- Draft a Financial Vision Board
You need motivation to start adopting better money habits, and if you craft a vision board, it can help remind you to stay on track with your financial goals.
- Set Specific Financial Goals
Use numbers and dates, not just words, to describe what you want to accomplish with your money. How much debt do you want to pay off—and when? How much do you want saved, and by what date?
- Adopt a Spending Mantra
Pick out a positive phrase that acts like a mini rule of thumb for how you spend. For example, ask yourself, “Is this [fill in purchase here] better than Bali next year?” or “I only charge items that are $30 or more.”
- Love Yourself
Sure, it may sound corny, but it works. Just ask this author, who paid off $20,000 of debt after realizing that taking control of her finances was a way to value herself.
- Make Bite-Size Money Goals
One study showed that the farther away a goal seems, and the less sure we are about when it will happen, the more likely we are to give up. So in addition to focusing on big goals (say, buying a home), aim to also set smaller, short-term goals along the way that will reap quicker results—like saving some money each week in order to take a trip in six months.
- Banish Toxic Money Thoughts
Hello, self-fulfilling prophecy! If you psych yourself out before you even get started (“I’ll never pay off debt!”), then you’re setting yourself up to fail. So don’t be a fatalist, and switch to more positive mantras.
- Get Your Finances–and Body—in Shape
One study showed that more exercise leads to higher pay because you tend to be more productive after you’ve worked up a sweat. So taking up running may help amp up your financial game. Plus, all the habits and discipline associated with, say, running marathons are also associated with managing your money well.
- Learn How to Savor
Savoring means appreciating what you have now, instead of trying to get happy by acquiring more things.
- Get a Money Buddy
According to one study, friends with similar traits can pick up good habits from each other—and it applies to your money too! So try gathering several friends for regular money lunches, like this woman did, paying off $35,000 of debt in the process.
How to Amp up Your Earning Potential
- When Negotiating a Salary, Get the Company to Name Figures First
If you give away your current pay from the get-go, you have no way to know if you’re lowballing or highballing. Getting a potential employer to name the figure first means you can then push them higher.
- You Can Negotiate More Than Just Your Salary
Your work hours, official title, maternity and paternity leave, vacation time, and which projects you’ll work on could all be things that a future employer may be willing to negotiate.
- Don’t Assume You Don’t Qualify for Unemployment
At the height of the recent recession, only half of people eligible for unemployment applied for it. Learn the rules of unemployment.
- Make Salary Discussions at Your Current Job About Your Company’s Needs
Your employer doesn’t care whether you want more money for a bigger house—it cares about keeping a good employee. So when negotiating pay or asking for a raise, emphasize the incredible value you bring to the company.