6 ways to get richer without cutting out your daily coffee

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Spending less than you make may be the golden money rule - but it's not the only rule.

While it's important to cut your spending "mercilessly" on the things that don't add value to your life, says financial expert and bestselling author Ramit Sethi, people who are good with money know that $2 here and $10 there won't make you rich.

"There are a few Big Wins in life where - if you simply get them right - you almost never have to worry about the small things. If you can focus on the 5-10 Big Wins, rather than 50 little things, you can have an insurmountable edge in life," Sethi wrote in a blog post.

Here are a few of Sethi's favorite "big wins" that can set you up for a rich future:

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1. Automate your money

1. Automate your money

Sethi, like many financial experts, encourages automating as much of your finances as possible.

First and foremost, he says, decide what percentage of your salary you're going to contribute to your 401(k) or other retirement plan. That money will be taken out before it hits your bank account, so you'll learn to live without it.

The remainder of your paycheck should be deposited in your checking account — it's like an email inbox for your money: Everything goes there before it's filtered into the right place, Sethi writes in the latest edition of his bestselling book "I Will Teach You To Be Rich."

From your checking account, set up automatic transfers to, A) pay your credit-card bill and any fixed monthly costs that can't be paid by credit card, and B) fund other investment and savings accounts outside of your salary deferral plan at work. Whatever money is left over is yours to spend.

"The beauty of this system is that it works without your involvement and it's flexible enough to add or remove accounts at any time," he writes. "You're accumulating money by default."

2. Negotiate a higher salary

2. Negotiate a higher salary

You can only cut your spending so much before you're no longer living comfortably. But the amount you can earn? It's limitless.

"Nobody wants to talk about earning more. There are lots of ways to earn more. That is a huge part of the pie that no one thinks about," Sethi previously told Business Insider.

If you're asking for a raise at work, Sethi says, start preparing three to six months before your annual or quarterly review; set expectations with your boss and work hard to exceed them. Then, compile a "briefcase" of evidence to support your pitch for a raise. Finally, and most importantly, he says, practice your negotiation.

"Remember that getting a raise is not about you," Sethi writes. "It's about demonstrating your value to your employer." If your company doesn't offer growth potential, it may be time to look for a new job or pick up some work on the side, he says. These, too, are big wins that allow you to leverage your income.

3. Keep investing

3. Keep investing

If you're too afraid to invest, it will be very difficult to build substantial wealth.

"You're worried about maybe losing money, you are losing money — and that's the great irony," Sethi told Business Insider. "The worst mistake you could make is to wait, is to say somebody is going to come save me. It's not going to happen. And every day you wait, you're actually losing."

You don't need expert-level knowledge of individual stocks or markets to invest. Sethi says most people can, and should, start with automatic contributions to retirement accounts. Once you've paid off debt and saved for short-term goals, put any extra money into a brokerage account, he says.

Historically, the S&P 500 has returned an average of 7% to 8% per year after inflation. While past returns can't predict future returns, your money is much better off rising and falling in the market over a long period of time than sitting dormant in a savings or checking account. With a diversified and well-balanced portfolio, your risk level falls dramatically, Sethi writes.

Just remember one thing, he says: "It's not about timing the market, it's time in the market."

4. Aggressively pay off high-interest debt

4. Aggressively pay off high-interest debt

When you're putting money toward debt payments every month, you have less to save and invest.

"Whenever you're in debt, I always ask people: What is your debt payoff date?" Sethi told Business Insider. "No matter what, how much you owe — I met someone last weekend with $235,000 in student loans — you should know the month and year it will be paid off. That means you have a plan. That means it's all automatic."

Because student loans often carry much lower interest rates than credit cards, he recommends stamping out any consumer debt first. If you have multiple high-interest loans or credit lines, try either the snowball method or the avalanche method — the former prioritizes paying off the smallest debts first and usually provides more of a psychological benefit, while the latter prioritizes the debts with the highest interest rates.

"Bottom line: Don't spend more than five minutes deciding. Just pick one method and do it," Sethi says. "The goal is not to optimize your payoff method, but to get started paying off your debt."

5. Save cash for your goals

5. Save cash for your goals

"Sub-savings accounts are some of my favorite ways to save money for any purchase," Sethi wrote in a blog post. "These are accounts that you can create along with your normal savings account — but dedicate them to specific purchases."

Whether it's savings for a down payment, wedding, vacation, or future kids, funneling it into a dedicated account is not only motivating, Sethi says, but it helps you track your progress.

When you automate your retirement contributions and bills, set up a regular, automatic transfer from your checking account into the sub-savings account and watch the balance tick up over time.

Consider a high-yield savings or money-market account to store money for your short-term goals. There's zero risk of loss, the money is easily accessible, and your balance grows with no effort.

6. Maintain a good credit score

6. Maintain a good credit score

Staying on top of your credit is crucial, as it's an important tool for building wealth when used properly.

Your credit score largely determines whether you get approved for a mortgage, auto loan, or new credit card. It also influences the terms of a loan, including the interest rate. The higher your credit score, the better shot you'll have at borrowing money with favorable repayment terms.

Sethi suggests four tips for improving your credit score: Pay off debt fast, automate credit-card payments so you never miss one, avoid closing accounts, and apply for more credit if you can afford to make full payments every month.

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