Today, with economic anxiety at epidemic proportions, we need to take charge of our lives more than ever by developing a frugal mindset. This advice will give you the basics for achieving millionaire status.
- manage your debt
- live within your means
- buy strategically
- consult with experts
- understand your weaknesses
- keep up with the Joneses
- overextend credit
- surround yourself with negative people
- accumulate things
- be complacent nor do the same thing over and over
Once you get out of debt, the last thing you want to do is to use credit cards again taking you right back to where you started. Your household debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is a good measure to help ensure you maintain a healthy amount of debt for your income level. Simply divide your total monthly debt payments and obligations by your total monthly income. Ideally, you want to maintain a ratio of 36 percent or less. Check your DTI regularly and if it ever exceeds 36 percent, make a plan to reduce your debt immediately.
Practice saying the word ‘No.’ Do you need to live in a McMansion? You can afford the mortgage, but can you afford the continued increasing costs of taxes and maintenance on a long term basis? A bigger home means more square footage to maintain both inside and out. This results in higher heating, cooling, electric bills, and furnishing more rooms. Then the outside needs landscaping, and the lawn needs to be fed regularly.
Many homebuyers use both incomes to qualify for a mortgage in order to get that bigger home. But, in today’s economic environment, it would be prudent to use only one income to qualify for that mortgage. If one income disappears, at least the mortgage is paid. A smaller and more affordable home is a less stressful home.
If only one income is used, the other can be used to pay down the mortgage. Mortgage free in a shorter period of time results in increased discretionary dollars. Who wouldn’t love that?
Learn the difference between price and value. Price is what you pay for an item and value is what you get. A lower price is not always the better choice. It may be better to pay a little more for quality, which also might last longer.
Know when to ask for help. No one can know everything about law, accounting, tax, and financial planning. Establish financial goals; then have it reviewed by experts. The knowledge and savings can usually offset their fees.
Take inventory of strengths, weaknesses, likes, and dislikes. List mistakes: were they related to weaknesses and/or dislikes? Now you have a basis to move forward. Concentrate on your strengths and likes to move toward your goals.
Trapped in a rat race for stuff? This is what happens when you try to keep up with neighbors, friends, or family. Boy, does it create stress! The result could be financial ruin. You are competing without knowing their financial status. Maybe they can afford it. Maybe they can’t, and are using credit cards to the max. It’s never worth buying status symbols and other possessions for the purpose of obtaining or maintaining a comparative image to someone else.
We need to be more liquid in these economic times. That means paying off credit card debt. Debt should be reserved for major purchases, such as homes, cars, and education. Use the concepts of ‘No.’ and ‘Do I need it or want it?’ to reduce future card use.
It is difficult not to be surrounded by negativism. Successful people are not discouraged by the negative thinking of others. They succeed in spite of naysayers. Seek out positive support networks. Believe in yourself, then others will believe in you.
Stuff does not make you happy. They can cause anxiety and guilt when credit cards are due, especially when you could not afford them in the first place.
Doing the same thing over and over and getting the same negative results is a waste of time. Time is what frugal millionaires cherish. There is a finite time for all of us and should not be wasted. Don’t be afraid to make changes to reach goal.
The beauty of developing a frugal millionaire mindset is that it can produce positive results in every stage of life. It doesn’t take money, no products to buy, and no seminars to attend. The whole family can get involved. What a wonderful way of living to instill in our children—the next generation.