How to Change Your Money Habits

money habitsWhether it is soul-crushing debt or not having enough money to meet our needs, few things can stress us out quite like financial problems.  If you are like many people, your issues do not stem from true poverty, but rather from bad financial habits that are so deeply ingrained you don’t even realize the full extent to which they are affecting you.

You may feel hopeless, but you don’t necessarily have to.  The good news is, there are a plethora of ways to change the way we think about the money we work so hard to earn.

Money Habits are Not Ingrained in Your DNA, They Can Be Changed

Yeah, this tip sounds pretty obvious, but many people continue to be financially irresponsible based on the belief that they are somehow “bad with money.  ”  Because of this belief, they may make some half-hearted attempts to change but ultimately end up exactly where they began.

To begin making real changes, you have to start seeing yourself as someone who can be responsible with money.  You have to stop telling yourself that your situation is hopeless, or that there is nothing you can do.  Only then will you (hopefully) create a new narrative that supports your saving goals instead of sabotaging them.

Face the Financial Music

If you really want to turn things around, you have to get your head out of the sand and face your money problems head on.  We all know how easy it is to live in denial about our bad habits, no matter what they are.  Unfortunately, financial problems don’t tend to fix themselves.

Part of getting ahead and changing your money story involved simply admitting you have a problem.  After all, how do you plan to improve your situation if you cannot acknowledge it in the first place?

Once you admit you have a problem, it’s probably time to start brainstorming solutions.  For example, if your credit is in the toilet, you can start researching options for fast credit repair.  You can also try any strategy that might help you start saving more such as creating a budget or tracking your spending for several months or more.

The bottom line is this: You can’t solve your money problems until you fully admit their existence and take responsibility for the choices you have made.

Set Goals that Will Motivate You to Save Money

Clearly-defined goals are crucial for making any sort of positive change.  And when it comes to money, you will have a much easier time making smarter decisions if you have some clearly defined goals to work toward.  For example, is there something special you would really like to buy sometime soon?  Or maybe you dream about traveling the world and seeing all that it has to offer.  Whatever your goals are, writing them down and coming up with a plan to make them happen is always a good move.

What have you done to change your money habits?  Have you tried any of these strategies?

About Holly

Holly Johnson is a wife, mother of two, and frugal lifestyle enthusiast. She is the co-founder of Club Thrifty and a staff writer at Get Rich Slowly, Frugal Travel Guy, and U.S. News and World Report's "My Money Blog." Holly has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger Personal Finance, Fox Business, and Daily Finance.

Comments

  1. Facing the financial music is not as scary as it needs to be and the sooner you do it the better. I’m the poster child for burying my head in the sand and I wish I had been braver to tackle my anxieties about money and debt much earlier.

  2. Setting goals is something that I think is really important when a person is trying to change around their money situation. Goals help keep me on track and stay motivated!

  3. I think that admitting you have a money problem is similar to people who want to lose weight, but can’t admit they have a serious problem. If you need to lose 50 pounds, stop saying you only need to drop 5 or 10. With money, people tend to make excuses for their debt and financial issues, instead of just admitting they messed up and they need to fix it. And goals are the best way to get there. Like you said, clearly defined goals! Great post!

  4. I was one of these people, I thought I was just bad with money and didn’t know what to do to change it. All it really took was a change in my attitude and a few books and PF blogs. I really can’t believe how easy it could be to save money if you really try. Just set goals and really try to achieve them… is really that simple.

  5. Change is difficult! I approach change in very small steps. For example, I changed my weekly habit of weekly Starbucks visit to a monthly visit. It took time and effort.

  6. I have had to start making subtle changes. Similar to dieting, if I made changes too fast and they were too drastic, I ended up falling back on my old habits and then adding some more debt to the equation. I love Suze Orman, but I am finding that the Dave Ramsey method of snowballing has worked for me. I need to see progress and have a quicker “pay off” when it comes to reducing my debts.

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  8. When I pay off a debt (even the smallest ones) it motivates me to keep on track and to keep paying off debt.

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