It is pretty common knowledge these days that money rules the world. Which is why it is so important for each and every one of us to have our own set of money rules!
Otherwise, we can quickly find ourselves financially overwhelmed and stressed out. By setting yourself rules to follow, you can ensure that you are always in control.
What do I mean by ‘money rules’ though?
When I use this phrase, I am referring to a set of guidelines we set ourselves when it comes to our finances.
These are the rules we should follow whenever money is involved, to help ourselves stay on top of our finances. Instead of our finances running wild.
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7 Money Rules To Live By
Many people don’t consider how setting themselves financial rules can actually benefit them. Especially in their personal lives.
But when you take a moment to consider the effects these rules can have, it really isn’t surprising.
Below are my seven golden rules of money, and each has worked really well for me over the years.
I definitely recommend trying to implement them all, but don’t feel discouraged if you struggle or they don’t quite work with your lifestyle.
However, I like to think these are a great starting point that everyone can base their money rules on.
1. Keep An Emergency Fund
This will always be my first rule of money. It’s arguably the most important thing everyone should be working towards (if you ask me at least!)
Emergency funds are a type of savings which typically consist of at least three months of bills. Their purpose is to sustain you if you are ever out of work for some reason.
Makes sense that they’re always my number one piece of advice right?
I understand that many people can’t just magic up three months worth of bills.
Emergency funds are a long-term savings plan and can definitely take months to build up to, but you will be beyond grateful you took the time to prepare them should anything ever happen to you.
2. Live Below Your Means
Live below your means. Or rather, don’t spend more than your salary.
A lot of us have heard this phrase, but many of us tend to dismiss it, and not give it the attention it deserves. It does sound pretty strange at face value.
How can you spend more than you earn? The money doesn’t exist.
What this phrase actually means, is don’t spend your money just because you can.
Small things can make all the difference, rent a cheaper apartment that may be an extra 5 minute walk to work, or buy the store brand appliance instead of the flashy branded one.
Just because you can afford the more expensive items, doesn’t mean you should buy the more expensive items.
Once I took this to heart and began working on my finances, things definitely took a turn for the better.
I found I had more disposable income, and more money which could be tucked away into savings or put towards larger goals (like a glorious holiday abroad!)
3. Pay Yourself First
My next money rule is pay yourself first. Or rather, pay your future self first.
What I mean by this is consider your long-term goals; do you want to go on holiday? Or maybe you want a new car? Or build a house deposit?
When you get your paycheck each month, once your bills have been sorted and you have added to your emergency funds, you should then ‘pay yourself’ to help towards these goals before spending what is left over!
This can really help keep you motivated to stick with your money rules as you know you will be getting a big reward when you hit your next goal!
4. Don’t Be Afraid Of Money
Not being afraid of money is another rule which may sound strange until you look beneath the surface.
Many of us spend years avoiding looking at our finances. Watching just about every adult groan at the thought of money and paying bills, often leaves a negative image of money that we don’t even realise we have.
Combined with any negative experiences of your own, and it would seem many of us don’t have an overly healthy relationship with money.
Have you ever found yourself too nervous to check your balance? Or make yourself a budget plan because you know the numbers won’t look good?
Don’t worry, we’ve all been there! (I know I have).
This is why I find overcoming this fear of money can be incredibly liberating! By taking control back it allows us to change the relationship with our finances for the better.
Being curious and conscious with our money allows us the freedom to understand our finances and make the best decisions based on that, instead of winging it and hoping for the best.
Overcoming this negativity and fear associated with money was one of the best things I have achieved.
I am now able to confidently check my bank and financial situation, knowing I am capable of managing anything that comes my way. Whether it is an unexpected bill or a last minute expense.
It is said information and knowledge is power. When you learn about money you can banish the fear. These are my favorite personal finance books that will increase your knowledge profoundly.
5. Talk About Money
My fifth rule when it comes to money somewhat ties in with the fourth, not being afraid of money.
We live in a society which treats talking about money as a very private and hushed topic.It’s almost taboo to talk about what you earn or whether you are struggling financially.
And this mentality can often perpetuate a fear of money.
Thankfully, as times change and people become more and more open about their lives, talking about money is becoming more and more acceptable.
And I urge you to use this to your advantage! Especially when it comes to people you live with. Be open about your finances with your partner, or your family/friends, ask for their advice if needs be.
Normalize having these conversations, as they allow you and your housemates to make clear and informed decisions on things.
Maybe it’s time to stop relying on the heating and wrap up in a few extra layers so you can save on electricity. Or perhaps you can plan your meals each week so you stop ordering takeaway so often.
If you don’t have these talks with those who matter, it can be difficult to identify problems and changes which need making in order to make your money go further!
6. A Penny Saved, is A Penny Earned
You may have heard this one from your grandparents, and now I’m here to remind you about it!
If you don’t spend it, you don’t need to earn it!
In some cases, finding a better job, getting a raise, anything which brings more money in, isn’t always feasible.
