One Hundred Dollars is Keeping You From Investing: Here’s How to Change That


One hundred dollars.

How often do you spend $100? What does $100 mean to you?

A hundred dollars isn’t very much money. Not in the grand scheme of real estate investing.

A hundred dollars can be a LOT of money when it’s coming out of your pocket on a regular basis — especially when it’s coming out of your pocket when it doesn’t have to.

A hundred dollars can be what’s keeping you poor. A hundred dollars is why you’re broke.

“I want to get starting investing in real estate, but I have no money and bad credit.”

Do you really have no money, or are you just making bad choices with the money you have?

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Your $100 Cable Bill

You don’t need cable. Period. With all the options that we have available — Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, just to name a few — you don’t need to drop $100+ on a cable bill.

My sister-in-law used to have a boyfriend who dropped $300 on his cable bill every month. He had every channel they offered, every service he could get. He would go to work, then come home and plop down on the sofa and watch TV anytime he was awake.

As you can imagine, he didn’t accomplish very much.

You don’t need cable. You don’t need TV, either. One of the best things you can do for your investing is to turn off the TV, open a book or jump on a real estate investing social network (BiggerPockets comes to mind) and start learning!


Related: The Foolproof Monthly Budget: How to Save Up Money to Buy Investment Properties

You won’t learn anything about real estate investing on TV. Those “reality” TV shows about investing are about as far from reality as you can get. Oh sure, you buy a home, rehab it, and sell it. That’s about all they have in common with actual flipping.

I was curious, so I Googled “How much TV does the average American watch?”


Do you know what you could accomplish if you put just HALF that amount into real estate investing? You could listen to two podcasts a day and be all caught up before Labor Day. If you used the entire five hours a day to listen to podcasts, you’d be caught up by July 4th!

Analyze deals, learn your market, drive for dollars, write a great letter, talk to potential sellers, network with other local investors, attend a meetup — there are so many other, BETTER things you can be doing with your time than sitting in front of the television set.

Nobody ever got ahead or gained an advantage by watching TV five hours a day.

Your $100 Phone Plan

Cellphone service used to be dominated by a handful of companies. If you wanted a phone, you had to go through them, and they all cost pretty much the same. Deregulation has opened up the cellular provider industry, and there are now many choices.

I use Republic Wireless — and my plan starts at $10 a month. It runs on the Sprint network, and when I am at home, my phone makes calls over wifi. I had to purchase my phone outright, but I got last year’s model so it wasn’t too bad. Does it really matter what kind of phone you have?

Having a mobile phone is important when you’re investing in real estate. You want to be reachable at all times — you never know when a seller will reach out. That doesn’t mean you have to pay top dollar.

Why pay more for the exact same service?

Your $100 Jeans

Sure, you want to look good, but do you really have to drop $100 on jeans? Today’s latest style is going to be tomorrow’s outdated look. You don’t need $100 jeans to look good. Real estate is not a fashion show. Your goal should be to look casually nice. Professional, but not fancy. If you look like a million dollars, chances are good that the seller is going to assume you have a million dollars — and want more for their house.

Your $100 Haircut

There is a HUGE difference between a $100 haircut and a $10 haircut. I’m not going to lie, the stylist who charges more has significantly more experience and education. You get a better haircut when you spend more money on it. But do you really need it?

Stylists recommend getting your hair cut every 6-8 weeks. Finding a lower-cost stylist, going less frequently, or even doing it yourself are great alternatives.

Caveat: If you DIY your hair, make sure you have a foolproof style. I cut my husband’s hair, but he has a buzzcut, and it takes me less than five minutes to run the trimmer over his head. He does NOT cut my hair.


Related: No Money? No Credit? No Real Estate Experience? Read THIS Before You Do Anything Else.

Quality Matters

I am not telling you to go cheap on everything. There are definitely times when spending a little more is definitely worth it.

A friend recently introduced me to a new term, BIFL (pronounced Biffle). Buy It For Life. He purchased a pair of dress shoes that cost $400. They are a name you’ve most likely never heard, but they are quality shoes. They are a classic style, and unless they get thrown through the wood chipper, they will last him forever.

Quality products cost more initially, but are actually less expensive over the long run because they don’t need to be replaced because they have broken. They may need repairs from time to time, but they don’t wear out quickly or break outright.

Spend Consciously

“It’s only a dollar.” Or five. Or ten. Or one hundred.

This is the mindset that will hold you back in life. If you’re starting from zero, every dollar counts. Every. Single. One.

So spend them consciously. Know where your money is going and what it’s getting you. Free your dollars so you can put them to work for you, making more dollars. That’s the whole reason you’re investing, right?

