Try These 5 Money Tips That Any Smart Person Can Apply

A woman winks while holding a stash of cash in front of her face.
Getty Images
Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We provide you with accurate, reliable information. Learn more about how we make money and select our advertising partners.

You consider yourself a reasonably intelligent person, don’t you? However, in today’s fast-paced, digital spending age, even the sharpest minds can sometimes lose their financial balance. Moments like these underscore the value of tried-and-true financial approaches, which are now more accessible than ever, thanks to modern technology.

1. Live Below Your Means, Not Just Within Them

The Principle: It’s tempting to upgrade our lifestyles as our incomes grow, but true financial freedom comes from spending less than we earn.

How to Apply: Create a budget that factors in all your expenses and then set a goal to save a certain percentage of your income. Cut grocery expenses by using a money-back platform like Capital One Shopping. These steps not only ensure you’re not living paycheck to paycheck but also build a financial cushion.

2. The Power of Compound Interest

The Principle: Albert Einstein once called compound interest the eighth wonder of the world, and for good reason. It’s the process where your money earns interest, and then that interest earns interest.

How to Apply: Start investing early, even if it’s a small amount. Try an easy-to-use investing platform like SoFi Invest. Over time, thanks to compound interest, your investments can grow exponentially. Utilize tax-advantaged accounts like IRAs or 401(k)s to maximize this effect.

3. Emergency Funds: Your Financial Safety Net

The Principle: Unexpected expenses, be it medical emergencies or sudden car repairs, can derail your finances.

How to Apply: Aim to save 3-6 months’ worth of expenses in an easily accessible account. Try an online service such as SoFi Banking and Checking. This will give you peace of mind and protect you against racking up debt during unforeseen events.

4. Avoid Bad Debt

The Principle: Not all debt is created equal. While some debt, like mortgages or student loans, can be considered “good” as they may increase in value or generate income, others, like credit card debt, can be harmful.

How to Apply: Be wary of accumulating high-interest debt. Always pay off credit card balances in full each month if possible, and be cautious about taking on loans for depreciating assets. If you have bad debt, consider a consolidation loan through a service like Fiona.

5. Continuously Educate Yourself

The Principle: The financial landscape is always evolving, and what worked a decade ago might not be the best strategy today.

How to Apply: Stay informed. Read financial news, books, or blogs. Consider talking to a financial advisor or attending financial planning workshops. You might even learn a new money-making skill, like with Bookkeeper. The more you know, the better decisions you’ll make.

The Bottom Line

While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to money management, these foundational principles offer a roadmap for anyone looking to navigate the financial maze. By adopting these practices, you’ll be well on your way to building a stable and prosperous financial future.