Breaking a Bad Habit of Money Management

We know that developing good money management skills literally pays off. Despite that, we probably all have a few bad habits when it comes to managing our money.

For example, I’d gotten in the bad habit of waiting for weeks to record the amounts and sources of the money I’d been making. During those weeks, I didn’t know how much money was available, where it was coming from, or whether I was on track to be able to do the things I wanted to do. Worse, when I finally did record the income, it took a lot of time because I had a bunch of little deposits from various sources. I had to go back and review notifications to figure out where the money came from.

Last month, I got sick of how I was managing my money in that area. I knew I wanted to change. I started by describing what I was really doing and comparing it to what I wanted to be doing. Then I tried to figure out what was behind the bad habit. Obviously I was procrastinating, but why?

The root cause of a bad habit can be something emotional, technical, or physical. For example, an emotional cause might be dreading paying the bills because you’re afraid you won’t have enough to cover them. A technical issue could be being disorganized, being overwhelmed with too much to do, not having enough experience, or lacking knowledge. Physical stumbling blocks might be being exhausted or sick, not having a place to learn or work, or things like needing storage space or an organizational system.

My stumbling block was mainly technical. I was too busy with other things to be as detailed in my recording as I thought I should to be. (Although that feeling of “should” gave my stumbling block a little bit of an emotional aspect too.)

I wasn’t going to make more time, so I asked myself why I “should” be so detailed when entering things into Quicken and my spreadsheet. There really wasn’t a good reason, and I wasn’t getting any benefit from it. So I began listing a more generic (but still perfectly adequate) source of the income.

It’s saved me a significant amount of time, and — more importantly — stopped me from procrastinating in that area.

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