We all develop regular habits, some good and probably, a few that we should shake. When it comes to your finances it can become very easy to get complacent and let things slip.
Here are 8 tips and ideas to take onboard as women to help us in create healthy financial habits in 2021.
1: Weekly – Do a financial health check and catch up
Each week name a specific day and time you will ALWAYS review your finances.
We all live busy lives and so it’s imperative to nominate a specific window to assess exactly where you stand.
Make this health check catch up part of your weekly routine because it will help you avoid being caught out by an unexpected incoming bill.
Keep your details up to date, if you have different emails or recently a new phone number make sure you update them on important documents and subscriptions.
A potential overdue payment that will result in a higher interest charge on your account.
2: Daily – keep it Simple and Automate.
Whenever possible, pay online and for regular monthly payments such as rent or mortgage payments. Make sure you can arrange for auto payments, so they can’t be overlooked. This helps take the stress out of what needs to be paid weekly, fortnightly or monthly.
Keep a calendar reminder and note all your upcoming regular payments and get reminders on your phone. Particularly if they are quarterly payments.
3: Daily – Be organised
- Open all your bills when you receive them and keep them together in one file, so you know where they are, what you owe and when.
- Always read your incoming credit card statements carefully.
- Mistakes do get made and it’s a good habit to check all your payments first before you pay your account.
- Check your bank account regularly if subscription and or payments you have forgotten about and your balance
4: Daily – keep your wallet very minimal
Don’t carry around a stash of cash. Keep a minimum amount on you to pay for daily expenses, but not enough to let you be tempted to overspend.
If you regularly buy a coffee out on your morning walk or trip to work carry only that amount so not tempted to spend more so budget for it.
5: Monthly – create a budget and re- evaluate.
Look at the big picture and decide in advance what budget you should allow to spend each month. Break it down to jam jars of Household, Personal, Home, Transport, Socialising, Savings. These jam jars can be envelopes or sub accounts in your main bank account.
Then, stay true to your pre-set budget and review it weekly.
Budgets can be boring for some of us, so inspire yourself for an upcoming event to be part of your budget. Revisit your goal and keep that in mind so you are emotionally attached to that outcome because it means so much to you to achieve it.
Always compare costs carefully before making any purchase.
6: Daily – cut out ‘extras’ or limit them.
It’s all too easy to overspend as soon as you walk into the street.
Buying the morning coffee on the way to work, maybe limit to every second day.
What about, lunch every day, cigarettes, drinks, magazines, gambling as these just fritter away your money. Australians spend millions on these items each year.
They can all be either reduced or cut out altogether, so just do it. Do you really need them?
Put the money you save into your savings fund instead.
7: Monthly – pay off your credit card debt.
If you can’t afford to pay for it, you can’t afford to buy it!
Better still, just use a debit card instead so you don’t run up credit card debt at all.
Credit cards are not bad things. They should be used as emergencies or can be used as business expenses. Try to not use them for frivolous purchases or for cash out. The interest you pay on cash advances is really high.
8: Daily – Reflect and think about your end goal.
We all daydream – owning a dream home, a dream boat or car, going on a dream holiday.
A goal is a dream with a deadline.
A dream is the ideal way to focus on your personal financial plan to make your dream goal become a reality.
This can really help when we are tempted to defer our plan and savings goals, especially when we want to buy extras.
Here are some ideas you can do on a daily basis re arrange them to suit your style:
Monday – Track one expense at a time
Nobody likes to budget, especially if it’s a financial skill you aren’t accustomed to. However, there’s no better way to get a handle on your financial health than just tracking your expenses.
One tip to avoid expense-tracking overwhelm, is to develop the habit of tracking one expense category at a time.
Start by choosing an expense in a financial category you feel might be a problem area and do your best to track every expenditure.
Whether it’s meals, entertainment — or how much you’re spending on insurance — take a few minutes to thoroughly track one area of your expenses.
Then brainstorm ways you might be able to reduce those expenses, and you will find it gets easier with practice.
Tuesday – Set up your savings
The term “savings” sometimes gets a bad rap because most savings accounts have an interest rate that hover somewhere around .01%.
