Four Steps to Becoming Financially Successful

by Justin Weinger on December 2, 2011

As you’ve gathered by reading many of the posts here on Saving Without a Budget, I really don’t think it’s all that complicated for anyone to become “financially successful.”  It just takes a little bit of basic knowledge regarding personal finance and a whole lot of will power.

Note: financially successful doesn’t necessarily mean rich or wealthy.  When I say “financially successful” I mean stuff like you don’t have consumer credit debt, you’ve built up your savings, you invest a little toward retirement and, generally, you are more than able to get buy on what you have.

financial success, becoming financially successful, money savingtipsIn going back to the basic knowledge it takes to become financially successful, I think there are really only four things people need to focus on:

1) Maximize your earnings.  Obviously, it’s much easier to save more money if you’re making more money.  Long story short, get education where you can, and consider turning your current hobbies into a part-time small business.

2) Always spend less than you earn.  Here comes a non-shocking fact: it’s impossible to save money if you are consistently spending more than what you earn.  So, if you want to save, cut your expenses!

3) Live below your means. One would think this is the same thing as spending less than you earn.  It’s not.  Living below your means is fully embracing living a frugal lifestyle.  It’s an ongoing thing.  Spending less than you earn is simply the act of being frugal, and for many people, can be a one time thing or something that is practiced on a limited basis.

4) Don’t buy stuff for the sake of buying stuff.  Even people who practice the first three steps of financial success find themselves getting into trouble here, namely buying things to keep up with the Joneses.  Here’s my rule of thumb: if I don’t need it, I don’t buy it.  Sure, it sucks getting accustomed to not buying things you want, but after a while, living the minimalist lifestyle and not caring about the Joneses feels awesome.  You’re not owned by your things, your home is clutter free, and you’ve got tons of money either saved or ready to be spent on something that’s worth it like an awesome family vacation.

If you want to find out more about becoming financially successful, please check out my latest book for the Amazon Kindle, aptly titled “Four Steps to Becoming Financially Successful,” where I go into more detail regarding these four steps and  how you can implement them into your daily habits.

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{ 4 comments }

Paula @ Afford Anything December 12, 2011 at 1:23 pm

All my life, I’ve been frugal, but lately I’ve realized that you can’t frugal your way to wealth. So now I’m working hard on the “maximize your earnings” side of the equation. Frugality comes naturally to me, so I figure once I start earning more, I’ll be in a great spot.

Brian Carr December 12, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Thanks for the comment, Paula. Yes, I agree that simply being frugal isn’t going to amass you a fortune, however, it’s a great starting point!

Don @ MoneySmartGuides December 21, 2011 at 2:16 pm

I think 2a should be “pay yourself first”. I make sure I spend less than I earn by paying myself first. I contribute to my 401(k) and my HSA through work. Then when my direct deposit comes into my checking account, I have automatic payments sent to my Roth IRA and any other savings goals I currently have. Whatever is left over, is what I can spend. I can spend it all if I want, and even if I do, I’m still spending less than I earn.

Brian Carr December 21, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Thanks for the comment, Don. You’re absolutely right, the best way to make sure you save is to pay yourself first, whether it’s through a 401(k), automatic deductions into another retirement account, or simply having your direct deposit split into two accounts: one that pays the bills and the other that isn’t touched.

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