I’ve had the incredible opportunity to work with many great people on their finances. These are regular people just like you and me, and we're all striving for a better financial life. One of the key factors in having success with your finances is your behavior. You're your own worst financial enemy. You hold the keys to a fantastic financial future. You just need to control your behavior to win.
A big part of changing your behavior is becoming more aware of your current financial situation, and what has kept you where you are. If you're just getting started with creating new habits with your finances, then these five daily financial to-dos will be your new best friend. The key to doing anything well is consistency, and winning with money is no different. Think about when you first started riding your bike. You weren’t terrific when you first started. But, with consistency you improved and could ride the bike with confidence.
If you take 10-15 minutes a day and make a conscious effort to pay attention to these areas of your financial life, I can just about guarantee that your finances will improve. What do you have to lose? Give them a shot!
1. Track your spending.
Track every single cent that goes out of your bank account and wallet. I suggest that you take note of all of your spending. It may seem time-consuming, but if you do it every day, it won’t be that bad.
2. Check your bank account.
I love auto pay and online banking. But when you aren’t organized and counting the days before your next payday, auto pay can create havoc on your bank account if you aren’t paying attention to it. Banks make billions of dollars a year off of fees. Take time every day to log into your bank account and review the activity. Reviewing your account activity is also a great way to detect theft.
3. Adjust your spending habits.
This is why steps one and two are so important in changing your behavior. Over time, you're going to begin to see your bad spending habits and those are going to prompt you to make different choices with your money. And for those expenses that aren’t necessarily bad habits, you're going to start to reevaluate whether you need them in your life. Reviewing your spending habits on a daily basis will keep them front of mind as you go throughout the day.
4. Review your monthly budget daily.
To review your budget, you need to have one. Only 33% of households have a working budget. This statistic is bad news, and I don’t want you to be included in it. If you don’t have a budget, create one! The budget is one of the first lessons we teach our Roots of Personal Finance members, and it's amazing how much it changes their lives. The key is a working budget, a budget is no good if you do it and don’t follow it! Review it daily and make sure you are sticking to the plan.
5. Look ahead at future spending.
Many of us aren’t prepared for the emergencies or the events to come. It has been said that most people can’t handle a $500 car repair without having to go into debt for it. So how do we fix that? By looking ahead and planning for future spending and expenses. This is why it's imperative to have a budget. The better you get at planning your spending; the better you will be at putting your money to work for you!
I want you to take these five daily financial to-dos seriously. Most people know that they need to give their finances some much overdue attention. They don’t want to be in credit card debt, student loan debt, car debt, or medical debt. They would love to be free from these chains, and you can be! I’ve seen how these simple tasks have completely changed lives! You can do this too; keeping in mind that success comes with consistency and doing it one day at a time.