7 Simple Moves Guaranteed to Make You Richer

Some of us think wealth is unattainable. Hard work is expected, but building a fortune isn’t on our radar of possibilities.

We believe the rich will get richer, and the rest of us will stay right where we are — unless, of course, we slide backward.

But such pessimism is unwarranted. It may not happen overnight, but people of moderate means can and do leverage their dollars to build wealth over time.

The best news? Some of the most effective tactics for achieving wealth don’t cost a dime.

Here are some crucial steps to getting richer over time.

1. Set a goal

It isn’t enough to simply say, “I want to invest in real estate.” That’s more of a pipe dream than a goal. You need to create a road map to get you from here to wherever it is you want to be.

For example, if you are considering investing in real estate, take concrete steps to learn more about what it will take to reach your goal. Such steps might include:

  • Educating yourself about the local rental market, such as learning about current vacancy rates and how much rent you can charge per month.
  • Determining how much money it will take to get your dream off the ground.
  • Figuring out how long it will take to set that cash aside.
  • Researching avenues that can help you achieve your dream, such as buying foreclosed properties at auction.

2. Create a budget

Create a budget that will get you to the goal you have set. Figure out how much you pay for necessities — a mortgage or rent, your monthly food bill and other such costs — as well as optional purchases you make each month.

Then, subtract any extras — for example, keep basic cable but eliminate pay-per-view movies. Or, budget for a month’s worth of groceries but drop all but an occasional night out for a restaurant meal.

Once you know your true expenses, subtract that figure from your take-home pay. That should give you a better idea of how much you will have available to save for your wealth-related goal.

Not sure how to build a good budget? Money Talks News partner You Need a Budget will track your cash and measure your progress.

3. Track expenses

Budgeting is important, but your spending estimates may not be as accurate as you think. Check your numbers by tracking expenses for at least one month. This will show you exactly where your money is going.

Once you start tracking your daily expenses, you might be surprised to find that $300 a month is dribbling away on small, inconsequential purchases — apps, lunches out, magazines, music downloads — that you previously overlooked.

Decide to cut such purchases in half, and you’ll have an extra $1,800 a year for your wealth-building goals.

As we mentioned in the last item, You Need a Budget can help you both track expenses and find ways to reduce costs. Note that this doesn’t have to mean massive deprivation — instead, it is simply a smarter use of available funds instead of blindly pitching dollars at wants and needs.

4. Live below your means

Once you have a viable budget in place, stick to it as closely as possible. Put any savings away for retirement or into another type of investment portfolio.

This doesn’t mean you can’t ever have fun again. But you have to weigh the opportunity cost of each splurge. The more you live below your means now, the wealthier you are likely to become in the future.

5. Nix any debt

If you have money left over each month, you definitely should save it — unless you have debt. In that case, it often makes more sense to use any “extra” money to pay off current obligations instead of saving or investing it.

Remember, living according to the “minimum payment due” philosophy is guaranteed to keep you in shackles. Instead of merely paying the minimum, pay as much as you can toward bills so you never have to pay interest again.

Once the debt is gone, your new budget should keep you from falling back into the red.

6. Negotiate ways to raise pay and lower costs

A powerful way to build wealth is to increase the amount of money coming in while decreasing the amount going out.

With that in mind, negotiate a pay raise. If possible, lay the groundwork now to get a raise in the new year.

Just as important, keep finding ways to lower expenses so you are squeezing more money from your paycheck. You’d be surprised at what’s potentially negotiable:

  • Medical care: Some doctors and dentists will give you a discount if you pay cash at the time of service.
  • Credit card interest: If you’ve been making payments on time and have a decent credit score, ask the cardholder to lower your interest rate. And while you’re at it, stop by our Solutions Center and look for a better deal on a credit card — such as one that pays rewards.
  • The cable bill: Call up the provider and ask for a lower rate. Emphasize your other options, such as switching to competing cable companies or dropping cable in favor of streaming content on Netflix and Hulu.

7. Think past today’s needs

Eventually, you will get used to the new, more frugal lifestyle. But even as you bask in the glow of your savings success, it can be tempting to slip back into old patterns.

When that temptation arises — and it will — remember to think past today’s needs and focus instead on tomorrow’s wealthier future.

This is a crucial attitude adjustment. Stop thinking you have to have everything you want as soon as you want it. An “instant gratification” attitude is a huge impediment to building wealth.

Instead, continue to look for ways to trim expenses large and small. For example, since shelter is another huge chunk of most people’s budgets, maybe it’s time to look for a cheaper place to live. Other ways to save include:

You don’t have to live in a cardboard carton and subsist on cold oatmeal. But you do have to remember the opportunity cost of the dollars that leak from your wallet.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
15 Free Streaming Services to Watch While Stuck at Home

These free streaming video services offer thousands of movies and TV shows, including recent releases and beloved classics.

5 Simple Steps to an Awesome Retirement

The path to your dream retirement begins with these five steps. How many have you already taken?

10 U.S. Jobs That Are Disappearing Fastest

Think twice before pursuing these shrinking occupations.

26 Work-From-Home Jobs That Pay $100,000

These lucrative gigs let you work in your slippers.

3 Ways to Get Paid for Searching the Web

If you’re already doing it anyway, why not get rewarded for it? Here are three great opportunities.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020

Based on dozens of metrics tied to affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

This Is the Cheapest Place to Buy a Used Car

Looking for a good deal on a set of wheels? This should be your first stop.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

10 Things the Pandemic Is Making Obsolete

Even if a COVID-19 vaccine is discovered tomorrow, it’s unlikely we will ever return to these ways of life.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

Could You Give Up These 7 Expenses to Save Thousands of Dollars a Year?

You could save more than $30,000 by setting aside these costly expenses for just one year.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

10 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.