3 daily routines that will make you more financially successful
We all have routines: in our personal hygiene, in our work environments, even in our relationships with our loved ones. But, have you ever taken the time to consider your financial routines? If not, you might be missing out on greater stability and peace of mind as you move through life. If being more financially successful is important to you, consider these three daily “routines” that can help you move closer to your goals.
Track what you spend. No, that’s definitely not fun or “sexy”, but knowing where your money goes over the short- and long-term is critical for your overall financial well-being. That means having a budget, keeping track of what you spend, and making adjustments as necessary. For example, if you took an auto title loan, you must know exactly how you fit this expense into your monthly budget.
“Do I have to count every single penny?” I hear you ask. That depends on how you set up your budget and its tracking. Many individuals like to have a “slush” amount of money each week or month: disposable income that they can spend on whatever they like without accounting for each transaction. That might be a system that works for you, if documenting each dime is not up your alley. Just be sure not to spend beyond your budgeted slush fund.
Some enjoy using the free tracking program Mint, to keep an eye on expenditures, while others prefer the more traditional Quicken. You can even go truly old-school and write everything down on paper! Whatever format you choose, knowing where your money goes on a daily basis makes it harder for there to be unexpected shortfalls at the end of the month.
Watch your attitude. Spending outside of your budget can happen as you tell yourself, “I deserve this” or “It’s been a hard day and this will make it better.” Do you know what your attitude is towards money and spending? If not, you might want to take an assessment quiz to find out!
If you are in a relationship and your approach and attitude differ greatly from your partner’s, you will need to work together, both on tracking spending and on watching out for an entitlement mentality with respect to purchases.
One simple way to handle those impulses to buy, buy, buy is to give it time. If you feel like you want to purchase something that wasn’t in your budget, ask yourself to wait a predetermined length of time — say, a week — and then reevaluate if you still “need” that item. Chances are, you’ll find that the urge has passed and you realize that yes, you really can live without it. In psychology, this is known as delayed gratification, and the ability to do so is one of the best predictors of overall success in life.
Another tactic is to ask yourself, “Did my parents think this was a need or a want, or even a luxury?” If the previous generation didn’t need it, you might be able to live without it for awhile.
Focus on “good enough”. The philosopher Voltaire is quoted as having said “Perfect is the enemy of good.” In your daily life, are you longing for perfection and thus less satisfied with all that is simply good? At first, you might think you aren’t affected by this mindset, but look more closely.
How do you feel about buying used vs. buying new? Think about this with respect to cars, homes, and clothing. Is it a challenge for you to see any of those items as “good enough” if they are what has come to be euphemistically known as “pre-owned”?
Look around your home. Are you itching to upgrade your perfectly good kitchen countertops to marble, because it would be the “perfect” complement to your flooring?
So much of what we see, from commercials to entire TV networks like HGTV, is meant to entice us to believe that if we just had that one thing, everything would be perfect.
Would it really? Probably not.
If you can remind yourself that “good enough” truly is that, each day, you’re less likely to be tempted to spend money that you didn’t account for in your budget.
While there are numerous financial gurus who will promise you that their system will lead you to financial success, you already have all of the tools you need to lead you to your destination. With daily attention to your habits and attitude, you’ll soon find yourself well on the way to healthy financial “hygiene”.