How To Be A Financial Superstar in 2017

A new year is upon us and that probably means you’re taking inventory of your life and making some new goals for 2017. Whether you’re deeply in debt or already on the path to financial freedom, there is usually always room for improvement. Mr. MMM and I haven’t always been on the FIRE (financial independence retire early) path. In fact, there were many years that we each spent in debt and blindly floating through life on paths we were not particularly happy to be on. What changed? Lots of stuff. We faced our debts head on, we decided what we truly valued in life and decided to go for it, and then…we met each other! Read more about our frugal 2015 wedding here! So, whether you’re married, single, doing well, or drowning in debt, this post has something for you! Read on for some quick financial wins for the new year. Yes it’s cliché, but I’m going to say it anyway…New year, new financial you!

Quick Financial Wins

fast food 2

No more fast food!

There are several things you can do immediately to improve your financial situation. See said list below for tips:

  1. Focus on paying off credit card debt
  2. Cancel your cable – try Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, etc.
  3. Cancel your gym membership – work out at home
  4. Make your own coffee and cut out the designer Joe
  5. Set your thermostat for a few degrees cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer
  6. Have a staycation instead of a vacation – we did this in the fall and had a blast! We even did horseback riding 15 minutes away from our house!
  7. Do a clothes-buying ban – I’m heading into my second year and going strong
  8. Generally speaking, swear off any sort of over-consumption – you do not need the latest tech gadget or another pair of designer boots
  9. Combine auto trips – use your car as little as possible – this saves on gas and maintenance
  10. Cut out the restaurants! That goes for fast food, too!
  11. Entertain yourself and your family at home – the possibilities are endless

Big Ticket Wins


A beautiful property in upstate PA

Let’s say you’re already living a reasonable lifestyle but want to kick your finances into high gear and set yourself on FIRE. Try some of these big ticket wins:

  1. Downsize to a smaller home or apartment – contrary to popular belief, kids don’t need a huge house or the latest luxury car to have a happy childhood
  2. Rent out a room in your house
  3. Charge your adult kids living at home rent 🙂
  4. Resist lifestyle inflation with elevated income – keep driving your paid off car and living in your smaller home
  5. Make the switch to a one car family – assuming you currently have more than one
  6. Move closer to work – essentially cutting commute costs

What To Do If You’re Struggling To Make Ends Meet

If you find yourself in a position of intense financial struggle, you should take a hard look at your expenses, as well as your income. Make a written budget for each month at the beginning of the month. It’s possible that you’re just not earning enough to save after basic living expenses. In this case, you must get creative and find a way to increase your earning potential. Perhaps you could move in with a family member or get a roommate. Try a side hustle. Plenty of people make extra cash by delivering pizzas, babysitting, or driving for Uber. Check with your employer to see if there are any opportunities to make more money in a different position or get a raise in your current role. A long term solution might be gaining a trade or degree to qualify for a better paying job.

Increase The Gap

winter hike

A picture I took last winter on a hike by our house – love your home

The bottom line is to create as big as a gap as you possibly can between your income and your expenses. The big items are housing and transportation. Increase the gap and use the difference to invest. This concept also goes by another name – living below your means. It’s not rocket science, but it’s sometimes oftentimes difficult to implement because we fall prey to the fancy car and the new shoes. Engage brain. Know what you want for your life and your legacy and work your butt off to get there.

Now, after you make some changes in your financial life, use an investment calculator (like this one) to see how much you’re saving over the course of 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years! The amount is astounding, I promise you! Now post it in the comments so we can cheer you on! Go YOU!

Pets 3

Mad Money Pup loving his photo opp

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Dinero Pro (Javi) Mar 16, 2017, 1:32 pm

    Love staycations! They save money and stress. Great advice! I enjoyed your quick wins section, that’s a great way to get people to start small and get pumped when they’re ready to make BIG changes. Great Job!

  • RAnn Jan 2, 2017, 9:34 pm

    One thing I tell my kids is that it is easier to save $100/month by renting/buying a less expensive house or car than it is to save it by giving up coffee, drinks after work, or new clothes. Once you’ve made the decision to live in the less expensive place or to buy the less expensive car, you don’t have to think about it anymore. There may be pangs of denial when you make the decision but they will pass. Compare that to constantly having to tell the gang that you can’t afford happy hour drinks this weekend, or “never” getting new clothes.

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 3, 2017, 10:22 am

      I love that way of thinking! It is so true. So much can be avoided by living within our means when if comes to the big ticket items.Great advice! Thanks for sharing.

  • MrFireStation Jan 2, 2017, 10:47 am

    Great inspiration for people to get on the path to fire. We are one year into early retirement, but I can remember our struggle to get out of debt when we first got married. On New Year’s Day 1993 we had a mantra of “debt-free in 93”. 15 years later, we had paid off our house as well and have never look back!

    • Mad Money Monster Jan 2, 2017, 3:19 pm

      Haha! I LOVE the mantra! I had similar mantras for various years in my life 🙂 Congrats on the early retirement! I remember the posts when you threw in the towel. I’m still envious. Soon. If people can take over just a point or two from this post, it’ll help them get on the right path.

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