MANAGE | SEP 21, 2022

5 Keys To Developing Good Money Habits

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Leo Sabo

Remember when you learned to drive? You had to concentrate constantly on your steering, the foot pressure on the accelerator, and how much pressure to apply when breaking while constantly scanning your mirrors. It took intense focus, and having a drivers-ed teacher, or worse, a parent continually watching and judging your performance, it's a miracle you got through it! But you did get through it. After years of learning and gaining experience, you've developed a routine, a habit, that makes driving easy. The same can be true about developing good money habits.

Most of the things you do are subconscious actions done out of habit. Eating, brushing teeth, and many parts of your job are just a few examples of habits driving your behavior. How we manage our money is also driven by good and bad habits, and that's why developing good money habits and discarding the bad ones is essential.

Habits form over time. When we engage in a repeat activity, we develop a pattern, a series of thoughts and behaviors that increase our ability to do that activity over and over again more quickly and efficiently.

Our emotions are a crucial part of any habit.__Humans gravitate toward anything that gives us pleasure and avoids anything that causes us pain. This reality drives much of your spending. __Don't believe me? Remember the last time you bought something you really wanted? How did you feel? It felt incredible, right? How about when you got an unexpected bill in the mail? Remember that feeling? Yeah, me too! Not my best moment.

God's financial principles contain the wisdom to grow and maintain wealth. Looking at the four money habits the wealthy consistently engage in, which lead to their success, you will find that they align with God's principles. They are:

  1. They spend less than they earn - Proverbs 21:20
  2. They avoid taking on debt on depreciating items - Proverbs 22:7; 22:26
  3. They save for future needs - Proverbs 6:6-8
  4. They invest to grow their wealth - Ecclesiastes 11:2

It's important to note that most wealthy people in America didn't start out that way. Most millionaires today are self-made, first-generation millionaires. A significant factor in their success is the consistent practice of these four money habits before they were wealthy. There's nothing special about these people. They don't possess supernatural abilities or have some secret knowledge that the rest of us can't get. They simply learned or developed good money habits over time, and so can you.

Now, if you think being wealthy or pursuing financial growth is somehow unspiritual, let me tell you, it's not. God provides every ministry opportunity and the resources to get it done. Sometimes, taking care of needs requires money. The problem is that God's people often spend the money on themselves before God can steer it to his purpose.

The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) is an excellent example of someone who had the compassion to help someone in need and the means (bandages, oil, wine, a donkey, and money) to get it done. Wealth in the hands of a good steward who is fully committed to God will accomplish much good in the world.

It is God’s desire that we join Him in the good work he is doing in our communities and throughout the world. To join God in this work, you have to be a good steward of the resource God has put into your hands, and developing good money habits will help you become that faithful steward.

5 Keys to developing good money habits

1. BECOME AWARE

You may have heard the phrase, "knowledge is power," but that's not entirely accurate. Knowledge itself is not power; it's applied knowledge that's powerful. You must become fully aware of where your money is going, and knowing what you're making and spending is the first step to financial well-being.

The simplest way to do this is to track every expense. You don't need a fancy app, computer software, or a spreadsheet; pen and paper will do. Tracking expenses is foundational to getting your finances under control and maintaining and growing your wealth.

2. UNDERSTAND YOUR TRIGGERS

What triggers your spending? It's important to know where you're overspending money because it will lead you to discover what motivates your spending. Much of our spending is triggered by our wants and desires rather than what we need. Having a financial plan (a budget) is a great way to define needs and wants ahead of time so you can combat the emotional triggers that cause overspending.

3. DETERMINE YOUR RESPONSE

Decide ahead of time how you will respond when you have the desire to spend. The best way to control spending and manage money successfully is to have and live by a written budget. The budget will guide your spending, helping you stay in control and make the right decisions.

4. BUILD ROUTINES

Routines form habits. Every routine you implement, like recording every expense and saving before spending, will help you develop money habits that will help you reach your financial goals. Without these routines, your financial decisions will be at the whim of your wants and desires.

5. REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT

You learned to drive because you kept doing it until it became easy. Over time you got better at driving and had to think less and less of the specific individual functions you had to perform while driving. The same is true in developing good money habits.

Right now, it may seem daunting to manage your money and build good money habits. You'll need to focus, exercise discipline, persevere and overcome the desire to quit until you've gained the mastery to do it with ease. Everyone has to go through this process to develop the financial habits that lead to financial health, and so can you.

Conclusion

Understanding Biblical financial principles is key to being a good steward, but knowing them isn't enough. It isn't enough to know the benefits of saving, investing, and spending less than you earn; you have to practice these to experience the benefits. It's the practice part that we tend to struggle with and why developing good financial habits is necessary for achieving financial health and growing wealth to be used for godly purposes.

(image used with permission)

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