Like it or not, money makes the world go ’round. Much like air, it’s necessary to life at this time. We need it for food, housing, transportation, healthcare, clothes, and everything else. That’s why developing smart money habits is essential to building wealth.
Now building wealth can mean different things to different people. For some it’s just having enough for a comfortable home and a little extra for your wants and emergencies. Others see wealth as having a huge house and expensive cars.
Either way the foundation is the same. You have to have these basic money habits whether you want to live a modest or extravagant life.
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How I Put 100k in My Bank Account
Like the title says, these money habits helped me put over $100,000 in my bank account. I feel a little awkward talking about my personal finances, but I want people to know what’s possible.
And to be very clear, I do not come from a wealthy family. I grew up wearing hand me downs that came from the thrift store. I don’t have a really high paying job. I didn’t inherit any money. I went to community college to cut on education expenses so I don’t have loans.
I was actually really shocked when I logged into my savings account in July 2020 and saw the balance was over $100,000. I didn’t necessarily have a goal of having 100k in my account, I just like saving and investing money where I can. My mom opened my first bank account when I was 7 and since then I’ve put my extra money in there. When I was 17 I had maybe $1000 in there, but then I started working and that grew pretty quickly.
I’m 31 now, so my journey to having $100,000 didn’t happen over night but it did happen because I’ve developed the following smart money habits.
Just having the money isn’t enough to keep it!
Have you ever heard of lottery winners who end up with nothing a year or two later?
It’s because they had poor money habits before winning the lottery, and they didn’t change their money habits after. They didn’t track their spending, they didn’t put any in savings, they didn’t invest it, and they didn’t create a budget.
So even if a fairy comes along and hands you $5 million dollars you’ll be back at square one if you don’t have smart money habits.
Today you’re going to learn how to keep your money where you want it.
I’ve been using these money habits for years and can obviously attest that they work!
The 10 Smart Money Habits to Get Rich
1. Track Your Spending
When I was a kid my mom had a battered old notebook where she would write down every purchase and add it up at the end of the month to make sure she stayed under budget.
When I turned 18 I started doing the same thing, but then I switched to putting everything Excel. I have a file for the year and a tab for each month, plus a tab with the total earned, spent, and saved for the year.
Having a visual representation of all your spending is extremely important, that way you can see exactly where your money is going. Usually when I look at mine at the end of the month I’m like “oh crap, I need stop going to Target!” and it really helps me curb my spending.
So keep your receipts and write down every single purchase you make, even if it’s just a few dollars because it all adds up. Some months I look at my spreadsheet and there aren’t really any huge balances (aside from bills) on a single entry, but it’s all those small balances that get me.
You can do this with Excel, Google Spreadsheets, Mint, or other apps.
2. Create a Budget
If you’re serious about building wealth you have to have a budget. Know exactly what you make and how you’ll spend it.
A good place to start is the 50/30/20 plan.
- 50% Necessities
- 30% Wants
- 20% Savings and debt repayment
Here are some basic things you need to know to set up your budget.
- Monthly income (minus taxes)
- Cost of fixed necessities (rent, insurance, electricity, phone, loans, etc)
- Cost of wants (take out, Starbucks, Netflix, make up, clothes, concerts)
- Retirement contributions, future house down payments, emergency fund
Add up your necessities, wants, and savings, then subtract them from your monthly income. If your balance is above zero you’re on track, if it’s in the negative it’s time to start cutting things from your Wants category. Maybe you go without Netflix for a few months, or only go to Starbucks once a month. Try cooking at home and taking lunch to work instead of eating out. Don’t go to the mall or Target to ‘browse’ for things you don’t need.
You probably already know where you can cut your spending, so be tough and do what you need to do.
You can get budgeting help from a free app like Mint.
3. Open a Savings Account — Or Two
If you don’t already have a savings account it’s time to open one.
You can open one at your local bank, but they usually have low interest rates. Instead I recommend an online bank, since they don’t have the cost of physical locations they are able to give you a higher interest rate. I use Ally bank, it was really easy to open my account and my interest rate is currently 1.0%. In comparison the rate is 0.5% at my local bank — keep in mind interest rates fluctuate because of the federal government.
