Would you like to achieve excellence in your finances? Here are 5 Habits you can start now to improve your financial health.
- Be the CFO of You, Inc. Set a date with yourself 1 x a week to handle the operations & details of your financial life such as: categorize your Mint.com, pay bills, check your balances, research that new investment or product, meet with your insurance agent etc. — all the money tasks that need your personal attention. Plan a reward after that date, a movie, an Amazon browse, bottle of whiskey, chocolate truffle, vacation planning. Something fun after you have a clear picture of where you are on your money map today.
- Give yourself a CASH allowance each week. Yep, good old fashioned cash. Feel the freedom of it. No financial footprint! It can make you feel a little giddy. Let it help you give your debit/credit card/digital spending a rest while containing those little treats that really add up: Starbucks, extra beer, convenience store snack, Burts Bees at the counter. This is a great way to execute the reward of #1.
- Start a savings-to-spend account. This helps soothe the spender in you, who, let’s be honest, is kinda tired anyway, by letting her know she will get to spend again. And maybe this time it can be for that bigger item or something truly desired that takes more moola than you allow to build up in your checking account. My suggestion is to open a savings account wherever you do most of your banking, and set up an auto-draft to go from each regular pay period. Even just $50 can begin to add up. It’s forming the good habit and letting that feeling begin to lead you rather than the immediacy of a purchase for something you consume.
- Add to your “prudent reserve account” every month. Sounds simple, but most of us wait to see what’s left over to save. There are two problems with that: One, we don’t look at our finances often enough to see what’s real, and Two, our wants get immediate attention so there is rarely any left-over for the non-sexy “rainy day fund.” (Prudent reserve = cash funds to access when the unexpected happens. When change brings us new opportunity, now we can respond without hesitation or fear!)
As CFO of You, Inc, have a monthly meeting “how are we doing, where are going” meeting. If you have a partner or share bills, include the other person in your life. This is big picture stuff. Monthly review of income/expenses. Plus net worth or balance sheet. Once you have three months of good data, you can begin to create an accurate spending and action plan that give you a GPS position on your financial journey!