11 Money Rules You Need to Have Memorized Before You’re 40

These simple skills are easier to develop than you think, so you can stop procrastinating and start building wealth today.

Pay off your credit cards monthly

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The average American has $7,000 of debt, racking up fines on their credit cards, and this is the number one financial mistake people in their 20s and 30s make, says Carla Dearing, a certified financial planner and CEO of SUM180, a digital financial planning service. "Too many people think a little credit card debt is no big deal, but do you know what the acceptable amount to carry over is? Zero," she explains. Because of their high interest rates, paying off your credit cards every month should be your number one financial priority. Once you do that, you can incorporate these ideas to save more than $1,000 every month.

Save six months' worth of expenses

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Half of adults don't have $400 in case of an emergency, much less the money they'd need for a broader event, like losing a job Dearing says. "Everyone knows they should be saving more money but that's where they get stuck," she says. "The trick is to know your 'number.'" And by 'number' she means the amount of money it would take to cover six months of your basic expenses. Just sitting down and writing out your expenses—even if you don't start saving right away—is a huge leap forward as it will help put you in a savings mind frame, she adds. Need some inspiration? Check out these 17 habits of people who are great at saving money.

Do a 30-day money fast

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Juice and water fasts are all the rage in health circles right now, but it turns out one of the healthiest fasts you can do for your life is a "money fast." This means going for a full month without spending anything other than paying your basic bills and putting all the money you don't spend into your savings, Dearing says. Not only will the no-spend month give your savings a good boost, but once you see how much you really are spending on little things, it'll be easier to make those tiny cuts. You can always start with these 28 ways to save on food.

That was 11 Money Rules You Need to Have Memorized Before You’re 40

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