Ask self-made millionaires how they got their wealth and they'll be the first to tell you they didn't start out rich. Instead, the theme you'll hear again and again is, "I worked harder than everyone else" and "I put all my extra money into investments."

Forget emulating ultra-rich people who got a "small loan" of $1,000,000 from their parents and invested it wisely.

Instead, there's much more to learn from those who took the small income they had, made smart decisions, and turned it into much, much more. It's their dedication to getting out of debt and building wealth that kept them going, day after day, on the steady track to riches.

As millionaire and New York Times best-selling author Grant Cardone explains, he didn't buy a luxury watch or car until he was financially secure and had funds coming in from multiple investments.

Cardone left college at 21 years old, broke and in debt. He hated being poor, so he made it his business to fight his way out of that hole every single day by focusing on spending money wisely on investments, not (Instagram be damned!) on having the newest trinkets. By the time he was 30, he was a millionaire.

What this shows is that daily decisions to spend one way or another can have a massive impact over time. In other words, becoming wealthy depends on personal habits and the little steps you choose to take each day to put money in your own pocket instead of someone else’s.

Fun fact: a regular person can become a millionaire just by making automatic payments into a savings account.

Stay with me here. Let's do the math:

If a person puts aside $100 every two weeks from their paycheque from the time they are 25 until they are 65, he or she would end up with almost $415,000 if their money, invested wisely, only yielded a 6% return year-over-year. This plan requires putting aside only $50 a week.

If this same person saves $200 every two weeks from the age of 25 to 65, they will end up with more than $1,000,000 if their money, invested wisely, only yielded a 7% return year-over-year.

If this picture appeals, then keep reading!

It's totally okay if you don’t have $100 extra to put into a savings account starting right now. Being smart with your money is not about denying yourself nice things all the time so you can make larger deposits in your account.

Smart spending is about picking and choosing which nice things to have, and when. It's about having a bit of restraint when you shop. The small decisions you make every day take you either in a direction where you're poor and in debt or wealthy and comfortable.

So, start will small, regular deposits and build up from there! The longer you save for, the better, and even small deposits add up quickly.

Ready to get started? Here's a list of little things you can start doing today to take control of your money and keep more of it for yourself. Start with banking and credit goals to axe your debt, then move on to smart decisions to make and save more moolah!

#moneygoals

1. Pay Yourself Automatically

A man holding credit card and entering security code on laptop for online shopping
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You pay your heating bills and your credit cards, but when did you last pay yourself?

You pay your heating bills and your credit cards, but when did you last pay yourself? Setting up automatic payments to a savings account is the first and best way to grow your dough.

Take a look at how much money you're making and decide on an amount of money you think you can manage to not spend on food, rent, clothing (etc.) each week. Let's say this number is $25. That's doable for most people.

Next, open a saving account with your bank. Then set up automatic weekly payments of $25 from your chequing account to your new saving account. Saving just $25 a week will net you $1,300 by the end of the year. Most people can learn to live happily with $25 less spending money per week.

The idea is to put money aside for yourself without having to think about it — and you can always put away more. Start by saving $25 a week and increase it if you begin to make more money at work. Add any extra cash from family or deposit your Christmas bonus into your saving account. Get up to that magical $50 every week and watch your money grow!

2. Pay Off Your Credit Card In Full

Credit Cards on Bank Statements
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Interest rates will kill your wealth goals faster than anything else

Interest rates will kill your wealth goals faster than anything else. This is especially true if you have more than one credit card that you haven't paid off entirely. Make it your goal to pay off at least one card in full — then cut it up and throw it away. Keep going until you have one card left. If you can't pay down the entire card, then...

3. Negotiate Down Your Credit Card Interest Rates

man talking on the phone while at home
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The good news is that if you're making regular payments each month, you're probably eligible to negotiate lower interest rates

Making partial payments on your credit balance every month means you are probably shelling out a lot just on interest. For example, if you have a steady $5,000 of debt on your credit card and your account is charged 18% APR (interest rate each year), then you would have to pay $900 in interest in one year on top of what you actually owe! Let that sink in... $900! $900!

The good news is that if you're making regular payments each month, you're probably eligible to negotiate lower interest rates. Call your bank and explain your request. It never hurts to ask! If they say no, then pull out the big guns...

What are the big guns, you ask? Continued on the NEXT page...
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