13 Ways to Become a Fiscally Responsible Person

By Adran Riley •  Updated: 01/02/21 •  16 min read

Being fiscally responsible probably isn’t something on your to-do list.

After all, spending money’s fun.

You can buy new things. Go on beautiful trips. And even make it rain when you want.

Oh, yea baby!

But if you’re young, broke, or just graduated, you might be wondering: How can I become a fiscally responsible person?

Well, I’ve got answers. 

Here are My Solutions:

  1. Master a Few Simple Habits
  2. Keep an Open Mind
  3. Track ya Money
  4. Save ya Money 
  5. Invest ya Money – Put Them Dollars to Work
Financially Responsible Guy

Yup, those are my answers. I hope they make you more fiscally responsible.

Because I don’t know about you but I like making money. And I LOVE keeping, and investing it even more than spending it.

Yup, I’m different. 

And if the 5 answers I just listed are too basic for you. Here are 13 more specific ways you can become fiscally responsible.

1. TAKE INVENTORY OF YOUR SPENDING HABITS

If you want to be fiscally responsible, you need to treat your life like a business.

And the key to survival in business is having more money coming in than money going out.

Unless you want to mess around in tax fraud. But a word of caution – don’t f*ck with the IRS. 

Or anyone for that matter who’s charging you taxes. They WILL come knocking. 

So… the most important step you should take when it comes to your money is to document everything. 

Know what your expenses are every two weeks. 

And then figure out how much money you made in that two-week period.

A month is even better.

Especially if you’re paid monthly. But a biweekly basis gives you a pretty accurate picture of how much you’re spending. 

This includes money on groceries, gas, transportation costs, clothes, bills, entertainment, and whatever expenses you blow money on.

But you need to track or actually write everything down. That’s the important part. 

It doesn’t matter if it’s a small $1 purchase or something in the $100’s. Track that shit!

How to be fiscally responsible: know exactly how much money you’re spending.

That way you can track and compare it to how much money you’re earning. 

2. CUT OUT WASTE AND ONE-TIME EXPENSES

Have you ever watched those shows where people invade the homes of hoarders and abandoned storage units?

It’s crazy the amount of junk and stuff people buy. 

Then when they run out of space, they spend some more and rent or buy a new place to store it. 

And you know what contributes to a lot of that stuff?

One-time purchases. 

You see an ad or you’re walking through the mall and you see a sale. Something that shouts “buy me!”

The problem is, as cool, nifty, or useful as it may seem, you either aren’t sure whether you want it. Or whether you even need it.

So, off it goes to the closet or basement to gather dust. 

It may seem like it’s out of sight, out of mind. But if you’re purchasing items you use only once or not at all, you’re wasting a ton of money.

How to be fiscally responsible: if you’re not going to use it more than 3 times, don’t buy it. 

It’s cheaper and easier to rent it or to borrow it from a friend or neighbor. If you can. 

3. SET ASIDE A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF MONEY FOR “LUXURIES”

Some people can’t start their day without a nice, fancy cup of coffee.

Think Dunkin’ or Starbucks. 

You know, the coffee and drinks with the foamy topping, and then some drizzled icing with a nice shake of spice.

They put your name on the side of the cup and you’re coffee’s good to go! 

The only problem is, this coffee (really dessert…) can cost on average $2.50 – $10.00 a cup.

Let’s say it’s your workday pick-me-up and you get it 5 days a week for 50 weeks a year. 

That means you could be spending $625-$2,500 on coffee alone.

Sheesh! 

How about making it yourself? 

Or just a cup of regular coffee you can brew on your own (for about 25 cents a cup)? Or how about indulging once a week? 

Either way, by reducing your expenses on luxury goods, such as cars, electronics, clothing, food, and substituting value-oriented products, you can save a lot of money.

Sure, it’s nice to spoil yourself, but make it the exception, not the rule.

And I’m not trying to single out coffee. It’s just a straightforward example. Replace “coffee” with any other small but regular purchases you make. 

They aren’t really needed. They’re luxuries. 

Living Fiscally Responsible

How to be fiscally responsible: cut back, get rid of it, or identify a set amount of money you wanna spend on it each day, week, or month. 

4. START SHOPPING DISCOUNT

This might be the bane of your existence. 

No one grows up wanting to clip coupons. So lucky for us, there are a bunch of apps that make this a whole lot easier. 

And many different ways to reduce your expenses while shopping. Because simple choices can lead to big savings.

This is why you need to make like Macklemore and hit the thrift store.  

Instead of your regular spot. And don’t be surprised, you just might find an outfit, dress, jeans, shirts, toys, jewelry, food, and more for a bargain.

But If you’re too proud to shop at the thrift store, hit the clearance section first whenever you do shop. 

