By Penny Duane
- Reverse your thinking. You should be saving for your financial goals first, paying your bills and then consider spending the money you have left. Even $50 is enough.
- Look where you want to go. Goal setting improves motivation. Knowing what you want your money to do for you gives your goals a better chance of being reached.
- Adopt your own private mind tricks. It’s called heuristics. Start with something simple, such as spending no more than $50 on shoes or eating out only once a week, not getting a cart at Target to shop with. Heuristics can help develop good money habits.
- Live like a ‘secret’ rich person. Usually rich people live below their means and do more saving than spending. Read “The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy. Actually, read anything you can about saving money. It keeps your focus on the right thing.
- Tackle retirement now. The sooner you sock money away, the more time it has to compound and grow. The later you start saving, the more you’ll have to save.
- Know what’s coming in and going out. Knowledge is the first step to lasting change. You can track your expenses for free on LearnVest. There are other ones out there too and ones that your bank or credit union offers. You have to become the CFO of your household.
- Getting out of debt. Have a plan and see how many months it will take. Chop up your credit card. Come to an agreement with yourself that it is only if your emergency fund doesn’t cover it and if you will be able to pay it off with your next paycheck.
- Increasing your earnings. Spend less or save more money. Get a part-time job doing something that you love. Look for investment opportunities, like rental income. Sell things that you are not using. Have a garage sale.
- Consider consulting an expert. Often times most of us are too emotionally involved in our finances to make really good decisions. A professional can take an outside view of what you’re doing. Even if you’re doing everything you can to start good money habits, an expert can keep you on track and accountable.