Got champagne taste on a beer budget? Adopt some of these financial health habits and you just might find yourself having champagne taste on a champagne budget!
1. Don’t buy things full price.
While buying high-end everything might temporarily boost your self-esteem, your bank account probably won’t survive in the long run. So how can you strike a good balance? First, know that your material possessions don’t validate the awesome person you already are. And then find deals! There’s no shame in spending smart. Buy that nice pre-owned luxury car instead of a new one. Shop for designer clothes at luxury consignment shops or “off-price” retailers. Go to your favorite trendy restaurants and bars during happy hour. Take vacations in the off-season. And don’t book flights immediately. Instead, plan ahead and spend a few weeks watching prices to see if they drop.
2. Automate your financial health habits.
With the rise of personal financial management (PFM) tools, maintaining good financial health habits without having to think about it is becoming easier than ever. While some people might prefer to get financial advice from a real person, robo-advisors are a new option to consider. Also there are lots of PFM apps and automated bank services available today that can help you manage your money better—everything from apps that are designed to help you stay on budget to apps that allow you to invest small amounts of money. Some services may not be free, but spending a little money now can save you a lot of money in the future by keeping you financially disciplined. Try out a few PFM tools and see what works best for you!
3. Find mentors.
Having financially successful role models is invaluable. Don’t be fooled though. Flashiness doesn’t always equal financial savvy. In fact, many times it means the person may be on his or her way to being broke. Identify a few potential mentors and do some homework. If they seem willing to help you, ask them questions about their financial health habits and how they maintain their wealth. Then use your best judgment in pursuing the relationships that seem like the best fit.
4. Learn the basics of investing.
Many people are putting themselves in a bind by investing their money too late. According to The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, if you don’t start saving until 45, you will need to save 3 times as much as if you start at 25. At the same time, nearly 80% of 30-somethings say they would start saving or increase their retirement contributions if they knew how much they needed to save. Needless to say, it’s time to stop delaying your search for a financial advisor or at least some “Investing 101”!
5. Set and revise your budget regularly.
Do you know how much you are spending on a regular basis? If you do nothing else, this financial health habit is a fundamental one to implement. It may sound basic, but keeping a budget has powerful tangible and intangible benefits. Being in control of your cash flow not only can improve your financial situation, but it also can boost your confidence and reduce stress. And regularly revising your budget is just as important as creating one. Circumstances often change. You might move. You might be thinking about marriage or kids. You might get a new job. Make sure your budget always reflects all the changes in your life.
6. Read articles about personal finance.
If you’re reading this article, then you’re already practicing one good financial health habit! Increase your financial acumen by scheduling as little as five minutes each week to read at least one article about how to improve your financial health. Set a reminder on your phone so the practice becomes habitual. Once you master weekly reading, up your frequency to daily reading!
7. Follow personal finance experts on social media.
In addition to the internet, social media is making financial literacy education more accessible and engaging for people of all ages. Today there are hundreds of personal finance experts on social media who are proving that financial education doesn’t have to be a snoozefest. While you’re scrolling through your newsfeed everyday, why not pick up a new money tip or two?
8. Take social media breaks.
While social media is a good point of entry to learn about personal finance, it can also be a double-edged sword. Today, brands spend millions of dollars on celebrity endorsements and social media ad targeting to market their products to you based on your specific interests and demographics. At the same time, your friends, and pretend friends, constantly bombard you with pristine photos of their enviable experiences and material possessions. If you find yourself spending more when you shouldn’t, help curb the temptation by taking breaks from social media on a regular basis.
Whether you become a millionaire or not, incorporating some of these financial health habits into your daily life can help you afford to live on a champagne budget more than occasionally. And even better—you’ll have money leftover to pay it forward too!