Most of us aren’t rolling in cash, yet some spend like rappers from the early noughties. Here’s a quick check on your spending habits:


  • Cab or Uber/Grab everywhere
  • Drink bottled water more than tap water
  • Get your Starbucks fix three times a week
  • Spend more than $10 on lunch three times a week.
  • Spend more than $10 on dinner three times a week
  • Visit a bar at least once a week
  • Enjoy a fancy brunch at least once every fortnight
  • Buy new makeup and skincare though you have unfinished products
  • Buy new clothes every month
  • Enjoy a manicure and pedicure every month
  • Never go two months without a facial
  • Bust your mobile data limit every month
  • Never walk out of a sale empty-handed

If you’re guilty of at least half of these habits…

You’ve got millionaire spending habits that you need to change, stat. Unless you’re getting a high four-figure salary monthly or more, you’re probably forking out more than you can afford and don’t save much, if at all.

While private transport is great, taking it everywhere just isn’t sustainable—not even if you always “share” your rides. And admit it: a four-dollar cuppa doesn’t make your day any easier to get through than an instant coffee.

Bad habits are hard to break. Bu here’s the thing: many millionaires don’t spend like millionaires.

According to Thomas Stanley and William Danko, authors of The Millionaire Next Door, the super rich usually live frugally, and only one in four of them spend more than a hundred bucks on shoes. When was the last time you bought a pair of Nikes or Steve Maddens?

They also say that many millionaires budget and track their spending. This is an important practice as it lets you know where your money is going, and if you’re blowing too much on, say, clothes or facials. You will then be able to make the necessary adjustments to your spending.

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And while money can’t buy happiness, financial security might make you happier.

“Financially independent people are happier than those in their same income/age cohort who are not financially secure,” say Thomas and William. This is because they can better visualise the future benefits of their current saving habits.

Also, how impulsive you are affects your spending habits a lot, for obvious reasons. Real millionaires have been found to be able to delay gratification and resist making impulsive decisions, which is why they don’t usually fall into careless spending.

So the next time you want to buy something, wait at least three days before deciding if you still want to get it. You just might be surprised by the amount of money you can save just by holding off a decision.

If you’re guilty of fewer than half of these habits…

Congratulations! Ironically, you’re probably closer to being a millionaire than your cash-splashing pals.

A version of this article first appeared in CLEO October 2017. 

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