18 FREE Ways To Change Your Money Habits
by China Brooks
“The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin now.”
The first step (and FREE to you) is to make a commitment to get your finances organized.
You will be surprised how the universe lines up to help you in ways you never thought of. I recall seeing a great financial book at my friend's mom's house. It was much too basic her for so she let me have it, and score! That book changed my life.
1. Read Books
You can check out books for free at your public library. You can also ask friends if they have any books you can borrow. Not only can you read financial books and publications but you can read autobiographical books about others who have the financial knowledge you desire, and gain tips on how you can follow in their footsteps. With so much information around, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Usually newsletters give great, free information. You can also start a book club on a social networking site where you and your friends can loan each other books on the subject of finances. I want you to think outside the box regarding how you can get financial information for free.
2. Meet With Financial Advisers
Financial advisers want your business. Some charge to meet with them for an initial consultation, but many do not, especially if you were referred to them via one of their existing clients (perhaps a friend or family member of yours). I met with Smith and Barney and Sherri Shepherd's old business manager for free. You don't have to tell anyone your financial situation or how much money you have. You're just there to get information and “act like” you're interviewing them to see if you are good fit or not (you will need to hire someone at some point - which is a great thing!). That means you can ask all the financial questions you want.
3. Read Blogs, Websites, and Newsletters
I subscribe to Saving Advice. Do some research - I am sure there are other blogs you can subscribe to for free, or websites you can visit such as (Forbes.com and theeconomist.com). Mint.com has lots of cool interviews and articles as well. Usually newsletters give great, free information. I am signed up for Abundance Bound; financial organization for actors. I have never actually taken her $600 course, but the author recommends great books all the time in her newsletters.
I recommend starting with Dave Ramsey's book, The Total Money Makeover. You can also scan his site for free information. Do you know someone who is already a member of his site or has his book? Ask them if you can borrow the book or use their password for free. It's worth a try and if not, perhaps you can barter with your friend so they get something of use out of the deal as well. Audible also gives a free 30 day trial where you get a complementary book.
Also, Google "financial journals," and "financial publications".
4. Ask People You Know
Ask people you know if they have any information (what books, magazines, and websites to read). Do you know anyone with an Economics degree? You could even email a college Economics professor - I bet they will get back to you and be more help than you imagined. If you know anyone with money, even more than you have, ask them how they do it. Sit down and talk with them, and pay attention to what they do, how they live, and what money habits (and life habits) they keep. Don't be afraid to ask questions, ever.
5. Use Those Airline Points
Do you have points from an airline that you never use? Sometimes airlines will let you chose free magazines if you aren't going to use your points to travel with. Either way, be smart and use those points!
6. 30 Day Consumer Fast
Consumer fasting is great because just like regular fasting, it clears your head by taking your mind off of money and spending. It gives you time to think clearly and re-assess your spending habits.
7. YouTube, Movies, and Television
I haven't even begun to explore what’s available on YouTube but I bet there is tons of financial information there (use your discernment). In fact, someone has probably already done videos regarding this subject.
Born Rich and the One Percent by Jamie Johnson (Johnson and Johnson heir) are available to view for free on YouTube and Google.
Do a YouTube and Google search for financial information and if you find anything good, let me know!
CNBC is an actual money station on television that you can watch for those of you with cable.
8. Create A Budget
Uh oh, it's the dreaded 'B' word! I'm not going to go into this in detail but you figuring out how much you actually make v. how much you actually spend and then tailoring your budget to keep you within your means is super smart. A budget can keep you from spending more than you make (I know, what a concept!).
9. Cut Out Impulse Buying
Do you buy things you don't need only to get them home and regret the purchase? Impulse buying is a huge money drain. Want a way to stop that? Read on...
10. Mandatory Waiting Period
In 2006 I made a rule that if I see something I like, I have to wait 30 days to buy it. Your waiting period can be however long you want but I recommend at least two weeks. I find that 95% of the time I no longer want the item in question. A waiting period gives me time to research a product and keeps me from buying technology that is outdated or still needs to have the bugs worked out. I am also able to find the product that is truly right for me, get the best deal, and spend only what I really can afford in the moment. It also gives me time to save money to buy the highest quality version.
