Thinking of reviewing your financial habits? The best time to start making positive changes to your spending was yesterday – the second-best time is today.
Whether you want to save more money, or you’re simply sick of struggling to find enough cash to get through your month, reviewing your financial habits can help you come to terms with the areas you need to work on if you want to achieve your savings goals.
While transforming your habits is easier said than done, the quicker you begin to realise which actions, or inactions have having a negative effect on your bank balance, the quicker you can start to make a lasting difference to your financial health. Here are just a few ways that you can build better money habits today.
If you’re a perfectionist or the kind of person that works well with numbers, then you might be tempted to download a bunch of apps or start using various tools to help you get the most out of your budget. While some tools are helpful, others can start to make your budgeting process so complicated, that it becomes increasingly difficult to stick with. Rather than overwhelming yourself with too much work at once, take a minimalist approach, and add extra tools to your process as and when you need to.
If you struggle with your spending quite frequently, then you might benefit from setting a few basic rules for yourself that help you to avoid spending too much too fast. For instance, you could write a list of wants on a piece of paper and remind yourself not to buy anything until you’ve thought about it for at least three days. This can help you to avoid impulse buys – which are one of the main reasons that people over-spend.
While it’s tempting to simply grab a sandwich at work or pick up a pizza when you’re exhausted, using your own food can save you a lot of money, and make you healthier too. To ensure that you don’t overspend on extra food, plan each meal for every day of the week in advance, and make sure that you stick to your list. Upgrade your lunch box and look online for quick ways to make meals that are going to keep you satisfied throughout the day.
While this isn’t exactly a habit in the strictest sense, it is a good way to make sure that you get the most out of your spending. If you set up your bank account so that you automatically send a portion of your wages to your savings every time you get paid – you won’t have to worry about accidentally spending more than you need to. You can also set up direct debits while you’re at it to ensure that you don’t end up having to pay fees and penalties on bills that you owe.
While counting absolutely every penny might seem like the best way to save money – obsessing over your cash can cause some serious damage to your health. Figure out what kind of habits you can implement in your day to save money, without giving yourself too much of a headache. Remember, budgeting might be fun, but it doesn’t have to be something you dread either.
If you’re constantly struggling with spending problems, then it may be a good idea to figure out where your poor decisions are coming from. Think about the psychology of what’s driving your habits. For instance, if you think that you spend too much on takeaway because you get bored of the food you have at home, you can try looking into new recipes and meals to spice things up a bit.
Finally, remember that the basic rules of budgeting still apply. Ultimately, you should always try to spend less than you earn and invest the difference wherever you can. Pay as much off your debts as you can each month and remember to save back extra cash where you can for emergency expenses. Budgeting doesn’t have to be complicated. Stick to the basics and remind yourself of why you’re budgeting every day – even if that means taping a visual reminder of your goals to your mirror.