Ramit Sethi is my favorite financial blogger and advice-giver for the ‘basics’ (which can still be complicated) of personal finance: spending, saving and earning income. He recently railed against those who worry about things that they can’t control, yet fail to do the simple steps that will really matter.
His quoted question below to these people (and everyone else who needs to take control of their money) have 4 excellent starting points (links) for personal financial freedom. Check out each of these and apply them to your financial life.
Ramit stresses the importance of negotiating all things financial, from credit card interest rates, getting out of bank fees, to your next salary raise.
The best way to save is to automate the process so that no active effort is required on your part. This can be anything from setting up direct deposits on your paycheck (most employers allow you to split the check into multiple accounts, the better to target your savings goals), having 401k deductions come out of your check, or using Vanguard (or whoever your mutual fund provider is) to invest money from your bank account on a regular schedule. (If you already have a Vanguard account, go here. If you need to set up a Roth IRA or other financial account, go here.)
Expenses are only half of the financial coin of savings. Earning a healthy salary is also a big help along the road to wealth. Here’s a few ideas on how to make more money:
Get an education (academic or vocational, formal or informal) that increases the worth of what you know, and your ability to apply that knowledge and make money (or other benefits) from it.
Ask for a raise at work.
Start your own business on the side, or find a part-time or freelance job that you can do in your spare time. (Make it something you enjoy and that energizes you, otherwise it’ll be hard to force yourself to do it given your other work/life commitments.)
Save Money – Enter Ramit’s ’30 day challenge’
Ramit put together a fantastically useful list of 30 tips (described in each of the links below) to save money. These aren’t the typical ‘stop buying lattes’ ideas generated on so many financial blogs. Instead, they’re likely to save you big bucks without taking away the things that you really enjoy in life.
While I’ve copied Ramit’s entire list below (with his links for the details of each tip), his original post can be found here.
Full list of Ramit Sethi’s tips from iwillteachyoutoberich.com
Tip #1: Pack lunches for the rest of the week
Tip #2: Turn your thermostat down 3 degrees
Tip #3: Sell something on eBay today
Tip #4: Involve your friends in your savings challenge
Tip #5: Optimize your cellphone bill
Tip #6: Use gas prices to become your own hedge fund
Tip #7: Create a “No Spending” day once a week
Tip #8: Implement the A La Carte Method
Tip #9: Only buy new things when replacing something old
Tip #10: Use the free rewards from your credit card, car insurance, and workplace
Tip #11: Never pay full retail price for clothes or eyeglasses again
Tip #12: How I’m saving $2,000+ on eating out in 2009
Tip #13: How to negotiate your car insurance
Tip #14: Use self-persuasion to share how much you’ve saved so far
Tip #15: Forget going to a bar — ask people over for dinner
Tip #16: Cancel any large purchase this month
Tip #17: Buy generic for the stuff you don’t care about
Tip #18: No Christmas gifts this year
Tip #19: Save Money, Eat Well and Look Hot in Less Than an Hour
Tip #20: Change the date of Christmas
Tip #21: Save thousands by pre-paying your debt
Tip #22: Analyze your progress in the 30 Day Challenge (plus, see how I’m doing)
Tip #23: Go cash only for 15 to 30 days
Tip #24: Cut your commute expenses by 40%
Tip #25: Earn more money using your God-given skills
Tip #26: Gardender? Cleaning lady? DIY instead
Tip #27: Use barriers to prevent yourself from spending money
Tip #28: Use price-protection guarantees to always get the lowest price (travel, retail)
Tip #29: Stop being a loser and spend money to save money
Tip #30: How I’m saving $25,000+ in 2009