It’s easy to fall into bad habits when it comes to money, even when we don’t really mean to let it happen. A fancy coffee drink here, a “treat yo’self” credit card charge there … it can add up fast. But building good money habits begins with taking ownership of your finances, so you can start turning those far-off dreams of paying off debt or buying a home into concrete plans.
Here are a few tips to help you establish good money habits that are both doable and effective.
1. Track your spending
Seriously, track everything! Understanding where your money is going each month will help you identify what you’re doing well and where you could improve. Creating a budget for the first time can be a little overwhelming, so check out our budget tracking worksheet for a simple template to help you get started. We suggest tracking everything you spend for at least three months to get a sense of your average monthly budget, but even tracking one month will give you a good jumping off point.
2. Start with small changes to your money habits
Although thinking big can give you a burst of inspiration, setting smaller goals is proven to have better results in the long run. Start with small changes to your money habits that won’t disrupt your routine that much. Living for that daily latte at your local café? Consider limiting your visits to three days a week and bringing a mug from home on the others. Burning through your paychecks? Try setting aside $20 in a savings account each pay period before anything else. These small money habit changes will add up over time and can give you the confidence you need to start going after bigger goals.
3. Add accountability and get support from a financial coach
Practicing better money habits starts with intention and succeeds with accountability. We’re here to give you the support and encouragement you need (kind of like a workout buddy!) to make some of those bigger lifestyle changes. Schedule an appointment with a Summit financial expert, and we can help you come up with a money spending strategy that’s right for you and your unique financial situation.
4. Celebrate your progress
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by finances (we’ve all been there!). That’s why it’s important to celebrate your progress, no matter how small! Little victories like increasing your savings account or spending less money on non-necessities can add up to real life changes. Remember, it’s not always about the destination — it’s the learning and growth that happen along the way!
5. Repeat and review your money habits often
Repeat this process often. Set up a monthly “money date” to review your finances and see how you’re tracking with your budget. Establishing good money habits won’t happen overnight, but with a few small changes over time, you’ll be well on your way to a better financial future.
Not sure where to begin? Schedule an appointment, and we can help you review your finances and come up with a game plan to get your money habits on the right track.