Having a ‘serious’ savings account for rainy days and car/house down payments is important, but I also think it’s a good idea to open a second ‘fun’ savings account for things like vacations or something luxurious.
4. Automate Your Bills
When it comes to finances, automation is a huge blessing. Set as many as your bills on auto pay as you can. My cell phone provider (Boost Mobile) actually gives a $5 discount to people who set up auto pay, so look for things like that. A penny saved is a penny earned.
You can also set up a certain about to automatically go directly to your savings or retirement accounts each month. If you’re the kind of person to spend any money you see in your checking account this is especially helpful.
5. Invest In Your Future
Investing your money allows you to make some extra money with your money. There are a few apps that automatically invest your money for you across a diverse selection of stocks and bonds.
You might enjoy 5 Easy Ways to Make Your Money Work For You — look at the difference between my Acorns July 2019 returns vs now!
I also have a stock trading account with Ally that has done really well. I used to be more active with selling and buying but now I just let my stocks sit and earn money.
6. Set Money Goals
Money goals are just as important as any other type of goals. When you’re saving for a house, car, vacation, or retirement, having that goal can make going without something else a lot easier. Every year my money goal is to put the maximum contribution of $6,000 in my IRA, and I know I’d rather put money there than blowing it on something I don’t really need.
Maybe your goal is to have a cushion in your checking account instead of always being on the verge of a $0 balance. You might want to save for when you have a baby. Or maybe you just want to save for a vacation.
Whatever it is, be clear about your intention and come up with a game plan. What is your time frame? How much do you need to save each month? What are you willing to sacrifice now for a bigger payoff later?
7. Have a Side Hustle
When possible, it’s a great idea to have a side hustle. Whether selling crafts or printables on etsy, driving for Lyft, or starting a blog (yes you can make money blogging!) having a side hustle is a great way to make extra money.
I think it’s important to make your side hustle something you actually enjoy. So many great businesses started out in someones garage or bedroom. With time, patience, and dedication their side hustles turned into thriving and fulfilling businesses.
You never know when your hobby or passion will turn into serious cash flow. Put it out there into the world and see what happens.
8. Do a No Buy
The best way to grow your money is to not spend it.
This year I’m doing a clothing and makeup no buy, I’m only buying to replace things that are used up. You can do one for just a month or two to start if a full year is daunting.
Pick a category where you know you indulge too much, like fast food, Starbucks, clothing, handbags, stationary, etc. Commit to not buying those things unless something is used up.
9. Plan All Purchases
Going to the store ‘just to browse’ is good way to buy things you don’t need and waste your money. Plan all your purchases before you go to the store and stick to your list.
If money is tight it can help to know ahead of time what you can and can’t buy. Maybe this month you have to pay for car insurance, but next month you can buy new shoes.
If something catches your eye wait at least 48 hours before buying it. Most likely you’ll forget about it because it wasn’t really important to begin with.
10. Change Your Mindset
If you think you’ll never have enough money to get ahead then you won’t. Your attitude towards money matters.
The biggest block to growing wealth is thinking you can’t grow wealth. Our mindset can be our biggest enemy or our biggest asset.
People who’ve won Olympic medals didn’t go around thinking they could never win one. They identified what they wanted, they believed in themselves, then they put in the work and time to make it happen.
If you’ve ever looked at your dream house and thought ‘I’ll never have that’ take a moment to question why not? Plenty of other people live in nice houses. You aren’t any less deserving than they are. There is no logical reason to believe you can’t have what someone else has if you put in the work.
Make having a positive mindset about money a habit, practice it daily.
If you really struggle with this, read How to Change Your Limiting Beliefs to start working on your money mindset.
→ Join Acorns to invest in your future today.
→ 15 Things to Stop Wasting Money On
→ The 7 Best Financial Decisions to Make with Money in Your 20s
→ 5 Legit Ways to Make Free Money
→ 6 Tips for Manifesting Money that Really Work
→ 9 Ways to Feel Abundant When You’re Broke
Do you already practice some of these smart money habits? Are there any that you really struggle with? What are your money goals?
I hope you found these tips helpful. Thank you so much for reading!