Lulu shorts and a magical tailor – the best financial habits for millennials

Longevity is about more than health; you will also need money as you age. The earlier you develop healthy money habits, the better off you will be. This post was inspired by a recent trip to the tailors. Hence, the Lulu shorts. I love these shorts as they have convenient pockets and are quite fashionable. 

When I bought them, they fit me perfectly, but I bought them for their pockets and ABC (anti-ball crushing) technology. Unfortunately, I lost some weight as time passed, and the shorts got looser. I still liked them – they were pretty expensive – so I started wearing them with a belt.

The belt kept them up, but the material got all scrunched up, making them uncomfortable and unsightly. Then, one day, I decided I should donate them. They didn’t fit me anymore – they might fit someone else – but there was no way they would fit me again. I won’t gain weight just for a pair of shorts. 

Then it struck me; I could get them hemmed! My local tailor had shortened a couple of pants for me, and he had even fixed a pocket that had gotten pretty mangled. So maybe, he could fix my shorts too. He did. Now, my beautiful lulus will get the proper wear they deserve, and I can comfortably wear them without needing to put the weight back on. 

Do you have any anecdotes of a time when you were particularly thrifty? Share them in the comment section below. But I digress. I am sharing this story to elaborate on liminal thinking and discuss financial habits. These habits could help you increase your monthly gain [your increase in net worth from one month to the next]. 

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Dave Gray authored Liminal Thinking, which outlines how we often get stuck with our way of thinking and how to get out of it. There is a lot of valuable information in the book, but I want to focus on how some of it applies to saving money. Starting a saving plan can seem overwhelming – until you learn to expand your thinking.

Thinking limitless

Wealth has no limit. While there is a set amount of gold, diamonds and turkeys in the world, there is no limit to how much wealth you can accumulate. Part of that might be because we tend to add rather than subtract. 

Studies showed that people tend to add rather than subtract, even when subtraction is the better choice. Financially this would be a default to seek more income rather than limiting expenses. 

For my lulus, adding a belt was evident. It took a year of them being ugly and uncomfortable for me to think there might be a better way. Getting them tailored was the less obvious but better choice. 

Take the time to look at your finances and see if there is anything you can subtract or alter. Perhaps you could get by with less data on your mobile plan, or a fifteen-minute call could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. You know best where your money is going; if not, then discovering it should be your first step. 

Counting pennies

One tried and tested method can help you break your spending habits: tracking. Even though most transactions are still done with cash, you don’t need to count pennies; it will be easier to track your spending using your smartphone. 

There are many benefits to tracking your expenses, and dedicated apps such as goodbudget and mint make it easier now than ever. Alternatively, if the idea of a new app seems a burden. In that case, you can easily use a combination of existing ones to accomplish the same task. All you need is somewhere to record daily expenses and somewhere to categorize them.

Awareness is the main benefit of tracking expenses. Whether you habitually buy gadgets, clothes or books, it is easy to get carried away. Tracking where your money goes will transform your automated spending into a conscious decision and decrease your daily spending naturally.

Developing a meditation routine can also help to mediate your expenses by teaching you to make your decisions deliberately. People who meditate tend to have better self-discipline, thus being able to better resist the temptation brought forth by marketing agencies. 

Pay yourself first

Get in the habit of investing; once you know where your money is going, it’s time to start putting it in the right place. Having savings and investments is crucial to being prepared for the future. It offers security and flexibility if something happens – like, say, a global pandemic or something like that. 

Your savings are the liquid money that can act as a buffer and keep you floating between the hard times. While your investments will continually grow, ensuring that your money doesn’t wither away due to inflation. 

In his book Rich Dad Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki introduces the idea of paying yourself first. This idea is a powerful one because it goes counter to our natural instinct. It says you should invest your monthly quota before considering any expenses.

This means deciding how much you will invest every pay and sticking to it. Investments pay over the long term, so even a moderate investment – if done right – will eventually be worth substantially more, thanks to the compound effect

Investments and savings accounts have the added benefit of making your money inaccessible for immediate expenses. The harder it is for you to spend your money, the less you will spend mindlessly. 

Be proactive – don’t carry debt but invest.

The earlier you start investing, the more you will benefit from compounding interest. Conversely, the later you pay off a debt, the more you will have to pay in interest. If you have debt occurring interest, your best investment might be to pay off that debt. No investment is certain, but debt is a guaranteed loss.

Being proactive can benefit all of your assets. For example, think of your car. Regularly changing its oil costs a little bit when you do it, but not changing it will cost a lot later when you need a new engine. The same goes with the health of all your assets – including you.

Properly maintaining your assets will help prevent more expensive issues from arising later. Longevity is about thinking long-term, so it’s essential to carefully consider how your spending habits today will impact you in twenty years.

In summary

There are three methods for maximizing your savings and reducing your financial burden later: tracking your expenses, paying yourself first and being proactive. Remember that your personal health is your most valuable asset. Whether you are a thinker or a doer, you will need your faculties to keep you busy well into old age, so maintain them. 

Like all assets, it’s easier to maintain yourself than fix yourself. It’s better to have a good life for 80 years than a great one for 20 and then spend the last 60 in pain and unable to afford a decent cup of coffee. The earlier you start planning, the more prepared you will be. 

P.S. I did wear those shorts while writing this post

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