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5 Simple Habits That Will Transform Your Finances

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This is a guest post from Kalyn of KalynBrooke.com

Managing money is a never-ending process. As much as I wish it were just another item on my to-do list that I could check off and declare officially done, that’s simply not the case!

You know the phrase, “out of sight, out of mind”? That’s exactly what happens when you don’t stay on top of your money. You forget what you’ve spent, and quickly lose sight of those lofty savings goals you wrote down at the beginning of the year.

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While some might say you need to budget once a month, plan weekly check-in’s, or have an occasional money chat with your spouse to stay on track, I think it requires much more maintenance than that to avoid potential money leaks. Daily habits are the key to success, and these 5 will keep you focused on the goals ahead!

1. Spend Smart

Almost every single day we spend money — whether it’s on a quick grocery store run, pumping gas in the car, or purchasing an item we found online. But what we often fail to do, is ask simple questions about the money we spend, such as:

  • Could I get by without this item?
  • Could I get it for FREE, or could I borrow it?
  • Is there any way I can I get for less?

I know that seems like a lot of questions when you’re picking up something really simple like a bag of apples or a package of socks, but the answers are as easy as a 5 minute search online for a printable coupon, downloading a money saving app, or waiting a few weeks until an item pops up on Craigslist instead of paying full price.

The point is to think through any purchases you might possibly make that day before heading out to the store and handing over your hard-earned money. Just a few minutes of brainpower could be the difference between a few dollars, or a few hundred!

5 Life Changing Simple Habits | Change Your Life With Mini Habits | Life Change | Life Hacks | Habits That Will Change Your Life | Simple Life Habits | Ways to a Healthy Life

2. Keep Track of Receipts

I’m a big proponent of expense tracking {yes, down to the very last penny!}, and even have a little receipt jar in my office where every receipt goes after I get home from the store or running errands. This saves me loads of time that I would have previously spent digging around in pants pockets or purses trying to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

I might not get to entering in all my receipts every day {this is usually a once a week process}, but it’s a visual reminder of what I’m spending every day, and that’s what counts. When my little jar is stuffed full in just a couple of days, I know my spending is getting out of control, and I need to be a little more careful.

Instead of the paper/pen route, you could also download a receipt tracking app, like Smart Receipts {Android} or OneReceipt {was shutdown in 2016}, and snap a picture of your receipt to create an instant digital footprint.

5 Life Changing Simple Habits | Change Your Life With Mini Habits | Life Change | Life Hacks | Habits That Will Change Your Life | Simple Life Habits | Ways to a Healthy Life

3. Check Your Bank Account

Sometimes we don’t always have a receipt for purchases we make. For example, have you ever signed up for automatic payments, or had a receipt emailed to you from a department store?

These purchases quickly bury themselves in your inbox if you don’t stay on top of them. I like to check my bank account every day so I don’t miss anything and always know what’s going in and what’s coming out.

This is also a good idea if you carry a credit card. Check your account every day, or every other day, and keep an eye out for unauthorized purchases. If you wait too long, you might have hundreds charged to your card, without even knowing it — yikes!

4. Find Ways to Be Thrifty Around the House

Managing money isn’t just about spending, it’s about saving too, and there are so many creative ways to do this right at home! Here are a few things that will save a few dollars every day:

  • Eat at Home — Start meal planning and/or freezer cooking to avoid spending money at overpriced restaurants. You should also be diligent about eating leftovers to eliminate waste.
  • Experiment with Homemade Cleaners — It’s incredibly easy to make your own cleaning products and they cost pennies compared to bottles at the store. You probably have most, if not all, of the supplies in your pantry.
  • Repurpose and Reuse — Our grandparents were very diligent in finding alternative uses for supplies that could very well have gone straight to the trash. Before throwing an item away, see if you can give it new life. Just be careful not to let it turn into clutter!

