As I take baby steps toward getting myself & other areas of my life back on track this year, I had to take inventory of ALL the areas in which I felt needed improvement. One area that has burdened me to the point of emotional & mental exhaustion is finances. I can finally admit to myself that my financial situation is a huge barrier to moving forward to a place of peace & freedom in my life. While I can’t be mad at anyone but myself for mismanaging my money, coming to terms with the truth is the first step toward my financial independence.
Here’s that truth: my spending habits suck. At 30 years old, I do still have a spending problem.
*breathes heavy sigh of relief*
Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let me break down the reasons I believe I’ve gotten myself into this mess:
Desire for instant gratification
I’m a pretty patient person in general. However, when I see something that I want, I lock in on it like a hunter with a shotgun. 99% of the time, I actually do not need it now. Shocker. So does that make me a compulsive spender? Maybe.
Hi, my name is Rashida, and I’m a spendaholic.
FOMO is real
Fomo is alive & well, my friends. To be honest, I blame social media. Well, I blame myself for being sucked into social media. When you see what others post, sometimes it can make you a bit envious. I just want to enjoy what everyone else has. Is that too much to ask?
Filling the Emptiness
I know that material things do not bring true happiness. I KNOW. But on the days when I’m feeling less than or on the days when it seems nothing else is going right, I fall into the trap of filling that void with things to satisfy me, even if they are only temporary.
Now that I’ve confessed to you my financial sins, here are 5 personal finance tips I’m following to build healthy money habits.
1. Writing down my financial goals.
Write it down & make it plain. When you write down your financial goals, you become more accountable to them. Having your goals clearly written & visible will keep you on track. Just like you write down the goals for the other areas in your life, writing down your financial goals helps to maintain your vision.
2. Creating a budget.
There’s that “b” word that no one likes. But it is secret sauce on your journey of financial freedom. Budgets allow YOU to control where your money is going, instead of letting the money control you. You decide what to spend your money on. When you understand that you can take back the power money has over you by creating a budget, you’ll feel more confident in managing your money.
3. Sticking to the aforementioned budget.
Creating the budget is the easy part – you choose an expense category & assign a value. Following your budget is where the hard work comes in. What’s the point of taking the time out to budget when you don’t even stick to it? Most people budget on a monthly basis but if you’re just starting out, I suggest creating a weekly budget. Take it in smaller pieces & then as you build more confidence, work on that monthly plan. You’ll be surprised at your progress.
4. Using deal apps
I really hate grocery shopping. And I hate cooking. But in order to achieve my personal finance goals, I need to do both. I’m a big fan of apps. Two apps that I’ve been using are Flipp & Ibotta. While I’m still trying to get into a routine of using them regularly, I have become enticed by getting cash back for my purchasers. Cha-ching!
5. Practicing delayed gratification
Circling back to the instant gratification mindset, what I am now trying to do is delay gratification. If I see something that I think I need, I will put it off for a few days. Once the excitement has died down, I will revisit it & make a determination if I do still need it. If not, then I record it as a money mindset win.