I want to take a second to talk about being a smart consumer. This is something I learned from my mom, the queen of finding a deal. I don’t know if she ever bought anything that wasn’t on sale. This is not being cheap, it’s actually smart and leads to financial independence. There’s no reason that you need to buy something right away, period! If you wait or search for a sale or a better price, you will eventually find it. Just think of all of the people that purchased an iPhone during its first release. Had they only waited a few months they could have saved about three hundred. This doesn’t sound like a big deal but a lifetime with this money-saving mindset can work wonders with your finances. Inflation is our enemy and will almost always go up while salary increases and raises may flatline. It’s important to buy smart. If you can pay off your credit cards every month in full, it’s a great idea to get one of the credit cards that offer discounts on purchases. Chase, Capital One and many others all offer cards with discounts of one percent on anything you buy and five percent on food and gas or other quarterly specials. How smart is that? Now you can beat inflation! Just make sure you can pay it off in full every month. Finance charges can easily outweigh the savings the cards give you and you don’t want to end up with debt using this strategy! Once you start getting into this habit, you can easily save $1,000 per year. You can then use that extra money to invest in the other areas you’re learning about here and make it grow even more!