The key to boosting your net worth is simple—spend less than you make, but doing it can be challenging.
Capitalism has brought us many benefits—we have more choices than ever before, and everything we might want is available for a price. But if we are being cynical, we could say that capitalism thrives best when everyone is in debt but has sufficient resources to pay back the money they owe and ideally get to a position where they can take on more debt.
With our desire to increase our spending, here are 10 habits that can boost your net worth.
10 Make Every Dollar Count
You can cut your day-to-day expenses with careful planning and shopping. Groceries are the best example. Before you go to the store:
- Make a list and stick to it.
- Look for offers and buy more things you regularly need when the price is right. You can always freeze or store extra products.
- Buy store-brand goods instead of name-brands that often sell at a premium.
The other ways to save money on your shopping expenditures include:
- Don’t be tempted by extras you don’t need. There’s nothing wrong with a treat now and again, but the cost should come from your regular budget.
- Try using cheaper cuts of meat than you usually use.
- If you are making a meal for two or four, make extra and freeze it to make another meal.
- Look for offers, and haggle over more expensive items. For example, if you need a new freezer, the store will often offer a discount on display models.
- Cancel unused or unneeded subscriptions such as Spotify or HelloFresh.
One other area where you can save a lot of money is by pooling resources with your neighbors. Why does every house with a lawn have a lawnmower? Why not come together and share one for the block?
9 Invest in the Future
If you’ve got money to spare, you may be willing to gamble on the stock market. It’s unlikely that you’ll find the next Microsoft before anyone else, but some investors make a lot of money from the market. But, to do this, you need to know about market trends and predictability.
You can build a reasonably safe portfolio of shares. If you think the stock market is for you, you can research low-risk options on the internet, but beware of hidden trade fees. Possible investments include treasury bonds offering solid, if not exciting, rates of return. Gold, and other precious metals, are a traditional standby.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money on your original investment, but this should be money that you can spare and leave to accrue earnings.
8 Keep Learning
Lifelong learning might seem to have little to do with net worth. However, if you study the habits of the rich, you’ll find that most of them are keenly aware of the world around them and keep up to date on trends and tendencies.
You can check out online platforms such as Coursera or edX to find various online courses that keep your brain active. There are courses on every subject under the sun, from astrophysics to zoology, and many that help students understand finance. On both platforms, there are many courses that you can take for free.
We know that a good education is a solid investment, yet many of us stop learning once our college days are over. We shouldn’t stop.
7 Build a Nest Egg
If you squirrel money under your mattress, it will be handy in an emergency, but inflation will gnaw at its value. A better option is to open a savings account. As you explore various banking systems, check the interest rate and if the institution charges you for your account maintenance.
Once you have found an account that suits you, try to get into the habit of putting a small sum into it every week or month. Getting into the habit of saving a small sum regularly is better for your current budget. When you feel ready, you can increase your weekly/monthly savings. You should also encourage your kids to put money in their own savings accounts.
You will come across some financial advisers who suggest that your savings should hurt. They mean that you should save more than you feel comfortable with and that making this a habit will curtail your usual expenses. There’s some truth in this, but if you save more than you can afford, you will probably find that you are dipping into your savings account to meet regular bills. This is not ideal.
6 Look for Alternative or Additional Income
All of us have skills, and often those skills are underused. Whether you already have a job or not, you might want to develop an extra source of income. Why not use your skills to make a little extra cash?
For example, you could look at Craigslist and advertise your dog walking services there. The age of the internet has brought opportunities to turn your skills into money-making ventures. Even if your local economy is in the doldrums, you might find opportunities in areas you hadn’t considered.
An extra revenue stream is a great way to boost your net worth and goes toward reinforcing your income should you hit troubled times.
5 Network to Gain More Opportunities
A proverb tells us: “It’s not what you know but who you know.”
It may sound cynical, but it’s how most of us operate. You’re more likely to turn to someone you know for help than a stranger. If you have abilities and are looking for a way to make some extra cash, you might need to broaden your range of acquaintances. Let people know that you are available and good at what you do.
At first, you might find yourself doing favors for friends and then friends of friends. There’s nothing wrong with that, but make sure that they know that you expect them to pay for jobs that take up your time. Ideally, they know this in advance—it’s embarrassing to ask someone for money when they thought you were helping out for free.
Our short video gives you some ideas on how to extend your network.
4 Look after Your Body
If you are out of shape and live on a diet of pizza, consider changing your lifestyle. Physical fitness and good nutrition make you feel better and stay sharper. You will have more energy and be able to spend more quality time working on building your net worth.
Keeping fit and watching what you eat soon becomes a habit and can significantly cut your medical bills and even fast food spending. Once you start a routine, you will quickly get used to it. Start slowly—maybe a short walk after lunch. You will soon see the benefits.
3 Catch Some Serious ZZZs
Many successful people stick to a routine. And an important part of that routine is a regular sleeping pattern. Matthew Walker, a neuroscientist from UC Berkeley, said: “Human beings are the only species that deliberately deprive themselves of sleep for no apparent gain. Many people walk through their lives in an underslept state, not realizing it.”
Like keeping fit, getting into the habit of regular sleep will make you feel more alert and healthier. You will feel better able to meet the challenges of the day and work more efficiently. Quality work can lead to improved earnings and a better net worth.
2 Plan, Plan, Plan
Another habit that successful people cultivate is planning. You don’t need to have every minute accounted for; you will need some flexibility. But you should have a rough idea of how to use your time. This will allow you time to make space for activities that may increase your net worth while spending less time on activities such as watching the latest must-see show on Netflix.
1 Debt Be Gone
The main drag on most people’s income is debt. The average household debt in the United States is around $165,000. For most people, this is a weight that seems to pull them backward, causes a lot of worries, and stops them from increasing their personal wealth.
Debt is a double-edged sword. It’s difficult to manage modern life without it. The problem is that many of us take out debt—usually on credit cards—to cover purchases we don’t need to make. Marketers spend a lot of time, money, and effort trying to persuade us that we don’t need to save. What we want, we can have now. It’s a trap that many of us fall into.
Our video gives us some ideas about how to cut our personal debts. Debts are expensive and should be cut whenever possible. We don’t like to think about our debts, but we should—they won’t go away of their own accord. If you are having trouble with personal debt, you can contact your local credit counseling organization for help and advice or visit the website.