Money: 3 Ways to Change Your Habits"When you have a plan in place to live on less than you make and save for a rainy day, you’re ahead of the game."
Summer is around the corner and that summer job paycheck will be coming in hot. You might be tempted to splurge, but saving it can set yourself up for financial success in the future.
Imagine a life where you can afford to go on an amazing vacation every year, give generously to your friends, family and causes you care about and never have to worry about money.
Here’s the thing: it doesn’t have to be just a dream. You can make decisions with your money today to set yourself up for success later. It all boils down to your spending habits. The good news is, even if you’ve got some bad habits right now, you can change them for the better. It’s easier than you think!
How Do Money Habits Form?
For each and every one of us, our daily experiences and choices add up over time. Your money habits come from:
1. Your Money Classroom
This is how I refer to the way you learned about money growing up. Whether or not your parents were intentional about it, they taught you a lot about money. Was your family frugal or frivolous? Was money talked about in a calm, open way, or was it stressful? Was giving to others a priority in your household? Your money classroom has definitely impacted the way you view money today.
2. Your Personality
We’re all wired differently. Our passions, fears and dreams are unique. Even if you had siblings who grew up in the same house as you, and even had similar external experiences as you did, the way you perceived those experiences can be very different. This is why you may have different money habits than the family members who grew up in your household.
3. The Media and Culture
We’re bombarded with thousands of ads on a daily basis. The companies who want us to buy their stuff create ads to make us feel like we aren’t good enough until we have their thing. And our friends won’t think we’re good enough unless we prove—on Instagram—that we have all the things, i.e. the trendy boots, the cool car and the perfect vacation. This imaginary standard of living that our culture holds us accountable to has gotten way out of control.
3 Spending Habits to Break Today
Here is my message to you, whether you grew up wealthy or your parents were always just scraping by, whether you’re a natural spender or a saver, whether you’ve already made mistakes with money or you’ve never opened a savings account: you can change the course of your financial future today.
Let’s go over three common money habits you need to break if you want to make your future dreams a reality:
1. Spending Without a Plan
If you don’t have a monthly budget, your money will disappear and you won’t know where it went. You’ll be like the average American: broke. Too many people live on more than they make and use credit cards to cover the difference. But when you have a plan in place to live on less than you make and save for a rainy day, you’re ahead of the game.
2. Spending Without Keeping Track
Losing track of the money you’ve spent or payments you’ve scheduled will eventually come back to bite you, so let’s break this money habit ASAP. Don’t worry, you probably don’t need to whip out a pencil and go to town on your checkbook ledger. That is … if you even have a ledger. Thanks to technology, there’s no excuse not to track your spending. Ramsey’s budgeting app, “EveryDollar,” makes budgeting super simple and fun.
3. Spending to Feel Better
Forty-five percent of Americans say they’re spending more during the pandemic. One study found that nearly three out of four people said buying something impulsively during the pandemic has positively affected their mood. This is called emotional spending, and we’ve probably all been guilty of it at one point or another, especially right now. I mean, the future is kind of up in the air, and it feels good to just dull the stress and spark some joy with a little shopping, right? But that hit of happiness won’t last. Want to feel at peace? Stay focused on your goals without letting feelings, people or a pandemic get in the way!
The Money Habit That Will Change Your Life
The best money habit you can build is to save. Having an emergency fund will give you peace of mind and turn a crisis into an inconvenience. And saving up and paying cash for your expenses will make you feel empowered. If you’re a natural spender, use your dream for the type of life you want to live in the future as a motivator for saving. I hope this helps you take control of your money and create a life you love.
For Further Reflection
How to Break Bad Spending Habits:
Understand yourself and your motivations. Know your strengths, trouble spots and tendencies and use them to your advantage. I’ll teach you how to get unstuck from your old money habits in my new book, Know Yourself, Know Your Money.
Get on a budget.
Give every dollar a name at the beginning of the month—and prioritize saving. Without savings to cover an emergency, your financial security is at risk, and you’ll be tempted to use a credit card when the car breaks down.
Plan your meals at the start of each week to avoid paying an arm and a leg for fast food throughout the week. And when you do eat out, think twice before you add on an appetizer.
Rachel is a national best-selling author, financial expert and host of The Rachel Cruze Show. Since 2010, Rachel has served at Ramsey Solutions, where she teaches people to avoid debt, save money, budget and how to win with money at any stage in life. Her latest book Know Yourself, Know Your Money: Discover WHY You Handle Money the Way You Do and WHAT to Do About It released in January 2021. Follow Rachel on all social media platforms or online at rachelcruze.com.