It’s not just one big thing that’s the secret ingredient to save money for your emergency fund, vacation, or to pay off debt. It’s a series of small steps that we take to get there. By incorporating these good habits, you’ll start seeing some results in whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish.
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Framework for Good Habits
Atomic Habits by James Clear is a great book that breaks down how to incorporate good habits. Small steps to develop daily habits to improve life add up over time.
The little things you do add up to move you closer to something. Bad habits like spending money we don’t have on buying expensive coffee every day on the way to work will move you closer to being in debt. Good habits like bringing your lunch to work a day or so will bring you closer to saving for that much-needed vacation you’ve been dreaming of.
Good intentions are a great place to start a good habit to improve your life, but it’s not enough. Atomic Habits by James Clear goes into detail by establishing 4 big things in order to be successful in hard-wiring these into your life.
There are practical ways to reinforce these new habits to make them stick from designing your environment to making it easy to do.
There are so many good nuggets of great information that it’s a book that I’ll keep re-reading to help me refocus from time to time.
So, what are the good habits that successful people have? Check out these lists below and pick one or two to work on. As those habits get hardwired, you can add a few more, until you’re doing all the ones you want to.
While we’ll focus on the financial habits here, you can apply these good habit concepts to many other areas of your life.
Good Financial Habits Lists
Establishing What You’re Spending
- Track what you’re spending – write it down in a notebook.
- Don’t have time to write it yet? Put any receipts whether you paid with cash, credit card, or debit card in a file so it will be there when you have time to sort through it.
- Write down “why” you want to be debt-free or save for something. Imagine what it would be like to pay off debt or have all the money set aside for Christmas prior to the holiday.
Saving Money with Meals
- Bring lunch to work instead of eating out.
- Plan your meals for the week.
- Know what you’re going to prepare for dinner each morning.
- Prepare a meal without buying anything. Use what’s in your pantry and freezer.
- Skip the $5 coffee.
Saving Money When Shopping
- Use coupons. There are digital ones and paper ones.
- Calculate which item is the best deal by seeing what it cost per ounce, etc. The biggest item is not always the best value.
- Use Ibotta – use this code jvhwpxk and get $5 off.
- Shop sales.
- Don’t grocery shop when you’re hungry.
- Don’t buy something just because it’s on sale.
- Make a list of things you need at the store and stick to the list.
- Use Rakuten – formerly Ebates – use this code to join and get $10 off after you shop.
- Use Groupon for deals
- Make a budget each month.
- Update the budget and adjust where needed to get back to zero.
- Put bills together in one place when you get them in the mail.
- Check your bank account to make sure all charges are accurate daily or at least weekly.
- Keep your Explanation of Benefits (EOB) for health-related expenses to compare them to the bill that shows what you owe.
- Start a snowball debt plan.
- Pay bills on time to avoid late fees.
Jump Start Your Savings
- Turn your loose change to dollars and put towards something specific.
- Save all your $5 bills to put towards a financial goal you have.
- Plan and do a spending freeze – decide what the rules will be by reading How to do Successful No Spend Challenge.
These are just a few habits to get you started and not an inclusive list.
Start working on good habits that will improve your life. Atomic Habits by James Clear has very practical ways to hardwire these good habits. It’s the small things that we do each day that will add up.