Many of us lament we are ‘just bad with money’ as if it is something ingrained in our DNA and cannot be changed. Because we have been engaging in these bad habits for so long, it can certainly feel that way. But, clearly this is not true, and anyone can improve their financial life so long as they have a true desire to do so. Here are just a few tips for changing your money story.
Where are Your Weak Spots?
There are lots of different ways to be bad with money, and it is important you identify your particular weak spots. Doing so will help you create the most effective plan of attack. Do you tend to shop to make yourself feel better? Are your weekends out a bit too indulgent? Do you tend to charge small purchases, only to see your balance climb because you never pay off the card like you say you will? Do you consistently chip away at your savings account for less-than-necessary purchases? Do you make intentions to save, but never actually make the deposits?
You have to really be honest here, and once you have figured it out, you can go about developing a strategy that will address your particular problem areas.
Try to Develop Some Good Feelings around the Process
We won’t succeed with something if we can’t find a way to feel good about what we are doing, at least most of the time. If you want to change your money story, you have to find a way to feel good and to feel motivated. You can accomplish this in several ways.
Arming yourself with some fun tools and goodies can be a good start. Maybe you can invest in a budgeting software program, or if you prefer to do things by hand, a nice journal to track everything. Get some personalized checks that resonate with something that interests you. If you were formerly in the military or consider yourself a strong patriot, order patriotic personal bank checks, for example.
Think of something special you may like to buy, or some experience you would like to have, like going on a retreat or taking that dream trip to Europe.
Don’t See a Budget as the Enemy
The word budget really does not conjure up positive feelings, except maybe for those frugal fanatics who find great pleasure in saving as much money as possible. We associate it with sacrifice, and giving up all the fun stuff. The idea of going through our finances with a fine-tooth comb seems tedious and boring. And, if most of us are honest with ourselves, we are probably in at least a bit of denial about how we manage our money, and making a budget forces us to come face-to-face with this, so we have avoided it up until this point.
But, think of your budget as a friend, as a tool to help you improve your life, spend money more wisely and reach financial goals.
If you can follow these three tips, you can start writing that new chapter of your financial life today.