Habits are fantastic. After all, we only have so much mental energy and we really don’t want to spend it on something like brushing our teeth, or taking out the garbage. That’s where habits come in. They don’t require all of our attention and thereby leave more mental energy for doing the things that matter.
The problem, however, is that because they don’t require focus, we often engage in them without conscious awareness, meaning that bad habits can be very tricky to break. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, however. And today we’re going to look at a few clever ways that you can create good financial habits and get rid of bad ones.
Have specific goals
Don’t just aim to save money. Aim to save a specific amount, or aim to save for something. I myself started to learn how to save when I decided I wanted to go away for a year. Every time I wanted to buy a coffee, go out drinking, or get a new gadget, I remembered my plan to go away. And I realized that this purchase today was going to mean I had less money (and less fun) on my trip. That made it far easier to confront my bad habits and get them under control.
And once the habits were broken, it was a cinch to keep them at bay. So now I’m quite minimalistic in my living because I would rather spend my money on experiences rather than things (as the research shows they make us far happier).
Share your ideas
And if you have a specific goal, be sure to tell other people about it! Research shows that if you tell somebody else about your plans, whatever they may be, you’ll be 33% more likely to actually complete them.
Now I don’t know whether this is because you become more enthusiastic about getting there or ashamed if you’re not living up to your plans. It doesn’t really matter, to tell the truth. Both can be wonderfully powerful emotions to keep you on track with your savings and that is ultimately what you’re after if you’re reading this article!
So get together with somebody you trust and share your intentions. You can even make it a weekly thing where you talk with each other about how well you’re doing and where you discuss strategies about how you can do better. The very act of doing so can turn saving from a chore into an adventure that you share together. Now that has to be pretty motivating!
Automate your savings
How about externalizing your saving habit? Instead of relying on yourself to put money away, have your bank do it for you! All you need to do is have two accounts and have your bank transfer from your checking into your savings automatically right after your paycheck comes in. The closer the two come together, the less you’ll notice what you’re missing.
Very quickly you’ll adjust to having a little bit less in your bank account and find yourself saving more! Then get into the habit of checking your saving account regularly. Seeing that number grow, week by week, month by month can become a very addictive habit in and of itself and can make certain you don’t touch it. And hey, presto! You’re saving money.
Don’t watch TV
You think television is just harmless entertainment? Think again. It’s all about advertising and product placement. There just happens to occasionally be a bit of plot over the top. So don’t give them the space to ram consumerism down your throat! Reduce the consumption of television and you’ll see yourself spending less on unnecessary products as well!
Reject the throw-away mindset
Very often the things we throw away would still have been perfectly useable if we’d just taken the time to maintain them better. It isn’t just there where we can save a huge amount of money. If we’d just accept that we don’t need the latest model of everything or the most expensive one, we’d save thousands of dollars a year. Want to buy a new phone after a year? Wait six months before you do. If you do that twice over, you’ll have bought one whole less phone in three years.
And do you really need a new car or could you just maintain the one you’ve got? Would that stretch the life of this one a little further? If every time you want to buy something you manage to push it back a few months (or longer if you can) you’re going to end up saving serious money!
Schedule a money minute
A good way to make spending into something you are more consciously aware of is to install a money minute. What is a money minute? It’s where you create a fixed time slot in your day to check your bank statements. This will do two things:
Firstly, it will eliminate that horrible feeling that you’ve got in the pit of your stomach when you check your account after a long time away. After all, not that much will change from day to day.
Secondly, it will connect actions to their consequences. If you go out for lunch, you’ll see how much you spent. If you buy a new dress, you’ll see the consequences in your bank account. And being more aware will make you think twice before splurging, which makes a huge difference. After all, there are two ways to make money. The first is to get a new job. The other is to simply spend less!
Freeze your credit card
I don’t mean, contact the bank and have your credit card blocked. I mean literally freeze your credit card. Yes, you read that right, Put the thing in a bowl of water and put it in the freezer. This way, if you need it, you can still get to it. All you need to do is let it thaw. The thing is, that you’ve got serious time to reconsider your decision while you do. You can even turn it into a game. How much time can you leave your credit card frozen? Two weeks? A month? A year?
However long it is, during that time you’ll not be spending any money on credit, meaning that your debt is shrinking and you’re living within your means.
Whatever strategies you decide to apply, don’t wait. Get going right away on getting your finances sorted out because every day that you live beyond your means your debt is growing and your problem is getting bigger. So start to develop important skills today . It’s really not that hard. All it takes is changing a mindset. Turn it into a game, where your score is the number in your bank account and watch your life change from one where you’re scared to check what’s in there, to one where you are eager to see if your high score is growing!
Diana Beyer is experienced and self-driven specialist who is passionate about writing. Her purpose is to share some value among interested people. She always seeking to discover a new way in personal and professional development