What do you do when your paycheck lands in your hands (or bank account)? Do you take your family out to eat or get yourself a well-deserved treat? Are you the type that immediately transfers money over into a savings or investment account, or do you have that automatically set up through your employer? These are your spending habits.
Habits are actions we take without even really thinking about them, because a pattern has been established. When it comes to money, your habits should be intentional and purposeful, not something we leave to chance. Today, we start building healthy spending habits that will change the way you look at your finances and your life.
What Do You Like to Buy
When you received your paycheck last pay period, what did you do with it? How much did you spend on items you didn’t really need? Write down the amount, and take a look at it.
Now, think about what you really need this week? Could you have used the money you spent your last paycheck on for this week’s items, or maybe even next week’s? Maybe you have something going on next month. Could you have used the money then? You’re probably saying yes, and I know, because I’ve been there too many times.
Knowing what you buy and how much you spend on items is important, but it’s more important to be honest with yourself about what you really need and when you really need it. Only when you face these facts can you truly begin to build new and healthy habits.
Why Do you Buy
Years ago, I had a really horrible spending problem. I would always take my friends and family out to eat, buy them gifts, buy new items for myself, but I didn’t need any of it. I filled my bedroom, wall to wall, with clothes and shoes, and I ended up having to sleep in the living room due to lack of space. Why did I spend so much?
If you’ve read this post, you’ll know that I’ve struggled with mental illness – depression, social anxiety, PTSD, and all of that compounded with stress from my home life. I was a mess, and I was using money to try to solve my problems and fill in the holes. Of course, it didn’t work, because the only way to solve your problems is to face them.
Can you tell yourself why you buy? What is the reason for your spending on unnecessary items? Think about what other things you can do that will help you solve your problems and fulfill your needs.
Start at the Roots
Habits are ridiculously hard to break. I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, but I will say that it’s worth it. You’re going to need to get to the root of your habits. You know what you spend on and why you spend, and next, it’s time for you to take action.
If you don’t take the time to cut out and solve the problem, poor habits can easily fall back into your life. Spend some time assessing your situation and figure out ways to substitute spending money. Maybe you can take on a new hobby, make some new friends, try new workouts, create a healthy eating plan, or get more sleep. All of these things are good for you, and they’re free. Once you’ve taken out the old roots, get ready to plant new ones.
Building Healthy Spending Habits
Now that you’ve cleared the slate, you have room to start fresh. Write down your financial plans and goals (fill in the form below to get my free Financial Goals Planner). Be realistic, and be very specific. Create goals that you can and want to reach. Give yourself a timeline, and stick to your plan.
If you have to elect to have an amount automatically deposited into your savings every pay period, do it. Will an all-cash budget help? Do that. Can you write down everything you need for the month, and live off of that list? Try it. If things don’t work for you, change them around until you find a strategy that does work.
You may not find a solution that works right away, but you need to put your head on straight, and start trying. This is your financial well-being, and you deserve to enjoy your life. Start building healthy spending habits now, and you’ll thank yourself later.
Building healthy spending habits takes a lot of work, but it’s not something people ever regret. By creating healthy habits now, you’re setting a solid foundation for your financial future. You’ll get to where you want to be, but it’s up to you to start now and get there sooner rather than later.
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