Many of the ways in which you spend your money comes from nothing more than a habit. From spending $15 on lunch every day to dropping $150 on new shoes, your costly habits can be a slow but steady drain on your finances. If these habits are bad for your finances, think about developing good habits that will boost your finances. Here are seven simple, good money habits you can adopt to help you keep more of your paycheck:
1. Stay in touch with your account(s)
Many people make the mistake of allowing themselves to get out of touch with their finances. When they look at their statements once every few months, they’re surprised at how little money is left in the account. However, it doesn’t take much time to always stay on top of your financial life. All you need to do is to take exactly a minute to log in to your account, once a day. You can review your transactions and think about whether you’re happy that you’ve made them. It’s a habit that can serve as a powerful influence on the way you spend your money.
2. Set up automatic savings
Many people spend what they want out of their paycheck and save whatever they have to spare at the end. If you set up an automatic savings transfer on your account and arrange to have a percentage of your income automatically transferred to your long-term savings, you’ll learn to get by on less money. Your savings will be on autopilot. Habitual saving is a great way to put together a nest egg, an emergency fund, or a vacation fund.
3. Think of responsible spending rules for yourself
When people break the rules, they feel guilty, even when they are rules they’ve set for themselves. You can make up responsible financial rules and tell yourself you aren’t allowed to break them. For example, a rule could be that you only allow yourself to spend on entertainment when you’ve fully settled your credit card bill each month. It could also be you only let yourself go shopping if you’ve saved a certain amount of money for your child’s education each month. You’ll find you aren’t easily able to break these rules without feeling bad. Rules, even when they are self-imposed, can powerfully influence behavior.
4. Tell your friends what your financial goals are
Whether your goal is to own a home before you’re 35 or to pay off your student loans by the time you hit 40, you probably don’t tell anyone about them for fear of inviting ridicule if you fail at them. However, sharing your goals with friends can be a powerful way to motivate yourself. Fear of failure and ridicule can push you to work harder towards them.
5. Tell yourself that you deserve financial stability
When the urge to splurge on luxuries comes, you may tell yourself that you deserve good things, considering all the hard work that you put in. However, there is another way to tell yourself that you deserve the best in life. When you want to eat out or buy a new gadget, you should tell yourself that you deserve the financial security that saving money can bring you. Often, you will find that you do choose security over instant gratification.
6. Always shop from a list
According to a survey by the National Endowment for Financial Education, three out of four shoppers make impulse purchases when they are at a store and regret it later. Create a list and stick to it. It can significantly help your finances to never buy anything that isn’t on your shopping list.
7. Don’t let a slip-up discourage you
Research into human psychology shows that good habits take months to establish. You should expect to slip up a few times as you try to make a new habit stick. If you make the mistake of making an impulse purchase, using your credit card, or treating yourself to a luxury when you shouldn’t, you should consider it par for the course. It can take dozens of slip-ups before a habit truly becomes second nature. You need to go easy on yourself and not allow yourself to feel discouraged.
It’s important to understand how powerful habits can be. While forming good financial habits can be difficult, being financially responsible can become effortless once your good habits are in place. All you need to do is form those habits.
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