Key Steps To Take To Become A Self-Made Millionaire
Ask any millionaire how they got their wealth you’ll either hear two stories. Generally speaking, those stories revolve around them not starting out rich and becoming rich through a series of events, or they were given their wealth. But even when you get those, most tend to say that they worked harder or they had put some money in investments.
But the reality there is more to it than that. There is a lot that we can learn from those who had small incomes and grew them substantially. Because it’s more than making smart decisions. There’s dedication to climbing out of debt and continuing to grow that skill that earned them the wealth to do that.
As Grant Cardone, a New York Times best-selling author, explained once, he avoided luxury watches and cars up until he had the funds secure from multiple investments and when he was financially safe.
Looking into Cardone’s life, we’ll find that he dropped out of college at 21, and went off to make a business. He was broke and in massive debt and he hated it. But with this business, he spent his entire days fighting his way out and used money wisely. By the time he turned 30, he hit millionaire status.
His example shows the daily decisions that we take or how we spend our money now makes a massive impact over time. In the end, becoming wealthy comes down to personal habits that we have. And these habits are the steps we need to take in order to become millionaires.
And before we get into the steps specifically, I want to give you an example and show that our decisions do affect our wealth.
Say you’re 25 years old, and every two weeks you take $100 out of your bi-weekly pay cheque and put that into a savings account. You do this until you are 65 years old. By the time you hit 65, you’d end up with $415,000, assuming that the market yield was 6% from year to year.
Now imagine if we changed that $100 to $200.
If everything stays the same, you’d actually end up with over $1,000,000 by the end! If that idea excites you, then let me tell you about the steps.
After all, it’s not all about investing and saving. Being a millionaire is about smart spending and there’s a difference.
Pay Yourself First
We’ve all got bills we need to pay for our heating, internet, phone, and credit cards, but when was the last time you paid yourself? The first step to being a millionaire is actually setting up automatic payments to your savings account. And if you don’t have a savings account – it’s smart to get one right now.
The idea with this step is to figure out how much money you can actually get away with putting in your savings account from week to week or month to month. You’ll need to consider all your expenses and then add in how much money you want to put into savings. Generally speaking, most people can probably manage $25 a week. And that’s a pretty solid base.
By the end of the year – thanks to compound interest – you’ll be resting on $1,300.
On top of this, you want to make this process as seamless as possible, so make sure you set up automatic payments for this. That way, at the end of every week, you won’t even have to think about it.
Pay Credit Cards Off
Second step is to knock out any kind of debts that you’ve got hanging around. For many, their biggest debts are credit cards and they are by far the worst. Interest rates working against you are the biggest contributors to killing your wealth goals. But credit cards specifically are particularly ruthless – especially when you have multiple credit card debts. Your first goal is to work on paying off at least one card at a time. Once that is done, cancel the card and cut it up until you have only one card left. Credit card debt is bad, but credit cards are still helpful when you know how to use them.
And if you are struggling to pay down the entire card, then consider this next step.
Negotiate Credit Card Interest Rates
If you’re only making partial payments back on your credit card debt, then chances are a lot that money is going right to the interest, rather than the actual principal amount. One realistic example to put this in perspective is say you owe $5,000 on your credit card. It’s not out of the ordinary for credit cards to charge interest rates of 18% APR (yearly-interest rate). What this means is that over the course of the year, you’ll be charged an extra $900 just because you owe that much money!
The good news is that credit card companies are not entirely bad and they actually reward people who make regular payments. These rewards typically come in the form of lower interest rates. They’re not going to outright tell you though, so you’ll need to call them up and explain your situation. It never hurts to ask. Despite all of that though, if they do say no, there’s something else you can do.
No, it’s not yelling at them until you get what you want. It’s transferring balances. Even if your bank doesn’t want to give you lower rates, you still have the right to transfer the balances. It is your money after all, and you’re free to move balances owed to new cards or a new bank that’s willing to offer you lower rates. Best of all there are banks that offer balance transfer cards that charge you no interest at all for a certain period of time. On top of that, some banks don’t even have bank fees too!
