Since the majority of us in the UK are going to be at home for an indefinite number of days/weeks/months (this is true at the time of writing it), we wanted to come out the end of this lockdown period with something that we didn’t have before (and no, not being able to effortlessly make Banana bread). A new habit.
According the plastic surgeon, Maxwell Maltz, when a patient has cosmetic surgery it would take them about 21 days to get used to seeing their new face after the surgery. This prompted Maltz to think about his own adjustment period to changes and new behaviours, and he noticed that it also took himself about 21 days to form a new habit.
Got 21 days? (of course you have) Here are some of the baby steps you can take to improve your financial situation by forming new habits.
Track Your Financial Habits And Progress
Ask yourself the questions...
Am I happy with my financial situation? What can I change about my financial situation? Have I made progress?
A great way to start keeping track of your financial habits and progress is by starting to do a financial bullet journal — we even list some of the pages that you might want to include in your financial bullet journal here.
Plan Your Purchases
Every time you shop online, or go out to make the supermarket shop, prepare a list of exactly what you want to buy to avoid impulse buys (especially when hungry) or spending too much.
The 21 day rule may also be adapted when it comes to waiting to purchase an item. Try waiting 21 days after seeing an item, to see if you REALLY want and need it before hitting ‘checkout’
Pay Yourself First
We know that paydays usually happen once a month, so the 21 days but paying yourself is a great habit to adopt. This one may take 3-4 pay cycles to get into a habit. Putting your money towards your personal savings as the first thing you do when you get your paycheque, is the best thing to do.
Put Away Your Pennies
Pennies can pile up overtime, and after a while they become pounds. Ever heard the saying every penny counts? Pennies turn into Pounds. And pounds then turn into your dream savings goals such as; going on holiday or buying a a house. So every time you have change in your pocket, place it in a specific savings goal. Do this every day and take a look at that jar in years time and see how much you have saved.
Cut Down Spending In One Area
The best way to do this is by assessing where there is unnecessary spending, for example if have a gym membership but also a membership to access online workout videos in your home, you can probably drop the gym membership.
Tracking your expenses is a great way to check yourself by being honest about where your money is going. Honesty is the best policy and we won’t lie it’s hard but repeating this action of going through what you’ve spent every day for 21 days will become a lot easier.
Review Your Finances on a Regular Basis
Make it an occasion to check your credit cards, bank account, and your personal assets regularly to ensure everything is as you expect. Go through and highlight any charges that you cannot clearly determine a purpose for. Put a calendar invite in to do this, set an alarm — do whatever you have to do.
Review Your Bills
You may not notice that your Internet or phone bill fluctuates every now and then. Make it a habit to review your bills line by line every time you receive one, you’ll have the opportunity to see areas that will make you think ‘hey, I shouldn’t be paying some of these’. For example, is your electricity bill on a fixed amount each month but you’re constantly using less electricity? This could be a way to cut out a hefty amount of money.
As well as reviewing your bills, keep an eye on your credit score on a regular basis too.
Growing up, I was always told to turn off the light when I leave the room.
Even though it’s a relatively small feat, this will help you save money. Other energy saving tips that may help you; consider washing your clothes in cooler temperatures, turn off the water heater when you leave the house, don't leaving your electronics on the charger once they are fully charged.
Read about finance once a day.
We promise you reading about finance isn’t boring. Reading an article, a book or one of our infographics on Instagram once a day is a great way to dip your toes into the world of finance reading.