Simple Habits to Transform your Finances and your Life
Think about a goal that you’ve recently accomplished. Maybe you got a promotion or maybe you completed your first half marathon. (Cue champagne shower!)
Now, think about what it took to actually get there. Chances are, before that finish line there was a lot of hard work, long nights, and plenty of small, simple, daily actions that contributed to that success: your habits.
Many agree, establishing healthy habits is key to accomplishing any goal. But when it comes to your financial goals, these healthy habits may not seem as obvious as say– brushing your teeth every day or hitting the gym 3x a week.
So, what money habits are worthwhile? What money habits can drive real change and help you to reach your financial goals quicker?
To help, we decided to ask our experts...
”What's one money habit that you've developed that has changed your life?”
Check out what The Peak Guides had to say:
Nicole Rule (Greatest Worth): Of course there’s lots of little habits that can make a difference in your financial life, but if I had to pick one that has changed my life, I would say creating a spending plan that is built on my personal vision and values. Once I began to filter all my spending through my vision and values and deciding if that spending lines up with who I am, I totally stopped dreading managing my money. I began to see that budgeting is just a tool for making my dreams come true. And it is a tool that brings so much joy to my life!
Jennifer (ADLT 101): Saving before I pay anyone else. Before rent, before bills, before other obligations, I make sure I have some money set aside for future me. I usually set this up as an automatic transfer so I'm not tempted to spend it.
Tasha Danielle (Financial Garden): My life changing money habit? Budgeting through separate bank accounts! Personally, I like to split my direct deposit into several different accounts. In the past, I used cash envelopes when I was working to pay off debt, and sometimes I revert back to this method, but overall I like to keep separate accounts at different institutions to manage my expenses.
For example, I have one dedicated account just for recurring bills including my cell phone, internet etc. I have a separate savings account for my emergency fund, another for recurring expenses like groceries, fuel, clothing. And I also have a travel savings account and an investment account.
I maintain accounts at both credit unions and national banks. Keeping all of your money with one institution is dangerous, because if that single account is hacked, you’ll lose everything. I worked in banking and have seen people lose access to all of their cash when their account was frozen due to a fraud risk. Distributing your funds across multiple institutions helps to lower the risk of these unfortunate events.
Jackie (Sugar & Money): The one money habit that I've developed that has changed my life is creating separate savings accounts or sinking funds for specific large purchases. Once the goal is defined and the amount needed is specified, I save toward that goal every month, until I achieve that goal. Then I am able to cash flow the purchase without going into debt. Examples of separate saving accounts that I have created are: Vacation, FinCon Trip, Car Repair, New phone replacement, etc.
Mandyy Thomas (Financial Coach): One of the most important habits that I have really worked on, and has had a huge impact on my finances, is getting control of my emotions. I know that when emotions are high, our intelligence is lower. When I know that I am feeling emotional, I won't make decisions that could negatively impact me, that I may not be seeing when I’m in my emotional state. I work on getting myself to a level and rational state where I am not making a decision based on my emotions. As a financial coach, I find this a skill that is often underdeveloped in many people, but once the awareness is made and you focus on improving this skill, you will see so many benefits in your life.
Ashley Copeland (Stacks & the City): If I don't make a list before I go shopping, I make sure that before I go to the checkout line, I put something back before I pay. I find I put more items back before I pay. I save money on things I don't end up needing.
Athena Lent (Money Smart Latina): One money habit that has changed my life isn’t necessarily a money habit, but a personal one. I realized I had a shopping problem because I was refusing to deal with other issues I had in my life, mainly the death of my mother at a young age. When I learned how to deal with my issues head on, a lot of my mindless spending went away. Now, I keep an eye on my spending and make sure to check in with myself to make sure I’m not dealing with something else, when I start to get spendy.
Stefanie Crowe (Wealth Advisor): In starting out as an assistant in a bank Trust Department in my early 20’s I decided to “save first” and spend the rest. Some people try to save AFTER paying expenses which rarely works as expenses never seem to “slow down” in life. As I could, with every pay raise, every bonus, every promotion - I saved first. I worked to put back 6 months of expenses in a cash account while I also worked to MAX my contribution to my 401k. The dollars felt small and modest in my early 20’s. But now that I’m 50 I live the benefit of my younger self saving early and consistently. I think I always wanted to be comfortable in my older age (and have options and fun). I’m so glad my younger self was so focused and resolved. Like it or not, you will become your older self. It happens fast!
What healthy habits have you tried that have made a positive impact on your money and in your life? We’d love to hear them! Drop us a line, in the comments below.