Make the Bad Things Hard, and the Good Things Easy
I’m currently reading a book called Influencer. Among its many interesting ideas is the suggestion to make the behaviors you want to prevent hard, and to make the behaviors you want to encourage easy.
For example, if you want to spend less money, set things up so that it takes extra effort to spend money, but no effort at all to avoid spending money.
I can attest that the idea works well, because I’ve inadvertently done exactly that recently.
Lately I’ve been driving almost nowhere. As a result, my spending has dropped dramatically — simply because I haven’t been running out to buy things whenever the mood strikes me like I used to do.
I’ve been planning trips instead. Planning my trips takes more effort, so I make fewer of them. Fewer trips = less spending, and almost no spur of the moment purchases. You might think that I could just exercise some self-control if I wanted to spend less money, but exercising self-control is a whole lot harder than just avoiding the circumstances that lead to increased spending to begin with.
You could do the same type of thing in a variety of other money-related areas.
Want to send more money to savings or investments? Set up automatic transfers or direct deposits (many employers allow you to make direct deposits to more than one account).
Want to avoid using your credit cards? Cut them up. Want to stick to a budget? Try the envelope system. If you have to go to the bank and actually withdraw more money in order to spend more than you intended, chances are you’ll stick to your budget.
Have you had any experience with these methods? What did you make harder, and what did you make easier?