So much of what we do is based around our habits. It’s easy to think that our personal finances are set in stone, but the truth is that they’re dependent on our habits, just like everything else. Since your life circumstances can change — and often at the drop of a hat — it’s important to remember that your approach to money can, too. We’ve pulled together a list of 10 basic habits for good personal finances.
Don’t Wait to Put Money Into Savings
One of the biggest mistakes people make is to put money into their savings account at the end of a pay period instead of at the beginning. That sets you up to believe you have more than you do to spend on things you want.
Track Spending Like Some People Track Calories
You don’t lose weight by being on a diet one day a month and you don’t save money by paying attention to your savings once a month, either.
Buy Things of Value
When you do buy something, make sure it’s something that will last for the amount of time that you need it to. That includes everything from a pair of shoes to your mode of transportation.
Automate the Important Parts
If missing a payment is going to hurt you, automate it. If you’re struggling to save money, automate it.
Substitute Out Expensive Habits
Don’t just cut out expensive habits, learn to substitute out similar ones that don’t break the bank. This eases the blow of saving money and helps prevent burnout.
Don’t Treat Minimums as Maximums
Trying to pay off credit cards or loans? Don’t treat the minimum payment as the maximum payment. It can take a whole lot longer and cost a whole lot more that way.
Practice Saying “No”
Seriously, try to find some ‘sample language’ on how to say no to expensive things, both to yourself and to family and friends.
Watch Fewer Advertisements
If it’s in front of your eyeballs on a screen these days, it’s probably an advertisement in one way or another. Same goes for many printed items. Even buildings have ads on them. It’s easy to think that you’re immune, but these companies may be influencing you more than you think.
Pay Things Ahead of Time
You can easily fall into the trap of paying a bill late…and then forgetting that it’ll come around that much sooner next month.
Be Willing to Get Better At It
Maybe your circumstances right now mean that you have to make some tough choices. Maybe you’re just starting out with your first decent job. Maybe you’ve just had a baby and you’re nowhere near ready to address some of these long-term plans. Just try to promise yourself to come back around to this stuff later.