When it comes to building wealth and becoming financially independent, it really comes down to 2 very simple concepts:
- Produce more than you consume.
- Invest the surplus (the difference between what you make and what you spend) into cash flow assets that increase your unearned income, while compounding that "passive" cash flow into a wealth building machine.
In True Wealth Formula we use a number of non discretionary systems and rules to manage our money and to put things on autopilot because while these may be simple concepts to talk about and understand, they can be quite tricky to achieve.
Right out of the gate, just trying to accomplish step #1 above, we find out very quickly that we're fighting against something extremely seductive, elusive and betraying... we're literally swimming against the rip tide and current of our own subconscious mind and emotions.
For one, we're programmed and brainwashed from birth to be consumers not producers.
In our "Babylonian" culture of global commerce, billions are spent on advertising to make us "feel" inadequate unless we make a purchase to validate our worth to ourselves and to the world.
We're told that bigger is better! More is better! Faster is better!
Our social connections, natural sexual desires and need to conform along with thousands of years of survival instinct confirm and validate it.
It's true. We get more attention, recognition and validation by "showing" our success. Its a message to others that we've risen to the top. That we're now alpha within our tribe.
All of that sounds great accept that as a culture and society we're more unhappy and miserable than ever.
I can tell you flat out from personal experience... bigger is not better... more is not better... and faster is not better.
They are a mirage in the desert. When you get there, when you reach out and grab hold of it, it will feel good for a moment.
And then... it simply vanishes.
The simple life and contentment of the minimalist is where the true riches of the Spirit are found.
But thats a conversation for another time.
For now, I want to help you with the spending side of the equation.
Below is a list of 101 different ideas to save $100/month.
If you're a Dani Johnson War on Debt fan, you know this as "cutting the fat" (she's without question the best there is at helping people get serious about cutting expenses, downsizing and paying off debt
Whatever you call it, we all need to evaluate our spending on a regular basis and look for opportunities to cut back because our default program and tendency is always to increase our consumption not decrease it.
So we have to do a self audit of our spending regularly. And right now is a perfect time of year to do it.
101 Ways To Save $100 A Month
- Don’t buy on impulse – wait 30 days.
- Shop with a list and stick to it.
- Wait until your cupboards are nearly empty to go shopping; don’t buy multiple options of the same item (5 boxes of cereal, 4 different loaves of bread, etc.)
- Say NO to ATM’s with fees – plan ahead for your cash needs.
- Does your bank charge high fees? Move your account!
- Pay off your credit card balance.
- If you must carry a credit card balance, shop around for a card with a lower rate.
- Look for lower premiums on your insurance policies.
- Consider higher deductibles for your home and auto insurance.
- Do you have private mortgage insurance? If you’ve built up 20% equity in your home, you can cancel it.
- Use mail order pharmacy for long-term prescriptions, buy generic.
- Check all medical and hospital bills for errors – many insurance companies offer rewards.
- Rent – never buy something you’ll only use a few times.
- Have a rummage sale.
- Switch long distance carriers, use a flat rate.
- Cancel those add-on phone services you don’t need.
- Skip the movies – rent a video instead.
- Eat in instead of dining out.
- Pack a lunch.
- Don’t buy that book! Exercise your library card or use the internet.
- Free up space in your mailbox – cancel that magazine subscription you never read.
- Watch a parade or have a picnic – free entertainment is often the best.
- Turn your car into a “chat room” – carpool to work.
- Buy airline tickets in advance – and always stay through Saturday. You’ll have more fun and it’s a lot cheaper too!
- Quit that health club – join the local gym instead.
- Use “Coupons” & “Double coupon” days.
- What’s in a name? Buy generic instead.
- Skip the paper towels – wash your cloth ones instead.
- Watch out for “convenience” foods – they’re expensive and not as healthy anyway.
- Cut back on trips to Starbucks!
- “Scan” those scanners and receipts – mistakes do happen.
- Avoid “pricey” specialty stores.
- Comparison shop “online”.
- Learn to cut your kids hair!
- Premium gas for your car? Most run fine without it.
- Forget the words “automatic car wash” – do it yourself and get some fresh air.
- Use that quick-change oil and lube service on the corner instead of a full-service garage.
- Never pay extra for service contracts or extended warranties – the manufacturer’s warranty is usually sufficient.
- Cancel that premium channel you never watch – or cancel cable TV altogether.
- Don’t touch that thermostat – put on a sweater instead.
- Take a shorter shower.
- Only run a full dishwasher.
- Have an energy audit done on your home – some companies offer them for free.
- Never pay extra for car rental insurance – you’re probably already covered by your credit card or regular car insurance.
- Don’t play the lottery – the odds of getting hit by lightning are better that your chances of winning.
- Time to refinance your home? Keep an eye on interest rates.
- Pay yourself first – set aside a dollar a day.
- Buy a “piggy bank” for all the spare change you keep finding in your couch.
- Don’t spend your next pay raise – invest that money instead.
