How Your Habits Could Majorly Affect Your Finances

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1Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
As I’ve mentioned many times before, I’m hard at work on a book about how we make and break habits. This masterpiece will hit the shelves in 2015 (sign up here to be notified when it’s available).

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!