Make coffee at home.
Don’t eat out.
Don’t buy things you don’t need.
Get less manicures.
So reads the lists of “50 ways to save money and become a millionaire overnight” that every personal finance blog and website has. The theory behind this click bait article is that everyone is really secretly rich but because they spend their money badly they are instead living in poverty. After all, poor people are poor because they don’t know anything about personal finance. If you would just stop subscribing to every subscription know to man-kind you would become as rich as Bill Gates. After all, Bill Gates makes his own coffee. (I don’t actually know if this is true but seems like the type of thing I would read somewhere). The condescending tone of these posts seem to imply that you (yes, you!) are spending so much money on silly things that if you stop then you become a millionaire! (Overnight!)
And I guess maybe these lists are good for some people. If you do all those things and don’t have enough money and aren’t saving then you should stop. Seriously. Stop. Its stupid. (And maybe one day I will write one as well to get some clicks and maybe also help someone save a dime) But what if you are one of those people (like me!) who read through those lists (avidly) and don’t have one thing to stop spending on?! I don’t buy coffee, I don’t eat out, I don’t have subscriptions. Because here is the problem with the “blog” mindset. They want you to believe that everyone can be rich. Everyone really is rich and here are a few simple ways to make that happen. The thing is that if you were truly making “rich” money than the coffee isn’t really making or breaking you. And the thing is that a lot of people are not earning a “rich” salary. And it’s not necessarily because we don’t hustle enough.
Some people just aren’t going to be rich. And that is OK. You don’t have to be rich. You don’t have to make it big. What you have to do is make it OK. And that means doing the best you can with what you got. And what you got is the middle-class salary that most of us are earning. Or the big salary in a big city where you can’t afford housing.
Now, don’t get me wrong- don’t buy coffee too often (I really never do, unless I am in an airport) and when you do buy something make sure that it is in your budget. We are very strict about budgets. But stop looking to get rich. Stop thinking that all it takes is a little will-power and a fewer manicures to make that happen. Live within your means. Spend what you can. Save WHATEVER you can. Work towards meaningful, achievable goals (Emergency Fund, Home ownership, Retirement Account) and stop feeling bad that you aren’t one day going to be super rich. Its OK. Really.