What You Can Learn About Saving From Your Favorite Celebrities
If you've ever mentioned a desire to improve your finances to friends and family, you know that almost everyone is eager to offer up saving tips. But not all financial advice is created equal, and you must filter out the useful from the downright bad.
One way to do this is to learn from the rich and famous. Many celebrities didn't grow up rich; they built their fortunes through time-tested habits and strategies. The following tips will help you make progress financially.
Commit to Your Budget
They say knowledge is power, and budgets are essential for capturing that power. Unless you track your income and spending, you simply don't know where your finances stand.
Budgeting helps you get a clear picture of how much you have to spend and where your income goes each month. You may be surprised by how much goes to miscellaneous shopping, extra groceries, and dining out. Just ask celebrities such as Carrie Underwood and Tiffany Haddish, who prepare their own meals and look for deals to keep their expenses reasonable. Believe it or not, Americans spend almost 13 percent of their income on food alone. And the price of preparing a meal at home comes out to about $4 per meal whereas if you're dining out, you're spending $13 on average.
Once you see where your money is going, you will be able to make more conscientious choices. You may also be able to divert some of those miscellaneous dollars to savings — perhaps there's a savings goal you'd like to hit by the end of the year. You can use your budget data to strategize how you'll achieve that number.
Creating a monthly budget also brings your financial circumstances into focus. If you're blindly spending, you may not realize you're living outside of your means, especially if you often use credit cards. Be sure that you know how much you're spending and whether you're spreading your budget too thin.
You might think of savings as an afterthought, something you do if there's money left over once you've covered your wants and needs. But billionaire investor Warren Buffett advises taking the opposite approach.
Of course, you need to meet your financial commitments — such as your rent or mortgage and utility payments — but once those are covered, saving should be the next priority. Create a monthly savings goal and fulfill that before you splurge on dining out or weekend trips with friends. Be sure to pay yourself first — automate the savings deduction from a checking account into savings.
The idea of setting aside savings can be intimidating, especially if you're paying down debt or don't have much money left over after your monthly expenses. But don't make the mistake of waiting to save until you receive some windfall or get that promotion at work — even saving a few dollars a week or month adds up.
Saving just $25 a month equals $300 a year plus interest, and you can increase your monthly goal as you gain more discretionary income. You can build a strong financial foundation by making small but smart decisions over and over, so start cultivating good money habits today.
When you think of wealthy people, you might assume that they gravitate toward luxury homes and vehicles, but a recent study showed that approximately 61 percent of those who are wealthy drive Hondas, Toyotas, and Fords. The next time you're tempted to take out a big loan on an expensive car, ask yourself what you'll gain long-term. You may be better off choosing a reliable but inconspicuous model and putting the extra money into savings or investments.
Warren Buffett himself embodies the modesty principle. Instead of living in an extravagant mansion, he still occupies his Omaha, Nebraska, home which he purchased for less than $32,000 in 1958. The house's value has since increased significantly but it still represents a fraction of his wealth. Bear his example in mind when buying a house or even choosing a rental property, and remember that keeping up with the Joneses doesn't fund your retirement.
Clipping coupons may not sound glamorous, but celebrities such as Sarah Michelle Gellar, Kristen Bell, and Kourtney Kardashian are all avid coupon-clippers — you'll be in good company when hunting for deals. Check your local newspaper each week, as your favorite grocery store will likely advertise their current promotions there. If you're shopping online, a quick Google search for brand promos may yield helpful discount codes as well.
Delay Gratification and Plan
Impulse spending can seriously derail your financial well-being, so plan every purchase. Don't buy without a list, whether you're shopping for groceries or browsing electronics online. When you inevitably encounter a "must-have" item, start the clock on a cool-down period. That might be 72 hours or 30 days, the length is up to you. Just make sure that it's enough time for your emotions to subside so that you can evaluate the purchase objectively.
If you still want the item after the cool-down period, see if it fits in your budget. More than likely, you'll realize you don't need it as much as you thought. But even if you do, you can probably wait another month until you've saved specifically for that purchase.
Educate Yourself About Personal Finance
Books such as Dave Ramsey's "Total Money Makeover" or "The Millionaire Next Door" by Thomas Stanley and William Danko are fundamental reading for making smart money moves. Start with those, but never assume your personal finance education is complete. To achieve lifelong financial health, you need to dedicate yourself to a lifelong learning habit. According to a recent study, less than 50 percent of adults read non-work related books. Meanwhile, celebrities and philanthropists, such as Bill Gates, read about 50 books each year.
Set a goal of reading a certain number of financial books each year, and implement the strategies that resonate with your circumstances. Ask financially capable friends and family (see the next point) for recommendations of books, tutorials, podcasts, and YouTube channels they find helpful. As your financial situation and priorities shift, there will always be more to learn about how to optimize your behaviors and better secure your future.
Choose Your Friends Wisely
Entrepreneur and author of "7 Strategies for Wealth & Happiness: Power Ideas from America's Foremost Business Philosopher" Jim Rohn famously said that you are the average of the five people with whom you associate most closely. That applies to your financial life as well. If you surround yourself with people who are struggling financially, chances are that you may struggle as well.
But be mindful of the influences you allow into your financial life and be on the lookout for financial mentors. Surround yourself with and learn from people who have begun to make the financial progress you'd like for yourself. Find out how they did it and apply those strategies to your own life. When they share their successes, ask how they achieved them. Author of "Secrets of the Millionaire Mind" T. Harv Eker, advises that "Where attention goes, energy flows and results show." Be conscientious about how you frame your money goals and with whom you discuss them.
Look at the Bigger Picture
The wealthy have achieved their status by implementing smart, long-term financial habits. That same proactive thinking often applies to other aspects of their lives as well. They tend to prioritize exercise and sleep, schedule regular wellness check-ups, and engage in intellectually stimulating habits such as reading and studying trends in their fields. By adopting habits that support both longevity and wealth creation, you position yourself for personal and financial growth.