Money habits are not really my strong suit.
I have a bag full of terrible habits that I’ve accumulated during my ongoing struggle to become a fully functioning adult.
Until recently, I was completely comfortable with the security of having a day job that comes with a steady paycheck.
But with recent events (pandemic), and a lot of self reflection, I’ve had to do a complete turnaround from comfortable to nails biting anxiety.
What if I lose my job? And if they start doing pay cuts, will my savings even be enough?
So I’ve had to make some serious life changes making money being a top priority.
Splurging as I used to is no longer an option and I’ve resorted to being super careful about what I use money and time on.
And today my friends, we are going to look at habits that I’ve been adopting as I work towards attaining financial freedom.
Here goes the list.
1. Create a life plan
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of having a life plan.
If you know deep down you want more out of life than what you have right now, make a life plan.
I’ve found that with my plan well laid out, staying focused is much easier and when things get hard I just go back to my plan and remind myself that in the end, it will all pay off.
Because let’s be honest, whatever you are doing is not getting you the results that you want.
So why not just create a life plan? A guide to where you want to go.
Because without it, you are like a ship stuck in the open water without a compass.
Your life plan will be like your north star, it will guide you wherever you want to go.
2. Get Educated
Knowledge is power.
The more you know the better you are with everything that you set out to do in your life.
And when it comes to money matters the more you know about personal finance the easier it will be to attain financial freedom.
What I’ve been doing is getting my hands on every bit of information I can get and working on reading as broadly as I can.
I would suggest you try the same thing, you don’t have to just read books.
Information comes in various mediums explore whatever you can get your hands on and keep learning.
3. Check your money mindset
In my journey to learn more about money I’ve come across the link between money and mindset.
And what I’ve learned is that “it’s all in your head.”
Whether you think you can get the type of money that you’ve always dreamed of and live the life of your dreams depends on your beliefs.
Do you think you deserve to have a million dollars sitting in your bank account?
How impossible do you think it is for someone to break free from the corporate world, build a business and attain financial freedom?
Do you think success is all based on luck?
So I’ve been implementing a 10 minutes mindset practice.
Where I visualize all I hope to attain in life and the thrilling feelings I will be experiencing knowing that every effort I made has paid off.
It’s not easy the first few days you try it, but you’ll get the hang of it for sure.
Just keep in mind that your Success comes down to you believing you can actually do it.
4. Set Financial Goals
I’m big on proper planning and I implement that habit in everything I do.
Because a dream without a plan is just a dream and if you want to improve your finances for the better you need to set some goals.
Your goals have to be clear and measurable.
For example, you may set a goal to save for a 6 months emergency fund by saving 10% of you income every month.
With a good financial goal, you will be able to break it up into small actionable steps and constantly work on them until you see them through.
This is why I love planning, you get to map out every move and milestone that will get you to the next level.
So be sure to create a financial goal as you move forward with getting better with your finances.
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5. Track All Your Expenses
The first month I decided to get serious with my money, I kept all the receipts of everything I bought.
And carried around a notebook that I used to note down all purchases I made throughout that month.
When the time came to audit my spending habits, I almost fainted.
It turned out most of my money was being spent on unnecessary purchases, things I could easily live without.
Once you have a look at how you are actually spending your money, you will for sure be able to cut out some unnecessary things.
So do yourself a favor and start carefully checking how you spend money.
6. Create a Budget
Budgets are a way underrated.
I’ve never been a big fan of budgeting mostly because I never understood them or even actually did one.
I resisted them for the longest time because I simply though it meant completely changing my lifestyle.
But here’s the thing, a good budget fits around your lifestyle.
And since I’ve learned to make a budget that fits my needs, I’m able to save a few extra bucks every month.
My advice, learn how to make a budget, and tweak it to fit your needs.
7. Make more money
An extra buck can go a long way in helping most if not all your dreams comes true.
And with all the information readily available online, there really is no reason why anyone couldn’t be able to make extra money.
From working online to starting a home based business, there are hundreds of ways you could explore from the comfort of your home.
The downside though is it takes hard work that most people are not ready to put out.
So before you dive in into an idea that will make you that extra buck, give it 100% and have patience.
8. Track your net worth
Your net worth is calculated by summing up everything you own (assets) and removing your debts(liabilities).
What this does is that it gives you an overview of what your finances look like and gives you something to track over time.
You can tell whether you are growing financially or you are slowly sinking yourself into debts by owning too many liabilities.
9. Build an emergency fund
If you got fired today, how long would it take for you to burn through your savings?
Would you still maintain the same lifestyle? Or would you have to move in with your friends or parents until things get better?
Having an emergency fund protects you from having to go through all that trouble.
What you do is calculate how much you normally use per month, then open a different account and save enough money to last you for six months.
This is a ‘save and forget’ type of account, you only use it during serious emergency situations.
And no, buying that gadget you’ve been eye balling for months does not counts.
I’m learning that it’s a good habit to protect yourself from all ends.
10. Get out of debt
Owing money to someone is a stressful ordeal especially if it’s bearing interest with every late payment.
To dig yourself out of debt, you have to go at it relentlessly.
