Creating Positive Financial Habits

Developing positive habits related to saving and spending money is an ongoing process. Not understanding your habits – especially during the holiday season – can create added expenses and stress. On average it takes about 60 days to change or create a habit, so it’s important to think carefully about what you spend your money on, especially this time of year. By following some simple tips, you can keep your holiday spending in check and develop healthy financial habits.

10 Tips for Holiday Spending:

  1. Know your spending habits. Use the good ones and put the risky ones on the shelf.
  2. Make a list and stick to it. 
  3. Create a clear plan and budget for the holidays 
  4. Start a debit diet vs. credit card spending or move to a diet of “cash only.” 
  5.  Focus on budgeting holiday spending with available funds, rather than incurring new debt. 
  6. Use an app to track your spending. This will keep your spending in check and within your budget.
  7. Avoid expensive traditions that put you into debt. Visit with loved ones far away with video calling and sharing photos in real time by text, if you can, instead of spending thousands to travel. Make that holiday party a pot luck instead of footing the bill yourself. Create your own holiday cards, and re-use items for gift wrap or tags.
  8.  Fight the urge to apply! Encounters at the register with offers to apply for store credit cards are tempting but may not be worth the long-term risk of increased debt. 
  9. Get the best of both worlds! When using store cards, take advantage of discounts and other rewards, but make sure you pay the bill before you leave the store.
  10. Cash back rewards can be your friend. Just be sure to only use credit cards for what you can afford to pay off right away. 

Debt happens

If you find yourself in debt there are some simple steps you can take. 

  1. Ask for help. Many financial institutions, including SEFCU, have products or services to help.
  2. Positive money management today can prevent barriers later in life. Commit to your future self. This is definitely worth the effort. Along the way, you are building positive habits to last a lifetime!
  3. Talk about money. You may just find you’re not alone, and others can offer tips and share their success story (or mistakes!) with you. Great satisfaction can be gained by knowing you took steps to secure your finances and reduced stress in this area.

SEFCU’s Institute for Financial Well-Being offers many free sessions where you can learn about budgeting, eliminating debt, saving, and more. View upcoming sessions