Getting Ahead Financially: Subscribers Tips and Tricks
Two weeks ago I was giving away a book The Simple Path To Wealth by JL Collins and in order to win it, I asked you to send me an email telling me the most simple strategy you have devised so far to get yourself ahead financially. I was flooded with suggestions and I thought that they were just too good not to share.
In my investing journey I have learnt a huge amount of what I know by just asking other people why they are successful; what advice would they give me? So my hope is that you will run your eye down this list and find a few gems that sit well with you too.
To get ahead we have bought a tiny house with a tiny mortgage, rather than having a huge mortgage. We have learnt to live with less and we LOVE it! - EB
Pay my savings account and investments FIRST out of my pay each week. - AH
My most simple but incredibly powerful strategy has been to track all expenses. I export my bank accounts into a template I made, code each line and create tables and graphs that show my progress. It's made an incredible difference to our spending and saving rates. - RD
Spend less than you earn and learn to differentiate between wants and needs. Material things bring short term happiness but saving and investing provides for a future of happiness. - OC
The best and most simple strategy I have... coffee with Ruth!!! (Followed up by putting some of her advice into a plan). - TA
I stopped trying to impress people. Downsized house, downsized car, and took control of my spending. - NC
I asked my husband and he said “Marry someone who knows what they’re doing”! I just put a set monthly amount into our joint account to cover all family expenses and every other penny goes into a Simplicity Growth Fund. - ML
If I can't afford it, I won't buy it. Cash is king. When my children were small I taught them not to buy when out shopping with their friends. If they still wanted the item when they got home, then the next day I would personally drive them to town to get it. That still works for them now when they are in their 30’s. - MK
I avoid spending money on stuff I don't need by meditating hard on the negative effects or things that I will miss out on by buying that item! E.g. It sure would be a nice to have a shiny new SUV, but what about the ridiculous leasing rates and the time missed playing with the kids because I have to work longer? - SG
The most simple tip: Be aware of where your money goes by mapping out your income, saving and spending. - TS
I realised I was spending a huge amount eating out at meetings that I have to attend. And it wasn’t eating out I valued; good meals with friends. Rather it was lacklustre burgers and chips at various pubs. My solution is to eat dinner before attending these meetings, even if it’s breakfast biscuits in the car on the way. Then I just have a hot chocolate at the meeting. I’m saving at least $15 per meeting and with at least six meetings a month I’m quickly seeing extra money flow into my debt reduction efforts. - RS
Don’t feel pressured to buy to keep up with the Jones. I don't need the latest and greatest iPhone, my old Samsung does me fine and I don't use all of the features this phone has so why would I need the newest and most expensive phone? No need to lust after a bigger house, this one is big enough and takes enough of our time to maintain! The latest car... nope. You get the idea! Also, remember that just because someone lives in a big house, drives a flash car doesn't mean that they own it 100%. - WR
For me the biggest thing (and it seemed to happen almost overnight) was changing my mindset. I stopped the ‘analysis paralysis’ you mentioned in one of your blogs, and just did it!! I love the quote you used from his book, that we should be happy to spend money on investing and not see it as a hardship. So for me, just getting started and having a mindset where I love putting my hard earned dollars into investments have been the simple things that have changed my financial path. - AF
One day I worked out that paying my mortgage off over its 25 year life span was effectively doubling the cost of my house! I didn't want the bank to have that much of my money, essentially for nothing. So I knuckled down and saved, paying it off in seven years. - DP
I cancelled my credit cards by literally cutting them into pieces.
I paid all my debts.
I transferred my KiwiSaver to SuperLife100.
I started investing in SuperLife Index Funds with $50 per month contribution, all I can afford at the moment.
