How to Build Wealth From Nothing

Written By Mary Beth Eastman
Last updated January 28, 2021

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IRA vs 401k
Personal Finance
August 13, 2017

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

Everybody wants the security that comes from having their finances in order and building wealth. Even if you have nothing now, you can start applying wealth-building techniques to achieve your long-term financial goals. Wealth creation doesn’t have to be complicated and it can be easy to fit into your life. Using the following strategies, you can live debt-free and learn how to create wealth.

One way to build wealth is to earn more to begin with. You can try to negotiate a better salary at your current job or transfer to a company that pays better.

You can also use these wealth creation strategies to add more sources of income:

1. Sell Your Crafts and Products

If you are crafty or artistic, or are just able to build stuff on your own, you can create a website to sell your products. It’s actually easier than you think to build wealth this way. There are services that will let you set up a selling website with a shopping cart already built in, with little hassle. Here are some of the best shopping cart software services:

2. Start a Freelance Business

If you’re a skilled writer, graphic designer, proofreader or website developer, start a freelance business as a wealth-building tactic. You can advertise your services on a website and have inexpensive business cards printed to hand out as needed.

You can also start your own blog and write about whatever interests you while also making money on the side. If you sign up for an affiliate program, you can earn a commission on any products or services that you recommend on your blog. Here are some of the top affiliate programs:

  • Rakuten LinkShare: The biggest of the affiliate networks, it has almost everything, but can be difficult to get approved for certain programs. You can check out LinkShare here.
  • FlexOffers: Another affiliate website that offers a lot of companies to choose from, and it is easier to get approved for programs on FlexOffers. You can check out FlexOffers here.
  • ShareASale: ShareASale is a great place to get instantly approved for offers, although some programs do require screening. If you are into fashion, this is the affiliate program for you. You can check out ShareASale here.

As a freelancer, you set your own rates and deadlines, so you can have as much flexibility as you need to make the money you want.

3. Get a Second Job

Depending on your work schedule, get a second job on the weekends or throughout the week. You’ll build wealth much faster by spending time earning money instead of relaxing at home. Consider these options:

  • Seasonal job: With a seasonal job, you’ll only work when the company needs you. During the summer, you could work at a water park. During the holiday season, many companies need additional workers due to the holiday rush.
  • Restaurant job: Many restaurants rely on part-time waitresses, bartenders and hostesses, often with little experience. Sometimes you’re able to pick up shifts during busy times. You earn a small hourly wage plus tips, so it’s worth aiming to provide exemplary customer service to maximize your earnings.
  • Part-time: Most department stores, such as JCPenney and Macy’s, and other retail stores are busier on the weekends when customers aren’t working, and they often hire part-time workers for these shifts. You can also drive for car services like Uber or Lyft to get some extra money on the side.
  • Work-at-home job: There are many work-at-home jobs that you can do, from copywriting to answering customer service phone calls. To ensure any opportunity is legitimate, take the time to read reviews from other work-at-home staff members.

4. Sell Your Clutter

Do you have furniture, antiques or other items you can sell? Host a garage sale or sell items online to make additional money. In addition to creating wealth, you’ll have a more beautiful home that’s free of clutter.

5. Consider Passive and Active Sources of Income

There are many ways to earn money outside of traditional employment opportunities. You could babysit, walk dogs or housesit for nearby families who would be happy to pay you to help them out. Ask your neighbors if you can plow snow off their driveways or mow their lawns. Most people aren’t focused on actually building wealth and would rather pay you to do something than have to deal with it themselves. You can use this to your advantage.

You can also create passive streams of income, where you put in the work initially and receive compensation over time as people use or buy your product. Some examples of this would include:

  • E-books: You can self-publish an e-book and sell it through CreateSpace and Amazon. You write the book, and then pay for an editor and maybe someone to format the book correctly. As your book sells, you get a percentage of the earnings.
  • Courses: If you create a course on Udemy, you use your expertise to write course curriculum. When someone enrolls in your course, you earn money, even if you’ve established a self-administered course.

The quickest way to create wealth is by not spending the money you earn. The longer you can keep this money in your bank account, the more money you’ll have overall.

Consider how many stories you’ve heard about celebrities who once made millions of dollars before filing for bankruptcy. Fans act surprised by how they squandered their money. No matter the amount of money you have, you’ll stay poor if you consistently spend more money than you keep.

To keep more of your money and build wealth, you should lower your expenses for as long as possible. Ask yourself the following questions to determine how you can accomplish this:

1. What Bills Can I Negotiate?

You can lower your expenses by negotiating better rates with your regular service providers. Call your internet company and cellphone provider to see if they can offer you a better price. If they hesitate, be transparent and let them know that you’re shopping around to lower your rate, but you’d like to stick with their company. You can also get the most out of your taxes by using one of the best online tax services to help you optimize your tax return.

