We see articles often about the most innovative companies, the most innovative technology, the most innovative fitness routines…why not the most innovative money tips?
One thing I really dig about personal finance is consistency. There are many teachings & rules that were true in the past that are still applicable today. You really can’t doubt him when Warren Buffet states:
“Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.”
Buffet is now 85 years old and is worth $61.8 billion dollars. Whoa.
I had to take a minute to let that sink in again…
When you start to read & learn more about personal finance, you start to recognize patterns. Lot’s of them. This is great though! Repetition really allows you to learn about a subject that may seem like completely unfamiliar terrain. Unfortunately, if we are not exposed to personal finance teachings in our youth we have to play an immense amount of catch-up in our adulthood.
Since personal finance is personal, someone’s exact way of earning, saving, spending, etc. will vary from what is applicable to my lifestyle & situation. What I enjoy doing is pulling methods, tips & tricks from several sources – then from there applying them to my personal finances to discover what works best for me (I’ll take this tip from Buffet, this method from the So Money podcast, this power tool from this career maven, this quote from this literary novel). I like this approach, because it allows me to tweak & experiment. It also allows me to re-evaluate different options and determine whether they will work best for me now, or in the future.
As you could imagine, pulling from various sources creates some pretty unconventional ways to approach personal finance. I like to lend this to the idea that people are becoming seriously creative when approaching their money matters (thank you, internet for the information sharing age). Sometimes we seek different, unique, fresh tips that aren’t quite the usual that we can pull from books that have been published in 1949 (i.e. The Intelligent Investor). Don’t get me wrong, I love the tried & true – but let’s peep some 10 innovative personal finance tips:
1. Trade in all your school index cards for index funds
Still have some leftover index cards you made in school either to study for that one midterm, or practice for that speech you needed to do for intro to public speaking? Trade them on in for investing in index funds! For long term investment strategy, this is the way to go. Now there’s actually an excuse to be passive with your money, rather than when you had to be aggressive with your studying. 😉
2. If you invest online through a platform, don’t even download the app to your phone
It’s no surprise that mobile usage has surpassed that of desktop internet use. With the market going haywire, you’re going to be severely tempted to check how your portfolios are doing. Why not make it that much harder to check them by not even resorting to checking them through an app on your phone. You probably spend less time with your desktop/laptop at home than you do with your phone. Save yourself the sanity & stick to your long term investment strategy by spending less time panicking.
2. Create a vision board of what your life in retirement will look like
People find it challenging to save for something that is so far in the future, why not just give in to instant gratification? Try to put the future into reality. Whether you want to go to pencil & paper, or create a virtual Pinterest board – use your creativity to develop what you would like your retirement to hold. Some questions to consider to develop this board: What will you look like? Who will you be spending your time with? What will you be doing? Where will you be traveling to? This exercise will allow you to turn the illusion of retirement to reality, and encourage you to save now for the later.
3. Be so busy, you unintentionally have no-spend days/weeks
Okay, this one’s awesome. Usually when it comes to exercising no-spend days/weeks you have to focus very hard. I mean, so hard, that your concentration breaks and you just end up binge spending (then you feel guilty, and start the cycle again on your 2nd/3rd/4th attempt). This is where you get involved, be active, stay busy, get outside, just be – that you don’t have time to give in to that email that states “HEY SITE-WIDE SALE,” or are alone and feel susceptible to the whims of making expensive impulse purchases. Connect with yourself & connect with other people, and spending money just slips on the priority list.
4. Treat bear markets like they’re the biggest sale event ever
Forget black friday! When it’s a bear market, think of it like it’s one of the greatest sale events ever. You now have access to purchasing high quality stocks at affordable prices. No more wasting money on unnecessary items that you will more than likely lose interest in a few months down the road. Now, I’m certainly not one to chase hot stocks & gains – but if you haven’t gotten into the market, this would be a great time to do so.
5. High five your friend, partner, family member, neighbor when you hear something awesome about personal finance
Whether they told you they just saved enough money for a goal they’ve been working on, increased their credit score, chose not to give in to a crazy purchase, or learned about a new thing in terms of personal finance – give them a high five!! The more positive we can be about personal finance, the more encouraged people will become to make smart money decisions. It’s not often that someone wants to turn down a high five…(and if they do, well that’s just a bummer).
6. A Netflix binge isn’t the worst thing in the world
I can’t help it. Sometimes I can’t believe I’ve seen that screen “Are you still watching ____(insert show title here)____?” more than a few times on a Friday night. But you know what, staying in with some friends or a significant other isn’t really all that bad when it prevents you from exceeding your dining out budget for the month, spending way too much on a tab at the bar, or blowing cash on surged Uber prices. Every now & again, a night in really hits the spot. Not to mention, you can purchase a 6-pack of craft beer, make an incredible dinner at home, and even have some dessert all for less than half than the activities out mentioned above.
7. Pick a dance move. Now, do it (physically, or in your head) every time you did something awesome with your money
This tip is definitely inspired by all the *virtual dance parties* I’ve shared with Our Next Life, Goodnight Debt, Maggie at Northern Expenditure, and so many others. By picking a dance move, you can reinforce positive money habits that you create for yourself. Some examples of when I dance: when I up my savings rate, when I see my credit score increase, when I rack up more points for using my credit card responsibly, when I find a killer deal by doing research on a purchase before I buy. Now…LET’S DANCE!
8. I-n-d-e-p-e-n-d-e-n-t, do you know what means?
I am blown away, because there are so many ways to determine independence now in life – and finances are no exception. We’ve got independent finances, shared finances, co-mingled but also separate finances, you name it. Yet when it comes to all of these forms, they can all mean independence to different people. Determine what independence means to you – and find a way to make yourself financially free. That way, you aren’t just relying on one income source to pull you through. (P.s. points for whoever just go that song reference).
9. Hack your way to a better deal
There are so many ways to research & determine how you can get a better deal on all the future purchases you need to make. Get to the point where it becomes second nature to hack your way to a better deal. Craigslist, buying slightly-used, garage sales, coupon/promo websites, recognizing the cycles of when particular items are deeply discounted – once you have all these down, getting the deal you want when you make a purchase will be as simple as a *snap, snap.*
10. Listen up.
You may not think this tip is innovative – but hear me out (ha, get it? – OK moving on..). The art of listening is becoming tricky nowadays. More often than not we are distracted by advertisements, updates, text messages, apps, overflowing email inboxes, alerts, etc. When you take some time away from the following and really tune into your environments, you will learn several golden nuggets. When it comes to personal finance, a lot of it is applicable to the place you live, the people you surround yourself with, and the environments you choose to spend time in. Listen up – because everyone around you has something to teach and you may miss those golden opportunities to learn.
What innovative tips do you have for personal finance? Have you tried any of the above? Only stick to the tried & true rules?