I stopped eating out and I walk almost everywhere. - JC
My strategy is to walk our own path. Go with the ups and downs and twists and curves by staying focused and keeping our heads up and moving forward. Listen, learn and improve. - LD
I've started by depositing $50 a fortnight into my shareholders account and investing in the NZ50. It's a small start but at least it's a start! RR
My path to wealth has been paying all my extra cash into my home loan and getting into no more debt!! I love the idea of investing however I like the idea of having no debt more! - PH
I would love to create an income stream that could one day, eventually supplement or even better, replace my income. - AF
Focus on paying off debt and spending less than you earn. Also you’ll be amazed at how many automatic transfers for things like Christmas, holiday funds and investing you can set up before you even notice and impact on your day to day finances! - NT
It's "giving every dollar a job". Because then you have savings going away and money to splurge, and that's just fine. Also putting my home loan with NZHL. A reducing revolving credit mortgage, which should save us 10 years of our mortgage and save about 300k in interest. - PM
Have you read the story about the two boyhood friends that JL Collins has on his blog? I have it printed off on our fridge! The Monk and the Minister - KW
Best thing we have done financially to get ahead is becoming a one car family. I haven’t done the exact sums but it must save us at least $100 a week in costs or $5200 a year. For me to make $5200 cash I would have to work about 7 weeks. So 7 weeks a year I work to make enough money to have a car to get me to work... Crazy! - KW
I slowly put away money into a savings account each month and use this account for my SmartShares. This way the account always has more than enough for the automatic payments and once I get a good enough surplus, I buy some individual shares. - HM
At the moment our simple strategy is to pay down our mortgage as fast as we can while also contributing to KiwiSaver. Once that mortgage is kicked to the curb we will have so much more to save, invest and to help others. - BP
My key strategy towards getting ahead financially is nothing revolutionary, just living within our means and weighing up the opportunity cost of every purchase. - DS
Putting a weekly amount into index funds! - CN
The biggest change I have made is to make a giant Mind Map of my FI plan. It started with the Barefoot Investor bucket setup then I researched sites like JL Collins, MMM, ChooseFI and of course The Happy Saver to define my Portfolio allocation. Last steps were the ‘what’ and ‘where’ (ETFs with SuperLife and InvestNow). I feel so much more in balance now that I have a PLAN that I can see at a glance. Backed up with some simple spreadsheets. - GB
I track all my expenses on a spreadsheet and at the end of every month I analyse where most of the spending is and try and focus on that the following month. It’s only been 3 months since I started doing this. As of now, I am saving $40 week because of this! Really hope more people started tracking their expenses because it’s really so simple but super effective. - MM
Stop spending (frittering), save, and LOCK AWAY your savings so you can't spend them! - LN
Work out an amount you can save every week then set up an automatic payment to index funds. I use SuperLife as their App is great. I divide amounts into growth and aggressive funds. The best way is NOT to touch this and let it build up. - LV
My most simple strategy was to buy index funds (after reading Mr Money Moustache!) regularly adding to it each month and forgetting about it just as you have covered in this article! - LB
My strategy = No debt + Simplicity + Gratitude for what you have right now. - TF
Bringing my husband on board with my vision for financial independence. Life continues to deliver us a lot of ‘teachable moments’, which I use to talk to him about how valuable it would be, for example, to have a FU fund. Or to be location independent and be able to pick up sticks and move to Hawaii if we pleased. - PM
Acquire a surplus thanks to aspects like biking to work, working more days, and keeping expenses modest. I invest that regularly via Simplicity and SuperLife. - DT
The number one thing I have done is track my expenses. I don’t exactly budget but just by being aware of my expenses have kept my costs down! - SC
I utilise ASBs "Save the Change". I use the money saved at the end of the year to pay all my taxes (I am partly self-employed). I never have to worry about finding the money for this very important bill! - DG
While I have a mortgage and am aggressively paying it off, I utilise offset bank accounts to minimise my exposure to interest and get a guaranteed return on my cash/emergency fund. This also helped give my wife and I a lot of financial flexibility when our daughter was born, as we didn't have to worry so much about losing an income. - ER
Regularly invest in the Vanguard Global Index Fund and NZX50. I’m in it for the long game and compound interest is the 8th wonder of the world. I also use Simplicity Growth Fund. - JW
Ours would be sorting out our accounts after reading the Barefoot Investor. Separating our expenses, splurge and emergency fund. And learning more through reading books and interesting blogs like yours. - BP
Being motivated by others who have followed the financial independence path before me. This is mainly through reading books, blogs, podcasts (just love yours being kiwi based) and FB groups. “Remember to stay involved with your money, to nurture a happy relationship with it, for what happens to your money affects the quality of your life and the lives of all those who you love” Suze Orman. - SW
There were many more responses that resulted in long emails back and forth which is awesome, but suffice to say, too long and personal to note here. But the gist is that many of you have found yourself in a financial mess and have fought your way back out and are either still on that journey or have worked yourselves completely out of debt and into a really positive position. The journey took discipline, a change of mindset, courage, frugalism, knowing exactly where your money is, and an overwhelming sense of refusing to accept that this was your lot in life. Thanks to all of you who shared your tips and tricks. Oh, and I loved all the XX’s, OO’s and smiley faces!
Every week I receive an email which begins with “Oh thank goodness I have found someone in New Zealand I can openly talk about money with!!!!” If you know someone that you think might want to hear about living a better life with moolah, please send them a link to my blog. The entire point of it is to create a resource that is useful to others, so the more people who join us the better.