There are dozens of habits that accelerate your path to financial independence (#FI). In fact, the right habits allow you the freedom to do whatever it is you want to do each and every day. Small changes make a big difference given time. For instance, did you know you can save money by changing when you buy gas for your car and make it a habit?
Monday is the cheapest day of the week to buy gas in most states, according to GasBuddy. Tuesday is your next best day and Saturday is most often the worst day to buy gas. Yes, it is a small thing in the scheme of things as is using cruise control on the highway (reduces fuel use by 7 percent). How you view this small habit speaks of how you view your money, the value of your time, and the amount of freedom you have to live your life. It matters.
It’s fun to save money if you have the right mindset and if you’re not a cheapskate or too frugal; that’s not fun. Buying gas on the right day of the week isn’t being a cheapskate. It’s just being a little wiser with your money.
My wife and I achieved #FI through a variety of financial related habits. Some are big and they generate significant income (i.e., starting our own business, investments, rental property). However, many others are small habits we embraced. To our surprise, the little things added up quickly. They enabled us to achieve financial freedom sooner than we thought possible. I wish we knew earlier what we discovered later in our careers.
What did we discover?
Time is limited, money is not. We are glad we used some of our time to seek out the experience and knowledge of others. We read books, attended financial seminars, and met with financial advisors. The end result is financial freedom and the ability to enjoy life more each day. We would like to pay it forward and share a few things with you.
Financial Independence Musings
Free Groceries For Boomers & Others: We follow three easy steps to save big on groceries; it’s a simple habit. Anyone 50 years old or older can do this and older folks can help younger folks out too. I didn’t pay much attention to the AARP gift cards offer, at first, but I later realized its a winner. I love sharing this #FI hack with others that want to save more than $60/month on groceries. No risk involved (or affiliate links/income for us), and it is easy [Read More]
SMART Path to Financial Freedom: You may be familiar with the SMART acronym used for setting and achieving meaningful goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Based. You can use the concept, like I am, to establish a road map for managing your money and achieving financial independence. Here’s how it works.
Travel: In late spring, rental car companies move fleets of cars up north from Florida. Late fall, it’s just the opposite. If you are going in the right direction at the right time, you can cash in on drastically reduced one-way car rental rates. Planning and timing your travel is a cost-saving habit to embrace; pay less and travel more. Also, consider free excursions.
Benefit from the perspective of a local resident in certain cities by checking out, globalgreeternetwork.info. They have “Greeters” as volunteers that love their city so much that they want to show their place to you for free! They are not guides, more like a newly met friend. The website claims the Greeters can show you special places that have a personal meaning to them and often are ‘hidden treasures’. If you don’t find what you want, call the chamber of commerce in your destination instead of paying for guided tours.
If you’re 62 or older, $20 a year buys you admission to more than 2,000 national parks and recreation sites via the America the Beautiful Senior Pass. You save $60 over a regular annual pass.
Want more ways to save on travel? Here are 25 Ways to Save on Your Next Vacation.
Cash Back: you can earn $20 in minutes by signing up and using Rakuten (formerly Ebates). I’m getting cash back at 2,500+ stores. And, we got a bonus for joining. The current bonus is $20 when you sign up using our link and spend $20 shopping online through Rakuten. I signed up and a few days later I rec’d over $40 for something I was buying online anyway. Here’s the bonus ref link that gets you the extra $20 bonus: Rakuten bonus link.
Nielsen Computer Panel Rewards: Why not get paid for some of your data? All of the social media sites and search engines have it anyway. Over a year ago, I signed up for Nielsen Computer Panel Rewards. You download their app to your computer and mobile devices. It anonymously tracks the websites you visit (i.e., Nielsen ratings). Every 2-3 months we get a $10 gift card, which we usually redeem at Amazon. There are a bunch of other gift cards you can get with the rewards. We’ve received over $100 in rewards. It took less than 15 minutes to set it up. Again, not a lot of income, but it is recurring. Another way to look at it: it took 15 minutes to set it up and we got over $100. So, that’s $400/hour for my time to date and the rate/hour keeps going up. That’s the Amazon notification below!
Hotel Discounts: Let’s say you find a great hotel rate. Before you book it, call the hotel to see exactly what’s included. Similar to the airlines now, hotels have started “unbundling” services. This means you could end up paying more to use the gym, pool, WiFi, etc.
Senior Discounts: there are numerous places to save when you reach 55-60 years old, such as:
- Shop at Kohl’s on Wednesdays to get a 15 percent discount, if you are age 60 or older.
- Most car rental and transportation companies (Hertz, Budget, Amtrak, etc.) offer senior discounts.
- Walgreens, special Seniors Days offers an outstanding discount, 20 percent on many items, via the store’s Balance Rewards loyalty program. To be eligible, sign up for a free Balance Rewards card. Discounts are for those at least 55 years old or AARP members. [Read More]
I hope these musings helps to motivate others to enjoy financial independence, sooner rather than later. – Boss Man Jax