Do you ever feel like you’re swimming upstream? Or that you have big goals but your income doesn’t match?
So I asked 41 personal finance experts if they had any inspiring money tips. And boy, did they ever deliver. Scroll down, get inspired, and bookmark this page in case you need it one day.
On Doing Impossible Things
“Most people think that saving money while paying off debt is impossible, but it isn’t. Paying off debt works on two fronts. You are trying to reduce your debt, but also learn how to manage your money more efficiently. Saving while paying off debt works on both of these fronts. You are reducing your debt, but also changing your money mentality to a saving mindset. It doesn’t matter how much you save, just save something.”
On the Big Picture
“Start with the big picture: what is important to you, what you value, how you want to spend your time. Then you can use that as a jumping-off point to help guide you toward your savings goals.
Come up with your own style of saving and budgeting. There are plenty of ideas and systems floating out there, but by designing your own system that works with your personality, values, strengths, and weaknesses, you’ll be on the road to financial wellness in no time.”
On Saving Every Dime
“To create a separate savings account for all hustle and *extra* money that comes in. I’ve been doing this for 6 months straight and already have $3,500 in it now which is more than motivating!!
Some places this $ came from:
- Selling one item a week off Craigslist
- Cutting recurring bills down and depositing the difference into savings
- Reimbursements or refund money
- Birthday/Xmas money
- Money I’ve literally found on the street (okay, well *change* ;))
- Credit card rewards
- Tax refunds
And pretty much anything else random that comes my way I wasn’t expecting, or need, to live off. It’s been an eye opener to say the least!
(you can learn more about it here)”
Budgets Are Sexy
On Emergency Funds
“Start an emergency fund. You won’t regret it when life’s emergencies happen.”
On Saving Until It Hurts
“Save money until it hurts. If the amount that’s left after saving every month doesn’t make you watch your spending, then you aren’t saving enough!”
On Paying Yourself First
“Pay yourself first. Always.”
“Always pay yourself first!
You will be forced to focus only on your ‘needs’.”
On Walking Your Own Path
“Don’t compare yourself to someone else. We are all unique from personality to ethnicity to finances. Just do what works for yourself (and/or your family) and don’t let others influence what you do!”
On Constantly Tweaking
“Do not be afraid to go back and adjust. Your budget does not have to be set in stone. Figure out what is working for you; figure out what is not working for you; allow your goals and priorities to change, and then change your budget with them. Your budget only has to work for you, and no one else, so fiddle, tinker, do whatever you need to do to make it work for you.”
Dear Alien Anthropologists
On Focusing on the Life You Want
“When making financial decisions, focus first and foremost on the life you’d like to create yourself. From there it’s simply a matter of using the financial opportunities available to you to make that life a reality.”
Mom and Dad Money
On Changing Everything
“You can always start from where you are and make a decision that changes everything. Truly deciding means leaving behind every other alternative. And you can decide to start (or start over) to build your own financial future anytime, no matter what, as long as you’re alive!”
Hilary Hendershott Financial
On Planting Seeds
“One of my favorite quotes is, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today”. It’s an ancient Chinese proverb that really highlights the value of time – which is so important when it comes to money.
Look, we all know saving and investing are important. But some of us didn’t start early. Yes, it’s best to start early, but the second best time to start saving and investing is right now. So, plant your money tree and get started.”
The College Investor
On Not Being Afraid to Learn
“Every money expert started out as someone who knew nothing about money. So, even if you feel discouraged or overwhelmed about the amount of financial information you want to learn, just know that by starting small and building on your knowledge, you too can become someone who knows a great deal about personal finance.”
On Questioning Everything
“If you follow all the conventional money rules, expect to live a conventional life that includes a 30-year mortgage, a single career, and retirement at 65. If you want more, challenge those assumptions at every turn.”
On Starting Right Now
“Start. Start. Start.
Do something. Right now.
It will change your life, in a tiny little positive way.
Tomorrow, or later today, do a tiny little positive thing.
Send a pitch email, update your LinkedIn profile, check the odd-jobs board on Craigslist, delay going to the grocery store by one more day, finish a high recognition project at work, or take $5 out of your wallet and put it into savings somewhere, like at the bottom of your change jar. Maybe hide it in an out of season jacket or blazer, so that future you has a good day. Maybe use it to open a savings account for your kid.