But “savings” is really just about spending less than you earn and finding good ways to use that surplus.
Such as paying off bad debt or looking for investments.
The best way to boost the amount of “savings” you can accrue each month — without earning more — is to set up your savings to it is automatically saved before you get it.
This could be done in a variety of ways:
- Setting up automatic monthly transfers
- Saving your tax refund
- Make regular savings deposits into an investment from your pay as it hits your bank account as a direct debit then live off the rest.
- Portion your direct deposit (or revenue streams) into separate jam jars or buckets/sub accounts.
Wednesday – Prioritize your goals.
Setting financial goals is just the first step to building wealth. The real “secret sauce” comes when you prioritize those goals.
Make a list of all your financial goals, then prioritize them in order of importance and how easily you can achieve them.
Then make a solid plan for each of the top-three goals.
There is a clear difference between needs and wants. A need is for your survival, such as food and shelter. The want is the quality of the food and shelter such as expensive or on special.
By establishing a clear distinction between needs and the expense of the want, then earmarking the financial goals you’ll start working on, first, you’ll lay a solid financial foundation.
This will help in creating new healthy financial habits.
Thursday – Create a master shopping list.
We’ve all done it; we’ve gone shopping with a list, then find ourselves buying other things we didn’t actually need.
Or we find ourselves going back, to the same store wasting car wear and fuel, time and money.
If you do online shopping and have it delivered it could help you break the habit of overspending or forgetting items.
This also could save you some time travelling and shopping or working on other important tasks or more leisure time.
There are many helpful mobile apps that you can use such as Our Groceries or online budgeting apps.
Set up the habit of consistently building targeted shopping lists in which you buy nothing but what’s on the master list. You’ll not only spend less money, but be far less stressed in the process. Also, this helps to choose healthy options and not junk items.
Friday – Always Ask for discounts
Doesn’t matter whether it’s your phone bill or that department store shirt you’ve found. Chances are you can often get a better price on almost any product or service simply by asking.
Many companies offer loyal customer discounts, a feature many loyal customers don’t even know about. Check that new customers get a discount but loyal customers don’t. So look at changing providers to get the discount.
Other businesses will offer “bundle pricing” if you decide to sign up for a suite of services.
Sometimes this is as simple as asking if there’s a better price on an item.
You won’t always win because many times a discount isn’t available so refuse to buy unless it is discounted.
If you constantly ask for a discount you will save a lot on regular prices.
Saturday Educated yourself in financial literacy
Financial education isn’t something you achieve overnight.
It isn’t something you finally achieve like a degree or diploma then no longer have to learn more about. Learning about investments and how money works is useful not just because you learn how to spend less.
Discover how money actually works and learning how to create investments are the key you need to build long-term wealth.
Join our Facebook group Wisegirls Money Magic that will educate you and get support. Read books on investing that we recommend and blog posts on financial literacy.
Listen to podcasts on investing and if you make the time do it on a weekly daily. You can make a habit of constantly learning the ins and outs of money.
Learning how to save and invest and what to invest in could be just the healthiest financial habit of all. Bring back your power of owning your financial future.
Sunday – Attitude of Gratitude
Though it may not sound like a financial habit, expressing gratitude for the level of prosperity and job that you do have.
This helps not feeling like a lost cause or feeling that your goals are just so far away
We aren’t here to wish that luxury sports car you want would just turn up or you win lotto. Gratitude may help you avoid spending money on impulse buys that may make you feel better emotionally for a short moment.
Impulse buying won’t help you reach your financial goals. Planning for your beauty or play money in your budget helps you to stay on track.
Not to mention it can also help you feel more empathy toward those less fortunate.
Good habits replace old ones that you just don’t need…
Developing and creating good financial habits isn’t just about checking your account balance, setting up great budget and saving more than you spend.
It’s about noticing that you already do have financial habits in place.
Let’s look at the money behaviour that serves you, and the ones that keep you blocked and stand in your way.
When you become more attuned to your relationship to money, take small actions to derive more savings where you are able to find them.
Be grateful for where you are financially. You might just find these new financial behaviours do more than add to your bottom line. Money magic happens when you change your mind and change what you do!
Money magic happens when you change your mind and change what you do!