5 Life Changing Simple Habits | Change Your Life With Mini Habits | Life Change | Life Hacks | Habits That Will Change Your Life | Simple Life Habits | Ways to a Healthy Life

5. Communicate with Your Spouse

I find that the best way to get my spouse on board with any financial goals, is to keep him in the loop. If my husband has no idea what he can and cannot spend, he will probably spend more often than not!

A quick chat in the morning or evening about any purchases we need to make that day makes all the difference. I also like to physically show him our budget and bank accounts so he knows exactly where we stand and how much money we have designated for each expense.

Maybe your spouse is the one that actually does the finances. I still encourage you to ask questions and communicate just to keep yourself informed. Working together not only leads to a stronger marriage, it avoids potential money conflicts too.

If you’re tired of feeling like you can’t stay on top of your money, try one or two of these habits until they become just another part of your daily routine. Then add on a couple more until you’re practicing all 5 without really thinking about it. You just might find that managing your money isn’t so much of a chore after all!

Kalyn Brooke is a life management expert for busy women who crave a simpler and more organized life. Through her recognizable, down-to-earth approach, she provides a daily dose of inspiration and guidance, whether you’re looking for smart money tips, time saving routines, or anything in-between. When she’s not experimenting with ways to do even the most mundane tasks more efficiently, you can find her crafting detailed to-do lists in her bullet journal, or indulging in—yet another—personal development book. Meet Kalyn and learn how stay on top of it all at KalynBrooke.com.

 

5 Life Changing Simple Habits | Change Your Life With Mini Habits | Life Change | Life Hacks | Habits That Will Change Your Life | Simple Life Habits | Ways to a Healthy Life

 

 

26 Comments

  1. September 11 at 09:41AM

    I feel like being money wise is a learned art. It has happened over time for me. I learn new attitudes and new ways to save money all the time!

  2. Annnie
    September 11 at 11:05AM

    I like your idea of putting receipts where you can see them. That is a great visual aid to make me stop and think!

  3. September 11 at 05:25PM

    I don’t keep my receipts but I check our bank account almost daily and it has helped a lot in keeping our spending at a minimum.

  4. ellie
    September 12 at 11:50PM

    5. Communicate with Your Spouse
    I find that the best way to get my spouse on board with any financial goals, is to keep him in the loop. If my husband has no idea what he can and cannot spend, he will probably spend more often than not!
    A quick chat in the morning or evening about any purchases we need to make that day makes all the difference. I also like to physically show him our budget and bank accounts so he knows exactly where we stand and how much money we have designated for each expense.

    I don’t really think of myself as old fashioned but I have to be honest – gosh. imagine someone saying this about you rather than your husband. it just sounds really sexist. it IS really sexist.

    • September 17 at 10:54AM

      I’m not really sure exactly what you mean by “communicating with your spouse” is sexist. Money is one of the #1 disagreements in marriage, so I personally think being on the same page financially is really important! 🙂

      • Anonymous
        September 17 at 08:03PM

        I am sure I am just misunderstanding the way this is said however what sounds “off” to me (and probably only me) it was the “if my husband has no idea what he can and cannot spend . . .” um. why would he have no idea unless somehow you were the one telling him what he can and cannot spend? I guess you might be meaning that he has somehow forgotten what you mutually decided?? like I said it is probably just me misinterpreting but it makes your husband sound a little “not so smart”. just my 2 cents of course.

      • ellie
        September 17 at 09:46PM

        I most definitely agree that communicating with your spouse about finances is important! sorry, I guess I over reacted to this. It hit me as though you were giving your husband permission to spend. Again, I apologize for over reacting!

