How much money have you stashed away in your savings account?
Thousands? Hundreds? Zero?
When you begin earning money, it is easy to cave into temptations — the latest gadgets, stylish clothes, or even simple pleasures like eating out or hanging out with friends at trendy bars.
Indulging and splurging on material things is not necessarily bad, as long as you do it from time to time. But mindless spending, over time, can be detrimental to your financial health, long-term security, and the achievement of your goals.
It becomes easier to be judicious with your spending if you have specific goals in mind.
It can be as simple as setting your sights on a particular figure, like a few thousand dollars saved at the end of the year, or something a bit more challenging, like saving capital for your dream business.
As with any goal, make the one you set for yourself specific and measurable.
Find and eliminate roadblocks
Roadblocks to financial success can come in two main forms: external and internal. What is crucial is to identify these early on and find ways to eliminate these.
Start by reflecting on the things that are hindering you from achieving your goals. It may be as simple as your spending on luxurious items, or maybe your current job situation.
Once you have identified your roadblocks, the next step you must undertake is to identify ways to eliminate these. For example, if a substantial chunk of your money goes to your daily coffee habit, you may want to invest your money instead in a good coffee maker instead of forking your money over to your local coffee shop.
Small steps, big difference
When you are overwhelmed by a sense of enthusiasm, you feel that you can take on just about any challenge that you come across.
But when it comes to building better financial habits, it is crucial to understand the power of consistency.
Once you hone in on a small goal for yourself, list down what steps you need to undertake in order to achieve this.
Instead of looking at complex steps, zero in on small modifications that you can start as soon as possible on a consistent basis.
For example, if you want to limit your spending on takeout meals, you can start with meal planning.
As you gain confidence in your ability to implement small changes in your financial habits, you prepare yourself to tackle harder challenges.
Go easy on yourself
Despite your best intentions, you will encounter new roadblocks or even fall back on past bad habits that undermine the achievement of your goals.
The key here is to stop being too hard on yourself and accept the fact that you will make mistakes.
Instead of giving up on your goals, set yourself up for success by making some allowances.
For example, it is practically impossible to divine the future and foresee unexpected expenses (car breakdowns, sickness in the family, or temptations like sales).
Acknowledge that there will be unexpected circumstances and make the necessary preparations.
Take advantage of new technologies
Willpower is a finite resource. Over time, your ability to resist temptation will dwindle.
Overcome this major stumbling block by taking advantage of new technologies available to consumers. These include apps and mobile banking.
For example, you can configure your saving account to take a small percentage off your salary and funnel it into an account dedicated to your retirement.
Invest in yourself
The great thing about building better financial habits is that there are various resources readily available to anyone, both online and offline.
As such, consider investing in books, courses, and other materials that will bolster your knowledge and understanding of personal finance.
However, investing in yourself does not necessarily mean spending money. It can also mean spending a few hours each day doing research. Scrounge reddit for advice from common people. Look for financial gurus whose message resonates with you.
No best time but now
When it comes to turning your personal finance around, there is no single right time.
Whether it is the start, middle, or end of the year, what is crucial is to get started.