Are you frustrated with your finances? Drowning in debt? Or just not sure where your money goes each month?
Saving more of your paycheck doesn't have to mean pinching pennies and clipping coupons; sometimes all it takes is a new perspective and some good habits. For a few (easy) ways to grow your net worth, consider these 10 Signs You're Not as Rich as You Could Be:
1. There's a designer logo on your handbag, shoes, or clothing. Don't pay a premium to flaunt a famous name on your attire (they should be paying you for all that free advertising!). Many designer items are made in the same Chinese factories as less expensive goods. The only message those logos convey is that you paid too much.
2. You have a key to a public storage unit. The problem here is twofold: you spent a lot of money on things you don't use, and you continue to waste money on storing them. The best course of action: sell the contents of the unit on Craigslist, eBay, or at a garage sale, and hand over the keys.
3. Your house has more bedrooms than people. Consider if you really need all that square footage. Downsizing to a smaller abode can save you money in myriad ways: you'll reduce your rent or mortgage payment, utilities, and the amount of stuff you need to buy to "fill" your space.
4. You have no idea what your tap water tastes like. Packaged drinks (like juice, soda, and bottled water) can do a number on your grocery budget. Quench your thirst with tap water instead--the recommended eight glasses of water a day cost only about $1 per year.
5. You often receive compliments on the color of your hair, toenails, or fingernails. If you're a regular at the salon, cut your visits in half -- or better yet, eliminate them altogether. Have a spa day at home instead: light some candles, put on some relaxing music, and give yourself a DIY manicure or pedicure.
6. Your TV channels number in the double (or triple) digits. Drop the expensive cable, fiber optic, or satellite television services -- and put your money and time to better use. Many shows are available for viewing on the internet; and if you're a movie buff, a subscription service like Netflix may be more economical than premium channels.
7. Your car has a fancy hood ornament. A car is a means of transportation from point A to point B -- not a reflection of your identity or success (as marketers would have you believe). Luxury cars are more expensive to purchase, maintain, and insure. Sell that money-guzzler and instead of looking rich, be rich.
8. Your refrigerator is empty. When there's no food in the house, it's much too tempting to eat out (or stop for takeout). Action plan: make a menu for the week, shop with a grocery list, and stock your fridge with fresh food that's easy to prepare. Consider cooking several meals at once and freezing them; they'll be ready-to-eat on those nights when you're too tired to cook.
9. You set foot in a shopping mall more than once last month. The best way to save money is to stay out of stores -- it's an incredibly easy way to preserve your wealth. And by all means, don't shop for entertainment; limit your purchases to necessities, and spend your leisure time at the park instead.
10. You're still paying off holiday credit card bills. You'll have much happier holidays by heeding the following advice: never buy gifts on a credit card. Tailor your budget to the cash you have on hand. If you have little to none, don't despair: give people handmade items, baked goods, or the gift of your time. It'll be much more appreciated than anything bought in a store!