51 Good, Better, Best Money Tips

The number one reason I feel I’ve been successful with money is that I started making good, then better, and finally the best money decisions.  Learn what you can do to take your decisions to the next level.

There is almost always a better, or best decision when it comes to money, but a good decision is better than making none at all. When it comes to saving, investing, launching a business, lending money, or anything having to do with money the key to getting ahead is always making good decisions. You don’t have to make it better or the best. Good is often good enough.

For another perspective check out my podcast episode on the topic:

Good Money Tips

When I really started taking money seriously, I started making good money decisions. Good money decisions are all about building your foundation. If you just make good money decisions you will be better off than a vast majority of people. These decisions can help you escape living paycheck to paycheck, save more, and even reach financial independence. Of course, these aren’t the only good money decisions, but it’s a good start. They work

Good money decisions include:

  1. Explore what money is and what it means to you
  2. Figure out what makes you happy
  3. Open a free Personal Capital account and start tracking your net worth
  4. Read a few of the best personal finance books
  5. Calculate your financial independence number
  6. If you have student loans, refinance your student loans to a lower rate
  7. Pay down any high-interest credit card debt
  8. Start saving at least 5% of your post-tax income, then increase your savings rate by 1% at least every year
  9. Automate your savings
  10. Explore the $50 a day early retirement strategy
  11. Figure out if you should pay back your student loans
  12. Start investing as much as you can
  13. Invest in one US domestic stock market index fund – VTSMX
  14. Contribute enough to get the employer match in your 401k
  15. Open a Roth IRA and contribute each year
  16. If you feel confident investing yourself use Robinhood – if you want access to expertly-curated portfolios, use M1 Finance
  17. Save money on commuting or move closer to work
  18. Sell your car or don’t buy one in the first place – if you do, always buy used
  19. Save money eating out
  20. Use the best online savings tools

My Big Mistake

When I got my first job right out of college I didn’t start investing in my company’s retirement plan. Why? Because I was afraid of making a bad decision. So because of the fear of being wrong, I just did nothing. I also didn’t think that I was making enough money to save. So I did nothing.

Not investing earlier was a big mistake. I was afraid so I did nothing. My 22-year-old self made a ton of money mistakes, but this was the first big one I made. The good decision was to start investing as soon as I could. The second good decision I should have made after deciding to invest was choosing to put the money in a total stock market index fund.

When you invest in the entire stock market you will automatically beat 80% of all active stock investors. It’s a super easy passive investing strategy. To learn more about index funds check out the coffeehouse investor portfolio or listen to my podcast on the subject below:

How much money did sitting on the sidelines cost me?

I recently pulled out my first pay stubs (yes I have them archived because I’m a digital hoarder). I then calculated what investing just 10% of my salary during the first year into the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund would be worth today.

I would have $10,479 in my account – or more than double what I would have contributed.

It’s the textbook case of money doubling every ten years. I could have saved this money in just a few clicks, but I was too afraid.

Start investing now. Invest even if you don’t understand what you are investing in. What matters is starting as soon as you can.

Better Money Tips

After I started making good money decisions, I started implementing better money decisions. These decisions are truly about optimizing your money, making it work harder for you, and diversifying your income streams. Making any of these decisions can add up to huge gains over time. These include:

  1. Start saving at least 20% of your post-tax income
  2. Increase your savings rate at least 5% every year and push your saving rate as high as you can (I have saved 82% of my income in 1 month really pushing myself). It’s possible to save more than you think. How much do you need to save?
  3. Before you buy, calculate the true cost of anything
  4. Hack your boss and get a raise
  5. Start building better money habits
  6. Use travel hacking to travel the world for free
  7. Explore real estate investing
  8. Are you an entrepreneur? – figure it out and if you are, then follow it
  9. Develop a side hustle, start learning new skills, and diversify your income streams
  10. Or start a consulting business
  11. Launch an LLC and start exploring the tax-saving opportunities of running your own business
  12. Max out your Roth IRA, or contribute to Traditional IRA and do a back-door conversion
  13. Max out your 401k every year, and open a Roth 401k if you can
  14. Open a SEP-IRA and invest up to 25% of your side hustle income
  15. Diversify your investments, and expand your portfolio to include domestic and international funds

Best Money Tips

These are the decisions that can really take your money and your life to the next level. To really master money, you need to move beyond just money decisions and optimize all areas of your life to amplify the impact of your decisions. This is high-performance living!

