You’ve learned money hacks and formed financial habits that can benefit you everywhere from the grocery store to the stock market. You’ve listened to friends, done your research, maybe even found some useful tips from our featured financial experts. So, what’s next? Putting those smart moves into action! Making a good habit stick isn’t as hard as it may sound. Here are some tips on how to put your new knowledge into practice and actually keep maintaining your new financial routine.
Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail
Aside from commitment, planning is key to maintaining any habit. Carve out some time in your schedule to have regular budget check-in meetings with yourself. During each check-in, review your progress and see where you can improve.
It’s easy for a slipup or busy schedule to derail you, but keep at it! When life gets in the way, regroup and reschedule. Here are some ways to stick to it:
Set an alarm on your phone: Each day when it goes off, that’s your cue to have your budget check-in meeting
Use a wall calendar or planner: At the start of each week, block off time in your schedule that’s most convenient for you
Write a note: Keep a sticky note on the corner of your computer or on your desk as a constant reminder
Use Google Calendar or online app: Setup recurring events to make regular budget check-ins a part of your life
Support Your Plan
If you’re having trouble sticking to your regular budget check-ins, don’t give up, reach out! Find an accountability partner — a spouse, a friend, a parent, or a credible financial coach. Get together on a regular basis to check on your progress, or schedule phone or video calls. Remember to put them on your schedule too and set reminders for your meetings.
Reward Your Hard Work and Planning
Each time you monitor your budget and financial progress, reward your achievement. Find a low-cost reward, like a walk with a beautiful view, a sweet treat, or plan to cook your favorite dinner after your check-in. This way, you’ll begin to associate your budget check-ins with a positive feeling that will reinforce the habit and keep you coming back.
Streamline Your Finances
Automate Make the work of financial planning easier for yourself by breaking down big goals into smaller tasks and finding ways to achieve them through automation. If your broader goal is reducing credit card debt, see if automatic payments are available. This can reduce the stress of having to remember to make payments and helps you know when you can afford a little flexibility for fun.
If your broader goal is increasing your savings, setup automatic withdrawals from your paycheck to a separate savings account. This way, you won’t have to think about transferring money and you’re not tempted to overspend. Remember to always pay yourself first — automatic deposits are a great way to ensure this happens regularly.
Organize Find a file organization system that works for you and use it. Make it easy to find information such as the contact number for a credit card company or the latest statement on your car loan. If remembering your passwords is a hurdle, have them securely stored on your computer. When you know where everything is, you can easily access your information in a way that makes sense to you.
Choose a Strategy and Stick to It
There are lots of ways to improve your financial well-being, but the biggest one is following through on your goals.
Choose a strategy from one of our blog posts and take action. Make a goal and don’t be afraid to follow through! Simply take the first step and keep on moving.