The path to better finances starts with changing your own habits. Some of these changes will be easier than others, but if you stay committed to this transformation, you’ll end up with great money management skills that will serve you throughout your life—and in the meantime, you’ll have more money in your pocket. For some people, financial struggles are due to not bringing in enough money. But for most of us, the problem comes from spending more money than we make.
What Is a Healthy Spending Habit and How Do You Create One?
Healthy spending habits can be best defined as actions that allow you to be in control of your finances and make purchases that align with your financial goals and priorities. Though you might only be aware of your spending when it comes to major purchases, such as a new home or car, it’s crucial to look at your everyday expenses to identify whether your money habits are helping or hurting your overall financial health.
And because our team is here for you on every step of your financial journey, we’ve highlighted some healthy financial habits and how you can implement them
into your life.
Think Before You Buy
Sometimes it can be tempting to purchase the newest smartphone or car without thinking too much about the potential financial implications. Though these purchases may seem important in the moment, they can quickly add up. This is why a great habit to consciously practice is pausing before making any major purchases and thinking about the long term implications.
For those who tend to make large impulse purchases, the best course of action may be to set a waiting period for yourself. If you’re buying a vacation package on a whim, consider waiting at least 48 hours before checking out. For bigger ticket items, such as buying a car, you may want to extend the waiting period to a couple of days or even weeks, as this can give you the time to look at your financial situation and determine if the purchase will ultimately benefit you in the long run.
Make a Budget
Some people make purchases without ever looking at their bank accounts. By not paying attention to their money habits and failing to create a budget for their spending, these individuals can end up going into debt or become incapable of paying back any pre-existing debts. Not only can this affect a person’s credit history, but it can potentially prevent them from making large purchases in the future, such as taking out a mortgage or getting approved for a loan.
If you only use debit or credit cards, consider creating a financial journal and budget for yourself that you revisit often. This might look like simply having a physical copy of your finances that you continually make edits to or using an app to keep track of your spending. If you’re a member at Teachers, you can also use our online banking money management tool, which allows you to check your balances at any time, look at your transaction history, and more.
Plan Purchases In Advance
If you’re the type of person who purchases something because it’s appealing at that moment, like magazines while checking out at a grocery store or items from ads online, you may be an impulse buyer. This type of shopper finds joy from buying new things, but often spends too much on items they don’t need.
In case impulse buying is your vice, it might be helpful to either shop with someone else or find alternative ways to shop to reduce your temptation to spend. For example, you can purchase your groceries online for delivery so that you don’t have so many immediate options or use an ad blocker on your internet browser to avoid tempting advertisements.
Some shoppers buy the first option available and don’t shop around. Though most of us might not think too much into this, not considering other options can end up costing thousands of dollars when it comes to things such as buying plane tickets, getting a car, or even considering what apartment or home to live in.
Sometimes people make up their minds to buy something and think it has to be done immediately, but this is how expensive mistakes are made. Instead, for more significant purchases, try to check at least four or five competitors to see if you can find a cheaper option before buying.
Smart spending habits —having enough savings, investments, and cash on hand to afford the lifestyle you want for yourself and your family— is an important goal for many people. It also means growing a nest egg that will allow you to retire or pursue any career you want—without being driven by the need to earn a certain amount each year.