- Negotiate large or regular purchases or business expenses.
- Choose a credit card that offers aggressive points rewards that can be redeemed for cash against statement balance.
- Use non-mainstream cell carriers like Straight Talk or Net 10 and cut your cell phone bill by up to half.
- Always ask vendors/service providers for refunds or credits on services you didn’t agree to or were overcharged for. Don’t take no for an answer.
- Book airline tickets on Tuesdays or Wednesdays to get cheaper fares.
- Setup automatic rounding up savings transfers from your checking account so that each transaction results in a few cents being set aside in your savings account.
- Setup automatic monthly bank transfers from checking to savings.
- Use internet (non-brick & mortar) banks for savings and money market accounts (i.e. EverBank & Ally)--they pay higher interest rates than conventional banks. (And they have lower fees!)
- In summer, lower curtains/blinds on sun-facing windows in your home to reduce heat exposure.
- Program your thermostat to adjust to a higher or lower temperature while nobody's home.
- Setup a C corp so you can be reimbursed tax free for medical expenses via a medical reimbursement plan.
- File your own taxes.
- Do your own home improvement projects instead of hiring somebody.
- Get a tune-up (spark plugs, oil filter, timing) on your cars to improve gas milage.
- Rotate/check pressure of tires regularly to improve gas mileage.
- Do not use your debit/credit card for discretionary expenses. Only use cash that was already withdrawn and allocated towards those expenses.
- Research if any of your service providers or vendors offer referral incentives (i.e. some security alarm companies will give free monitoring if you refer others who sign up).
- Use pharmacy membership cards to get deeper discounts on prescriptions.
- Buy pharmacy store brand over the counter medications instead of brand-names.
- Reduce prescription copays by requesting your doctor to prescribe longer period supplies of medications that you take regularly.
- Ask medical providers what the rates are if you pay cash rather than bill insurance.
- Use hospital charge accounts (often interest free) instead of credit cards to pay medical bills to save on interest.
- Never purchase expensive items on impulse. Think over each expensive purchase for at least 24 hours.
- It pays to practice preventative dental care, since a good cleaning routine helps prevent fillings, root canals, and dental crowns.
- Use cash envelopes to allocate towards non-fixed expenses such as gas, groceries, household supplies, clothing, etc. When it’s gone, it’s gone!
- Keep credit and debit cards in a drawer at home so you can’t use them impulsively.
- Remove credit/debit card numbers from online accounts so that you must go through the process of evaluating the purchase each time rather than not thinking about it first.
- Take advantage of discounts and/or incentive programs provided through your employer. For example: discounted rates for computers, fitness center memberships, etc. Also some employers are now offering discounts on health insurance premiums if you exercise regularly.
- Bring lunch to work instead of going out to eat. You will save on both gas and restaurant costs.
- Avoid ATM withdrawal fees by only using your bank’s ATMs.
- Shop around for cheaper auto & homeowners’ insurance policies. Some carriers offer discounts if you insure both with them.
- Downsize by moving into a smaller home or apartment, or move to a less expensive area.
- Move to an area nearer to your place of employment--this will reduce your commuting cost!
- If you have a home equity line of credit and can’t pay it off yet, request a reduction in interest rate from your lender. Some will grant the request without having to refinance.
- Request reduction in interest rates on credit cards and any other credit/loan accounts.
- Buy vehicles over the internet rather than in person at car dealers. You can usually negotiate prices far lower this way.
- Do NOT buy new cars! Buy cars that are no newer than 4 years old, because usually cars lose half their value in that amount of time, but they still have lots of life left.
- Think before submitting an insurance claim...Don’t submit a claim on a loss that is less than twice my deductible. The claim check you receive from your insurance company is not worth the increased premiums you’re likely to pay. You may want to call your insurance agent to find out how a claim will impact your premiums before filing the claim.
- Get rid of home landlines.
- Take advantage of your employer’s 401(k) match. This is free money!
- Buy energy efficient appliances.
- Use online coupon code sites like retailmenot.com.
- Do not go to the grocery store hungry.
- Use gas stations rewards programs (i.e. Shell). These often save 3-5 cents per gallon on gas.
- Carpool to work.
- Take junk out of your car to improve gas mileage.
- Carry your luggage on to the plane instead of paying the checked bag fees.
- Use groceryguide.com to compare grocery stores and get best prices.
- Go to billshrink.com and input the details of your current cell phone plan. The site will search all available plans from four major carriers―AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile―to see if you can do better. It’ll even calculate switching fees for you. NOTE: billshrink.com URL now redirects to MasterCard, we are looking for an alternative and will update this page when we find one.
- Use comparisonshop.com when shopping online. It will show you the best deals.
- Search on ask.hrsa.gov/pc for medical clinics that offer sliding scale pricing based on what you can afford. Also try clinics inside pharmacies such as CVS which are often cheaper than urgent cares and doctors’ offices.
- Get rid of pets. They cost a LOT of money.