The Philosophers Stone

"If you know how to spend less than you get, you have the philosopher's stone" ? Benjamin Franklin

Ok, so how do you do it? It seems like any time I try to spend less, a new expense comes charging (so to speak) through the door. Here are a few suggestions I've gathered:

1. Robert Kiyosaki, investor, entrepreneur, and millionaire, says in his book, "Rich Dad, Poor Dad," that one essential is paying yourself first. That is, determine what amount of your income you're not going to spend (i.e. you'll save or invest it instead), and then stick with it. Even if it's just $10 per payday, do not let anything force you to spend that money.

2. Raise your standards. Take a month and calculate the amount of money you spend on snacks, sodas, fast food, and other junk that doesn't last beyond the moment. As much as possible, dispense with frivolous spending, but at the same time don't be afraid to reward yourself with big things. By refusing to spend on cheap or useless "stuff" you'll have more available for things you really want. Rewarding yourself when you can accomplishes two things. It gives you a motive for saving and it gives you tangible evidence of your new found financial success.

3. Instead of thinking in terms of what you can afford, think in terms of what you really need. Don't take out a mortgage for the maximum you qualify for. Lower the limits on your credit cards. Pay cash whenever possible to avoid paying interest. Learn to practice "purchasing patience" ? wait overnight or longer when possible before buying so that you break the habit of spending on a whim.

4. If you haven't already, create for yourself a financial buffer and don't dip into it except for extraordinary circumstances. Some say you should have at least one month of living expenses set aside. Some say it should be two. I even know some who aren't comfortable unless they have at least a six month cushion!

These, and other simple strategies can help you keep more of your money in your own pocket and set you on the path to financial independence.

Leonard Hopkins is an internet entrepreneur and small businessman. He edits two blogs, and

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