11 Simple Things That Rich People Do (And So Can You)

What do rich people do that is so different from the rest of us?

Do they do things that differently? (They must surely, otherwise they wouldn’t be, well, rich!)

If they do certain things, perhaps you and I can copy them and become rich, like them?

The fact is, rich people have a different mindset to poor people and I’m not talking a spendy mindset either.

They think differently to you and I.

What rich people do is often quite different to what you expect them to do. And I should know.

A rich and diverse family

My extended family is extremely diverse, wealth wise.

Among my extended family I have construction workers, care workers, barristers, solicitors, SAHMs, American corp VP’s, teachers and those with an inherited private income.

Yep, you read that right, there are still people in this world who inherit a private income.

I don’t just read about how the other half live, I can see it when we have big family gatherings!

And it makes for very interesting conversations and people watching.

I can be as nosy as the next person but I don’t like to go asking these distant relatives how much they earn or inherited, what it’s like to be rich.

I mean it wouldn’t be right to be going up to someone you know and asking them something like – you’re rich, so what do rich people with their money?

how do most people get rich?

Before I prove to you that you can do what rich people do and change your money situation we probably need to look at what rich is.

My definition of what makes a person rich is having enough money to be financially free.

Enough money that means you can do whatever you want within reason.

Millionaires are rich but you don’t need to have millions in the bank to be rich.

You just need to have enough money to satisfy all your needs plus a little extra.

What do rich people do that you can too?

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If you are looking for magical answers that prove that you can never be rich then I am going to disappoint you.

What rich people do with their money and what they buy is not always so different to what you and I might buy.

And for sure what rich people do for fun could easily cost less than what many people fork out for an evenings entertainment.

How people get rich is that they have a series of money habits that help them manage their lives and their money and find ways to be richer.

How the rich get richer is that they focus their efforts on the 11 things below.

Believe it or not, rich people habits are not exclusively for wealthy people, they are simple habits that you could start doing today. And every day thereafter.

The question is, are you willing to drop the habits of poor people and do what rich people do in order to become wealthy?

a note saying set goals on background of cell phones and calculator to signify what do rich people do

1. Budget & Prioritize

Whether you like it or not, a budget is truly a wonderful thing and rich people know this.

What rich people do with their money is to make sure every dollar is accounted for and every bill is paid on time so no charges are incurred.

They use systems like the Empower app* for both budgeting help and savings.

The wealthy don’t waste time manually tracking their spending or using a spreadsheet, no need when Empower automatically tracks your spending and gives you updates on where you are against the weekly and monthly spend limits you set up.

Empower makes budgeting so easy. No need for multiple apps for saving, budgeting and banking as these are all features of the Empower app.

Action – Find out more about the Empower app here and sign up for your free 14 day trial.

image of mobile phone showing Empower app in action
“Empower is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by nbkc bank, Member FDIC.” 

In the UK, wealthy people are using apps like Monese.

Monese has a Spending Overview tool and monthly and weekly budgeting so you can track where you are with your money whenever you want.

Even better, Monese has instant notifications whenever you spend or receive money.

Which is slightly annoying when I transfer money to DD1 as she is messaging me a thank you before I’ve had a chance to message her to say I’ve done the transfer!

Having the option to have up to 10 different savings pots with Monese means you can have your sinking funds all in the same place.

Sinking funds are a key part of what rich people do with their money. They have money set aside for both expected and unexpected expenses and Monese makes it so easy to do.

Action – Open your account with Monese today and make this rich person’s habit, your habit.

2. Long Term Goals

Goals and targets are a very important part of how people become rich. I’m not talking just about financial goals either, although they are very important.

I’m talking life goals, life expectations for the family and targets they want to achieve within certain time-frames.

When you set goals you are also creating a plan on how you are going to get there.

Because you have those long term goals you do what you need to do in order to achieve them.

Without goals you have nothing to strive for, nothing to make you stretch your comfort zone.

ACTION – Take some time now and draft your long term goals.

  • Where do you want to be in 5 years time?
  • What financial situation do you want to have achieved in 20 years?
  • How much money do you want to have saved for retirement in 10 years?

Review your goals every quarter or monthly to check progress and plan how to achieve them.

woman working out her finances using a calculator and holding dollar bills to signify what rich people do

3. Don’t Spoil Kids With Material Goods

As a parent I have always budgeted for Christmas and birthdays, trying hard, in my mind, to not spend too much.

Knowing that many families around me (both with and without money) think nothing of spending much more, as in hundreds of dollars more, on each of their kids at Christmas.