2. What Can I Do Without?

Some of your bills you can cut altogether. Think about things you pay for but don’t really need or use. For example, most families don’t need a home phone and a cellphone anymore. Consider if you need both, and drop the home phone bill if you can.

3. What Can I Substitute?

There are plenty of less expensive alternatives to services you routinely use. Cable is one bill many families opt to go without to save money each month. If you still want to watch your favorite shows, consider these alternatives:

  • Digital TV antenna: For a one-time purchase of about $20, you can buy a digital TV antenna that gives you access to local and national broadcast channels. You can still watch your favorite TV shows on channels such as Fox and ABC without having to pay monthly for them.
  • Hulu: Hulu allows you to stream movies, current seasons of TV shows and complete past seasons for around $10 a month, depending on the package level you choose.
  • Netflix: Netflix made streaming popular, bringing complete seasons of TV shows, original programming and movies available for under $10 a month.
  • Sling TV: Sling TV gives you access to live TV and some pre-recorded programming on popular channels such as Disney, ESPN and Freeform.

4. Where Can I Budget?

You can also spend less on your variable expenses in order to build wealth. Implement a budget for eating out, entertainment and grocery shopping. Get creative and find ways to stick to the budget so you save money every month instead of giving in to impulse buys. When setting up a budget, make sure you are consistently checking your credit card and banking statements to make sure you are safeguarding against identity theft. You can also sign up for an identity theft protection service like Lifelock. Check out our comparison of Lifelock vs. Experian to review the popular services side by side.

When you have debt, you waste money financing it through interest and limit your recurring cash flow through payments. This can make wealth-building especially hard so it makes the most sense to pay off debt quickly and to commit to avoiding debt in the future.

1. Complete a Debt Snowball

One way to pay off debt is to make a list of all your debts, including student loans, credit cards and medical debt. Order them from smallest to largest.

Pay the minimums each month on all debts. Put any extra money toward the smallest one. Once you pay off the smallest one, add that monthly payment to the next one. Eventually, your debt pay-off strategy will gain momentum and you’ll pay off all your debts. If you can pay off your debts, take on your credit score next. Raising your credit score can mean savings when it comes to interest rates. You can repair your credit yourself or you can reach out to one of the few trusted credit repair companies to help you with the fixes.

2. Learn to Save Instead of Borrow

If your dishwasher breaks, do not go out and buy a new one on a payment plan. Instead, put off buying the dishwasher until you save up to pay for it in cash.

It’s important to change the way we think about money if we’re going to learn how to create wealth. Saving for something means you won’t have an ongoing payment related to a purchase you already made. If it’s not worth saving for, you’ll end up not buying it and saving the money instead.

Once you free up money by earning more, spending less and avoiding debt, you should start investing your money to maximize how much you have. There are different strategies you can use to build wealth this way. A well-balanced financial portfolio consists of a combination of strategies.

1. Investigate Savings Account Options at Your Bank

Most regular savings accounts at banks have nominal interest rates. When you have more money to save, you’ll have other options available to you, such as CDs and money market accounts. Ask your current banking institutions which accounts you can open that have the highest interest rates.

2. Maximize Allowable Contributions

You should be contributing regularly to a tax-deferred retirement account, such as your 401(k), which might be eligible for an employer match, or an IRA. Aim to contribute the maximum each year to reduce your overall tax liability and prepare for the future. Health savings accounts and 529 education plans are additional ways to save and reduce your tax liability.

3. Hire an Investment Broker

If you’re ready to invest in stocks or other formal investments, it’s time to hire an investment broker with the expertise to increase how much return you get on your investment. Ask friends and family members who they’d recommend, and conduct your own research. You want to make sure your money is safe and has the best chance of growing, so a personal recommendation isn’t enough on its own.

Also find an investment broker that is open to new opportunities. One option is trading cryptocurrency. While this is fairly a new investing option, that also means that it is less expensive than it would be if it takes off, so it’s smart to get in on the ground floor. The best cryptocurrency apps can also help you get started.

Find out how the accounts of other clients performed. Using these steps can help you feel financially secure, make healthier financial decisions and build wealth.

About the Author

Mary Beth Eastman

Mary Beth Eastman serves as the content manager for Simple. Thrifty. Living, where she is dedicated to helping readers use money and credit wisely. Mary Beth believes that access to the right financial information paired with a growth mindset are essential tools for getting out of debt and building wealth. Mary Beth has a degree in Journalism from Bowling Green State University and has focused her 20-year journalism career on putting readers front and center, carefully considering their concerns and presenting information that will help them in their everyday lives. She has won numerous statewide journalism awards. Her writing on personal finance as been featured on numerous websites in addition to Simple. Thrifty. Living, including Huffington Post and Lexington Law blog. Mary Beth resides in Pittsburgh, Pa., with her family and two rescue dogs.

  • Sometimes being simple isn’t all that easy. But that’s especially true when it comes to money. I like the idea of e-books. They apparently don’t have to be long I’m sure I could write one. Thanks for the ideas.

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