So what I did is list down all my debts and knocked off the small debts first.
What this did is that it made me feel like I was actually accomplishing something rather than taking on a big debt that is surely going to take me some time to complete.
So tackle the debts that you can easily complete and handle then handle big debt.
It’s a great feeling knowing that you are actually getting something done.
11. Buy what you need
Not what you want.
Before I became mindful with money, I had a habit of buying things that I thought would be useful in the future or things that I only use one time and that’s it.
But now I’m more strict with what I buy, If I know for sure it’s going to collect dust tucked away somewhere in my house there’s no need for it.
And this applies to groceries as well, I only buy what I know I’ll eat.
12. Save for retirement
One of the biggest reason I believe in saving for retirement is that the thought of being a burden to my kids or someone else is quite uncomfortable.
The good thing is that the sooner you start putting money aside for your old days, you are securing yourself a good retirement without the fear of not having enough money.
You can start saving today and do it automatically during your early days and reap the benefits later on.
13. Check credit reports and credit score
Another good money habit is to regularly check you credit score and credit report as part of you financial routine.
This is what determines if banks or financial institutions should lend you money and what they can charge you as the interest rate for those loans.
To have good credit, make your payments in good time and the more you make it a habit to check the reports you can always dispute those that hurt your credit score.
14. Avoid taking loans
Loans can be great when you need to complete a big project like fund a new business venture.
But I wouldn’t advice loan taking unless it was absolutely necessary with a solid plan of how you will pay back the amount borrowed.
I’ve seen loans ruin my parents businesses, friends lives even marriages.
Loans should always be a last resort, make a habit of saving for future projects.
15. Use cash
Instead of credit cards or debit cards use cash for all your purchases.
Because with cash you can literally see the money leaving your wallet and you are bound to be mindful when you see you are almost running out of cash.
Especially for things like groceries, try using cash often and you’ll notice a difference in your spending by using cash.
16. Avoid temptation
Temptation is a quick way to burn a hole your savings which is why you should always avoid it.
Things, like ordering for take-outs, visiting malls during sale season and giving in to unplanned outings with friends, are one of the ways you can avoid being tempted to spend money.
The more you give the more you get.
Make it a habit to give what you don’t use and help people who need it and the good karma will pay you back.
Giving doesn’t mean that you need to have a lot, if you have something to spare then give and it’s not only material possessions even giving someone time counts.
The more kindness you share with the world, the more kindness you will get back from the world.
18. Automate saving and investing
I’ve made savings a non negotiable practice where I’ve started saving first before spending any money.
You can automate this if you receive the money via a bank account you can have the savings taken out automatically before you get your hands on the remaining balance.
This helps you accumulate money that can be used to fund a project or even pay for your travels.
19. Review bank statements
Reviewing your bank statements regularly can give you some much needed insight on your spending habits.
Make a point of reviewing every month, you can request your bank account to always send you the bank statements and you can go through them while taking note of the transactions.
20. Talk about money
Talking about money shouldn’t be a serious ordeal, you can easily do it with friends and family even over a cup of coffee.
If you can find people open to discussing it, you can learn through their mistakes and it gives you insight on their own money habits.
For example, I have a friend who loves living a good life, going out to brunch and buying high quality products and I always assumed she was quite reckless with her money.
But I was intrigued to learn that when she’s making her budget, she actually sets money aside specifically for those things and it helps her stay off overspending.
If you have someone open enough to talking about their money habits take it and ask away don’t make any assumptions.
21. Hang around success
There’s a saying that goes like this ‘ show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are’ and I’m sure you’ve probably heard it.
But have you ever actually thought of the value your friends add to your life?
Yes she’s your ride or die but when it comes to finances, how well does she know her stuff or are you both lost in the woods with no way out?
Hanging around people who are doing well for themselves can have a great impact on your finances which is why you should choose your close friends very wisely.
22. Live below your means
We all suffer from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and we owe all that to social media which shows us people’s success in real time.
But the problem with social media is that people lie.
You might be trying to live a life that mirrors one of your favorites influences only to go behind the curtains and realize that most of them are struggling just like you.
And you’ve already have been spending as they do, problem is most of them get sponsered or it’s just for show.
Make a point of living below your means if you plan on getting rich someday, don’t go out if you don’t have money to spare and don’t buy things you will not use because you say someone doing it.
23. Buy quality not cheap
There are some items that I’d rather buy cheap than quality.
But recently, I’ve realized that it’s better to just buy a quality product once than have to replace it every other month.
For example, I always buy cheap headphones and it only cost me about $3 and I thought I was actually saving a good amount of money.
But summed up over time, it would have been better to buy quality headphones from the start and they would have lasted for about a year or two.
Instead of visiting the same store every month sometimes twice in a month to buy the headphones.
24. Don’t wait for luck
Most of us have gotten quite lazy, I’m no exception, in fact I’m a champion procrastinator I’ll find any excuse I can use to get myself out of doing something.
But I don’t wait around for luck to fall on my lap.
For the important things like building a business, I prioritize, learn and practice because I know when I’m presented with an opportunity I’ll be ready.
And that’s what you should as well, even if you’re lazy, know when it’s time to get to work and go after what you want.
