How was your Fourth of July? Are you suffering from a potato-salad-induced sleep coma? Or an apple pie hangover? In the afterglow of Independence Day activities, let’s talk about rebellion of another sort. Let’s declare our independence from bad money habits. Here are four excellent habits to embrace.
Stop buying stupid stuff
We all do it from time to time: we buy something that catches our fancy, only to later realize the error of our ways. It’s called mindless spending, and if we want to be successful with our finances, we have to curb this destructive habit. If you have children, this problem multiplies. Kids are magnets for all manner of stupid stuff. You would do well to start teaching your children early about the wily ways of advertising, and how they can be more discerning consumers.
Get in the habit of stopping yourself before you buy something impulsively. Ask yourself if you really NEED the item, or are you just being lured in by advertising.
Start a new savings or investment plan, or increase the one you have
Haven’t been saving as much as you’d like? What are you waiting for? No more procrastination. Take ten minutes and set up an auto-transfer from your checking to your savings account. Or have your investment account provider increase the amount you are saving out of your paycheck each month.
Get serious about paying off your debt
If you have credit card debt, you need to fix that. Figure out what you charge on there each month. Are you using your card for monthly necessities or for extras? Step one is to stop using the card entirely for monthly expenses. It is imperative that you determine with certainty that your monthly income can cover your mandatory monthly expenses. Using your credit card frequently masks your real spending situation.
Once you stabilize your monthly expenses, start tackling the accumulated credit card debt you have. Make the cuts required to your lifestyle to get those cards paid off once and for all.
Track your expenses
This is the mother of all financial exercises. Militantly tracking your expenses DAILY will bring you enormous clarity on where your money is going. Trust me, you might think you are good about your spending, but you’ll be surprised at what you uncover. You can use the information is many ways. You can use it to determine where the household budget is leaking (where do you blow money). You can also use it to get everyone in the household thinking about more mindful spending.
Commit to tracking every penny of your spending on a daily basis for a week or a month. It would not be overstating the case to say it will change your life.
Decide today to declare independence from harmful money habits. Trade them for these positive, productive habits instead. You can do it!
What bad money habits do YOU have? Share below! Or if you want to start a discussion with some like-minded friends, join the free SimpleMoney Community on Facebook to share your thoughts!
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