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You’re walking down the street and happen to look down. Ohh a dollar! What do you do with this magical free money? Do you spend it? Do you save it? What’s with all the questions? How you treat an unexpected dollar says alot about how you treat your money. Let’s dive into the age old adage of the dollar dilemma!
I have read a
few lot of books about personal finances. One recurring and powerful theme is that most millionaires don’t look like millionaires. There are flashy moguls like Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Jeff Benzos but they are not the majority. The majority are the people who live in normal houses, drive normal cars, and wear normal clothes. Chances are you see them as your neighbors living on your normal street. The million dollar question is: How do we get to that kind of “normal”?
Well here are a few nifty tricks to help your dollars grow like Gremlins eating after midnight: fast, crazy, and green everywhere!
Proceed with Caution: Hedonic Treadmill
Don’t fall into the lifestyle inflation trap or as it’s commonly known, keeping up with the Joneses. They’re jerks anyways. Want to know the secret of normal looking millionaires? They don’t increase their lifestyle when it starts to rain money. When you get a raise or start a job that pays more, don’t let that extra money equate to buying more. This effect has been scientifically studied; it’s fancy science name is “hedonic treadmill”. This means the endless pursuit of more stuff. The wiser alternative is keep your current lifestyle and use that extra money to advance your financial future.
“Beware of little expenses, a small leak will sink a great ship.”Benjamin Franklin
Be a winner, make a plan, and then execute your plan. In good times and bad stick to your plan. Don’t let that siren song of indecision call to your Amazon shopping cart. I may have mentioned before how finding financial freedom is pretty important to financial happiness. I also recommend having a plan for what to do when you receive surprise money, like what you get for your birthday, extra hours at work, a refund, leftover budget money, or some other random event. What do you do with that money? Do you put it towards debt reduction? Paying cash for an epic vacation? Saving for a llama? Wherever you are on your financial journey, use this surprise money to fuel your goals.
My plan? If it’s less than $10, it goes to my Expedition Everywhere fund (aka Life List savings account). If it’s more than $10, it gets to meet my little spreadsheet. I use it in my 12-month Challenge: Save $5,000.
Attitude of Gratitude
Be grateful. Be grateful that you received money that you didn’t work for. While you’re at it be grateful for all your money. Mindsets matter. Yes, this is a new age thing but for a reason. Before you roll your eyes at me, read this article from Berkeley about why gratitude is important. Go on, I’ll wait here.
Financial Buddies are the Best
Talking out loud about finances is good, talking out loud to another human about finances is even better. This can feel intimidating, challenging, even anxiety inducing but lean into it. Having someone to talk to about financial ideas is not only good for your mental health but for your bank account too. My buddy is my husband. He is incredibly savvy with numbers and enjoys finding deals almost as much as I do. There have been times where his suggestions and ideas have saved me a lot of time and money.
A good place to find financial buddies is social media. I am apart of Women’s Personal Finance (Women On FIRE) on Facebook. It’s a great place to find ideas, savvy friends, and celebrate wins. Whatever your social media flavor is, be sure to check out support groups. If you want saving money to be your thing.
I know, adulting is the worst. The last thing you want to hear is treat a surprise dollar like a hundred. It’s just a dollar, right? It is. It’s also a mindset which leads to a lifestyle. What kind of lifestyle do you want to have?
You got this!