Buying presents is one area where rich vs poor habits are often starkly different.

My wealthy family members really don’t splash the cash on their kids at these times.

Indeed they might only get 2 or 3 presents in total and not to the tune of hundreds of dollars.

In fact one Christmas it was remarked upon how many presents DD2 had received – oops!

I had tried so hard to stay on budget but I also tried to ensure she had a number of presents to open.

This year she had loads, they were on the cheaper end so I hadn’t completely blown my Christmas budget!

ACTION – consider using the 4 present method at Christmas:

  1. Something they want
  2. Something they need
  3. Something to wear and
  4. Something to read
person using a pink calculator with receipts in hand

4. Focus On Self-Improvement

Often the life of a rich person includes using their spare time to improve their knowledge on many different things.

They read books from many different genres, including business, finance, economics and self improvement.

They keep up-to-date on world affairs through more than just the nightly TV news.

When you have a wealthy mindset, you understand that learning is a lifelong endeavor. Not something you leave behind when you finish college and start working.

What do rich people do for fun? They treat self-improvement as a fun hobby, something they want to do and as a treat to themselves.

The more knowledge you have, the more you understand the world around you, the more you can use this to help you increase your wealth. Knowing this is how the rich get richer.

Richer in money and richer in knowledge and understanding.

ACTION – These are my top 4 recommended personal finance books, ones that are easy to read, to understand and to relate to your own circumstances. Grab yourself a copy to read, from Amazon or the library.

The Best Personal Finance Books

These are best personal finance books I recommend to anyone who wants to grow their knowledge and take control of their money. Try and buy a used copy - it's good money sense!

5. Don’t Watch TV

Having read the above self improvement habit, you might be thinking – but I don’t have time for all that.

Yes you do.

Time to improve yourself can easily be found through not watching TV.

A TV is consider an essential in many households so you would think a very large expensive would be on the list of luxurious items for the rich. Bigger is after all more expensive so it’s the stuff rich people buy, right?

Wrong.

The life of a rich person often does not include owning a TV, nor do they watch via live streaming or anything else.

How rich people live is that they just do not watch TV.

In their mind their time is too valuable to spend it watching TV.

They would rather spend their valuable time on things that benefit them and their family in the long run.

According to Wikipedia, the average American watches 4 hours of TV every day. And it’s almost the same in the UK according to The Independent.

That is 4 hours every day that you could spend developing your knowledge and applying it to your life.

ACTION – Start to value your time. Have a TV ban. If you watch it daily, start with 2 nights a week and fill your time with learning something useful for long term personal growth.

small dog lying down on lots of money notes

6. Choose Investments Over Cash

How rich people make money is they know the best form of money is money that is working for you to make more money. Rich people make money by investing it, not saving it.

If you have been wondering what millionaires buy, then this is it. They buy investments and get money working for them. It’s why the rich get richer.

They might have a cash buffer, but not much. Just enough for their emergency fund.

What rich people do with their money is to invest it for the long term as this is how money makes money.

Invested money takes time to grow. Start when you are young and you will benefit from many years of compound interest.

Which is where the interest you earn, earns interest itself.

Through the hours they have spent on self improvement they have researched investments and spread their money across multiple sectors.

I have been saving money for our future for a long time but I spent the first 10 years or more saving money into cash savings.

Yes, it’s nice to see that money grow (slowly) but these days it doesn’t even keep pace with inflation so you are, in effect, losing money.

Money makes money by being investing in stocks and shares worldwide. In real estate both in funds and bricks and mortar. And in businesses.

Start out small, investing in shares through an index tracker or individual stocks if you have done your research.

And keep building your investment base from there.

ACTION – Use your newly found self development time to up-skill yourself on investments. Where can you start investing your money?

My secret tip: Get comfortable with the idea of investing by using a really fun app called Acorns. It’s the modern equivalent of your coin jar as it rounds up every purchase to the nearest $1 and automatically invests this spare change.

Acorns is a really simple way to dip your toes into investing, and save money, without even thinking about it. I think the best part is this hands off automated service costs as little as $1 a month.

Acorns automated roundups make saving and investing unbelievably easy, you’ll be pleasantly surprised how quickly your spare change accumulates.

Click here to check Acorns for yourself.

graffiti of keep learning - what rich people do

7. Prioritize Education

A good education is key to a successful career, a great education is even better.

Rich people are aware of the power of a good education so will prioritize this over many other things.

They will live in crap digs in order to pursue their education.

