It’s common sense to “dress for success.” If you turned up for a job interview or a client meeting looking like you just rolled out of bed, you know exactly what would happen!
But what if you applied this principle to other areas of your life? For example, what if you started “spending for success”? What if you started thinking about your finances like a rich person?
When you take an honest look at your situation, what’s the major thing that’s holding you back from financial independence?
Hint: it’s probably you!
Just like you dress for the job you want, you have to use your money like you already have the financial stability you want to achieve. For most people, this is a difficult mental leap.
Here are 10 tips to shift your mindset, and start spending your way to success!
1. Face the Reality of Your Situation
You’d be surprised how many people avoid looking at their bills and bank accounts because it makes them anxious. If you want to improve your financial situation, you need to confront your reality head-on.
Rich people don’t stay rich by ignoring their expenses.
Face your fears, and check your balances often. Even if you feel you’re in a good situation, you’ll need to reevaluate your expenses regularly. You can’t expect your budget to be completely stagnant, especially after major changes in your life. Re-budget after a new promotion, a new job, a marriage, a child, a new house…anything that has you spending or earning more (or less) at a significant rate.
2. Outline the Terms Of Trade
Banks love terms and conditions because they protect them. The same should apply to you. Protect yourself, and protect the investment you are making. Make sure everyone is on the same page with every transaction, no matter how small.
Don’t get caught being the fool when you can easily avoid it.
3. Have a Backup Plan
An emergency savings account is essential for every household. People never think that they are going to need it, but then always end up dipping into it when they have a fender bender or make an investment that goes sour.
Understand that you’re not perfect, and that you will make mistakes—and that’s okay! Having a buffer can be the difference between making a payment on time and suddenly winding up in a debt spiral that puts you behind the eight ball.
4. Avoid Unnecessary Expenses
Making your own salads or sandwiches for lunch might seem boring when there’s a great little Japanese place around the corner from the office. But all that ramen will eventually add up!
Focus your spending on purchases that will help you grow, such as networking lunches or attending industry events. At the same time, there’s no need to punish yourself, or live an ascetic lifestyle. If you go out for drinks or to the movies, do it with the people you love. Investing in your relationships will pay dividends in trust, stability, and support.
5. Automate Your Expenses
Every time you get paid, there’s that temptation to go on a shopping spree rather than be good and save a big chunk of your paycheck. Automation can help you avoid that temptation altogether by allocating money to different priorities before you even see it.
Becoming rich doesn’t have to be about exerting more willpower in your spending. When it is as easy as automating how much you put in your checking account, you are already limiting your day-to-day spending.
6. Don’t Sacrifice Value for Price
Some people think that becoming rich is all about clipping coupons and the dollar store. That is never the case.
Instead of scrimping, buy less often—but buy better! Sure, shop around for deals. But sometimes spending less is a “false economy.”
For example, a $100 pair of boots may seem expensive, but they might last for four years. Compare that to a $25 pair of boots will wear out in six months. See the difference?
7. Don’t Settle For What You Have
Society often tells us to be happy with what we’ve got. While there are plenty of things in your life that you should be grateful for like your family, your partner, your friends, and your achievements, there’s no reason why you can’t have more!
This isn’t about being greedy, it’s about reaching your potential. Don’t ever feel like you can’t stop growing and becoming more of the person you want to be. Look at what you have as a platform to build on, not a pinnacle to rest on.
8. Live Below Your Means
Being rich isn’t all about popping champagne corks on luxury yachts. Just because you have money, doesn’t mean you have to live an excessive lifestyle. Celebrate your good fortune strategically, with key purchases that add value to your life.
It’s okay to buy the car of your dreams if it brings you happiness to drive it everyday. It’s okay to buy a large house in a nice neighborhood if your family will live in it forever. But flaunting your wealth for others will never bring you happiness or satisfaction.
This doesn’t mean you need to be frugal. Just be smart, and find ways to live the life you want without jeopardizing everything you’ve worked for.
9. Don’t Sacrifice Your Health for Your Wealth
Having a backup fund for health emergencies can save your life. Don’t skip out on getting the insurance, and don’t avoid going to the doctor because you don’t want to pay for it.
Your health is your most important active investment. Priotizing your health now will reap benefits later on. So make time for exercise, go to the doctor regularly, watch your diet, and the dividends will amaze you.
10. Abundance is Better Than Frugality
This statement may surprise you, given the “a penny saved is a penny earned” mindset that many people grow up with. However, put the concept in this frame—frugality is limited, but income can be increased without limit.
Don’t be bounded by the idea that you can’t live your life the way you want because you’ll never have the money.
Instead, structure your life, and your money, in ways that allow you to do achieve your dreams.