Are Your Money Habits Helping You or Hurting You?

Most of us are creatures of habit. It’s human nature. Maybe it’s also human nature to not even realize just how much we do by habit.

But think about what you did yesterday. Chances are it’s pretty similar to what you did a week ago. You probably got up at the same time, took the same route to work, read the same web sites, etc.

Our financial lives are also full of habits. We buy the same types of things, shop at the same stores, use the same financial products and services, etc.

But are all these habits really what’s best for us?

Maybe, maybe not.

Consciously setting aside a little time to evaluate what you’re doing with your money can be beneficial.

Maybe the checking account you’ve paid a service charge on each month since college isn’t the best deal around anymore. Maybe the grocery store a half mile further down the road is 20% cheaper on average. Developing a few new habits could save you a bundle.

Then there are the money habits that lead to positive results. Maybe you’re humming right along with building wealth by having money automatically withdrawn from your check, or maybe you habitually compare prices when you grocery shop without really noticing. You could extend those types of habits to other areas (such as investing or making major purchases) and reap even greater rewards.

Take a little time to make sure that the things you do as a matter of course benefit you and your finances.

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8 comments

  • One of the best ways that I impacted my financial health was to do this very thing–evaluate what I do on a daily basis.

    Sure, figuring out a way to save $100 on your mortgage is great, but think of how much you could save in the long run if you did things like eliminate unnecessary trips to the convenience store where you buy lots of overpriced stuff, or evaluate where you buy your gas to see if you can find a cheaper place.

    Or checking to see if there’s a farmer’s market in your area where you could buy all your veggies at a cheaper price.

    These things save not huge chunks of money in the short term, but if you improve these habits and then simply forget about it, the long term savings are huge

  • David, and the good thing about that is changing your habits in many financial areas is often just a matter of a single phone call. It just takes a little thinking. (Although I’m a fan of making both small and large changes.)

  • It takes awareness to make an analysis of our financial habits. Some of us are not good at making the best use of our money and I’m one of them. But we do have a choice of changing our habits for the better, the only problem is our human nature (we resist change). :-)

  • Walter, I agree. Awareness is the first step.

  • I was driving to work the other day and I was so pleased with the progress I have made in the last few month. I pretty much have all my bills on auto-pay and the money is taken out while I am asleep on payday night. So I have myself set up for success which has save me from the fire many a time.

  • Ms. Freeman, nice! Isn’t it great to look back and see the progress you’ve made?

  • My wife and I decided to make some changes after the new year. One (and it seems simple) but eat the food you buy. We were wasting so much money on groceries we never ended up eating. It’s already made a big difference. Now, we’re trying to find ways to stretch the food we buy. Roasting a chicken that will lead to 2 or 3 other meals, etc. And, we tweaked our insurance policies and bundled some policies together. It also saved money. I like the new year to look back and reassess.

  • Jerry, that’s a good way to stop wasting money and food. Sometimes the simplest things really save a bundle.