Money is a concept — what gives money value is that it can buy an abundance of time, supplies, and space, and options. With this in mind, the feeling of richness doesn’t come from money itself, but from those things money can buy. This means you can feel “rich,” even on a tight budget, if you feel like you have those options.
And once you’ve reached a base level of financial security, I’ve found a few habits can help with that. The following rules can take you from feeling financially secure to feeling truly rich—even if you’re on a budget.
1. Keep your home consistently clean
Feeling rich means feeling free from chaos, feeling calm. And whether you realize it or not, your environment plays a big part in that. For example, I feel calm when I know that everything in my living space is regularly cleaned and maintained. No matter what your home looks like it will always feel richer if it is consistently clean. Here are some quick tips for keeping it tidy:
- A 20-Minute Daily Cleaning and Tidying Ritual. Institute a 20-minute daily ritual in which you vacuum, clean any surfaces, and put away any items that are out of place. You can do this morning or night, depending on your scheduling needs.
- A Weekly Deep Clean. Deep cleaning your home weekly will supplement your daily ritual and ensure everything in your home feels fresh.
- Do The Dishes Before Bed. To create an abundance of space, always do the dishes—especially before you go to bed. Waking up to that mess is just the wrong way to start your morning. When I’m cooking a meal, I actually do all the dishes and all the clean up before I eat, so that when I’m done eating, everything is already clean.
- Regularly Bathing and Grooming Your Pet. Our furry friends deserve to be cleaned and groomed regularly. Don’t wait until your pet starts to smell to give them a bath. This will also prevent them from inadvertently damaging any of your furniture by the transferal of dirt and grime.
2. Avoid clutter
A clutter-free home will also contribute to a calm state of mind. In addition to the daily 20-minute cleaning and tidying ritual, here are a few suggestions for reducing clutter.
- Make your bed. Do this right when you wake up, and it will be over before you know it.
- Organize your refrigerator, utility closet, and wardrobe. Organize these spaces so that the items you use most are the most accessible, and the items you use least are towards the back. You can also level this up by organizing by category. For instance, in the refrigerator, you can designate different shelves or areas for different types of food (i.e. all of the leftovers on one shelf, all the sauces and spreads are together, etc.)
- Have a “home” for everything. Every item in your home should have a designated place so that you know exactly where that item is. When you are done using an item, always put it back where it belongs. Your future self will thank you because you’ll have less tidying to do later and you’ll avoid the chaos of constantly losing items.
- Cable management. A mess of cables and wires plaguing your workspace creates unnecessary clutter. Invest in a couple of cable management boxes and power strips, and intentionally organize all of your cables so that they’re neat and tidy.
3. Fully stock your home supplies
Having a well-stocked utility closet contributes to feeling abundant and secure. If you can, buy any essential items in bulk and organize them intentionally in your utility closet. Removing that fear of potentially running out of toilet paper, face wash, or whatever else you need on a daily basis will make you feel safe and rich within your home.
4. Create a color scheme for your wardrobe, accessories, & home decor
This takes some serious planning, but take some time to develop your personal style. There is nothing richer — and more chic — to me than a woman who has a signature style, especially when that style shows up in other areas of her life, from her wardrobe to her home to even something as small as her water bottle. Depending on your personal style, you can choose any variation of colors or patterns as long as they look good together, but I recommend to simplify to a color palette under five. Here are some solid tips on building your personal style.
5. Make time for a hobby
Have you ever had a free night and innocently put on Netflix only to wake up from a stupor six hours later, wondering how you wasted all that time? In order to feel like you have an abundance of time, you must use that time intentionally. Six hours watching Netflix versus practicing a musical instrument, for example, will feel very different. Part of feeling rich is feeling proud of how you spend your time because your time is valuable. Granted, time is money and it might be hard to feel abundant with your time when you’re constantly working and exhausted. But picking up a hobby and even spending five minutes a day on it can give you even a small sense of ownership and intentionality with your time.
6. Find small ways to feel financially empowered
In order to stay afloat, we all have to manage our money. After all, for most of us, money is finite. It’s also true that more money doesn’t necessarily make you more financially empowered — plenty of people step into wealth only to find themselves financially struggling due to mismanaging their money. The feeling of richness does not come from having unlimited piles of cash, it comes from being in control of your money.
Here are some small tasks that will help you feel more in control, and therefore more empowered, over your finances:
- Regular financial check-ins
- Coming up with a realistic budget
- Starting an emergency fund
- Coming up with a debt repayment plan
- Having a money conversation with your partner
7. Routines, Routines, Routines
Similar to the way budgets can make you feel in control of your money, routines make us feel in control of our time. Think about all the daily or weekly tasks that require your time. Are there similar tasks that can be grouped together more efficiently? Is there some kind of routine that would decrease stress or add happiness to your life? Could you be outsourcing certain tasks? I’m not saying every moment of your existence must be planned, but even basic routines provide a loose structure that gives you the feeling of owning your time. Here are some routine ideas that can help you get started.
8. It’s okay to treat yourself sometimes
After taking care of all other aspects of your financial health, if you still have a little money to spend, consider splurging on a little luxury. Take time to consider which luxuries will improve the quality of your life. Make a physical list of all the small luxuries you that bring you joy, and add a monetary value to them. Then, on a scale of 1 to 10, rank each item based on how much value it would add to your life. Divide the monetary cost of the item by the “life value” of the item. Prioritize the items that have a lower ratio of cost to value.
9. Practice gratitude
The most vital part of feeling rich is feeling grateful for what you already have. The person who makes $1 million per year but feels envious over a neighbor who makes $5 million will never feel rich. Incorporate a gratitude practice into your daily routine. In your journal, calendar, or even your notes app, write down what you’re grateful for every day, and why you’re grateful for those things. This exercise will force you to more deeply connect with the source of that gratitude. It will also force you to confront what truly matters to you, which could go a long way toward keeping your impulsive spending at bay.
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