11. Hang Out With Abundant People
Hang out with people who have things and speak well of money. You are influenced by those around you, they actually help shape and mold who you are. Spending time with those who have healthy relationships with money will only work to your advantage.
You create your life via the thoughts you think. Do you want your life to change for the better? Do you want more money? If you keep seeing things as is, then all you will get is more of what you see. “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” -Albert Einstein. In order to change things, you must begin to tell a different story. Your brain does not know the difference between what is real (what you are seeing in the physical world) and what you visualize/fantasize about.
Relax for 15 minutes and see your life as you would like it to be, focusing on the end result. It's not so important to visualize lots of money, as it is to visualize yourself enjoying the things that you want the money for. Do you want a new home? Visualize yourself in that home, always focusing on the end result. How it's going to happen is not your concern. What you must do is to see this new life so intensely that it's your predominant thought. In other words, you must believe that it already exists. Then let it go and get on with your life, and have the courage to take inspired action?
You should visualize daily, or as often as you can, and keep going even when you really believe it to be true. You also must be a vibrational match for your desire, as in cultivate and remain in a high state of gratitude and appreciation for what you already have. What I mean by that is you can't walk around with a negative attitude and expect these wonderful, high-vibrational things to come into your experience. You have to keep it positive.
13. Set Goals
Having goals and being committed is empowering. When you know you are doing your best in a certain area, how you does that make you feel? It makes you feel great, right? When you are committed, and you have self discipline, you begin to see results and you feel amazing about yourself and your life. Set goals! You can also set goals with friends to help keep you accountable. Start a financial group with your friends, find support if you need it, and make it fun.
14. Be Frugal
There are so many things you know you don't need, but you spend money on them anyway. Are you kind of addicted to buying whatever you want, whenever you want? That's cool, as long as you have plenty of money, no debt, you own property if you want to, and your car is paid for. If it's really hard for you to break the habit of buying stuff you don’t need (or really love and will get great use out of), consider doing a Consumer Fast and/or making a new rule of a 30-day mandatory waiting period.
15. Don't Take Loans
Loans are the devil. Well, there's good debt and there's bad debt. Good debt is hiring a serious high ROI business coach where you will double (and even triple your money) provided you consistently do the work. Bad debt is buying furniture, clothes, etc.
Why take a loan and pay a bank three times the amount you borrowed just to have easy and fast access to cash? If you pay for something with a credit card, and you don't pay the card off immediately, you could end up paying three to four times the amount of the original purchase price. Do you really want to pay three times the amount of the retail price for a pair of jeans? Do you really want to keep making the bankers (who have broken the middle class in half) rich? Look what they are doing now - they aren't even loaning money in a time when people need it the most. Most banks are not your friends, and loans come from banks. They are self-serving. Credit is like crack: it's whack! Just say no as much as you can. It's better to calculate how much money you need to accomplish your goals and then figure out how to make that money.
16. Read Your Bill Statements
The other day I noticed my car insurance bill had gone up, so of course, I called my insurance carrier. California rates had increased in general, however; the total number of miles I was now driving per year was lower than the year before. That little change saved me $240 a year in car insurance. Make sure you read your bills carefully and be clear on any cost increases. Also, companies have been known to make mistakes and charge more than they are supposed to. I'm kind of anal about that stuff so I keep most of my receipts. Thank God, because once a gas station tried to run a fraud on my account and charge me twice in one day for a full tank of gas. Having the receipt saved my ass.
17. Be Organized
I have given you 17 ways to be more financially organized. If you do even a few things I have told you, it will change your life forever. You will sleep better at night, you will have peace of mind, you will have more control and power in your life.
18. Research/Do You Homework Before You Make Purchases
Especially on large purchases such as cars, homes, and electronics. Usually too, I notice most things can be found for less money. If you have the money and you really want an item then by all means buy it. But most technology is old within six months and will drastically drop in price. There have been times when I wanted a pair of shoes, only to buy them and find them on sale somewhere else. I bought some editing software which went on sale for half price a month later. I'm just sayin', shopping around can be a wise thing to do. Know what you are getting yourself into.
What are some ways you’ve learned to change your money habits for free?