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five steps: step 1 spend less than you earn

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This is the second in an irregular series on the five steps to solid wealth.

Step 1, not spending more than you earn is the true key to being wealthy, in that if you do not follow step 1, I can guarantee that you will not be wealthy.

To establish whether or not you spend more than you make, you need to know only two pieces of information. How much income you have and how much you spend. Both of these are relatively easy to establish with the help of your bank and credit card statements and a calculator. (I like a small glass of wine as well as I find a modicum of alcohol eases my thought processes).

Ideally, if you have three months of bank statements to hand, you should be able to establish whether or not you are successful in this rule. If you are, congratulations, keep up the good work - probably easiest accomplished by making and sticking to a budget - and move on to step 2.

If you are not successful in this rule yet, you could find yourself in the position of trent during his financial meltdown, so you need to take action.
There are essentially two ways of turning this situation around. You can either earn more or spend less. There are loads of resources to help you find which flavour of these solutions you would like.

To boost your income, you could get a second job, turn a hobby into a business, take in a lodger, start childminding, sell your excess stuff at a car boot sale. To spend less, you can cut down on frivolous spending, move to cheaper accommodation, switch your bills, and get the best deal on everything you do need to buy.

The important thing is that you need to do something, and the sooner you start the better it will be.

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