They will go without many things in order to save enough money for their kids to get into a decent school or college.

A family friend sent her kids to private school (a UK private school = one you pay thousands for) and didn’t have a single holiday or getaway weekend for 8 years.

Not with the kids or without them.

Because their money only went so far and education came first.

ACTION – Consider what steps you are willing to take to get the best education for yourself and your future children.

8. Buy Quality

Have you ever bought something only to find it disintegrates after a few uses? There is a saying “Buy cheap, buy twice” and unfortunately it’s true.

When you buy quality items this doesn’t happen. You might pay more initially (or you might not) but quality items last.

I am fed up of buying white goods when they only last a few years. My washing machine is on its last legs.

When it finally goes, I will copy what rich people buy and purchase the quality brand which comes with a 10 year guarantee.

I will pay double the price but it should last 3 times as long.

ACTION – Buy less but buy quality. Do your research, don’t impulse buy and buy items that will last.

9. Buy Used

A brand new car loses almost 10% of it’s value as you drive it off the forecourt. Rich people understand value for money and a brand new car is not that.

When you understand the value of your money and recognize what you can do with it then you will want to ensure you stretch it as far as possible.

ACTION – When you are in the market for a new item, do your research to find it used and marvel at the savings you make.

Sites like Ebay, Craiglist, and Gumtree are good starting points. Get to know your local thrift stores/charity shops for new to you quality clothing.

notebook with planning written across it to signify what do rich people do with their money

10. Pay Themselves First

When you have long term goals, you have one eye on your long term future.

In order to make your future goals a reality, you should prioritize the future you by paying yourself first.

The future you (and kids) need you to be saving your money today, for them tomorrow.

If you spend all your money now you cannot invest, or improve your situation.

ACTION – set up an automated payment into a savings account today for the future you. Then do your research on where to invest this money longer term.

11. Don’t Conspicuously Spend

Rich people do not splash their cash. They are not conspicuous lifestyle spenders.

Indeed, reading the descriptions of the millionaires, how they dress and the cars they drove, in Millionaire Next Door you would be hard-pressed to identify any of them as rich, never mind millionaires.

Because rich people don’t dress rich. They dress quality but the clothes they wear might be 10+ years old.

I don’t think any child born into the wealthy side of my extended family has ever had a brand new cot.

Nor have they had many brand new clothes. Because hand-me-downs are very much a tradition of wealthy people.

When there are perfectly serviceable baby items hanging around the family, it makes money sense to use them. Why spend money for the sake of it?

And what do rich people eat? Very often reduced food, just like me!

I have wealthy family members who make a beeline for the reduced aisle of their grocery store every time.

Wealthy people will also use coupons just as much as you or I.

Why not use a coupon if you have one? You are leaving money on the table if you don’t.

ACTION – only spend on necessities. Things that move you towards your life goals.

white desk with pink accessories - what rich people do

How people become rich

Seems to me the argument about rich vs poor habits is that they are actually one and the same.

Nothing mind blowing in these habits is there? In fact you probably know you should be doing most of them already.

But are you?

Are you actually focused on your long term goals? Focused on improving your life and spending wisely?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of the wealthy ones and it took me a long time, too long, to learn some of these habits.

And no, I haven’t embraced them all.

I still watch TV (damn you boxsets and dramas) and I really struggle with the quality vs. cost habit on expensive goods like washing machines and clothes.

What I can tell you is that taking on some of these habits has made a significant difference to our wealth.

We are not wealthy but we paid off our mortgage 10 years early and we have savings and investments.

And we’ve only ever earned modest incomes – no six figure salaries here, not even half!

ACTION – What rich people do, you can too. Take note of these habits. Determine that you will do some or all of them starting today.

Start taking back control of your money by grabbing your copy of the Money Saving Starter Guide today.

Come and follow me on Pinterest for more money saving hints and frugal tips!

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Last Updated on 19th June 2021 by Emma

About Emma

I'm here to help you become confident in making the best money decisions for you and your family. Frugal living has changed my life, let me help you change yours.

2 thoughts on “11 Simple Things That Rich People Do (And So Can You)”

  1. I love this overview of what rich people do. Very comprehensive guide. I like your point about not spoiling kids. There are a lot of excellent points that we agree on: investing instead of cash, paying yourself first, and buying quality. Thanks for sharing! Glad I stumbled onto your blog. 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi Graham! Spoiling kids is a funny one isn’t it? The more money you have (especially if it’s old money/inherited) the less likely you are to spoil your kids, it would seem. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply

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