About the Money Mondays Segments:
Welcome to Money Mondays! In this weekly segment, I will be providing short financial tips and tricks on how to improve your overall financial situation. Learning to be good with your money starts with little bits of knowledge accumulated over time. I’m seeking to help people who are in search of financial independence so that they may achieve their goals. Thank you for reading and let me know your thoughts.
Top 3 Good Spending Habits:
Creating a good financial situation in your life starts with good habits. Habits are the building blocks in our lives – it’s what our brain does instinctively, but these habits need to be cultivated before they can become subconscious. The word “habit” frequently has a negative connotation because of bad habits, but it is even more important to work on creating good habits than worrying about trying to eliminate bad habits. The good habits will start to override the bad ones over time. Let’s take a look at the top 3 fundamental habits that will help improve your spending.
1. Track your spending/budgeting
OK, this is technically 2 things, but one leads into the other. First, you need to better understand your current spending situation. Most people I have talked with over the years have no idea where their money goes – that is BAD! One of the best habits to start is tracking your spending every single month. When I started doing this, I used a notebook and pen and logged all my sending ever week. With technology, it’s much easier now. In order to make the most of the technology available, you need to purchase almost everything with a credit or debit card (and then pay off the balance every month). Then you can use one of many programs available to track your spending. I personally like mint.com because you can track everything. We also use Discover Card which has a great spending analyzer tool. Whatever tool you use, you must be aware of where your money is being spent. From there, you can start to create a budget based around your goals.
2. Stick to the plan
Whether it is budgeting or shopping in general, you need to stick to the plan. Part of your plan can allow for one-off items if you feel you need it, but sticking with the plan is key! A great way to start using this key habit is when shopping – especially for groceries. You must have a list before going grocery shopping, and it’s extra helpful to know what a good price is for staple items. I will allow myself one “splurge” item while shopping, and that splurge item must have a price limit (I usually splurge on chocolate). We have found the Walmart Grocery Pickup service very helpful in order to stick to the plan. In short, you go online and select the items you need (prices are listed). Personal shoppers pick up all the items on your list. Then you just stop by the store, and they load the groceries into your car. As a result, you don’t end up getting anything off your list – stick to the plan! If you click our referral link, you will get $10 off $50 on your first order. Try it now!
3. Sleep on it
This is one of the strongest habits you can use to improve your financial situation – impulse buying is not allowed! The best way to integrate this habit into your life is to set a spending limit on any non-essential item you are interested in purchasing – something like $50 is a good starting point. If an item is over that amount, do not buy it right away. Instead, sleep on it. Our brains are not hardwired to handle the abundance of things available to us in everyday life. As a result, we tend to make poor purchasing decisions (which is where the term “buyer’s remorse” comes from). When you “sleep” on your decision, make sure to ask yourself questions: Do I really need this item? Will it add real value to my life? How much is spending this money now really costing me in the long term? The more you practice this strategy, the more the habit will start to ingrain into your subconscious, and the way you shop and spend money will never be the same.
What good (or bad) personal habits have you developed around spending? Do you have any useful methods in place? Share your thoughts and your own personal good habits around spending in the comments below.