When it comes to habits, most of us — well, perhaps not the Rebels — have habits that we’d like to add or drop. A few weeks ago, I asked the question: What habits most affect your spiritual life and work life? The answers were fascinating.
Now I have a follow-up question: What habits most affect your financial life? For instance, do you use an automatic savings plan (what I call an “invisible habit”)? Do you use cash instead of credit cards? Andy Warhol, who enjoyed the experience of spending, remarked on this distinction: “I don’t like charging. It feels more like buying if you pay with money.” For most people, using cash makes it harder to spend (in a good way). Do you spend hours every day on online shopping, or shop only from a list so you’re not tempted to make impulse purchases you’ll later regret? Do you keep a careful record of everything you spend?
Those are some examples, to help prompt your thinking. Some people need habits to help them not spend — I, as an under-buyer, need habits to help me spend. I remind myself, “If I need it, buy it now.” Otherwise, I just keep putting off purchases, even when it causes me a lot of inconvenience.
How do habits — both good and bad — affect your financial situation?
Gretchen Rubin, author of two New York Times bestsellers, is our go-to gal for the best get-it-together know-how. Every week, she'll be dishing up her wisdom straight from her popular blog, The Happiness Project, to get you on the road to a more productive, healthier you. Here's to a 2014 resolution that sticks!