These are used by the world’s super wealthy and most successful people. Once I started making these decisions in my own life I really started to see bigger gains in my net worth, and surprisingly, my happiness.

  1. Build a life strategy and execute it – map all of your decisions against your life strategy
  2. Explore and use the 80/20 principle to optimize all areas of your life
  3. Optimize your saving/investing rate – find the maximum you can save each month
  4. Learn to say NO
  5. Maximize your value
  6. Fight lifestyle inflation
  7. Cultivate and explore empathy as a path to wealth
  8. Focus on investment diversification – while index fund investing is a sound long-term strategy, it doesn’t protect you against market downswings. Protecting the downside is easier when you are diversified across asset classes, as well as physical investments. This is one of the reasons I invest in emerging markets, domain names, art, and real estate.
  9. Optimize your money habits
  10. Hire real experts – tax attorneys, accountants, and expert advice are essential to make the best money decisions. It is worth paying for expert advice to get an edge and you can learn quickly from experts who have decades of experience. Explore paying top experts in 15-minute increments on their hourly rates.
  11. Optimize your insurance coverage – start exploring umbrella policies and ways to protect your growing net worth
  12. Explore tax efficiency opportunities
  13. Start meditating and/or doing Yoga – these were both huge for me and allow me to make better decisions in all areas of my life
  14. Optimize your diet – food has a huge impact on your productivity, decision-making, happiness, and of course well-being. I personally eat a high-quality fat, high-vegetable, lower-carb diet. A lot of salmon, avocado, grass-fed meats, and vegetables.
  15. Give back
  16. Stop working and get outside 🙂

What are some of your good, better, best money tips?

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Read Comments

  • Comment Author image blank
    Simple steps indeed but sad that the majority of people cannot follow them and thus find themselves in trouble.
  • Comment Author image blank
    Your tips are really motivating people like me to start saving money at the young age looking forward to implement the given tips as much as i can. Great work!!!
    • Grant Sabatier
      Thanks Suresh
  • Comment Author image blank
    We've been using Ibotta to save on groceries, and Groupon to save money on restaurant outings. It's so easy to save with all of the apps available these days!
    • Comment Author image blank
      I haven't seen Ibotta. Will definitely check it out. Thanks Alexis.
  • Comment Author image blank
    Thanks for linking to my post! Of course, I think we should all understand what we are investing in at least at a basic level, For example, maybe understand that you are buying a collection of stocks and/or bonds in a mutual fund and that it's something you can get out of at any time without incurring fees , vs. say a variable universal life insurance policy with several years worth of surrender charges. Also, I would add don't overlook the Simple IRA. :) You would need to pull in $50k of side hustle income for the SEP to shelter an equivalent amount of income. So If you have say a $10k-$20k side hustle, you''re much better off proportionally with the SIMPLE....can always switch to the SEP (or solo 401k) later if your side venture skyrockets in profit. :D
    • Comment Author image blank
      These are all great points TJ. I agree you need to know what you are investing in! I agree also with your Simple IRA vs. SEP IRA recommendation - since with a SIMPLE IRA you can contribute up to 100% of your side income up to $12,500, whereas with the SEP IRA you can contribute up to 25% of your net income or $53,000 (whichever is less). Thanks TJ.
  • Comment Author image blank
    Fighting lifestyle inflation is a big one for me. I'm going to hit 6 figures this year with a combination of rental income, day job income, and side consulting work. I'm ensuring I stay hungry by paying down debt or funneling my cash to other investments. Thanks for sharing Grant, looking forward to next week's posts.
    • Comment Author image blank
      Yeah, lifestyle inflation is hard for me too. I am getting better at knowing when a purchase will make me happy or enrich my life and being more mindful in general. Thanks Erik.