Don’t wait around for something that will not come.
Save money like your life depends on it because it actually does.
With everything that’s going on in the world right now, I’ve seen first hand the importance of having some savings tucked away.
It is what most of us are living off right now and the thought of not being financially prepared for whatever calamity comes our way should be a sobering thought.
Make it a habit and start putting money aside right away even if it’s a small amount just put it away and after some time the amount will definitely grow.
26. Stop using credit cards
Having a credit card is like trying to fill up water in a bucket full of holes.
It just won’t work.
I’ve never had a credit card and I’m not planning on taking one in my lifetime.
And not because I’m better, owning someone money is just rubs me the wrong way.
Having no credit card will grow your discipline and over time you’ll be able to say no to unplanned purchases.
27. Do a spend freeze every other week
A spend freeze is when you do zero spending for a period of time.
Though it quite impossible to not spend any money, the target should be to keep it at the minimum and only buy essentials things that are absolutely necessary.
Every two weeks, I go on a spend freeze.
And this makes me use up the supply of food in the house before piling on more that will take me months to finish off.
28. Adopt frugal habits
I had a firm belief that frugality was for really cheap people, penny pinchers who did not want to spend a dime.
And though there are people who go to extra lengths to save that penny, I don’t think most of those habits are for everyone.
But I’ve learned that being frugal is all about being mindful of the resources you have and using them wisely.
I’ve adopted some of them like buying a reusable water bottle instead of buying plastic bottles.
Find the habits that you’d be comfortable doing and implement them in your life.
29. Eat at home
It’s been months since I went out to eat at a restaurant.
I just normally have my meals at home and with youtube recipes, I always try to re-create my favorite dishes.
Eating at home saves you a good amount of money.
You get to prepare and choose your own ingredients, you can have two or even three helpings without paying extra.
Who would want to pass that up?
30. Do grocery hauls
I don’t enjoy going to the grocery every other day and until I learned how to do a proper grocery haul, I had to drag myself there.
Grocery hauls will completely simplify your life.
You make one giant trip every month, then for the following weeks you just drop by for what you’ve used up.
The time and money I’m able to save by doing this help me focus on other important things.
31. Prepare your coffee at home
As far as temptations go, coffee has been a habit that I’ve struggled to drop.
The caffeine addiction always wins every time and the coffee machine at my work place does not help so I found a way around that.
To help with this, I bought a big coffee flask that I carry with me to work every morning instead of buying around 3 cups of coffee every day (teenie tiny cups )
If you can I would suggest you do the same, it’s not a big save but it is something.
32. Bring your own lunch
I’ve always liked knowing how my food was made as well as who made it.
And when I started working full time in a new country, buying lunch outside was off the table.
It is too expensive to eat out every single day.
The best thing I find with this is that I’m able to watch what I eat and save a few bucks in the process.
33. Use money affirmations
What if I told you there was a way that you could become a money magnet?
You my friend can attract money in abundance with just a few affirmations repeated to yourself every single day.
Affirmations keep you calm even if your financial situation is not ideal at that moment.
Having a few at hand can help change the way you view money hence improving your overall money habits.
34. Manifest wealth
Manifesting prepares you to become everything you imagine and more.
When you start manifesting your desires, you create an energy that is put into the world, and depending on the energy the world will give back.
If you only put out negative vibes, then life will present you with negative circumstances.
You get to train your subconscious to let go of doubts that hold you back and be prepared for the good things coming your way.
35. Count your blessings
Are you grateful for everything that you have? Or are you taking everything for granted?
Counting your blessings shows your gratitude for everything that you have in your life and it has been proven to have healing benefits.
It makes you happier and optimistic about the future thus enhancing the quality of your life.
My daily practice is to note 5 things I’m grateful for in the morning and at night before going to sleep.
36. Track your spending
Do you really know the amount of money you spend?
I’ve been tracking my spending for a few months and I was surprised to find that on most months I overspend.
And though this has been a hard pill to swallow, the detailed account of where the money is going has helped me make crucial changes.
If you want to give it a shot, you can go old school and use a pen or paper to track everything.
And if that doesn’t work for you try using money managing apps.
37. Use cash back apps
Cashback apps I’d argue are the new coupons but better.
Instead of visiting the retailers website directly, you buy your products using a link supplied by the site and you often receive a percentage of the money you spent back.
I’d suggest signing up with the legit big companies who already have a track record backing them up.
38. Cancel unused subscriptions
Who wants to pay for something they don’t use?
I was going through my bank statements when I started getting smarter with my money and I realized I had a recurring monthly charge for a service that I was not even using.
And the charge went back up to 6 months! I was surprised that I couldn’t even remember when I had joined the subscription.
But you can be sure I ended it immediately and checked every other recurring charges and cut out all that I didn’t need.
Make sure you check everything you are paying for you might find one or two that you can do without.
When it comes to money, your habits can either help or break you.
Keeping your habits in check helps you get better at managing your money which in the long run will help you attain financial freedom.
Especially if you plan to escape the 9 to 5 for good, getting this in check will take you further along your financial journey.
Let me know which was your favorite tip and if you already implement some of it.
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