What small changes have you made to keep money in your pocket?

Let me know your best tips in the comments section below!

About Author

Mindy Jensen

Mindy has flipped numerous homes in the past 10 years, one at a time and doing much of the work with her husband. She lives in Longmont, CO, and is always looking for an ugly duckling to turn into a swan.


  1. Kevin Andrews

    I absolutely agree with BIFL. It saves so much over the long run. I used to be cheap and buy cheap stuff and replace when it broke or was no longer useful. But once I realized how much I was truly spending I started choosing quality products. Great article and advice Mindy.

  2. Mindy, I’m glad your here to teach/remind people of the value of watching ones personal finances.

    I, myself also use republic wireless, have no TV whatsoever, so no cable bill, and keep a strict budget of what I spend in a month. Once I figured out a budget, I entered that information into mint, and use that to keep track of my finances.

    I think many people fall into the trap of following societal norms….best Samsung or iPhone, $100 cable plan, new car payment to go along with too much house or rent for the money they make.

    To them, having credit card debt and spending more than they earn is normal. I was in that boat for a long time myself. It’s very liberating to get out of that boat, and know where your money is, and where it is going.

  3. Paul Winka

    You seem to be a Dave Ramsey fan!

    I’ll have to disagree with you on the frequency of getting haircuts. I’d look too disheveled without a cut every three weeks but there is no way I’d ever pay $100 for one haircut!

    Republic Wireless. That is for the tip. I’ll check them out.

    Another way to save is to buy and give Christmas gifts after the holidays. January is usually the slowest sales month of the year for retail stores.

  4. Hello Mindy,
    You provided a good list of suggestions, but I would also include “setting a budget.” To change one’s spending habits, we must first assess our daily spending.

    From Nancy

  5. Tobey Porter

    We started investing this year and began by giving up our Dish. We were paying $116/month. Now we pay $8 for Hulu and swapped passwords with my in-laws for their Netflix.

    And no worries with the haircuts; I shave my head….nice and cheap!!!

  6. Kevin Yeats

    “I find TV to be *very educational.* Every time someone turns it on, I go into another room and read a book” – Groucho Marx

    If you don’t know who Groucho was go ask your parents …. or grandparents.

  7. Mark Gaines

    Thank You Mindy, I agree wholeheartedly. I have been saving for years and investing. It really is a two part process. Each is equally important. I have done well over the last 31 years. I learned from reading and watching others. Bill Greene “Think Like a Tycoon” got me fired up. You are doing that for others here. I like the BIFL conept, though I had never heard of it. It runs contrary to many people’s thinking. Buy Chinese …you can get a remote control helicopter for $20.00..though it only lasts a week.

  8. Charles Morgan

    I dropped my cable years ago. I also have replaced my cell plan with Freedompop. They have two services, Sprint which gives you 200 minutes of call time and 500 texts/month FREE! and GSM (runs on ATT towers) which gives you the same. With either plan you can also use Google Hangouts and your Google Voice number to make and receive texts and calls over the data plan or on wireless. The Sprint service will give you over 900MB/month free data, GSM will only give you 600+MB/month free data.
    You do buy your own phone and with GSM service you also buy the SIM.
    I have both, one phone on Freedompop Sprint and one on GSM.

  9. Ken p.

    Great article Mindy, with helpful suggestions. To your list I would add shopping at Aldi for groceries. Your basic food items taste the same regardless of whether they were purchased in a store with fancy decor or off the no-frills shelves at Aldi. A family of four can easily save hundreds of dollars per month if they do their shopping for essentials at Aldi rather than Kroger, Publix, Jewel-Osco or the like. We began shopping at Aldi when we lived in Germany many years ago, and started shopping there again when the chain expanded into the USA, and would now have to do a major reconfiguration of our household budget if we couldn’t shop there.

  10. Thank you Mindy for the reminder to evaluate where spending occurs in our lifestyles. Another area that I will shop around for is my electric provider, I tend not to have lengthy contracts, but opt for a three to six month plan that offers better rates. Saves me money! Money I can use in real estate!

  11. Lisa Holden

    Hi Mindy, I have been working hard on all you have spoken about. Just wanted to say, about your bio, it really spoke to me as I always see the ugly duckling that I want to turn into a swan. I’m just getting a few things in order and then I will be starting my real estate journey. Thanks for your post. 🙂

  12. Allen Fletcher

    The basic principle to this whole article is based on your priorities. If your priority is to invest in Real Estate than mold your life style to that priority structure. I think this is the key to life, make sure that you spend, time, money, energy, and thought on what you value first and you will find at the end of your life that you have no regrets and feel that your life has been great.

    Allen Fletcher

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