And if you can’t find it for the low, try and visit your favorite store when there’s a major sale or holiday.

In the U.S. there’s always a major holiday every few months.

Don’t pay top dollar for the latest and greatest.

How to be fiscally responsible: wait and save yourself some money. Or even better, buy something less expensive that’s just as good.

5. REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE TO BECOME FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE

While it might seem like a tree hugger’s mantra.

Haste makes waste. And a penny saved is a penny earned and invested.

Plus, I really hate wasting food. Wasted food is one of THE most expensive ways you can lose money. Some estimates suggest American households waste close to $1,800 a year in thrown-out food alone.

Bonkers!!

Why waste it when you can eat leftovers? All you need to do is pay a little for a nice set of Tupperware.

And do you really need to wear your clothes a few times before buying what’s new and in style? Or can you keep them in your closet for 5+ years? 

I still have clothes from high school. And that was 12+ years ago. 

You might not even notice some of these small habits. Like leaving your water running while you brush your teeth.

And btw, if you do, you’re washing money down the drain. Simply turning your water off for one minute can save you at least $25 a year in utility costs.

How to be fiscally responsible: fix habits like this. 

And make investments in the following:

These can all save you a lot of money each year.

6. HAVE A SAFETY NET: PAY YOURSELF FIRST

Do you know how a lot of people end up with money problems?

They don’t plan for shit hitting the fan. And I’m not telling you to buy every type of insurance available to you in order to be fiscally responsible. 

Because most of the time unless it’s a good term life insurance policy, it’s an unnecessary expense in itself.

When you get paid, you need to buy yourself some security. In the form of an emergency fund

Make it a habit of setting aside some of your money for “just in case” situations. 

Let’s say you’re paid $4,000 a month. If you were to set aside $200 a month, or 5% of your paycheck, at the end of the year you’d have $2,400 buckaroos.

That can help big time. Especially when you want to be fiscally responsible and need to come up with some money for:

  1. Home Repairs
  2. Car Problems
  3. Medical Emergencies
  4. An Unexpected Job Loss.

How to be fiscally responsible: plan for the worse and hope for the best. 

Set aside some of your paychecks each time you’re paid.

7. NEVER LEAVE YOUR JOB – UNLESS, YOU HAVE ONE THAT’S AS GOOD OR BETTER

For a lot of people, work sucks.

But, not working. And being BROKE as hell is worse than having a job.

You may not necessarily like your job. I sure as hell haven’t liked a few. And you might even be overqualified for your job. 

Or there may not be any room for career growth. Or it just might not fit with your desired lifestyle. But that’s okay.

Sometimes, the easiest way to fix this is to sit and speak with your boss or manager. 

Let em’ know how you feel. And if you’re a good, dedicated employee who’s shown commitment to the cause, you might be surprised. 

Your managers may be willing to hear you out or promote you to something better. But if you’re a bad employee or that just won’t work for you don’t quit. At least not without a plan. 

Telling em’ how you really feel. And flipping the bird at em’ while you walk through the door is no bueno. 

How to be fiscally responsible: make sure you have ANOTHER JOB with equal or better pay before quitting.

You may need to learn some new skills. Or get some extra training and invest in yourself. But leaving a job you don’t like and hoping for one that’s better ain’t gonna get you paid. 

Because without a plan or emergency fund, you’re a few weeks or months away from being broke.

8. START A BANK ACCOUNT, DON’T RELY ON CREDIT

Cash may be convenient, but it’s a security liability.

And it can be a hassle to monitor. And while credit may seem like a blessing, for many, it’s a curse.

So, set up a bank account. Many online banks don’t even require a minimum deposit for you to start your account. 

And having an account is an excellent way to provide some financial security on your road to being fiscally responsible.

Make debit over credit your motto!

Especially if you’re one of the many who can’t control swiping their card. If you don’t, you will definitely be racking up some debt as a result. 

How to be fiscally responsible: only use a debit card for your purchases. That way you’re automatically withdrawing straight from your bank account. 

And the only money being spent is the money you ALREADY have. 

That way you’re not out here making your creditor’s rich by paying interest on the money you’ve blown that you don’t have.

Doing this is a simple way to take control of your everyday spending.

9. INVEST IN YOURSELF WITH A GOAL IN MIND

College may seem like the end all be all.

But spoiler, it’s NOT. 

And for many the financial decisions, we made in our teens and ’20s will leave us in debt for years. And even decades if you don’t pay off your loans fast. 

Yes, going to college, or pursuing any education for that matter, is an investment in yourself.

An investment that can potentially earn you more money in the long run.

But like all investments, it carries a degree of risk. And the best way to be fiscally responsible and manage that risk is to have a plan.

