12 Daily Habits Of Debt-Free People
Money Mondays is a series focused on the intersection of finances and well-being. We believe money is one of the last taboos in the wellness world: Why is it that we can talk about our sex lives and not our salaries? With an underlying drive to empower, we’re aiming to address all your burning questions about making money (and making more), saving it, spending it, but most of all how to use it to power the life of your dreams.
Should I meditate, move my body, or work on a creative project with the free hour of time I have today? Personally, when I let my day, technology, and the world around me sweep me up, I can get a little lost with what the answer should be. To make matters more challenging, my spiritual mentors tell me I already know the answer, but sometimes I can’t tell the difference between my head answer and my heart answer. I'm sure you've been there, too.
When our outside world takes precedent over our inside one, our personal and our financial landscape becomes chaotic and unwell. The longer it takes for us to recalibrate this lack of harmony, the more our well-being and our wallets will suffer. The good news is that there are simple techniques that my money mentors have in common. These strategies keep their debt low and the money magnetic.
Here are 12 daily practices that the most mindful money mentors practice to become (and stay) debt-free:
1. They set daily intentions.
This is so easy to do but even easier not to do. If we’re not careful, months and even years can go by without a clear sense of direction. It’s too easy to be left feeling victimized and wondering where the time has gone. My debt-free mentors start each day with clear intentions and don’t get lost in the urgent tasks people dump on them.
For this reason, I am slightly obsessed with Steven Covey’s work. His great wisdom taught me how to lead with intention and how to focus on the important priorities of life before they become urgent emergencies. As soon as my kids are old enough to attend workshops, they are going to learn the seven habits! Your daily intention should absolutely include being mindful with money. Bonus points if you're even more specific—I like having a daily goal to create a certain amount of extra cash flow (above and beyond what my business brings in).
2. They limit cards and maximize perks, like travel.
My money world transformed when I canceled all my credit cards but one. I held this boundary sacred until I had a family. Because of international travel, I had a chat with myself and agreed to up my limit to two cards. The trick is to limit your cards but choose them wisely. It is very likely that you are not maximizing all the benefits and perks of your current credit card. Many people buy extra insurance for cars and travel when it’s already included in their credit card benefit program.
Get clear on what "perks" are most important to you, as you may not have the most beneficial credit card. My husband and I prioritize health and travel, so having our two credit cards bring us free hotel stays and flights is magical. Read up on all the benefits included with your credit card, and make sure you are reaping for the spending you do. I know two fabulous ladies who never pay for travel thanks to their creative and strategic credit card spending.
3. They prioritize their own well-being.
Keeping up with your Instagram-famous neighbor who is really in financial distress isn’t a smart strategy for money-making or happiness. Whenever you are in a season of spending or anxiety, take a long walk and have a meaningful conversation with yourself. When we binge spend or forget that stuff won’t bring us happiness, we just need a little moment to take a deep breath and remember that we disconnected from nature for a second. It’s all good.
4. They keep liquid assets handy.
My new financial planner reminded me with a smile that my hubby and I may have made some great real estate moves, but we dropped the ball on liquidity. We are a work in progress too!
Liquidity. It is very important that you always have access to cash should you need it. Assets are amazing and so important to growing your net worth, but having fast access to cash is crucial. How "liquid" are you today? If your heart is pounding while reading this, write out 10 ways you could start generating more money today! Remember not to let junky debt linger. Act on it now. As you step up your liquidity game, fast-track removing that heavy debt from your world with a loving sense of urgency.
5. They have a vision and execute on it.
My debt-free mentors always make choices today that benefit them in 10 years. When we live paycheck to paycheck and forget about the big picture, we end up in the same stressful situation at retirement. Making choices today that benefit your friends and family or make your parents happy aren’t always the wisest legacy choices where you are concerned.
The trick is to train your brain to think like a visionary and learn to make little choices today that are more in alignment with long-term success. Write a letter to yourself dated five years from today clearly describing everything you do want—most people focus way too much on what they don’t want.
6. They keep things as simple as possible.
When life gets messy, so does our money. We lose sight of our spending and our money management. Debt-free dreamers keep their eye on their daily money activities and make sure they are never too busy to sort receipts, pay bills, and manage each bill with respect and diligence. Don’t procrastinate on managing money well. I am a big fan of holistic wealth creation and how I can simplify the process.
For us, this has meant a new strategy for my own family, which included transitioning to a single financial adviser who can handle our financial, corporate, tax, and insurance needs. Before this, we had experts at different institutions handling different areas of money for us. It wasn’t simple, aligned, or convenient. The numerous fees associated with managing our money this way was also getting costly. Do some research to see if you can identify and locate these brilliant gems who are well-versed and certified in several areas of wealth management.
7. They have more than one income stream.
When we rely on only one income stream, we have a higher tendency to live from a place of fear. I am all for going all-in on dreamy projects and businesses, but it is just smart financial practice to have multiple streams of income. I prefer passive ones that pay you like a royalty income does. If you get paid only once for an hour’s work, it might be time to research powerful passive-income streams.
8. They understand and value the relationship between time and money.
Debt-free people understand that the two ways to create great wealth are money and work and people at work. The trick is to find your own sweet spot in life. In my own life, although housecleaning is not the best use of my time, I find it very grounding, and it makes me feel like I’m taking extremely beautiful care of my family. I found my sweet spot by outsourcing a deep house cleaning every two weeks and I take care of the light cleaning in between.
Remember not to outsource all practices that keep you grounded and connected to the earth beneath your feet. Learn to leverage the appropriate activities in your life so you free up more of your time for revenue generation. When you do this well, you will greatly increase weekly cash flow, which you can then invest well. The result will be learning to leverage that extra cash flow and begin experiencing the leveraging power of money at work.
9. They automate their savings.
Automation is the other master key of the debt-free. A rule of thumb for the debt-free is to automate savings and investments as well as saving for taxes. Those who don’t practice automation are often left with a hefty bill at tax time and no funds to pay it. Make a list of three simple things you could do to make your money world more convenient and simple to save and invest.
10. They check their finances weekly.
This is my new favorite practice. Each week, my hubby and I have a money meeting over breakfast. We talk about our income goals for the week, how we can creatively generate more income, who we want to support at a high level, and how we want to contribute to the world.
Schedule a date with yourself (or for you and your partner) each week to review your money and gain greater clarity on your true desires. Make your weekly money meeting joyful, simple, and cozy.
11. They know where every penny is going.
Online subscriptions, technology subscriptions, hidden transaction fees, bank fees, and memberships you don’t use are some examples of where you may be leaking money. Debt-free beings have their eyes on their money output on a very regular basis.
12. They tap their skills for financial gain.
Where there are creative blocks, there are money blocks. If your main vehicle for making money isn’t in itself all that creative, find at least one way to generate some extra cash using your own unique creative gifts.
Feeling inspired? Try our free seven-day money cleanse and learn how to attract more wealth.
Leanne Jacobs, MBA, is a clinical nutritionist, pilates and yoga instructor, holistic wealth expert, and author of Beautiful Money. She lives in Toronto, Canada and received her master's in business administration from Wilfrid Laurier University. Jacobs is a regular contributor at Forbes, Entrepreneur, Glamour, Women's Health, Women's Day, and more.