After reading 100+ personal finance books, an advanced certification in financial planning, and hundreds of articles I’ve written–here’s a collection of 12 quotes, advice, and tips that have been invaluable to me.

12 Best One-Sentence Money Tips Of All Time

# 1 – Pay yourself first.

Don’t wait to save what’s leftover at the end of the month. Instead, make YOURSELF the # 1 priority.

# 2 – You need a budget.

Going back to the 2008 U.S. Presidential election, I saved a quote from Joe Biden. Taken out of context and applying it to personal finance, it’s great advice:

“Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.” 

If you’re not already, open an account with Personal Capital (my favorite free budgeting tool) and start tracking your expenses.

# 3 – The hole you give through is the same as the hole you receive through.

This may seem counter intuitive. As if you’re giving more to others, the less there is for yourself. But I’ve always found when I give more of myself (time or money), the more I get back (time, money, fulfillment)

# 3 – Money is an effect, not a cause.

Money is an effect, not a cause—the cause is creating value for others. If you wish to earn more money, you must add value. The more value you add, the more you’ll be rewarded.

To quote Jim Rohn;

“We get paid for bringing value to the marketplace. It takes time,… but we get paid for the value, not the time.”

# 4 – The key to making money…

The key to making money, and therefore living a life of less stress, is to cause someone to joyfully give you money in exchange for something they perceive to be of greater value than what you give them.

Paraphrased from the book: Education of Millionaires

# 5 – Money multiplies who you already are.

Similar to what famed UCLA basketball coach John Wooden meant when he said, “Sports don’t build character…they reveal it.” Money will never make you happy but can make you happier.

Read: How To Invest In Yourself: 25 Mostly Free Ways To Upgrade Your Life

# 6 – Your financial life rests on the gap between your income and expenses.

The larger the gap, the better.

# 7 – Every dollar should have a purpose.

Shift as much money as possible from spending to investing. If it’s not in your emergency fund, nor is it put aside for a specific savings goal, it should be invested. It should have a purpose.

# 8 – Never spend on impulse

When the instance comes up when you feel you “need” to buy something, experience it. Don’t resist and don’t turn it into suffering. Simply, don’t buy things on impulse; only buy things you  plan to buy.

Here’s rules I’ve set for myself:

  • On minor purchases wait 7 days to make the decision ($50 to $100)
  • Bigger decisions ($100-$2000) wait 30 days to make the decision
  • Anything larger wait at least three months

# 9 – Never try to impress anyone

If you’re buying something to impress other people, it’s a sign that you’re doing it wrong.

# 10 – Nobody cares more than you

No one cares more about your money than you do, so you must be a steward over your money.

# 11 – Bet big when the odds are in your favor

To paraphrase Charlie Munger;

Being prepared, on a few occasions in your lifetime, to act promptly in scale, in doing some simple and logical things, will dramatically improve your financial results. A few major opportunities clearly recognizable as such, will come to one who continuously searches and waits, with a curious mind, loving diagnosis involving multiple variables. And then all that is required is a willingness to bet heavily when the odds are extremely favorable, using resources available as a result of prudence and patience in the past.

# 12 – Prepare for the worst

To quote Nassim Nicholas Taleb:

“Not seeing a tsunami or an economic event coming is excusable; building something fragile to them is not.”

Read: How To Survive The Next Recession

# 13 – You’re the average of the five people you spend most of your time with.

To quote Jim Rohn;

“You’re the average of the five people you spend most of your time with.”

Taken one step further–your net worth will be an average of the five people you spend the most time with.