Tired of Being Broke? Here Are 7 Cures for Your Money Struggles

This article was supposed to be about “10 Tips to Make Your Tax Experience Painless Next Year,” but I wasn’t in the mood to write it, so I let my inspiration decide.

Which way did we end up shifting this time?

My thoughts returned to the first book I read about financial advice: The Richest Man In Babylon. It was not only the first, but also the most influential book I’d read on basic financial concepts.

This book first appeared as a series of informational pamphlets in 1926, and it was compiled into a book a year later. It uses parables and is set in ancient Babylon, so if you’ve read the Old Testament, you’ll probably enjoy the format. The book follows Arkad’s journey and how he became wealthy while others around him remained impoverished.

I enjoyed it so much that I read it in both English and Spanish. I also gave a copy to my father, who learned a few things from it. This book taught me the secrets of wealth and success, and it planted the seed that I should save 10% of my earnings to become wealthy. It also sparked the desire to become an entrepreneur and try new things in pursuit of success and prosperity.

There’s a chapter in the book called The 7 Cures for a Lean Purse. It’s such a good list that I framed it and hung it on my wall in college. While I had read the book earlier, it took me a while to start implementing all of the cures. My relationship with money was forever altered after I started changing my lifestyle, thanks in part to this book.

Let’s go over that chapter and see how well the message behind the 7 cures has held up over time.

1. Start fattening your purse

How do you fatten your wallet? You have to pay yourself first. One dollar for every ten dollars earned is yours to keep and invest. Some may argue that saving money is difficult given the high cost of living, but there are ways.

If you want something badly enough, you’ll find a way to get it. Our strategy for achieving financial independence is to prioritize savings over all else. This will also get us there much faster with a simple but fulfilling way of life.

Tatiana and I actually saved much more than 10% to reach financial independence in less than ten years. This should be doable for some by simply controlling lifestyle inflation. Another important point to remember here is to avoid borrowing for personal consumption. Say no to credit card debt.

2. Control your spending

Keep an eye on your spending. Budget wisely because there is a distinction between needs and wants. We believe that cutting an expense is more effective to our personal finances than increasing our income to pay for that expense. When you eliminate it, two things happen immediately: 1) you no longer have to work to pay for that expense, and 2) you can invest the savings.

I’m not advocating for reducing your earning potential, but if I have to work longer hours to pay for a fancy car to drive me to work, I’m removing the glitz from the equation. There is no need to impress anyone, period.

3. Make your investments multiply

Once you start saving, you must multiply that money by making those “employees,” or dollars, work for you. Do your homework and invest wisely. Simply by investing in a Vanguard index fund, you can let the market work its magic over time.

4. Guard your investments from loss

Have you ever heard of someone winning the lottery only to lose it all within five years due to poor decisions? Money flees from inexperienced hands. If you need stock market investment advice, consult a certified financial advisor or a reputable investment firm, not a speculative friend.

If you want to learn more about real estate, read books, talk to realtors, search online, and talk to industry professionals. I cannot stress this enough: do your homework. Speculating isn’t the same as investing. Seek advice from the right authorities.

5. Make your home a profitable investment

The book advises you to make a profitable investment out of your home. I personally do not consider a home to be an investment, unless it is a multi-family home that can cash flow, but I believe you can make a wise purchasing decision that will increase your chances of profiting from your home purchase in the long run.

Are you buying the most expensive house you can afford? This is where many of us got into trouble during the 2008 housing crash. You should not buy something just because the bank says you can afford it. Buy only what you need, and you’ll be in a better position to pay off your mortgage faster or free up money to invest elsewhere.

6. Insure a future income

Consider how you will provide for yourself and your family when you are no longer working. Index funds, for example, reward you with dividends and capital gains when you sell them after a long holding period. A rental property generates monthly income for you. Put your money to work for you.

What better way to ensure future income than to achieve financial independence?

7. Increase your ability to earn

Look for ways to increase your income. Instead of keeping up with the Kardashians, spend your free time learning a new skill. Learning does not stop after high school or college. I read more than ever before, and the more I read, the more I realize how much more there is to learn. Learn about investments and how they work, because no one cares about your money more than you do.

These are fundamental financial concepts. They are so simple that we often overlook them. I believe this is because we like to complicate things, including the money management process. If you change your mindset and behaviors, you might be in for a big surprise. Your future self will appreciate it as well. 🙂

Have you tried any of these seven cures? Which cures have had the greatest impact on your life and finances?


After dedicating 13 years of his career to Vanguard, José retired from the corporate world at the young age of 44. During his tenure at Vanguard, he expertly coordinated the production of both electronic and print educational materials for 401(k) participants. Now, he relishes in his early retirement, cherishing time spent with his family, indulging in his favorite hobbies, seeking out new experiences, and savoring meals in the comfort of his own backyard.

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Bladimir Mercedes
8 years ago

I love the 7 cures for a lean purse! I have them posted on my wall. Never gets old.

8 years ago

It’s a timeless piece of advice. Thanks for reading.

Mrs. Goodlife
Mrs. Goodlife
8 years ago

All very good pointers. I would also add in regard to mortgages, get one that you can afford and save as much as you can for the down payment to avoid those outrageous mortgage insurances. It will pay off in the long run.

8 years ago
Reply to  Mrs. Goodlife

Agreed! The PMI costs are outrageous and should be avoided. Thanks for the tip.

9 years ago

yeah, I think I need to check myself on the dinning out expenses! Thanks for the reminder!

9 years ago

Hola! Yes, dining out is where you can easily make a big dent. You’re welcome and thanks for subscribing to our mailing list.

9 years ago

I read the book in my teens and couldn’t agree with you more. Unfortunately so many of those principles are falling now on deaf ears…

9 years ago
Reply to  LM

Yes, indeed. It’s easier to complain than take action.

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