| Real Life Strategies for Building Wealth

Money. Sometimes, it seems like everything is about money. Often, money is the main factor in our lives. It’s why we work. It’s how we get the things we need. It’s what drives ambition. The lack of it can mean misery, even starvation. We need to make as much money as we need and keep as much of it as we can.

But so many people waste their money. Why? It’s your money. You work hard for it. Why throw it away because of bad habits? You may not be conscious of your money-wasting habits. Here are a few to think about and some ideas of how to change them:

Shopping for Happiness

This is often called “retail therapy,” and, in truth, it’s probably cheaper than seeing a therapist. Even if you have the money, you are going to end up buying things you don’t need. More likely than not, you will be racking up credit card debt — money you don’t have. Keep shopping trips to a minimum and make a budget for them. Shop without the guilt and get only the things you really want.

Paying Credit Card Interest

Paying credit card interest is money for nothing. Actually, you are paying the lender for allowing you to incur so much debt on their bill. If you don’t pay off your statement each month, you must pay your lender an interest fee. Cut back on unnecessary spending if you can’t pay off your balance each month. Perhaps you are living above your means.

Dining out Too Often

For the price of one dinner out, you can buy several days’ worth of groceries. Eating out is more convenient for some people, and the food often tastes better. But restaurant food is not usually as healthy as home cooked meals. Shop instead. Go home and cook. You will be healthier, and you will save hundreds, maybe even thousands per year.

Buying Brand Name Products

Advertising hooks us into buying what we have been convinced is the best product. This applies to food as well as clothing and household products. Try a store brand now and then. You may find it just as appealing. Big box stores offer jeans and other clothing for half the price of designer labels. Give these less expensive items a try, and see if you are happier with them. You will be happier saving money.

Wasting Energy

This is just money going down the loo. Maybe you don’t think about it. Many of us have bad habits that waste energy and, therefore, cost us money. Here are a few of them:

  • Running the Dishwasher Every Day

Some people feel this is a necessary end to their evening. Unless you only have two plates and two glasses to your name, it would serve you well to wait until your dishwasher is full before running it. It costs approximately £140.00 to run you dishwasher every day.

Even if you did your dishes every other day, this would cut your costs in half. Better yet, spend the money on more dishes and silverware, and run it weekly. The same measures can be taken for the washing machine. Get your money’s worth.

  • Leaving the Refrigerator Door Open

We all do it. We open the fridge and look for something we don’t have. Nothing looks good, so we keep looking. Opening and closing the refrigerator door uses about 7% of its energy. This is equivalent to running the dishwasher 20 times. Instead, spend the money on good food.

  • Leaving the TV on

How many times have you fallen asleep with the telly on? Couldn’t quite stay awake for the end of the game? Maybe you leave it on intentionally to lull you to sleep. Leaving the TV on all night costs about £40.00 per year. That’s paying for something you aren’t watching.

  • Using Incandescent Bulbs

Maybe you are set in your ways, or you have a favourite light bulb. Maybe you just don’t like those odd looking compact fluorescent light bulbs. But, they use 70% less electricity than incandescent bulbs and last up to eight times as long. Get used to the new bulbs, and save money.

Drinking Bottled Water

There are so many brands of bottled water on the market these days that you can go dizzy picking the best one. The companies that sell them have convinced the world they taste better and are better for us. But, if you think about it, you are paying for something you can just run from your tap.

If you get your daily required amount of water from the tap instead of buying bottled water, you could save £800.00 per year. By comparison, it will cost you about £0.40 per year to drink your tap water. Find a fun container to put it in. Refrigerate it overnight. Add lemon or lime juice to it to make it tastier and more refreshing.

Buying Retail Coffee

Retail coffee chains charge £4.00 or more for a cup of coffee. You can buy an entire can of coffee for twice that much, and brew it yourself every morning for over a month for that price. Your home will have that freshly brewed coffee smell at no extra charge, and you won’t be paying the rent at the coffee shop.

If retail coffee is a treat for you, allow yourself one cup per week or one per month. Put your money toward a high-end cappuccino maker or other coffee brewing system if frothed milk is a must or if this is the only way to get the kind of coffee you like.

These are just a few simple ideas to keep more of your money in your pocket. Many of these things you may do unconsciously. We all have bad habits. It just helps to analyze our budget, see where our money is going and see if we can make some positive changes. It’s your money. Your decisions determine where it goes. Changing your habits might mean more money for you.

Editor’s note: Anum Yoon is a millennial money blogger who runs Current on Currency. Catch her latest personal finance tips on Twitter @anumyoon.

photo credit: Dai Lygad Feed me ‘tiI I want no more via photopin (license)