In these situations we have to make the most of what we have. And if you have a smaller income, this can mean much more saving.
This doesn’t mean you can never buy things, though it does mean you should really consider what you spend your money on.
- Can you get a better deal somewhere else?
- Can you maybe purchase the store brand instead of the big name products?
- Do you really need that item you don’t have the space for?
Being frugal is all about making the most of your money, and pushing it as far as it will go. Shop at discount stores, buy store brand food where possible etc.
Once you get the hang of it you will find you can still live like a queen, while spending much less!
7. Avoid Debt (Except The Good Kind)
Naturally avoiding debt is always a good idea. This means you should really consider everything you pay for with credit, and whether or not you can actually afford it.
If you are not careful, it can be really easy to form a bad habit of paying for everything with credit, without being able to afford the repayments.
That being said, there are some types of debt that are actually considered good!
Generally, ‘good debt’ is considered to be something which benefits your financial future. Such as taking out a mortgage.
This type of debt will leave you better off in the long run (i.e. owning a house) and has clear repayment plans, with a deadline where it will be completely paid off.
This doesn’t mean you should try and take out a mortgage on a whim though! If there is a chance that you may struggle with the payments then it could definitely do more harm than good.
But it is definitely something to consider if you are in a position to!
These money rules have really helped me take control of my finances and I feel they will help you out too.
My goal here is to help you grow your financial health in the best way for you, and these rules are a great starting point.
Other Money Rules To Live By
These rules have helped me immensely over the years. But they are not the only money rules out there, in fact there are many others. I recommend trying any and all which you feel may work for you and your lifestyle.
Remember; the more control you have over your money, the less control it can have over you!
The 30 Day Rule
Do you struggle with buying things impulsively? And then maybe even realise you didn’t truly need or want the item when it was too late?
We’ve all been in situations where we see an amazing new gadget, or a lovely new bag, and bought it on a whim. Only for it to gather dust, before eventually being donated. I don’t even want to think about how much money I have spent following this exact cycle.
The 30 day rule is simple. When you see something you want, force yourself to wait 30 days before buying it. If at the end of the 30 days you are still thinking about it, then you can buy it.
But if you haven’t really given it a second thought since seeing it, then you probably don’t want it as much as you think you do, and shouldn’t buy it.
This rule is a lifesaver if you find yourself making many impulse purchases every month, as it stops you and forces you to think about where your money is going.
However, I would like to add- this doesn’t mean you should wait 30 days for a new pair of sneakers if your current pair are falling apart and you don’t have any spares. This rule applies to wants not needs!
The 50 30 20 Rule
While I am considering this as a rule here, it is arguably a type of budgeting too.
What is the 50 30 20 rule exactly?
Put simply, it is a way to split your money into categories, so you know exactly how much money you should be spending in each area of life. This rule can be great for when you are first starting to take control of your finances, as it is incredibly simple and helps you prioritise your expenses.
The 50/30/20 rule works by dividing all of your expenses into 3 categories;
- Needs: rent, utilities, transport etc.
- Wants: eating out, socializing etc.
- Savings: Emergency funds, retirement, money goals etc.
Your needs amount to about 50% of your monthly income and include all of your larger expenses. Things like rent, groceries, bills etc, all factor into this category.
Then you have your wants. These will make up about 30% of your outgoings, and essentially includes all of your ‘free-spend’ money for the month. So if you want to hang out with friends or order take-out, this is where that money comes from.
Lastly, your savings. Savings should make up at least 20% of your budget. This accounts for things like your emergency funds, retirement pot, personal money goals etc.
If you think you can afford to save more by all means go for it! Just remember to leave yourself enough money to cover your needs and wants (the last thing you want is to develop a habit of dipping into savings!).
Buy Cheap, Buy Twice
I know I’m not the only one who enjoys a good bargain when I see one! And this is why this rule took me a long time to learn, too long if I’m honest!
We have all been in a situation where a gadget or item of clothing has broken on us and we need to replace it. Often we end up buying the exact same cheap flimsy version that already broke on us once, only to find ourselves replacing it again and again.
I find this to be one of the worst cycles to be caught in as it definitely wastes money. By the time you have replaced it two or three times, you have spent more money than you would have purchasing one of higher quality.
When you see items with a price that seems almost too good, consider whether it is cheap because it is a bargain, or if it’s cheap because it’s poor quality.
When it comes to spending money, rules like this one offer a great example of instances where splurging now can save you money later on!
Summary: The Importance Of Money Rules
And that concludes my seven golden money rules I believe everyone should embrace in life (plus three extra!).
As I mentioned at the start; money rules the world. But that doesn’t mean that your money has to rule you.
By taking charge of your financial situation you can put yourself in charge. And that is what I hope today’s article has helped you to do!
By giving ourselves rules to follow when it comes to money, we can set ourselves up for financial stability and peace of mind.
Which is why I find them to be some of the most important steps to take when managing your money.
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Last Updated on 26th May 2021 by Emma