Whatever it is…Start.”
On Getting Clear With Your Priorities
“When you figure out what your true priorities are, the solutions for your problems with money will become clear.”
On Not Being Alone in This
“Whatever your money situation is, there’s someone else out there that has gone through the same thing and prospered. You’re not alone. Keep pushing through, and you’ll reach your goals.”
Free From Broke
On Managing vs. Solving Money Problems
“In life there are problems you solve and there are problems you manage. Money is a problem that you manage.
Confusing “manage” with “solve” will leave you forever frustrated. But realizing that money is a part of life that needs continuous management eliminates the pressure of “solving” it once and for all.
This truth allows you to engage your finances with much healthier expectations. Set the right expectations and you will feel much better about your finances even with all the ups and downs you will surely face.”
Derek Olsen – Author, One Bed, One Bank Account
On Finding Ways to Build Wealth
“No matter what your source of income and no matter how large or tiny your annual income, you can find ways to invest and build wealth.”
Investing to Thrive
On Channeling Your Money Stress
“Use your money stress as a catapult to action. If you take no other money steps to improve your life, you must contribute to a 401(k) or Roth IRA. Have as much as you can taken out of your paycheck (or transferred from your checking account) into the retirement account. Invest that money in a diversified stock market index fund and do not touch the money until you retire. Then, every year, increase your contribution into the retirement account 1% until you reach the maximum amount allowed by law!”
Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance
On Becoming a Millionaire
“You want to be a millionaire? The money’s already there; you’re just spending it wrong. Be picky at where you spend your money! Save your emergency fund when times are good because you never know when you’ll need it.”
On The Power of Ten Dollars
“It’s never too small. Mr. Money Mustache always says, “A millionaire is made ten bucks at a time.” I believe that in anything you want to do, it’s better to start small. I started paying off my loans in small increments. Even an extra $10 a month shaved off one year off my loan. Even if you feel overwhelmed by debt, just remember that it’s better to start small than not at all.”
Debt Free After Three
On Unlimited Income Possibilities
“The most inspiring money tip I would give anyone is the fact that your income is unlimited. You can only cut your expenses so far before you run out of things to cut, but there are always ways to make more money. Whether you just want to work a few hours of overtime to make an extra $100 a week or you want to start a business that will eventually bring in millions of dollars a year, anything is possible if you put your mind to it.”
On Supplementing Your Income
“I like living a great lifestyle, so I do everything I can to earn more on the side. I guess you could say my hobby is making money. Whatever your skills are, someone is willing to pay you something to do it. If you are a great writer, photographer, website designer, bookkeeper, or don’t mind doing small tasks for people online, you can supplement your income with some great side income, which comes in handy for paying off debt, creating an emergency fund, or saving up for an early retirement.”
On Enjoying an Abundant Life
“We live in a land of abundance. If you are not enjoying abundant life, the problem can be found in a mirror.”
On Taking Action
“If you’re underemployed and unsatisfied with your current income, you CAN take action to earn more. It’s not easy, and it’s not automatic, but it’s possible to take control of how much money you make and boost that number. Start by working to earn a raise at your current job, and then ask for what you’re worth. Or think about what kind of side gig you can pick up (or a hobby you can monetize). Use your free time to develop a side income doing work you enjoy.”
On Changing Your Mindset
“Stop saying “I can’t afford it.” Instead, change your mindset to, “I can afford anything. I can’t necessarily afford everything, but I can afford anything.” This single mindset shift flips your brain from a mode of scarcity and clutching onto pennies, to a mode of abundance and choosing between a multitude of options.”
On Spending Freely
“I like it when money advice is framed positively instead of negatively. Consequently, among my favorite tips is to spend your money freely on things you receive a lot of value from, but ruthlessly hack your expenses elsewhere.
Not only is this advice positive, but it’s sustainable. When you look at your finances and think your life is going to be one that’s filled with deprivation and the cheapest of everything, you’re going to want to give up. But if you’re leaving yourself room for what you value and lining up your spending and savings with that in mind, you’re less likely to be fatigued in your financial journey.”
PT Money Personal Finance
On Focusing on the Extreme
“Focus on extreme events, not average expected outcomes. On average your hard drive won’t crash, yet you back it up. On average you won’t die in the prime of your life, yet you have life insurance.