Do your research.

Find out what careers you’re interested in. Learn what skills you need and then figure out how you’re going to acquire them.

Ask yourself, is college even right for you in the first place?

Because paying for school with a goal in mind will keep you motivated.

And it helps ensure in the event you do take out loans, you can lower the amount of money you need. Plus, it gives you an idea of exactly how you’re going to pay those loans back.

How to be fiscally responsible: always have a goal in mind with your purchases. And if you do go into debt, keep it to a minimum.

10. SERIOUSLY… START INVESTING

You might think investing requires a Ph.D. or a business degree. 

But, there are many investment strategies that can fit your risk tolerance and financial goals.

And at the end of the day, investing is making money from other people. Whether that’s through a bank, the government, or business.

Have a bank account?

Put as much money into your interest-bearing savings account. And ask your bank about purchasing a certificate of deposit; some of which can be purchased for as little as $100 dollars.

And even then there are government savings bonds.

Index funds (my favorite), target-date retirement funds, individual stocks, mutual funds, real estate, and a lot of other options.

But it’s important you do your own research. That way YOU know:

And more.

After all, no one else but the government will care as much as you do about your money. 

Ask people what they think if you want. Discuss money, get comfortable talking about it with your people.

Surf the internet. Google that shit!

And eventually, just do it. Shoot your shot and invest, open up a brokerage account. Many of which are free btw.

How to be fiscally responsible: invest your money!

Investing is one of the best long-term strategies for becoming fiscally responsible and financially free.

11. ENJOY CHEAP OR FREE THINGS

Looking for a place to mind your business and do some financial research?

How about the library, which also has a variety of free books, audiobooks, DVDs, and other media for local residents.

Looking for a nice staycation? You can visit a local park. Or even go for a hike. Want to boost your employment credentials? Get out or go online and network. 

You can link up and help out some really cool people in your community. And if you can try volunteering in a field that’s interesting to you. 

You’ll gain some new skills and develop your network in the process. Or try something different. 

Something completely new and helps others in the process.

How to be fiscally responsible: do cheap and free things.

Timeless activities like biking, learning how to cook, or DIY home improvement projects are long-term investments.

They’ll save you money, add value, and can be fun at the same time!

12. SHARE WITH YOUR COMMUNITY

Interested in fixing your car but you don’t have the right tools?

Ask a neighbor!

Looking for a new bike for your son or daughter? Check out different donation sites.

Many communities have sharing networks. And sometimes for a small deposit, you can rent different equipment, tools, or machinery and return them when you’re finished.

Besides not taking up space in your home or apartment, it’s a great way to have access to reliable equipment.

Without having to make the investment and buy everything, especially if it’s new.

You can extend this practice to almost everything. From sharing a bicycle, car, or even subletting unused space in your home.

How to be fiscally responsible: sharing and borrowing = less money you’ll have to spend. 

And the more you save, the more money you’ll have available to invest.

What can be more fiscally responsible than that?

13. TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEALTH TO BECOME FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE

This isn’t your grandma speaking, it’s your insurance company: health problems cost money.

A lot of money!

And not everything in life is foreseeable. But many medical conditions and doctor’s visits can be avoided by living a healthy and active life.

Having a more balanced diet. Even if you only eat one serving of fruit and vegetables a day, it’ll provide you with important vitamins and minerals. 

Most of which are left out of junk food. 

These vitamins and minerals help prevent infections, the flu, and even serious conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

How to be fiscally responsible: exercise.

Even if it’s just walking around the block.

Walking is a cheap, healthy, and entertaining way to keep your mood high and your energy even higher.

And if you’re confident you’re healthy and want a way to keep the winter blues away, make a list.

Fill it with all the things you want to do. Write down the average price to do all those things. Then start setting aside a certain amount of your money for everything you’ve listed.

Hopefully, if you keep saving (sometimes as little as 1% of your paycheck), you might be able to afford that Caribbean getaway. 

Even if you don’t get to do everything listed, you can still enjoy other luxuries along the way.

Especially if your tastes have changed towards living a more simple life…

My Final Thoughts

Being fiscally responsible is more of a mindset than a lifestyle.

You don’t have to give up the best things in life to save money. The key to being fiscally responsible is all about saving and not wasting money. Spend your money wisely.

Invest in your education, health, and lifestyle habits. Because life is a marathon. 

Not a sprint.

And if you want to make it to the end, it’s better to become a fiscally responsible person. 

Instead of sinking into an ocean of easily avoided debt. To find out more on how to stop spending so much money read this.

Adran Riley is the creator of MentalVibe, a website sharing ideas on how to grow your mindset and money since 2015.

Keep Reading