Prioritizing your financial wellness and getting yourself in a sound financial situation that you feel at peace with can be a long process. But taking it one day at a time, one step at a time and developing better money habits will help you make minor shifts over time that will begin to compound.
And money habits are not just about spending – although spendings habits play a major role. Money habits could be around your behavior – your avoidance of money, the way you respond to certain money related topics or conversations with your partner or the way you react with fear and dismissal any time a new money concept is brought to your attention.
If you feel like you’re living paycheck to paycheck, feel like you should be doing more with the money you have and make, don’t know how to avoid getting into debt, or just can’t seem to get yourself to prioritize your financial wellness, my guess is that it ultimately has to do with a lack of positive habits around your money.
And I understand – changing your behaviors around money, your spending habits, your communication style around money, your fear around money…
They require time, effort and often times money to make the shift necessary to change the trajectory of your life. But establishing these better money habits will inevitably change your life and help you achieve your financial goals.
But let’s just focus on the small changes we can make daily or weekly or even monthly that are sustainable for you moving forward and see the change that will come from it.
I want to see you succeed and make financial progress which is why I have compiled 10 better money habits to consider and implement into your life in 2023.
Developing better money habits will inevitably result in a net worth that trends higher and higher over time because these habits will encourage saving more, investing more, paying down more debt, etc.
Routinely reviewing your net worth on a monthly basis is a fantastic financial exercise to commit to on a monthly basis. List out all your assets or what you own (checking accounts, investment accounts, real estate, etc.) and all of your debt or what you owe (credit cards, personal loans, mortgages, etc.). This will allow you to put eyes on where you stand, evaluate your progress and identify areas that need improvement.
This won’t take more than 5 minutes per day. Open up your banking and credit card apps and put eyes on where you’re spending your money.
This will help you better identify if there have been fraudulent charges, if you have been mistakenly charged for something and if something looks suspicious or unlike it should. It will also help you become more mindful of the way you spend your money.
The minimum requirement to seek financial progress is to spend less than you earn. That is the minimum requirement. If you can do that, then you will at least be moving in the right direction. But how will you know how much you’re spending, what you’re spending on and how you’re spending is trending if you don’t spend time to track it.
Whether you use an excel spreadsheet and document it yourself or an app that is connected to your accounts to assist you in the tracking, you have to have an understanding of where your money is going. Not only will it provide insight into what you are prioritizing but it will help assist you in creating a plan to achieve your short- and long-term financial goals.
Managing your money does not have to require a lot of time, but it may if you continue to avoid it and have months and months to review at one time. So, allocate time on a monthly basis to review your finances, your goals, your expenses to hold yourself accountable and identify areas that need extra attention moving forward.
Automate your bill payments and transfers to savings and investment accounts so that your accounts can do the work for you. Eliminate these tasks from your financial to-do list so that you can actually spend time on financial matters that need improvement.
It’s important to identify when your spending is a direct outcome and result of a specific trigger like boredom, sadness, etc. where you have conditioned yourself to need some sort of instant gratification or relief that you feel will be resolved through spending. Identify these triggers and try to make a small shift in your actions.
If you get bored and head straight to the mall, don’t bring your credit card or instead, go for a walk. If you’re feeling lonely and like a new pair of jeans would do the trick to make you feel better, instead, call up a friend you haven’t connected with in a while. Try to shift the immediate action you take when you are triggered.
When you get paid, instead of figuring out where you’re going to spend it, how about first you identify what goals your going to put it towards. A portion to your emergency fund, a portion to your Roth IRA, some to your vacation fund and then perfect – the rest to spend freely as you wish.
It is WAY TOO EASY to buy things. Once upon a time, you had to get dressed, get in your car, go to the store, buy the thing you wanted and then drive all the way home. Nope, not anymore. You can purchase anything you could possibly want within 5 minutes in the comfort of your own home or simply on your cell phone. Dangerous.
Wait 24 hours. Keep the item in your cart for 24 hours, minimum. If you keep thinking about it and come back for it, buy it. If you don’t, you know what to do.
Write down your money goals, both for the short term and the long term. That might include things like building an emergency fund, knocking out your credit card debt, paying for a childs college education, buying a house, leaving your day job to be your own boss someday, or supporting your parents’ retirement.
We create these goals to help us move in the direction we say we want to go. To help us truly identify what it is we want from this life we are living and ultimately how our money can help us get there.
You create the goal. Identify what it’s going to take to achieve it. Execute the plan. Track Your Progress.
It’s not enough to say you want something. You have to identify WHAT it’s going to take to make it a reality, execute the “What” and then over time continually track your progress towards that goal. Focus on the progress, not the outcome.
With consistent better money habits, the outcome your seeking will become a reality!
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