These are great ways of getting ahead, but one other good thing to do before deciding on the transfer is to look into debt consolidation loans. Typically, these loans will charge much lower interest rates than what you’ll find on credit cards.
With credit cards all sorted you’re next thing to tackle is…
Tackling Student/Other Debts
The second largest debt in America is student debt. These debts are way beyond the car loan payments and credit card debts we have and need to pay off as quickly as possible. On average, an individual spends 21 years to pay off this specific debt. And just like with interest rates on credit cards, student loan interest and payments in general will eat up a lot of your cash.
The best way to tackle this debt is to follow these specific steps below:
- Determine how much you owe and who you need to pay it to. List everything from family, friends, federal loans, bank loans, etc.
- Rank all your debts from highest priority to lowest. Highest being the ones with the highest interest rates.
- Find a personal loan calculator and determine what’s the best payment plan you can take.
- Put more money towards the high priority loans first and work your way down. This will save you money long-term.
This method is great for handling not only student debt, but all of your debts in general. When you have them all organized, it’s easier for you to tackle the debts that you owe. Furthermore, the more debts you tackle quickly, the faster you can pay off student debts.
Eat Out Less
With debts all sorted, the next thing is to pick up other spending habits. One of the most common – and expensive – habit is dining out. There are many sources out there that say that restaurant food costs at least 300% of the price of all the ingredients you’d get at the grocery store. In other words, no matter where you dine, what you’re getting would’ve been cheaper for you if you made it at home.
Cooking at home is really cheap when it comes down to it. Not to mention it can be pretty fast and simple too. So there is no excuse for the lack of cooking skills.
You can also double down on the savings with this idea by doubling the recipes. With that, you’ll be able to have some for dinner and then you can have leftovers for lunch. If you’ve got multiple mouths to feed, then don’t be afraid of buying food in bulk.
Look For Cheap Groceries
And on the note of food, another way you can save money is to look for cheaper groceries. The savings are not going to be as mind-blowing, but a little can go a long way. On top of that, the price differences can be pretty significant with higher-end stores marking up prices by a couple of cents to even several dollars than what you’d find at bargain stores. You’d be surprised by the price differences of grocery stores if you shop at a grocery store a few neighbourhoods down.
If you want to get the best deals though, you want to be making a list of the items that you buy on the regular. Pay attention specifically to the foods that are prepared like sauces, pre-made salads or frozen meals.
From there, take a few weeks or a month for buying your biggest purchases at various grocery store chains around the area. Ideally, buy groceries for the full week and keep the receipts or note the prices of things. Once the month is over, look at the prices of the foods you bought and compare them. Find the cheapest one and make the switch.
As I said, you may not be making a huge saving, but if there is a $10 difference between stores, you’ll save yourself a good $520 per year.
Consider Generic or Store Brands
This step can save you a lot of money in the long run as well, but it’s especially helpful when you’re looking for over-the-counter drugs, beauty or skincare products. You can consider premium brands, but many charge higher prices due to the brand, whereas the generic brands don’t do that. What’s even cooler about them is that they may be even better or just as good. To figure that out, all you need to do is check the ingredient list. As you’ll note most of them are literally the same sans for a few minor differences.
Coupons are not old school anymore. Many people are taking advantage of them and some of them can be pretty helpful. You’ll still need to be smart and read them, but you can find savings on some of the more expensive items. Items like any kind of meat, nuts, or even baking items. They’re worth checking out.
You can also consider cashback apps. There are specific apps that give you cash back when you shop at the grocery stores. One of those apps is SavingStar, which gives you your cash back or you can get gift cards too. All you need to do is once you’ve signed up, link loyalty cards to it or snap a picture of your receipt and they’ll handle the rest.
