If this is your first time here, Molly’s Money is a regular series I write on this blog that includes ALL things personal finance – debt management, budgeting, home buying, savings, investment, etc. I am NOT a financial advisor, but I am married to one! These are just things that I have learned over the years as I struggled with my own personal finances and ultimately, became debt free in 2012. Got a question about money that you want answered? Leave it in the comments below or email me!
I read an awesome article a few months ago called the “10 Habits of Debt Free People.” I really liked it and thought it was a great way to get a glimpse into the habits of people who are good with money and who win with money. While I don’t necessarily agree with EVERY point (I don’t think we should always agree with everything we read, y’all. :)), the article got ME thinking about my own habits and my husband and I’s habits with our money and our finances.
Now, you don’t have to be DEBT FREE to enact these types of habits or practices. Not at all, in fact. These are the types of things that you can put into place even when you’re $36K in debt… because the sooner you start doing some of these things, the sooner you may find yourself taking control of your finances.
This is certainly not an end-all be-all list of habits and good practices… and I’m definitely not saying that we are “perfect” with our finances or get it right all the time. BUT, we, personally, make these things OUR OWN habits and try to keep them up on a regular basis.
I know, I know. I feel like I keep licking the sugar off that lollipop here, but I really cannot stress enough the importance of budgeting. Debt free people are people who know every. single. cent. that comes IN and goes OUT of their bank account. Every last detail is accounted for. When every last penny is accounted for and tracked, they don’t overdraft their accounts. They don’t incur silly and unnecessary fees. They are able to plan for every dollar and make their money work for them. It’s just SO important and the basis of ALL good money practices!
This sounds a little like it’s counterintuitive, but saving is SUCH an important part of being debt free. Even if it’s just saving a little bit each month, that little bit eventually adds up to alottabit. They’re able to save for emergencies and those times that unexpected expenses come up. Or when one loses a job and they’re out of work for six months… they’ve got money saved to take care of them during those times. Saving is a VITAL part of good financial health.
When I was in huge debt and even when I was working to get myself out of debt, I NEVER checked my bank account. I was always way too scared to login and see how little money I had or how much I’d overdrafted or what fees I’d incurred. So, there were times when I had overdrafted my account four or five times and I’d incurred all these fees and I had no idea for a few days when all of a sudden my debit card was declined. Trust me, I KNOW FIRSTHAND the stress and anxiety that can come with checking your bank account and statements on a regular basis. It’s awful! BUT, people who are debt free or people who are good with money are the type of people that closely monitor ALL of their activity in their bank account and on their financial statements.
My husband logs into our account EVERY DAY and he notices if even ONE cent is off. He can tell right away if there’s a funky transaction that doesn’t look right, or if a fee got charged that shouldn’t be there, or if a restaurant put in the wrong dollar amount on the check, etc. And consequently, he’s got me in the same habit… I’m always paying attention to our statements and looking at them line for line. Once it’s become habit, it is a whole lot less stressful!
I’ve talked before about the importance of giving. Being a FINANCIAL giver makes you appreciate your money that much more. Being generous with your money makes you appreciate it that much more. I was always someone who “wanted” to give, but came up with excuses why I couldn’t. Finally, when I decided I need to make a big change and take ahold of my money, I started giving… EVEN when I didn’t really have money to give. And suddenly, my entire perspective, attitude, and outlook on money changed. Now I LOVE to give. WE love to give. It gives us no greater joy than to bless someone or something with our finances. We look forward to writing the tithe check every month. Debt free people are generous with their money.
People who want to win with their money are people who set goals, create a plan of attack, and execute that plan. It’s SO important to set financial goals – at ANY stage in your personal finances. Whether it’s to BECOME debt free, save for a car or house, save for retirement, buy that big TV you’ve wanted, etc… goal setting is vital because it makes you value your money even more!
You’re rarely going to find a debt free person who is a chronic impulse buyer or spender. (Unless they’re like bajillionaires and money is of no concern to them… haha!) Most debt free people are going to be people who are wise with their purchases, are thoughtful with their purchases, and take the time to shop around, pray about, or wait before they spend that money. Impulse purchases just rarely happen… When you’re looking to save or spend money wisely… you pretty much take impulse purchases out of the picture.
What habits of debt free people have you seen? Do you have any good financial habits that you try to practice yourself? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!