        • September 19 at 10:50AM

          Oh, not a problem at all! I wanted to just make sure I understood exactly where you were coming from. I agree that if your “telling” your spouse how to spend, that could also lead to some disagreements. It definitely needs to be a mutual decision. 🙂

  5. September 13 at 07:47AM

    I can attest to the fact that organization really is key to saving a lot of money. Having recently moved from residence to another, I know what it is like to have a few things still packed away in boxes. Sometimes it so easy to want to re-purchase something I already own because I cannot find the item or sadly I do not want to go through the trouble of accessing the box that I know the item is in. I would love to give the view point from the technical point of view. I have often come across people that can not find the recovery disc or drive for the computer systems. This is something I highly recommend putting away with your most important documents. In the event your computer runs into a major major operating system issue, having that disc can save a significant amount of money (purchasing one can cost close to or more than $100) or even make the difference of not having to buy a new computer system. Also, in regards to the receipts, I can attest that keeping your receipts can also save you some time calling your bank or credit card company. I have noticed that sometimes a vendors name displays differently on your transaction history than what is actually labelled on their physical building (especially in the case of gas stations.) It can become alarming when looking at your statement and knowing you have never been to listed vendor, but when you go through your receipts you will notice the transaction amount will match the receipt. 🙂 Happy savings

  6. September 14 at 10:14PM

    I’m not so sure keeping all your receipts is really necessary nowadays. I might be mistaken, or overlooking something, but… I can see in days past when the primary payment method was cash that keeping track of all your receipts was necessary. But now since nearly 100% of my transactions are paid for with either my credit card or Paypal, everything gets logged either in my credit card activity or my Paypal history. Is it really necessary to keep your receipts when everything is already being tracked for you automatically?

    • September 17 at 10:53AM

      I definitely agree….to a point. I keep receipts for tracking purposes, but I also keep them just in case I need to return an item. For instance, I recently bought a rug at Target that completely fell apart after washing it. I took it back {even though it was past 30 days}, and they gave me a full refund no questions asked. If I didn’t have that receipt, I would have eaten the cost. I do, however, throw away fast food and gas receipts because I don’t ever need to reference them again.

  7. September 15 at 07:12AM

    After years of a lot of impulse buying, I am now more careful before purchasing items. I also think if said item is really that important, we both discuss if we should buy it etc. It does help a lot. And keeping track of our expenses has been a HUGE eye opener 😀

  8. Mai
    September 16 at 03:02AM

    Ruth didn’t you use to have a site where you paid membership? What happened to it?

  9. October 14 at 03:50PM

    I really appreciate the idea of asking those three questions before making a purchase. What a difference it makes to rationalize buying something before just tossing it in your cart.

    Especially having kids, asking yourself if you could borrow something rather then buy it is a great thought. Thank you for your post.

  10. October 18 at 10:06PM

    Great post! I find myself doing all of these things. Although keeping track of all of my receipts is probably the hardest part. I try to keep track of all of them for tax purposes by keeping them in a manilla envelope.

    Looking forward to reading more of your posts!

    Peter

  11. Rose
    November 6 at 04:17PM

    I keep all receipts in a small, half sized, file with “months” as dividers. I found it at the dollar store. I put all receipts into the month I made the purchase. When I come to a month that I filled last year, I take those receipts out, and pitch all I no longer need, so compartment for that month is empty again.
    Keeps receipts filed, organized and they never pile up.

  12. April 28 at 08:36AM

    Lately I have been trying super hard to really sit down and think if I “need” something or just really “want” it. It is amazing how much money I save doing this simple thing.

  13. Ofelia
    September 12 at 05:25AM

    thanks so much for sharing the 5 tips on savings…

  14. Michelle
    June 16 at 05:38PM

    I went to look for the App you mentioned in #2 OneReceipt and can’t find that anymore. Any other suggestions?

    • Ruth Soukup
      June 16 at 09:11PM

      Hi Michelle,
      It looks like that app was shut down in 2016. You might want to try Receipt bank: http://info.receipt-bank.com/smb-gad1
      I hope that helps. 🙂

      • Michelle
        June 23 at 05:13PM

        Thanks you!

  15. July 18 at 07:19PM

    Great post! I didn’t actually know that receipt tracking apps existed! I’ve recently started using the EveryDollar app and it’s been a real time saver from my previous method of writing every purchase down by hand! It allows you to enter purchases manually (or have them automatically show up from your bank if you buy the paid version) and assign them to your budget categories. Then you can designate your main app view to show your planned, spent, or remaining amounts per category.

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