Similarly in investing, we should set our target asset allocation based on our ability to recover from extreme market sell-offs, not based on expected or historical returns. Market sell-offs are more severe and occur more frequently than traditional financial theory suggest.”
Money For the Rest of Us
On Setting Big Number Goals
“Always set big number goals for yourself whether it’s paying down debt, saving, investing or planning for retirement. It’s much better to fail to reach a big goal than succeed at achieving a small one.”
On Never Taking Out a Car Loan
“1. Never borrow against a depreciating asset. Don’t take out a car loan, or pay for electronic goods with a credit card if you can’t pay off the balance immediately.
2. Don’t cut corners by under-insuring when you take out home contents insurance. You may think you are saving money – only to find that when you make a claim, your insurer tears up your policy.”
On Valuing Your Time
“Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” – Jim Rohn
One of the most important things I’ve ever done is value my time – literally and figuratively.
I actually started to calculate what my time was worth. From that point on, I made a lot of decisions based on the financial cost plus my time cost.
The result of valuing your time? You get more money.
The way you get more money is you stop wasting your time and effort on things that don’t matter or things you don’t want to do, and instead can focus on things that do! As an example, I stopped doing chores (lawn work, ironing) and outsourced those things so I could learn how to invest.
My dad would call it lazy; I call it wealthy and wise! 🙂
Start valuing your time (figuratively and literally) and say no to things that don’t make dollars or sense. Remember, time > money.”
On Considering the Cheaper Option
“Don’t be sold on the idea that the expensive option is the only option. Take smartphone plans, for instance. You can get an unlimited talk, text, and data plan for about half of what the larger carriers will offer you (less than $50, after taxes). Always look for an alternative and ask around, because there’s someone who’s found another way that won’t drain your checking account.”
Amanda L Grossman
On Money Actually Buying Happiness
“Money CAN actually buy happiness…if you figure out what happiness is for you. Is it more time with family, more vacations, more memories, or more things?
Ask yourself WHY is it that you want money? Once you figure that out, learn to use it as a tool to accomplish your ‘why.’
Just as a master carpenter can use a hammer, a saw, and a tape measure to build a beautiful home, you can learn to master the tool of money to build a beautiful life.”
On Paying Extra Mortgage Each Month
“Pay 1/12 extra on your mortgage each month. Take your monthly mortgage payment and divide it by 12. Add 1/12 extra to your mortgage each month. For example, if your mortgage is $1200 a month, 1200/12 = 100. Add $100 to your monthly mortgage. This will pay it off several years faster and save thousands of dollars in interest.”
Linda P Jones
Be Wealthy & Smart
On Keeping Goals Top of Mind
“Sometimes it is easy to forget about a financial goal because it is not at the forefront of your mind. When we were paying off our consumer debt, we created a Debt Tracker that we put on the fridge to be able to visually see our progress on a daily basis. It was a great motivator to keep us going and it even made it fun to pay off debt because we would watch it disappear on paper.”
Well Kept Wallet
On Believing In Yourself
“YOU can save money. It’s easy to look at all the expenses in our lives and see the roadblocks. But, if you tackle those items one by one, you can find ways to cut and eliminate monthly expenses…and then start to pay yourself first. If you aren’t saving at all right now, or wish you could save more, you can.”
Save Outside the Box
On Never Saying “Can’t”
“Don’t ever believe that you “can’t” change your financial situation. Start taking little steps toward better financial health, and those little steps will eventually add up to BIG results.”
The Frugal Farmer
On Aligning Decisions with Values
“When you align your money decisions with your values, your goals and what makes your heart happy, true financial happiness is found.”
On Your Money or Your Life
“One of the best personal finance books I read is Your Money or Your Life. Even if you don’t do every exercise in the book, it will help you start to become more aware of how you see your own money and how you want it to work for you. It’s worth the read!”
Budget & the Beach
On Money Not Sleeping
“Money can work harder and longer than you can— because money never sleeps. The beauty of it is when you put your gains to work for you too. Then you’ll see your wealth start to snowball and that’s when the magic happens.”
Evesting for Beginners
On Starting Financial Education at Home
Financial education for your daughters and sons – not to mention yourselves – instills confidence, generates peace of mind and, yes, even enhances your family’s readiness knowing that they are prepared to cope with the most basic of financial challenges. And your family member will also do their part in this training to keep pace with their counterparts’ knowledge.