Budget / Finances

The one habit that will change your spending habits completely

There are a thousand blog posts with a million ideas on how you can alter your spending habits for the better. We all want change right? We want to be better, do better, grow…. oh also we probably want more money? Am I right, or AM I RIGHT?!

I know I’m not alone on this one so I’ll take your comments as an answer but I’ll also take your silence as answer. I’m flexible like that!

When we started getting our finances together it was a lot to do at once. We were trying to save, and pay off bills, and drop money into sinking funds… and also just survive the month!

We tried different things, we failed with many attempts (which is awesome, I’m a big HUGE fan of failing). I would say that of all the attempts we made there was one small, very minimal, so simple it’s dumb habit that actually made a massive difference for our finances.

You may already know it, but in the off chance that you don’t here’s the secret unleashed:

Check your bank account every single day. Maybe even twice…

It’s literally that simple.

Here’s why it makes such a big difference. If we’re being honest, most of us are bad at math, especially imaginary math we’re doing in our heads while swiping debit card transactions. Raise your hand if you’ve ever played the game of “I had like $200 in my account and I spent like $20 yesterday…. so I can totally spend this tiny $10 amount“.

Then you check your account later and your balance is $2….

Yeah, if you’re a spender, like me, and many of us are. You find ways to justify small amounts of spending without thinking about how they will add up over the long term. Suddenly the paycheck that just hit your account on Friday is gone by Monday and you’re living off $12 for the next week and a half.

It sucks to be stuck in this loop. It’s so hard to break out and shift your mindset to get away from this constant cycle.

When I’m stuck in a downward spiral of spending I usually stop checking my account because I honestly don’t want to know the truth. I would rather do bad math and spend like I want in the moment and ignore the consequences. If I don’t see the money it’s not going away right? Ugh, I wish…

 don't hide from your account balance

I know in my heart that this ALWAYS ends badly. Which is why I began making myself check my account balance and transactions every.single.morning.

Instead of opening my eyes and grabbing my phone to check Instagram or Facebook I would open my bank account instead. You know what? It made a difference! It made me more mindful, it forced me to spend money based off facts instead of speculation. It forced me to try harder to stick to my budget.

It also started making me spend less time lingering in bed because it was a reminder that I needed to get up and get hustling. So it was kind of a two for one habit.

Just this small change compounded and when I faced real numbers each morning I quit lying to myself about what I could spend. I monitored what was coming and going and as a direct result I don’t have any hidden recurring debits coming out each month. I don’t overdraft and I don’t make plans off a made up balance.

Some mornings I don’t want to look, but I make myself. I never start a morning without checking my financial temperature.

I’ve been doing this for about two years now and I strongly attribute the progress we’ve made financially to this small practice. What small habits have you found that made a big difference financially?


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