Most people want to be financially secure if not downright wealthy. However, a lot still can’t figure out how to even save money. They spend money left and right with no regard for the consequences of their actions. This is made worse by credit cards which cause many to live way beyond their means, collecting debt after debt after debt. Before they know it, they’re broke and looking for a debt help program to come to their rescue.
Clearly, the struggle is real when it comes to saving money. It comes as no surprise then why money is one of the top common causes of stress in America right now. Obviously, the major cause of this problem has to do with a lack of discipline. People are unable to delay gratification in the short term, leading them to spend more than what they earn. They lack self-control or willpower, which according to the American Psychological Association, is the most significant barrier to change.
If this sounds like you, you should know that there’s still hope for you to change things around. You can learn how to exercise self-control when it comes to your spending and here are some ways you can do that.
Rewire Your Thinking
Personal development and business coach, Brian Tracy, says that most people’s first thought when they earn or receive money is on how they can spend it to achieve immediate pleasure. Their brain has been wired to associate money with happiness. This means that the more they spend, the happier they feel.
To get away from this trap, you must consciously shift your thinking about money. Instead of associating happiness with spending, you must associate it with financial independence instead. The more money you have in your bank account, the happier you will be knowing that this will help you say goodbye to your financial problems.
Organize Your Finances
Financial discipline doesn’t just mean changing the way you think about money. It also means changing how you physically handle your finances. Sometimes it’s hard for us to figure out what to do when everything about our finances is disorganized. So, start by organizing and categorizing your financial documents. Create a budget and develop an envelope system. Write down your short- and long-term goals. Sometimes it’s easier to see the big picture when all the “small stuff” are sorted out.
It’s harder to curb the impulse to spend when you’re always exposed to opportunities to do so. Find out what your triggers are and do your best to avoid them. Find another place to hang out aside from the mall. Remove shopping apps on your phone. Leave your credit and debit cards at home. Find an alternative pastime that will take your mind off shopping, such as sports or other social activity. Out of sight, out of mind.
Develop Good Habits
While it’s important for you to stay clear of your bad money habits, it’s likewise essential for you to develop good ones too. Habits shape our lives and they form more than 40 percent of our actions each day. If you want to develop more financial self-control, then you have to practice good financial habits every chance you get. The more you do so, the more it becomes ingrained in your brain. Pretty soon, it’s not going to take as much effort to practice it anymore.
Monitor and Measure Your Progress
It is important for you to know yourself so that you can understand what your triggers and weaknesses are and how best to deal with them. The only way to do this is to monitor yourself. Are you more prone to impulse shopping when you’re stressed? Then you’ll need to learn how to better manage that stress.
Measuring your progress is also a must. Aside from showing you how far you’ve gone or how much you’ve accomplished, it also helps you keep your eyes on your goals. This will make you even more motivated to keep going. It also works the other way though. In case there were times that you faltered, you will at least be able to figure out why and carve out a game plan on how to do things better next time.
If after you’ve tried everything and you still haven’t achieved significant improvement in achieving financial self-control, don’t be afraid to seek help. A support system composed of people you trust can help you stay on track and push you to succeed. There are also professionals, such as psychologists, who can help you determine what your problem areas are and help you build your willpower.
Developing the willpower to curb your spending is not an impossible undertaking. As long as you’re willing to do the work and be consistent with it, you will be able to steer your way to financial independence.