Want to reach financial independence sooner rather than later? Here’s how you can reach your goal of financial freedom faster:
Opt-Out & Control Impulse Spending
Impulse spending often results in wasteful spending. It also results in more work and less financial freedom. Combat the temptation. Build a wall between yourself and the easy spending paths that are costing you thousands of dollars each year.
Opt-out of notifications from retailers that tempt you to buy, buy, buy. But, it’s on sale and I’m saving money, right? Usually not the case and we both end up buying items we really don’t need. Unsubscribe from the automatic newsletters/emails you get after signing up for discounts online. I get them constantly and I unsubscribe when the first email is received and I still get the discounts.
Rich Habits Rich Rewards
Think and grow rich. Change a few things in your routine and you’ll be surprised at how much money you can save. For example, if you have a travel mug full of hot, delicious coffee you made inexpensively at home, you won’t be tempted to stop at Starbucks. Buy a nice travel mug. One with a giant dollar sign on it LOL.
Sometimes, you just can’t avoid stopping at a fast food restaurant because of your hectic schedule. However, you can only stop at fast food joints when you have a coupon. Put coupons in your car’s glove box for easy access. If you don’t have a coupon, don’t stop.
Don’t select the “create an account” option when shopping online. It makes it too easy to click and buy in the future. The more time you need to complete a “guest” purchase (i.e., fill out your address, credit card info, etc.) the more time you have to reconsider the purchase. Online retailers are making it too easy to spend your hard earned dollars that you want to earmark for savings.
I only shop online when the retailer offers discounts and/or reward points. For example, I recently shopped at Sears online. The items I needed were discounted for black Friday and the deal included $250 in reward points as a bonus. The deal is $25/week in cash equivalent rewards for 10 weeks. Before I purchased the items I needed, I made a “wish list” on the Sears website of a dozen or so items I would be purchasing within the next few months anyway that cost under or about $25. I am now purchasing those items, Christmas gifts, clothing, and household staple items, each week at no cost (for 10 weeks).
I calculated I’ll save about $200 or more within a few months.
Another great habit or routine to adopt is “save for later” or “wish list” the items before you click the buy button. Then, wait at least one day before you buy them. I add items to my shopping cart then remove them; doesn’t make sense? It does. I take items out of the shopping cart and add them to my wish list; in the case of Sears it is the “save for later” option in the cart. Then, I’ll wait at least one day before buying the items. Often, I never end up buying things I thought I definitely wanted the day before. It works.
Shopping Memberships and Monthly Subscriptions
I had an Amazon Prime membership, for one week. They offered a one-week free membership for new subscribers. I made a list of items that Amazon offered that I needed but couldn’t find at other retailers for the same low price. During my free membership week, I purchased those items. At the end of the week, I cancelled the Amazon Prime membership.
Also, I had a Costco membership and let it expire. I got a Sam’s Club membership for free instead or renewing my Costco membership. Groupon offered a membership to Sam’s Club for $35. The offer included a $10 gift card, free rotisserie chicken, a free pizza, and $10 off my first purchase at Sam’s Club. The membership was basically free; Costco wanted $60 to renew. I put the extra $60 in my savings account.
One thing, every millionaire I know, and I know more than a few, shops at Walmart (one of my favorite places to shop and save). No membership fee and almost always the same or lower price than Amazon. Also, the smaller Walmart local market stores seem to have fewer “expensive” options in the aisles. Without a doubt, I have saved a significant amount of money shopping at Walmart within the past decade or so.
It’s a no brainer that monthly subscription fees add up. I’ll admit, at one time I had a few. I don’t have any now.
Subscriptions and memberships automate your spending. Automate your savings instead and become financially independent faster.
Use Cash Only?
I adamantly disagree with those that recommend spending cash only. Why do they recommend using cash only? It’s a fact that many spend more using credit cards and a study by Dun & Bradstreet found that people spend about 12% or more when they use credit cards versus cash. Not me, and hopefully, not you moving forward.
It is also a fact that cash back and bonus credit cards save you money, period. Learn to use credit cards wisely and get the cash back, bonus points, miles for free travel, or whatever. It adds up quickly.
For example, I have multiple credit cards. One pays 2% cash back on all purchases and another pays 6% cash back at grocery stores and 3% cash back at gas stations. Of course, I use one card at grocery stores and gas stations and another card for everything else. Believe me, it adds up quickly.
Note, I “make money” by signing up for a bonus credit card deal or two each year. The most recent deal I signed up for was with AMEX. That’s the card that is paying 6% cash back at grocery stores and 3% cash back at gas stations, and a $250 sign-up bonus. Here’s more info on the AMEX card for those interested in making about $1,000 per year. Read Bonus Credit Card Deals for details about making money with credit cards; it works too.
You can read more about using credit cards on Nerd Wallet, What Dave Ramsey Doesn’t Acknowledge About Credit Cards is a good read.
Several years ago, I came across a tip that has saved me a ton of money in wasteful spending. When grocery shopping, take 1-2 items out of your shopping cart before you check out. Take a look at everything you are about to buy. More than likely, you don’t need everything in your cart. It is a simple habit, but one that you’ll learn to appreciate as you build wealth faster than your neighbor.
Please let me know if you have any tips to reach financial independence sooner and achieve your financial freedom goals faster.