Back when I was figuring out how to go from a skinny Indian dude to, well, in-shape Ramit 2.0, I was dizzy over all the things I “should” be doing to start bulking up, according to Google search and that one guy at the coffee shop who swore that guzzling a shake of 13 raw eggs per day worked “like magic” for him.
We all feel the overwhelm of “too much advice” when it comes to fitness, relationships, and, yes, even our money — and in the end, it’s easier to do nothing or do a bunch of disconnected things that don’t help in the long-term.
“Spend less money than you make!”
“Cut out avocado toasts and lattes!”
“While you’re at it, don’t enjoy living your life!”
(By the way, I’ve actually calculated the amount of $19 avocado toasts you’d need to not enjoy in order to save up 20% for a house down payment: 2,578 avocado toasts, assuming also that the house costs $245,000! LOL.)
As I recently told my friend Brian Kelly, founder of The Points Guy, on his podcast:
“Most people in America (and most people listening) could probably do a better job with finances, let’s be honest. Take a hard look in the mirror and you can start to think about where it makes sense to improve your finances.
“The second part though that nobody talks about is instead of focusing on these random $3 purchases that actually don’t add up to anything in the long term, focus on a few Big Wins: Get the right job and negotiate your salary and automate your investments (even if it’s $100 a month) …
“If you do all those things — the five to 10 Big Wins in life — you can buy as many appetizers, lattes, and avocado toasts as you want. And you will still live a Rich Life.”
Just like in fitness: Getting in shape and actually staying in shape in the long term counts on a handful of consistent Big Wins, like finding a mode of exercise that you actually enjoy and a style of eating that incorporates healthy, sensible choices that you can stick to for life. It’s the same in business: Having an idea that adds massive value and finding your first customers (and more after that).
If you’re looking to get your finances in order, a good place to start is to focus on a Big Win, like aggressively paying off your debt if you have any. If you don’t, the next best thing would be to find your dream job and/or negotiate a higher salary. An extra $5,000 to your yearly pay can add up to an extra $29,070 in five years. Talk about a Big Win.
That way you can worry less about small purchases, spend extravagantly on the things you love, and live outside the spreadsheet to be out there — with your friends, family, and things that actually matter.
Ramit Sethi is the author of the New York Times bestseller “I Will Teach You To Be Rich” and writes for more than 1 million readers on his websites, I Will Teach You To Be Rich and GrowthLab. His work on personal finance and entrepreneurship have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Business Insider.