6 Insider Tips From Financial Coaches

Wouldn’t it be great to get advice from financial coaches—without having to pay for it?

You’re in luck!

We’ve talked to a few financial coaches—who share their knowledge and experience with clients every day—and they’ve given us specific tips for winning with money. They’ve heard it all and seen it all. They know what you need for success, and they know what mistakes you need to avoid. These actions could change the way you look at your finances.

Here is some advice they offered:

1. Stop trying to buy your kids’ love.
Ouch. Hearing that may be a little painful, but it’s true. Some parents use stuff to get their kids’ approval. Buying them the latest gaming system or a new wardrobe won’t take the place of your time and attention, so stop the madness. Your kids would rather have you at home. They need your undivided attention. They need your unreserved affirmation. And they need your unconditional approval.

2. Don’t let ads trick you.
Spend any time online and you’re exposed to ads. Google made a whopping $19.1 billion in ad revenue in 2015. And that’s just one site. There are countless more ads on TV, on apps, and yes, even in newspapers and magazines. The sole purpose of those ads? To get you to buy stuff. Ad agencies will use every trick in the book to get you to the cash register. Don’t buy the lies, and keep your money in your pocket.

3. You can have fun with money.
If you want to take a vacation, that’s great—as long as you plan for it. But that doesn’t mean you have to break the bank to enjoy your time off. You don’t need to go into debt. The same applies to events like Christmas and birthdays and anniversaries. The memories with the most value come from experiences with people, not stuff you buy.

4. If you’re not on the same page with your spouse, you’re in big trouble.
Seriously, disagreeing about money is one of the biggest issues that can derail your marriage—and your finances. Here’s the deal: When you’re fighting about money, you’re not really fighting about money. There’s usually something underneath that needs to be addressed. Fear, trust and control (among other issues) can color how you relate to each other.

5. Peer pressure is real—even with money.
Some people won’t agree with your money decisions. When you can’t go out after work because you don’t have the cash, your coworkers may give you a hard time or tell you to put it on your credit card just this once. Remember, debt is “normal” but will leave you broke. And keeping up with the Joneses is a competition you’ll never win. Don’t give in.

6. Your calendar can keep you out of trouble.
“Unexpected” events or occasions can wreck your budget. The truth is, we know about most of those events well ahead of time—we just forget about them. That’s why you need to sit with your calendar often and write down events and expenses you know are coming—birthdays, insurance premiums (car, life, health, etc.), anniversaries, graduations, weddings. If you don’t know the exact date, just jot down a note at the beginning of the month. Planning for these events can keep you on track with your money.

Winning with money doesn’t take a finance degree from Harvard. It takes focus and hard work. It takes listening to smart people—like financial coaches—who have helped others learn to budget, get out of debt, and plan for the future. And it means taking responsibility for your money. Your success with money is in your hands. You get to decide what your financial future holds.