Do you remember the saying “money doesn’t grow on trees”? I do! I’ve actually told my kids that saying before. I’m sure you know by now that you have to work hard for the money you earn. Working is not always easy but it is rewarding.
Now think about how much more your hard work can pay off when you put better money habits in place. Learning how to manage money better allows you to have financial freedom. Becoming a slave to money is not fun. I know, I’ve been there.
Better money habits allow you to properly manage the money you do have. It’s better to learn how to use money the right way so it will last longer.
After all, there are enough other stresses in life that are out of our control. Why not learn how to use money properly so you can make it work for you?
I’ve personally learned that saving money without being a cheapskate can make your money go much further.
I’m excited to share some better money habits that you can start now so you can change your financial situation for good. Learning how to manage money better will help you be more in control of your financial life.
Better Money Habits
1. Create A Budget
Creating a good budget is the most important place to start when you are learning how to manage money. Calculating your monthly income and expenses will give you a clear picture of your financial situation. It doesn’t matter how much money you make, you need a budget!
If you haven’t created a budget yet, make sure to check out my step by step post on creating a good budget. You can set up your budget online with a free budget app or if you prefer the paper method, you can use free budget templates.
If you’ve already created a budget, take this time to review your budget and see if there are any adjustments that need to be made.
2. Plan for Retirement
Planning for retirement is very important. If you aren’t putting money away for retirement, you should be. It may seem like it’s a long way away but the longer you wait, the more financial sacrifices you will need to make to catch up.
There are really great places to get started with retirement. The Dave Ramsey plan is a great way to get started to get your retirement in order.
3. Eliminate Credit Card Debt
Debt is a scary word but most of us have debt. Debt is not always a bad thing. It allows us to buy big things like houses and cars. It’s not very common that someone will buy their house with cash.
Credit card debt is one of the leading causes of debt and it can cause a lot of problems. Credit cards are usually used for things we “want” rather than the things we “need”. Learning to discipline ourselves to spend the money we do have is a big step in learning better money habits.
If you have credit card debt, make sure to add that to your budget categories so you can get it paid down as quickly as possible.
4. Keep Track of Your Expenses
Having a budget set up is great but in order to stay on track with your budget, you need to track your expenses. You need to keep a record of all the money you are spending each month.
I love using a budget app because it allows me to add up all my expenses throughout the day. If you choose to use a printable budget template, you will need to keep all your receipts so you can write down what you are spending every day.
It is extremely important to keep up with your expenses daily. Little purchases throughout the day can add up and push you over your budget.
5. Review Your Finances Often
Things change in life and so will your budget. It’s important to review your finances to keep yourself on track. Better money habits stick when you practice them. Learning how to manage money better will come easier to you as long as you are disciplined to do it.
My husband and I communicate about our finances often. It’s important because we need to be on the same page. Reviewing our expenses and spending habits helps us set up our budget properly. Our budget can change a few times a year because we have a new “want” or a “need”.
If you’ve been keeping proper track of your finances then reviewing them often shouldn’t be difficult. You should have everything documented so you can look at each personal budget category and make adjustments as needed.
6. Check Your Billing Statements
Bills can and will fluctuate but it’s important to pay attention to why they do. I know our bills will be higher in certain seasons due to the weather changes but I still check them to make sure they are correct.
For example, last month Verizon added a charge to our cell phone bills for cloud storage. We’ve never used it and never asked for it so I called and had it removed. They were kind enough to offer me an additional credit for the inconvenience.
Make sure you take the time to examine the line items on your bills to confirm you are being billed properly. Everyone makes mistakes including computers. You may also find something on your bill that you no longer use and can have it removed.
You can even try negotiating your bills. You may be missing out on a discount or there may be a better promotion they are offering. Most of the time, if you are a good customer, they will give you the best deal they can offer.
7. Be Wise with your Utilities
I never learned how to be wise with utilities until I moved out of my parent’s house when I was 17 years old. I became wise the first time I received a utility bill. Conserving my utilities made a huge difference in my utility bills.
Here are some easy ways to conserve your utilities:
- Don’t keep water running when you are brushing your teeth.
- Turn off the lights when you leave a room.
- Unplug your electronics when they are fully charged.
- If it’s hot outside try to use fans before you turn on the air conditioning.
- If it’s cold outside make sure to open the blinds to allow the sun to help heat your house.
- Wash your clothes in cold water.
8. Pack Your Food
It’s much healthier to bring your own food when you go to work and it’s cheaper. Buy what you need to pack your lunch when you go grocery shopping. It will save you money and time.
Buying breakfast, lunch, coffee, snacks, etc. will add up very quickly. You can save even more by buying in bulk. Saving money on groceries is another great money habit to have.
9. Price Check your Purchases
The internet is a great place for price checking. If I want to purchase something, I put it into Google search and Google will bring up all the pricing for that item. There are some great apps that do this too but I still like using Google.
Next time, you are buying something try using Google search to find the best deal. You should get multiple results showing the cost of the item at each store. It’s super easy and will save you money.
10. Make Dinner at Home
Making dinner at home is a big saver for us. If we went out to eat every day with our family of 5, we’d be broke. Creating a meal plan is easy and only takes me around an hour a week.
I have very little time to think about what I’m making for dinner every day. A meal plan saves time and money.
11. Participate in Free Activities
This better money habit is super easy. I’m sure you’ve seen free activities in your community. Try participating in one. We’ve personally participated in free events at Lowe’s, Home Depot, Michaels and more.
There are lots of places that offer free activities. They are usually advertised on websites and group Facebook boards in your area. Try them out and see if you like them. We have always enjoyed the free activities we’ve participated in.
12. Cancel Unused Club Memberships
Have you noticed that there are a lot more memberships available these days? There are club store memberships, website memberships, gym memberships and more.
If you are are the type that signs up for memberships make sure you are using them. Companies make a fortune on unused memberships. It’s so easy to have them automatically withdrawn from your account. You should notice some sort of payment being withdrawn if you have your budget set up.
13. Learn How to Coupon
Couponing was one of the first ways I learned to save money. Learning how to coupon is a learning curve but it is definitely worth it if you are trying to find more ways to save money.
Another way to coupon is to always look for a coupon if you are going shopping at a specific department store or eating at a restaurant. The internet is a great place to find a coupon. Make sure the site you are using is legitimate, always start with the website of the actual place you will be visiting.
Have you implemented any better money habits yet?
There are a lot of different ways to save money. This is just a list of ways to get started without overwhelming yourselves. If you’re looking for more ways to save, be sure to check out my post on the best ways to save money.