One of our heroes here at The Money Vikings
is good old Ben Franklin. First of all he was a great American and founding father. But secondly, he was a personal finance bad ass! He cultivated many amazing habits and practices over time that made him wise and rich.
He developed what he called “Virtues.” He sought to live his life by 13 virtues. He kept a chart to record which virtues he was actually living by on a weekly basis. We are not Ben Franklin, but we hope that this site can be a kind of continual source of inspiration to live in a way that maximizes your wealth building potential and leads to a rich life. Not just rich in terms of money, because it is ultimately not about money, it is about life. It is about being their for your family, children and friends.
It’s also about maximizing your ability to live your dreams and make a contribution. Or simply to live life on your own terms. Ben’s 13 virtues were:
Temperance. eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
In order to achieve a life of financial success, you will have to harness the power of one of Ben’s virtues, the all important frugality.
On frugality, Ben said:
Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself, i.e., waste nothing.
Notice he did not say to never spend or use money. Use it, but ensure it is doing good to others or yourself. You see, if we are taught that money is evil, then we either dispense of it as quickly as possible or hoard it in some sick way.
Money is not evil or good, it is a tool, energy and expresses priorities. You would never waste a tool or energy if you could help it.
So reframe your paradigm and think of money in a new way if you have not already done so. You may very well see a lot more “Benjamin’s” in your life!
Frugality is the foundation upon which great fortunes and wealth is built. The simple fact of the matter is that most people do not build wealth with large sums of money. $10, $20, $100, $500 at a time is placed into investments and assets that over time grow. People that are not frugal will never have those small sums of money available for investing, therefore can never build wealth brick by brick slowly over time.
Here are 10 ways to easily be more frugal:
- Thermostat. Set it to the “appropriate” temperature. I am amazed when I see folks crank it way high or way low, when perhaps a moderate temperature is required or one could just put on a sweater.
- Cut cable. This is some low hanging fruit when it comes to frugality. Who the heck has cable anymore? Reduce the $60/month bill to $15 using Netflix. Plus there is an added bonus because Cable makes people spend more by sending constant commercial demand signals into your brain!
- Terminate the gym membership (unless you really use it). People pay high monthly membership fees for something they never use. There are so many easier ways to get exercise such as walking, bike riding, home gym, push ups, sit ups, etc.
- Make coffee at home. We are big coffee users and if you are too it is important to make it at home as much as possible. I understand the every once in a while splurge, but most of the time coffee should be made at home if you value frugality.
- Wash your own car. At $10-20 a wash each week, this can really add up. Could you imagine paying $80/month to have the car cleaned? This is a huge waste of money when it can be done at home.
- Share a meal out. If my wife and I go out to eat, we will try to split a meal when possible. Instead savings on calories and in terms of money.
- Buy used furniture & other items on Craigslist or at Thrift Stores.
- Learn to be more handy. Now more than ever a person can learn how to do many handyman jobs via the internet. There are thousands of do it yourself videos online that one can use to do all kinds of home repairs. Just make sure to practice proper safety protocols, wear safety gear when appropriate, etc.
- Quit smoking. Smoking and vaping are huge wastes of money and health, I am surprised these industries are still in business.
- Make lunch the night before. I try and use leftovers for lunch as much as possible or share a sandwich with a colleague.
The bottomline is that frugality is the very foundation of wealth building. Frugality practice should be the first step before any kind of investing, because that frees up the extra money to build an emergency fund, pay down debts and begin investing to build a fortune.