The 10 Second Rule
This rule or step is for those with a tendency to impulse buy. It can be a huge problem for many people. In fact, you may have gotten all that credit card debt because of impulse buying. After all, with credit cards, it’s easy for people to forget their purchases and just buy something.
All in all, stores have found many sneaky ways for us to immediately buy and not think about our purchases, but there’s a way around them. The first trick is to always have a shopping list and stick to it. If you ever deviate, remind yourself of what’s on the list and if it’s not there – put the item back.
But here is the key thing. After you’ve set it back, take 10 seconds to think about a purchase through. Think about how your credit card statement would look at the end of the month. Think if is there anything else you need more of. Even ask yourself if you can find a better deal somewhere else. The idea is to not rush yourself and wait 10 seconds.
Have A Side-Hustle
Side gig, side-hustle, it’s all the same thing. What matters the most is that these are things that you love doing and could very well get paid for. If you love walking dogs, tutoring people, gardening, or writing, there are many ways for you to take advantage of that. And get paid to do that. And that money can be a godsend.
For one, it can give you more wiggle room and build your skills if you can’t get more hours at work. Furthermore, you can devote the earnings you get from your side gig to specific things.
On top of all of these ideas that I’ve talked about, there are still many other options out there for you to consider. The number of things you can do to save and spend money wisely is literally endless. So consider adopting these tactics wherever they may apply in your life. But I also encourage you to be creative and stick to the things you want to do.
Another destructive habit for many people is smoking. It’s addictive for many, but it also burns a massive hole in your pockets as well. We all know smoking kills us, but it can also kills us financially. From buying the packs to the future medical bills. So if you are a smoker and want to be a millionaire, this is a pretty big step to take.
You would be surprised how many people are spending money on memberships that they’re not even using. The biggest one is gym membership. Every year people set new year’s resolutions to lose weight or get fit and sign up for gym memberships. But not that many really take advantage of them.
While being healthy is certainly important, it’s also vital to be practical. If you’re not showing up at the gym regularly or you prefer some other forms of recreations that’s okay. But do yourself a favour and cancel your gym membership. This rule also applies to other memberships or subscription services you’re paying for.
Drop Phone Services And Cable Channels
Dropping subscription services is especially important when applied to the services on your phone or TV. Cell phone bills are already pricey and they are loaded with services that you don’t even use or need. At the end of the month, take the time to look over the bill and see what you don’t need. From there call your provider and cancel those services. You want to do this with your cable as well and for the channels you don’t watch. You may even consider dropping cable entirely and switching to streaming options like Netflix or Hulu, which will be cheaper.
Turn The Lights Off
While our dads nagged us about the power when we were younger, there is no doubt that they were right. Electricity is costly and the best way to be saving it is to ensure that things aren’t on when they don’t need to be. So get into the habit of turning off lights whenever you’re the last one leaving the room.
You can also go one step further and instal a power bar with built-in timers or auto shut-off, which will fight phantom power drains.
Consider Public Transit
Depending on where you live, public transit is quite affordable and reliable. It’s not out of the question that you can save a lot of money by spending time familiarizing yourself with the transit system. What’s also nice is that some employers offer pre-tax commuter benefits and some states offer tax credits to those with public transit passes.
Unless you have to drive long distances to reach the city, getting a car may not be a bright idea. Opting for transit will save you on the car loan payments, the gas, yearly upkeep, and repairs.
Another thing to note is that you can always consider renting a car or car-pooling with a co-worker or friends or family if you really need a car too.
Take Advantage Of Free Stuff
Everyone loves free stuff and thanks to the world being more digitally connected, there’s actually a lot of free stuff to take advantage of. There are several ongoing events that take place around all towns and cities. From music festivals, dance classes, art exhibits and more! Either way, these are great ways to treat yourself after a long day of hard work. The road to being a millionaire is not an easy thing to do, but if we are smart about our daily choices and how they affect our long-term wealth, we can definitely get there.