5 Good Money Habits We Practice for Financial Success

in Spend by Lacey Langford, AFC®

Financial success comes from practicing good money habits.  Unfortunately, those habits don’t just fall in your lap. First, you have to know what they are, and second, start practicing them, which takes time and effort.  But by doing so, it will make your money-life easier and less stressful in the long run. Today, I’m sharing some of the good money habits we practice for financial success.  When I say we, I mean my husband and me, our money life’s a team effort.  We wouldn’t get very far if we weren’t both practicing these habits.

1. Saving First With Automatic Transfer

Saving for the future and the things we want are the first things we do with our money. We accomplish this by either making automatic payments to our savings and 401(k) accounts or by front-loading our IRAs (put all the money in at the beginning of the year). By doing so, we have more freedom with our money since we complete the important part first. Over time, this has helped us adapt to living on less. The income left after saving is what we can afford. A simple way to save first is to either set up allotments through MyPay or some banks (USAA does) will allow you set-up automatic transfers to your savings account. Once you receive your pay, an allotment or transfer moves money to your savings or investment accounts right away. Also, TSP and 401(k) contributions are automatically taken out of your pay before you receive the money. Paramount in your spending plan is saving for the future and automating it will help.

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2. Automatic Bill Pay

I learned this lesson when I forgot to pay our car payment two months in a row (that did happen). In my defense, I just had my first child, three weeks early. And until right before then, we didn’t have a car payment for a couple of years. I had to call and profusely apologize and beg for it not to affect our credit. Because of that, I now have most of our bills set up with USAA’s free Web BillPay. I love, love their BillPay. In fact, they would get a very stern letter from me if they every stop that service (heads up USAA!). An added perk is you can also use it on the USAA app. Other banks have similar services, but I’m partial to USAA because we bank with them and it’s super easy, convenient, and FREE. Life gets hectic and having our bills automated is one less worry for us.  A bonus to making it easier to pay bills is you don’t incur late fees, and on-time payments help your credit score. Also, there is more time to spend on other good money habits.

3. Reduce Costs

Buying stuff is inevitable but you have to maintain good money habits in the process.  At some put, you need more paper towels, school supplies, and new clothes. Since we know shopping is going to happen, we try to keep the price as low as possible. I do this by:

Using coupons

I’ve mentioned many times I like to use coupons. They help reduce our food expenses each month. I keep them organized in a coupon holder that fits in my purse to keep it convenient.

Cash Back For Shopping

I like to use Ebates when I’m shopping online. They give us cash back for using their links which reduces the cost. There are other sites like Swagbucks and Ibotta you can use as well.

Get discounts

I ask for a military discount wherever I go. Check when shopping, getting a hotel room or even getting a hair cut, you never know and it will save you money.

Fix it

I’ll admit, I’m blessed with a pretty handy husband that saves us a ton of money. If the dishwasher breaks, he fixes it, if a chair needs repair, he fixes it. We can’t fix everything, but we try to repair it before paying to replace something. There’s a lot you can learn to fix from YouTube.

Purchase on Sale

This is my favorite. I’m all about getting something on sale and bragging about it. When we want something, we shop around to find the best price. I love checking sales on Hip2Save.

Take Care Of It

Now, this point may seem random to you, but it’s not. Taking care of your stuff means it lasts longer. Rotating your tires helps them last longer, maintaining your dryer will help it last longer, not tracking mud in your house will keep the carpets from being stained. A little upkeep will save you money in the long run. good money habits

4. Don’t Impulse Buy

Of course, we have slip-ups like everyone else, but for the most part, we try to avoid buying things as soon as we see them. Instead, we wait and think over if we really want or need that “thing.” If we do decide that it’s something we’re going to purchase, then we try to keep the costs low in one of the ways I mentioned above. For example, I needed (OK, wanted!) a pair of Frye leather boots to add to my wardrobe. And I loved these boots because Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman, was wearing. No, I don’t copy everything PW does just her recipes, dishes, and boots. Back on point, instead of going out and spending $300 on boots. I acknowledged they were out of my budget and daydreamed about them. Once I decided I wanted them for real, I proceeded to cyberstalk them online until, at last, I found a pair half off (in my budget). It took some patience, but I was able to get them after taking the time. Giving yourself a cooling-off period will help you reduce spending money for the sake of spending money.

5. Live On Less

This one isn’t fancy or shocking—we live on less than we make. In fact, this habit is the most important part of our financial success. As mentioned above, putting money in savings first has helped us with this good habit. There have been times when we needed more than we earned in a month. But living on less than we made saved us in those times. Not being maxed out financially gives you room to maneuver your money when you need to.