You may ask yourself,
“How can I get rid of this bad money habit?”
Getting rid of a habit is a huge mistake.
According to the book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, “When habits emerge, the brain stops fully participating in decision making. So unless you deliberately fight a habit, unless you find new routines, the pattern will unfold automatically. We know that a habit cannot be eradicated. It must, instead, be replaced.”
So the question you should be asking yourself is “What new routine can I put into place?”
Changing Habits: Routine is Key
After reading this book, I became aware of my own habits when it came to money. My bad habit was opening every email from Ticket Master in my inbox. I’d easily get drawn into buying concert tickets for upcoming shows. I’m guilty of liking all types of music too. I especially have a soft spot for “oldies”. I’m glad I had the chance to see Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, and Chicago. I tell my husband that “this person may never tour again. It’s not a misleading marketing tactic, it’s the truth. A real limited time offer.”
After realizing that the email was the cue in my habit loop, I changed my routine. I didn’t click on the email every time. So I now limit my spending when it comes to concerts.
Here are three other examples of people that changed a bad habit by replacing it with a new routine. I used the Talking Heads lyrics from their song Once in a Life Time as a theme to their answers.
Robert Berger at DoughRoller.net explains “I have had many bad money habits in the past, but one that stands out is buying stuff I don’t really need just because I qualify for 0% interest. My wife and I have fallen into this trap with cars and furniture. Zero interest can be great if it’s used to get out of debt faster. But it’s no excuse to buy stuff you really don’t need.”
“The first thing that we did was realize that “free” money isn’t always free. We came to understand that a 0% offer can cause you to buy more than you need. That was the first step. And the second was this—to desire to be debt free more than to have stuff. It’s not magic. It was about the right priorities.”
You May Ask Yourself, “How Did I Get Here?”
Doug Nordman of TheMilitaryGuide.com says, “My bad money habit: books. Paperback books. Lots and lots of them, starting at the age of 12 and continuing in the Navy. I wasn’t just taking them to sea, I was also ‘collecting the whole set’ at the bookstore and paying full retail. At one point in my 30’s I was storing over 3,000 paperbacks.”
“When I got married and we started tracking our spending, I was shocked that I was blowing over $1000/year– in the 1980s, no less. I
quickly cut back to one book a month and did the rest through the library. Today I keep a 10-page reading list and regularly run it
through a library search. If the library doesn’t add a book on my list to its holdings over the next couple years then I buy it on
Amazon (used) and resell it after reading.”
You May Ask Yourself, “What Have I Done?”
Lisa Standring Crowley from EveryWomansMoney.com explains, “One bad habit that I had for a long time was not paying my bills on time. It was not from lack of money, but from lack of organization. I can’t tell you how much money I have wasted in over the years on late fees. Never late enough to wreck my credit, just enough to get the fees. I tried different things that would work for awhile but eventually would slip back.”
“The only thing that has helped is to set up automatic payments. Now I don’t have to worry. I have the payments made automatically and later go and update Quick Books. But one thing I have learned is the challenges that comes along with managing money have far more to do with the human side of things. We humans just don’t always make sense.”
Now I want to ask you, how have you changed a bad habit?
Share with me in the comments below.