There are hundreds of ideas out there about financial management, and it can feel overwhelming to sort through them all. The key isn’t choosing the “right” habits, it is choosing a few habits that work for you and learning to stick to them. Here we’ll look at eight common financial habits that may be worth trying.
Tackle Debt Early
No matter if you have a little debt or a lot, getting into the habit of paying it off quickly is a great habit to get into. The best way to tackle debt depends entirely on what works for you. Advice over at National Debt Relief suggests that if you have a lot of debt, a consolidated monthly payment might work for you.
Write a Budget
Creating a budget that includes all of your bills and expenses is another great habit to learn. When you know where your money is going, it’s a lot easier to control it. If you’ve never written a budget, be sure to include everything you spend money on. Include bills, but also remember to include weekly vehicle fuel-ups, small subscription services, and a set amount of “fun money”.
Stick to Your Budget
Having a budget is great, but for it to work you have to learn to stick to it. Paying bills is easy, but it’s the discretionary spending that gets many people in trouble. Try switching from debit and credit cards to cash and stop spending when the cash runs out. Having a visual reminder of how much you’re allowing yourself to spend can make it much easier to avoid overspending.
Pay Bills Early
To go along with creating a budget and sticking to it, don’t be tempted to delay paying bills. Sure, that payment might not need to be paid until the end of the month. But when that money is left sitting in your bank account, it’s tempting to spend it and catch up next month.
Change Your Spending Habits
Creating good financial habits involves getting rid of bad ones. After you’ve written a budget, you may see a few spending habits you’d like to change. This could be how much you spend on subscription services each month, or maybe how often you eat out.
Find a Philosophy
Having something bigger than yourself to fall back on can help tackle spending habits you want to change. For example, Marie Kondo’s philosophy involves only owning things that spark joy in your life. What mantra could you identify with to avoid extra spending?
Put Away Your Credit Cards
To help yourself stick to a cash budget and avoid over-spending, try leaving your credit cards at home. If they’re in a drawer at home, they aren’t in your wallet providing a temptation. Also, delete credit card information from online shopping websites for the same reason.
Build Your Savings
According to CNBC, it’s a good idea to have three to six months’ worth of living expenses in savings. Try setting up automatic savings deposits that coincide with payday. Also, consider putting your savings in a different bank than your checking account. Not having instant access to savings can help avoid the temptation to spend it unwisely.
All these ideas are just that though—ideas. Take a month and try them out, see if they work for you. It may surprise you at how small habits like these add up to a positive financial future.