Habit #1: Count your money! (image)
When it comes to your money habits, do you border on the positive or the negative?
Do you spend your money without a second thought, or do you carefully consider what you have in your pocket before making a decision?
Do you regularly dip into your savings for things you don't need, or do you show willpower, resisting the urge to take money out for a takeaway, or whatever else you impulsively crave?
If you want to achieve the dream of being financially comfortable, you need to get into good money habits. While there are those habits that you might do once a year, such as checking your renewal quote for your car insurance, there are others you should be following every single week.
Here are a few examples.
Open your bills as soon as you get them. Don't get into the mindset of opening your bill at a later date. Open them on the day the mailman so graciously hands them over to you, as you may well miss the payment date if you then forget about the bill later on.
Check your credit score. Did you know you can check your credit score for free? You can when you use services such as Myfico and Credit Karma. Check for a comparison of the two here, Myfico vs. Credit Karma. Rather than waiting for the once a year free check from Experian and the like, have a look at your credit score regularly, as the sooner you do, the sooner you can take steps to improve your score and remedy any inaccuracies.
Plan your meals in advance. If you want to reduce your food expenses, make a meal plan at the start of the week, as this way, you will both a) only buy what you need from the supermarket, and b) reduce the temptation to opt for the easy way out, such as splurging on a takeaway.
Check your bank statement. If you haven't signed up for online banking yet, then you really need to. You will then have access to your bank statement 24/7. By checking it weekly, or even daily if you prefer, you will get an accurate record of how much you are spending. If you find yourself overspending, you can then make the relevant changes in your life.
Use cash rather than your credit or debit card. Your little plastic friend is really your deadliest enemy. The temptation to use it is strong, but you may regret it later. To stay in control of your finances, take out the available cash you have to spend each week, and use the money in your pocket for what you need or want. You might also consider leaving your plastic friend at home when you go out shopping, especially if you know you are prone to overusing the credit-destroying little fellow.
Research what you are going to buy. When you're browsing the internet for something to buy, don't go with the first price you see. Make the effort to do a little research first, finding another outlet that offers you the same thing at a cheaper price. It's common sense and should be a good habit you follow for everything you are considering buying.
Follow these weekly money habits, and you should find yourself financially better off. Start today, and see how much difference it makes in your life.