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5 simple money habits to boost your financial confidence

By Erica Gellerman
August 22, 2019

Do you feel completely confident about your money?

If your answer is “no”, you’re not alone. Financial anxiety and money-related stress are affecting millennials’ physical health, mental health, and job performance. Yikes.

While this sounds dire, there are things you can do to keep money from weighing on your mind. One solution is to create some simple habits. This way, making smart moves with your money becomes part of your daily life.

To get started with money saving habits, here are five that you can adopt today.  

1. Track your spending daily

Do your financial goals always seem out of reach? Tracking your spending may help. 

Tracking your spending can help you save more and become more aware of where your money is actually going.

If you want to adopt this habit, don’t get caught up in the mechanics of how to track your budget. You can do it with an app like Wally, keep notes on your phone, or simply just write down all of your spendings. 

2. Adopt the 72-hour rule

I used to have a bit of a trigger finger when it came to buying things online. With my credit card information stored, I could buy anything I wanted with a quick tap. While most of my impulse purchases were things I thought I needed, when I looked back at my purchases, this wasn’t always the case. 

The first time I heard about the 72-hour rule was in a short article in the New York Times written by Certified Financial Planner Carl Richards. In the story, he states that when he wants to buy something, he puts it on a list. If he still wants to buy it 72 hours later, he’s free to do so. 

Yet, Richards noticed that by making himself wait, he cut out a lot of unnecessary impulse purchases. 

I’ve put this rule into practice in my own life and noticed immediate results. I have fewer packages being delivered and less stuff cluttering up my house. By adopting the 72-hour rule, I’m more confident that I buy things I really need.

3. Automate your savings

One well-known secret in the world of personal finance is to pay yourself first. That is, as soon as you’re paid, you put money into savings to fund your future goals. 

While this is a great rule, you should combine it with one other tactic to set yourself up for success: automation. Why? Because relying on willpower alone to transfer money to savings isn’t setting yourself up for success. Willpower wanes and if you’re deciding between sending money to savings or joining your best friend on a weekend trip, I’m going to guess that you’ll be packing your bags.

Automating your savings, however, solves the waning willpower issue. And, if you’re a Chime member and you’ve set up direct deposit, you can elect to auto-save 10% of your paycheck each time you’re paid

4. Learn one new thing each week

When you start learning about personal finance, it can feel like you’re entering a whole new world. The jargon and lingo can often seem confusing. 

Yet, millennials really need to level up their financial knowledge. According to a survey, only 24% of millennials had the basic knowledge required to manage their finances

At the same time, it can be an overwhelming task to learn everything necessary to achieve your financial goals. So, give yourself the more manageable task of learning one new thing each week. Follow your curiosity. One week you might want to learn about a sinking fund. Another week you might want to know exactly what an IRA is. 

Learning about financial concepts has never been easier. You can pick up a book, read a quick article online (like you’re doing right now), or listen to a podcast. Make this a part of your weekly routine and each year you’ll learn 52 new things about money. 

5. Create a weekly check-in

I used to abide by a monthly money check-in. But as life got busier (and money got more complicated), I found myself overwhelmed by the monthly check-in. It was difficult to remember what happened at the beginning of the month — that was weeks ago! And trying to plan for the next month was overwhelming. 

Because my monthly check-in was unpleasant, I started to avoid it. Soon, my monthly check-in was becoming more of a quarterly check-in, and I really wasn’t on top of what was happening with my money. 

Once I changed to a weekly check-in, things improved. I had fewer transactions to look through and fewer things to plan for. It took less than 10 minutes to feel on top of my money for the next seven days. 

Creating a weekly check-in can be simple. Choose the same day each week to sit down and look through your spending from the week before. Go through your bank account and credit card statements to make sure there are no errors. Then, take a look at where you plan to spend your money in the upcoming week. Do you have any big bills due? Any events or celebrations for the week? 

Your check-in can be that simple and fast. 

Financial confidence is created through money habits

While these five habits may seem simple and small, adopting them can increase your financial confidence over time. So, start with one habit and add it into your life today. From there, you can start to adopt more healthy money habits. Your future self will thank you. 

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