Mastering your money can come down to establishing a few smart habits.
After all, “habits are the cause of wealth, poverty, happiness, sadness, stress, good relationships, bad relationships, good health, or bad health,” writes Thomas C. Corley in ” Change Your Habits, Change Your Life,” a culmination of his research on hundreds of self-made millionaires.
Below, CNBC has rounded up 11 simple money habits you can adopt today that will help make 2017 a more lucrative year.
1. Automate your finances.
If your financial plan isn’t on auto-pilot, change that immediately, encourages self-made millionaire David Bach. Automating your finances – sending your money automatically to investment accounts, savings accounts, and creditors – allows you to build wealth effortlessly.
It’s “the one step that virtually guarantees that you won’t fail financially,” Bach writes in ” The Automatic Millionaire.” “You’ll never forget a payment again – and you’ll never be tempted to skimp on savings because you won’t even see the money going directly from your paycheck to your savings accounts.”
Simply link your accounts, so that money from your paycheck goes straight to your 401(k) or from your checking account to your savings account, and set up the exact day you want to make transfers.
In addition to never making a late payment again, automation ” frees up valuable time and allows you to focus on the fun parts of life, rather than spend time worrying about whether you paid that bill or if you’re going to overdraft again,” writes Bach.
2. Invest your ‘spare change.’
Investing is one of the most effective ways to build wealth, and contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a lot of money to get started.
In fact, thanks to micro-investing apps such as Acorns, you can start by simply investing your “spare change.” The app will round up your purchases to the nearest dollar and automatically put any spare change to work.
Other apps also aim to make investing simple and accessible, and automated investing services known as robo-advisors can work for you, no matter how much you have in the bank.
The key takeaway: Start investing sooner rather than later to take full advantage of compound interest. As Bach explains, “the miracle of compounding can transform a relatively small but consistent amount of saving into major wealth.”
4. Come up with specific money goals.
“The number one reason most people don’t get what they want is that they don’t know what they want,” self-made millionaire T. Harv Eker writes in his book ” Secrets of the Millionaire Mind.” “Rich people are totally clear that they want wealth.”
To reach that level of clarity, he suggests writing down goals for your annual income and net worth. Like all goal-setting, be realistic, but don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. After all, the wealthiest people aren’t afraid to think big.
The wealthiest individuals believe that “success, fulfillment and happiness are the natural order of existence,” self-made millionaire Steve Siebold writes in his book ” How Rich People Think.” “This single belief drives the great ones to behave in ways that virtually guarantee their success.”
On the flip side, the average earner remains average because they expect to, the self-made millionaire explains: “The masses think they aren’t worthy of great wealth. Who am I, they ask themselves, to become a millionaire?”
Try asking yourself, “Why not me?” After all, that’s what the millionaires and billionaires do.
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10. Track your spending.
You can’t build wealth if more money is leaving your wallet than coming in. To ensure you’re earning more than you’re spending, track your daily expenses.
There are a handful of apps that will do this for you, such as Mint, Personal Capital, and Level Money. You can also use a spreadsheet on your computer or simply record your everyday purchases in a notebook or on your phone.
Perhaps you’ll find another “latte factor” that you can cut back on.
11. Prioritize high-interest debt.
It’s important to understand that all debt is not created equal. An effective strategy is to rank all of your debt in order of interest rate, from highest to lowest. Then, prioritize the debt with the highest interest rate, while still paying the minimum on all of your debts, in order to pay less over the lifespan of your loans.
There is an alternate option, too: Rank your debt in order of size and start with the smallest. It’s a strategy that personal finance expert Dave Ramsey calls the ” snowball method.” The idea is that each time you pay off one form of debt, you build momentum, which helps you tackle the next biggest, and so on.
The important thing is that you get out of the red as quickly as possible. After all, you can’t start building wealth until you’re debt free.