Wealth, in my opinion, needs a rethink. My idea of wealth isn’t Bezos billionaredom or a life with three times as many bedrooms as you have humans living in them. To me, feeling wealthy means financial security, making spending decisions that are in alignment with what you truly want, and having the flexibility to make decisions based on the value it adds to your life, rather than just whether or not you can afford it. To me, this is a far fairer, achievable and distributed idea of wealth, that we can all strive towards in our own way – and we can find this feeling hidden in our everyday lives.

Here are 10 ways to feel wealthier without earning a single dollar extra:

1. Give stuff away for free

This has been a hard one for me to really embrace, because I’ve always been programmed to try and claw back at least a small amount of the cost I paid for something before I get rid of it. The problem is, I then end up keeping stuff for ages waiting for my lazy self to get around to selling it – and even then it might sit on Facebook marketplace for weeks on end, clothes especially.

I’ve started finding joy in giving things away for free, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic where I know some people are doing it financially tougher than I am. Now, when I’m clearing out and I think about selling something, I ask myself – do I really need this $20, or can I pass on this energy to someone else? Deciding that I’m going to pay it forward and give it away for free makes me feel super abundant.

2. Use things without the need to “save them” for best

I used to save my favourite candle, notebook, dress… you name it, and the reason why was because usually, I’d consider replacing the item a complete impossibility. “Oh I’d better not wear my jumpsuit for this occasion because I might spill something on it.” “No I won’t burn my nice candle, I’ll save it.” I truly felt I couldn’t use the things I loved because I was unable to replace them. But accepting that you want to use the things you’ve purchased and get joy from them connects the act of spending money with deep value on a personal level. Use the things you’re saving and trust me, you’ll feel wealthier.

3. Stock up on essentials

Look, I won’t dance around the fact that I’m a bit lazy as a human. When it comes to work and business, I’m a gun. But in my personal life, I’m the type of person who will trot out to get toilet paper when we’re down to one final square, or cut open the toothpaste tube to get the last bit out before I actually buy a new one. What I realised was this was making me feel scarce. I decided I’d buy two tubes of toothpaste at once, and I was instantly addicted to the feeling of having what I needed in stock.

Now, I buy my essentials (toothpaste, deodorant, etc.) in threes, and put as many things as I can on subscription. Knowing my toilet paper, coffee beans and cat food is all coming without having to worry about it makes me feel in control and like spending my money is actually serving me. Plus, it really helps with budgeting, because I treat it just like a bill that’s allocated from each pay.

4. Don’t default to the cheapest option

I’m guilty of being one of those grocery shoppers that would always pick the cheapest option, even if there was a better/tastier/bigger version available. Again, it’s all scarcity. I’ve now made room in my budget to buy the things I actually want, because $100 spent on things I really want and enjoy, to me, is far more abundant than spending $60 on stuff that isn’t what I really wanted. 

5. Give tips

I’ve always been someone who tips in restaurants, mostly because of my experiences working in London for £6 an hour and relying on tips to, um, survive. But every now and again I’ll tip big, because even though I’m not at a point where I could afford to tip every single service $20 extra, I realised I actually could do it from time to time (as a lot of us could, too.) I recently gave an Uber Eats driver a $20 cash tip and he was absolutely stoked with it. That $20 would’ve otherwise just absorbed itself into my budget and made no real impact on anyone, but that small act made me feel like I could use money to improve someone’s life. even if ever so slightly. 

6. Book in car services/regular maintenance

Once again, a combination of my laziness and a bit of a hangover from being broke AF in my early twenties, but I’ve always been the person who delays a car service or other kind of boring maintenance. When I do it, though, it’s never as bad as wondering. Plus, you don’t actually save any money by putting it off, you’re just deferring the payment and wrecking your financial confidence by worrying about the outcome. Doh!

7. Never get to zero

Instead of letting my bank account get to $0, I consider $1000 my zero point, and avoid letting the account get below that. Not only does it mean any direct debits or payments will always go through, but also it just makes you *feel* wealthier by knowing there’s always money in your account. 

8. Have some cash in the house

People laugh at me for this and call me an old lady, but I love having some cash in the house. It’s not to spend – though it’s nice to have it in case you need to call an emergency trade in or dash out and snag a bargain from Facebook Marketplace (lol). It’s more just to know it’s there. I feel surrounded by financial security, even though it’s only a small amount. 

9. Pay things upfront/annually

This is one of my favourite ways to feel like a 10/10 financially secure adult. If I know I’m going to use something regularly, I’ll pay the annual subscription – it’s usually cheaper, too. If a membership or fee has the option to pay upfront or in instalments, I’ll always go upfront. I just get such a rush from getting payments out the way for an entire year. A great time to do this is around Black Friday, as there are often major discounts for annual subscriptions of major softwares and subscriptions. 

10. Give to charities

Big or small, I’m confident that lots of us could find space in our bank balances to give a small amount to charities or good causes. Doing so makes me feel like I’m adding value, and really reduces my scarcity mindset about money. I also make it my mission to donate to friends’ fundraisers as soon as I see them posted, so I don’t forget. Double wealthy points – being a good friend, and giving to charity. Win!