Today is always a good day to begin thinking about your money habits and making positive changes. Sometimes we want to procrastinate when it comes to changing our habits, especially those that deal with money. The longer you want the harder it becomes.
1) Start tracking your spending. If you haven’t already begun to keep up with how you are spending your money you need to take the time to know exactly where your money is going. You can’t fix something if you don’t know where the problem is occurring. For example, a few years ago my son’s tire kept going flat. We knew there was a problem but we just didn’t know where the problem was located. How did we figure out where the problem was? We had to find the source of the air leak. Once we found the leak we were able to repair it. Had we not found the leak the tire would have kept going flat. It’s the same with your budget. You have to find out where your money is “leaking” out and repair it or change what you are doing with it.
2) Start thinking like an investor would think. What would an investor do if he wanted to increase his net worth? He would find ways to make his money work for him instead of the other way around. Investors know you must have short-term and long-term goals in order to be successful with your investments. Do your research and determine what type of investments will help you reach your goal. Just simply putting money in a savings account won’t do it. You will not be able to keep up with inflation and your money won’t go as far as you need it to go. There is so much investing information available online, so take time to begin to work on your investment plan. Much of the research is available for free. One of the websites that I frequently use for researching different investment options is found at http://finance.yahoo.com/.
3) Don’t shop based on your emotions. For some people, shopping is a way to deal with emotions. I used to be an emotional shopper meaning I would shop to make myself feel better or so I thought. Now I try to shop based on things I need more so than just things I want. It isn’t always easy but I know it will pay off in the long run when we are ready to retire and when we can pay for children’s college education without using loans. Emotional shopping can be dangerous for your budget and your investing. It is certainly acceptable to reward yourself now and then but not every day or every weekend especially if you have debt that needs to be paid off. I have found that shopping no longer has the same emotional hold on me as it once did. Creating a financial legacy that will last for generations is now my goal.
4) Avoid impulse purchases. We making large purchase decisions take time to think through the purchase. Don’t simply walk in a store to look around then leave with a new washer and dryer. If you are considering a large purchase, do your research, consider the cost, and make a plan. If the items aren’t necessary, delay the decision for a while unless you can pay cash and do not have other financial issues that take precedence.
In essence, think before you spend. Make wise spending habits part of your everyday life!