5 Habits That Will Help You Find Financial Stability

When it comes to financial stability and success there are several personal habits that you can develop that will either help or hinder reaching your goals.  If you are interested in increasing your savings, eliminating your debt and finding financial stability developing the following habits can help you achieve success.

Control Impulse Spending 

There are several behaviors that can have a negative impact on your budget one of which is impulse spending.  This seems to be a personality trait that either you have or don’t have.  Personally I’m guilty of impulse spending yet have friends who are never ever tempted to buy something on impulse. 

If you find yourself spending money without thinking- going out to eat often, shopping or making online purchases on a whim then you may have an issue with spending money without first thinking how it will affect your bank account.

Pay Yourself First

This is a very important habit you should work on perfecting.  Far too often people, especially those living on a tight budget pay themselves last or not at all.  A fundamental part of finding financial stability lies in the ability to save money.  You must get into the habit of paying yourself first from each and every paycheck. 

Ideally you will set this up to happen automatically having a predetermined amount of money transferred from your checking account to saving account each payday.  Once this becomes a habit you will quickly learn that you don’t even miss that money or you can adjust your budget to accommodate the amount.  Whatever it takes, it is important that you make this happen.

Eliminate and Avoid Debt 

Many people who have debt go through each day, month, and year making debt repayments that only place a strain on their budget and limitations on their financial growth.  If you do not already have a debt elimination plan in place research your options and find a process that will work for your situation. Going along each day hoping you will eventually pay your way out of debt (without an aggressive plan) is simply not going to work. 

In the interim stop using credit cards and get in the habit of paying for items with cash.  The only way to use credit cards without incurring further debt is by only charging what you can afford to pay off each month, if you cannot afford to pay the balance in full or are prone to making impulse purchases you are better served not carrying a credit card at all.

Learn About Personal Finance

If you haven’t already done this take a few minutes and surf the Internet for personal finance websites or blogs.  You might be surprised at the volume of information that is available that can help you learn about managing your finances properly.  By educating yourself on the basics of personal finance you will be more comfortable and confident in making decisions regarding your own financial situation.

Evaluate Your Expenses

Do you know where your money goes each day…do you really know?  If you don’t- take the 30 challenge and track your expenses for one month.  Either write down or keep receipts for every dollar that you spend in that period.  At the end of the challenge you will be able to see where your money is going and where you are more likely able to cut costs. 

Keep in mind living a more frugal lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to deny yourself everything instead you are simply learning where you are wasting money.  Once you see areas where you are wasting money you make the changes needed to save and invest that money to serve you better in the future.

Trisha Wagner is a freelance writer for DepositAccounts.com where you can compare rates of deposit accounts from dozens of banks in one place.  Trisha writes regularly on the topics of personal finance and saving accounts.



Last Edited: February 18, 2012 @ 12:50 pm The content of ptmoney.com is for general information purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Visitors to ptmoney.com should not act upon the content or information without first seeking appropriate professional advice. In accordance with the latest FTC guidelines, we declare that we have a financial relationship with every company mentioned on this site.

Comments

  1. If you do not allow yourself to get into debt, you can save yourself much pain and misery.

    Thanks,
    Nate

  2. as someone relatively new to frugality and budgeting since January of this year, I am happy to say that these 5 easy steps are really the key to making it work. We started by using Pear Budget for 30 days to see where we really stood. We’d been paying ourselves since March of 08 with a small ($50 a month) emergency fund that is now an amazing (for us!) $600. We just increased this to $150 a month because we’ve managed to pay off a credit card since January 09, and are snowballing into the next chunk of debt. We no longer use our cards at all, and we have budgeted for clothing, entertainment and dining out, so we do not feel deprived in any way. And any dollars left in those three slots goes to pay off debt at the end of the month. It’s amazing how easy it was once we started. I hate that we let ourselves get so far in debt, but I am proud of our small steps in the other direction and can’t wait to see where we are in a year!

  3. How much do you usually pay yourself first each month?

  4. @tom – I participate in my 401k at 10%, plus I do a company ESPP at another 10% (this is cashed out every 6 months and used for debt repayment or property taxes).

    In addition to that, we have about half of the remainder of our paycheck go into an ING savings account (e-fund, vacations, etc.). The remainder goes to our ING checking account for bills and spending.

    It creates a false scarcity for us, which keeps us motivated.

  5. Inky – This is the kind of comment I like to see. Thanks for sharing your progress. I can tell you are fired up and making strides towards financial security. Way to go!

  6. Hi PTMoney,

    Hi there, Chelsea with Quicken Online. I certainly agree with Trisha’s five finance habit suggestions as a starting point for anyone looking to get their finances in order. I’m currently on the “Eliminate and Avoid Debt” train, and have been for a couple of months now.

    When it comes to evaluating your expenses, free services like Quicken Online are a a great way to quickly figure out where you’re spending your cash. Wonderful guest post! Thanks.

    – Chelsea, Quicken