Helpful Habits (01/10/2017)

Developing the right state of mind and the right mental habits can lay the groundwork for financial stability. While not a guarantee, acquiring the proper mindset improves your chances of succeeding financially. Following are some thoughts and habits you might want to cultivate.

Prepare for tough times.  Set aside a portion of your monthly income for emergencies.  Make this a mandatory bill that you pay to yourself.  You will have peace of mind knowing that you have funds to fall back on when the unexpected happens.

Avoid impulse buying.  Before you make a purchase, ask yourself two questions.  First, do you really need the item that you are planning to buy?  And second, can you live without the item?  If you answered yes to both questions, try waiting a week before making the purchase.

Make a habit of tracking your expenses.  As you would when making a food journal, take a few minutes each day and write down what you spent money on.  At the end of the month, go through your journal and see where your money is going.  You might be surprised by what you find. 

Try to keep your debt manageable.  Owing more and more money can take a toll on you.  You lose the desire to keep making money when it is all going to someone else.  While a mortgage or car loan can be managed, accumulating items you cannot afford to buy can result in unmanageable debt.

Focus on your physical and mental well-being.  If you are not taking care of yourself, your decision-making can suffer and you may also build up additional health expenses.  You may not be able to do your job effectively.  You may also find that you start spending even more to make yourself feel better emotionally.  Taking care of yourself helps you create a positive foundation for growth.

Continue to educate yourself.  You don’t need to take class after class unless you want to.  Reading is a great way to continue your education.  Books, magazines, blogs and articles are often great places to pick up a tip or two.

Saving money is important; you should not, however, avoid paying for things that are necessary just to save a few bucks.  This can end up costing more in the long run.  If you can get yourself to avoid bad spending habits and engage in financially sound habits, you will be moving in the right direction for making and saving money.

Lisa A. Dugan

January 10, 2017