyone Else/ Being “Normal”
“Normal” in North America is broke. “Normal” is using credit cards, taking on a lifetime of car payments, and spending more than you make.Dave Ramsey
Whatever the crowd is doing, DO THE EXACT OPPOSITE! Most of the crowd is giving into instant gratification and digging themselves into debt. The crowd has a “microwave mentality”, meaning they want what they want RIGHT NOW. There is no waiting. It’s a lot of “I’ll put it on my credit card and pay it off later” or “I’ll start saving next paycheck because I have to have these shoes today. STEP AWAY FROM THE CROWD BECAUSE THEY ARE BROKE!!!! Do what will benefit you in the long run. In a world full of broke people, BE LIKE WARREN BUFFETT! That means to start saving for retirement NOW, live below your means, pay off those credit cards, make cash-only purchases, read books on personal finance, learn how to properly manage your money, be frugal, etc. Not only will you be ahead of the crowd, but you’ll be leading the pack.
Follow these tips, and you’ll get rid of your debt in no time. Which tip resonated with you the most? Any tips we should add to the list? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments below!
Stay frugal, be brilliant!