7 Simple Money Habits of Self-Made Millionaires

Learning how millionaires achieve money goals may help you save more than you thought you could.
Last updated May 24, 2022 | By Jenny Cohen | Edited By Michele Zipp
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There might be a millionaire in each one of us, but achieving that goal could feel daunting. You may have to factor in how you currently add income to your financial accounts or what your future goals are. Perhaps you have big ideas but haven’t thought of the little pieces you could put in place to get there.

Learn the money habits of people who became millionaires and put them to the test for yourself. 

Strict budgeting

Andrey Popov/Adobe money planning budget tracker app

It sounds like the simple and easiest option, but budgeting could help you build up savings and save big. When planning a budget, consider adding things like extra funds to your savings account or a few more dollars into your retirement benefits.

Budgeting can also help you learn frugal habits such as spending within your means and saving money each month. Doing that means you can save enough cash flow that you don’t necessarily have to rely on your budget to get you through each month because your conservative spending habits may lead to more money in your pocket.

Avoiding overspending

Jacob Lund/Adobe Young woman with shopping bags

You don’t necessarily need a budget to put yourself on a limit when it comes to how you spend money. For some millionaires, taking a more affordable approach could mean a few extra dollars that can be saved to boost their bottom line. For example, make expensive restaurants a rare treat and enjoy dining out at a lower-priced establishment.

Pick one or two special experiences when on vacation instead of packing each day with excursions, and spend the rest of the time relaxing. Spending in moderation can still allow you to have a good time while also adding a few more dollars to your bank account.

Working a side hustle

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Side hustles are for everyone, including millionaires. One way they make a side hustle work is by investing in something that may generate more passive income as opposed to spending hours each week dedicated to actively making money.

For example, you could invest in real estate as a landlord and have a management company handling day-to-day issues. Or perhaps you could start a YouTube channel — maybe about your goal to become a millionaire — and with enough subscribers, you may have advertising revenue added to your bank account.

Having a modest mortgage

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Taking on a big mortgage may be a money decision that you’ll instantly regret. Just because you’ve been approved for a mortgage at a certain level doesn’t mean you have to spend that amount. 

Also, consider that a bigger home doesn’t just mean a bigger monthly payment. You may have to spend more money on utilities for heating and cooling — or you might have a bigger property tax bill to match your big new house.

Using rewards credit cards

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Spending money can earn you something back with rewards credit cards. Rewards cards can earn a holder extra cash, points, or miles for your next vacation.

It can be easy to accidentally overspend if you’re putting purchases on a credit card, but try to still stay within the monthly limits of your budget and then pay the bill off on time. This could stop you from running up possible interest payments on your card.

Investing

Kaspars Grinvalds/Adobe woman monitoring her stock investments

Some millionaires have found that investing their money now can pay them dividends later, so it may be smart to look into different investment options that are right for you. It also is good to think about having a diverse portfolio that may include stocks and bonds, real estate, or a high-yield savings account.

One way to invest money is index funds. These types of mutual or exchange-traded funds tend to be diverse. That could mean better returns than trying to pick and choose individual stocks. Index funds also tend to have low fees compared to a financial advisor or funds with an active manager.

Maximizing employer offers

utah51/Adobe health savings account

If you’re working for a company that includes extra incentives as part of its pay package, a savvy millionaire-to-be may try and find ways to take full advantage of those perks. Perhaps it’s something like putting in enough money in a retirement fund to reach an employer-matching contribution.

A health savings account (HSA) through your employer is also a smart idea to save for retirement or medical issues. And there are also other options like legal services or employee discounts for different consumer products to help save extra cash and push you closer to that seven-figure financial portfolio.

Bottom line

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There will likely be some sacrifices, changes of habits, or sticking with a budget, but it may be possible to reach your goal of being a millionaire. Come up with a goal of how much you want to save and then take some time to think about possible options that can get you above that million-dollar mark.

It can be discouraging to save money only to have to spend it on an emergency expense. You may also take a chance on an investment that doesn’t work out or a side hustle that goes flat. 

It can be difficult to pick yourself back up, but success can still come to you if you’re determined to get back in the fight and do what you try again to reach your financial goals. Becoming a millionaire isn’t an easy ride, and how you handle the setbacks on the road could decide if you have any new successes.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.