The horrors of 2016 are out of your control, your money is 2017 is not.
The lovely and brilliant Ashley Feinstein (aka The Fiscal Femme) helped me save a bundle of money for travel back in 2016 (see “The Easiest Vacation Money Saving Tip In The World”) so I snagged her back for a little advice on ditching toxic money habits for a happier, wealthier 2017.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past 12 months it’s that so little is actually under my control. Luckily my finances are one of the few things I can commit to changing. I’m going to make all five of her ideas a 2017 resolution. If I keep at least one, I win ($, to be clear).
Check it out (and maybe challenge yourself to her 10-Day New Year Money Challenge) and report back!
5 Toxic $ Habits to Let Go of in 2017
Money is tough for so many reasons: we aren’t taught about it, it’s taboo to talk about, and we derive a lot of our self-worth from our financial status. What’s more, we all have habits that lead to our finances feeling unmanageable or even overwhelming. Personal finance is anything but one-size-fits-all, but many of us encounter similar pitfalls when it comes to money. If you feel stuck, here are simple steps you can take that will help you make real headway in your financial wellness goals. New year, new you! Read on to see how letting go of these toxic money habits can jumpstart your journey.
1. Beating yourself up about money.
Have you ever listened to what you tell yourself about money? We can be ruthless, whether we criticize ourselves for not making enough, for being in debt, or for avoiding the topic altogether. It’s important to change that dynamic so that we can begin to make decisions that bring us towards our goals, not further away. As you take stock of how you want to transform your relationship with money, muster up some compassion and forgiveness for yourself. Forgiving disappointments and mistakes is a beautiful and powerful place to start this journey.
2. Paying yourself last.
We usually view savings as the money left over after we pay our bills and spend on our lifestyle. But here’s the problem: there’s never any money left to save. Our expenses chip away at our checking account, month after month, leaving nothing for our goals or our future. Paying ourselves first means switching the equation. Put away some savings, then use the leftover money to pay for bills and lifestyle expenses. If you’re not sure how saving would even be possible, start small. Start the year off by setting up a small automatic transfer to your savings account from each paycheck and see how it goes. If you hardly notice, inch it up!
3. Feeling powerless to environmental toxins.
Environmental toxins are the people, places, and things that get the best of our spending. It can be the friend you always go shopping with, a store that you can’t leave without dropping $100, or even a certain aisle of the grocery store. Environmental toxins can put us in a tailspin, derailing our spending for days or even weeks. And while we can’t always avoid these situations, we can deal with them in a way that’s powerful. To help formulate your plan to achieve your New Year’s money resolutions, take note of what triggers you to spend money (without beating yourself up about your answers). Your goal is to gather information, not to guilt yourself for mistakes. What are your environmental toxins? What happens when you encounter them?
4. Keeping quiet about money goals.
Money can be a taboo topic, and we tend to keep quiet about it, even if our money goals are a big part of our daily life. When your close friends and family are out of the loop, though, things can get tricky. We spend a lot of time with friends and partners, and if they don’t know how hard you are working to pay down debt or save for a big purchase, you might find yourself tempted to go shopping, treat yourself to a big dinner out, or splurge on something you’ve been eyeing. On the other hand, if loved ones know about your goals, they can be your biggest champions. This year, try letting go of your shyness and share your goals with friends and family. It may even inspire them to share their own goals with you–and just like that, you’ll have a support system dream team.
5. Wasting money.
We often have no idea where our money is actually going because we spend out of habit or let technology automate our bills and expenses. We’re separated from the pain of paying: we hop out of Ubers without taking out our wallets, we hit buy when online shopping and then find boxes at our doors, and we swipe credit cards for just about everything. Paying with an app or card feels really different than handing over cash, and it’s easy to spend on things that don’t contribute to our happiness. The solution? Start a money journal and track what you spend and earn. As the year goes on, it will be easier to identify which purchases are simply habit. We can only use each dollar once, so we might as well use them toward things that make us happiest in the short and long term.
Ready to take the next steps? Join me for a 10-Day New Year’s Money Challenge beginning January 1. We’ll kick off the year with one powerful step each day towards financial well-being. Making New Year’s money resolutions and deciding to change your habits and relationship to money is the hardest part! Our 10 days together will be fun, manageable, and transformative, one day at a time.