Financial Discipline Can Aid Happiness in the Long Run

Deborah Boza-Valledor's picture

By Dan Serra

RISMEDIA, April 10, 2010--(MCT)--We all have habits a good and bad. We work the same hours, we eat the same food, we watch the same TV shows. Many of us also have habits when it comes to our money. We know what to do, but we fall into a habit and it doesn't solve our money problems, such as going to the mall when we need to save rather than spend. But with a little motivation, these habits can be broken.

Psychologists say it takes 30 days to create a new habit. This means focus intently on what you want to do and after 30 days it won't be as hard. Getting up at 5 a.m. to work out may be hard at first, but if you push yourself, after 30 days it will become a daily routine with less effort. The same thing goes for your money.

The first money habit to create is a positive attitude. Money frustrates, especially when we don't have enough, and this creates emotional barriers to financial success. Changing your mind-set to rule your money is the first step to keep your money from ruling you. If you don't have enough money, accept the fact and create a life under those restrictions, or work toward earning more money. Money does not buy happiness. Once we accept that our stress levels are reduced by living within our means, we become better people.

Next, develop a habit of budgeting. This budget can be simple, such as three categories: monthly bills, monthly savings and the rest for everything else. Or it can detail your spending habits to show what needs to change. Make goals a habit by budgeting for them and reviewing the progress every week or month.

Another good habit is creating a debt-free life. Once life is without debt, there are fewer pressures and more chances of budgeting and goal achievement. Having a no-debt attitude as a daily reaffirmation makes us think twice when lured by a possible debt.

There are many positive money habits but these are the most important to stay in control of personal finances and make a 30-day commitment to form.

To develop other habits to become money savvy, a new book has these and many strategies to saving and spending money. "Your Money: The Missing Manual" is a compilation of financial strategies from financial experts brought together in one easy-to-read book. Author J.D. Roth has been blogging on GetRichSlowly.org about his experience learning how to manage money and overcome debt, and he shares the knowledge he has gained over the years in one book. The book is also a reference for the abundance of online financial resources he has tried.

It's a good book to have around, and to get in the habit of reading frequently.

(c) 2010, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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