During the 1970s when I worked for the government in Washington DC, I shared a group house with Al Herter. Al is a self-made millionaire and successful investor, and is called “the hippie philanthropist”.
Al mastered the art of living comfortably on a small budget. By living simply and following the Quaker philosophy, he became financially independent by doing both well and good. In these topsy-turvy financial times, his twelve steps offer practical and simple advice we can all benefit from.
Notice: These smart steps can alter your life and your future outcomes. Following them again and again will put some traction in your action.
- Think simple living. The Quakers are the standard. Want what you have. Do what you can. Be who you are. Count your blessings.
- For a month, keep track of every penny you spend in a small notebook (but don’t go out and buy one). Review each bill you pay or have paid. Need all those cable channels? The lattes? The smokes? The cleaners? The maid twice a week?
- Mend clothes, darn socks, turn off lights, and re-heat leftovers. Think small, cheap, and affordable.
- Sell anything you don’t use, want, need, or are just storing for posterity, for the children, or for a rainy day. Get onto craigslist.com and sell all that extra stuff you have and don’t use. It declutters and puts money in your pocket.
- Look for other revenue centers that you can profit from, such as rent out a small room as an office; or rent out the garage or even the basement for storage. Explore how you can rent or exchange apartments rather than use hotels.
- Health is number one on my list. Eat better. Eat less. Practice yoga, take walks, ride your bike.
- Plant a veggie garden. It saves money and is better for you-and may even be something you can sell to others and/or barter with them. You do tomatoes, and the neighbors do corn/beans/squash. You share the tools, knowledge and harvest. Not only will your garden grow, but so will your neighborly community.
- Starting to get the drift that the landscape has changed dramatically?
- Cook and entertain at home. Invite others over for potlucks. They’re cheaper, easier nicer and more fun!
- Walk, use public transit, use your bike, car pool, or any combination thereof (but not all at once, of course).
- Be preventative with your health through diet, exercise and relax. When necessary, use generic drugs.
- Breathe, relax and enjoy life! You’ve only got this very moment to live it to the fullest-and that’s one thing that is for certain!
Check out Al’s blog www.TheSmartMoney.wordpress.com.